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The movie may have been Home Alone, but the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) was anything but a solitary place on Saturday evening, Dec. 5th.  A well attended crowd was treated to a live orchestrated version of the John Hughes classic featuring the original composition by  screen legend John Williams. The night proved to be a holiday crowd pleaser for couples and families alike.

Home Alone tells the story of Kevin McCallister (MacCauley Culkin)  a bratty 8 year old who is mistakenly left to guard the house while his family vacations in France. When two bumbling idiot burglars, played with slapstick appeal by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern,  decide to case the McCallister home, Kevin creates a plan of action to thwart their efforts.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the film’s release and it remains timeless. A subplot involving a lone neighbor and his connection with Kevin is deeply moving and poignant. Hughes, who dominated teen comedies in the eighties and nineties, puts his usual stamp of charm into the script and even the Scroogiest among us would be hard pressed not to take delight.

Williams, whose iconic movies scores include Jaws, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, and countless others will likely not be specifically remembered for this contribution. Still, it possesses a magical Christmas feeling that perfectly accompanies the sweet little film. What a rare treat to have the NJ Symphony orchestra, under the baton of maestro Constantine Kitsopoulos, playing beneath the screen. In addition, the NJ Youth Chorus, under the direction of Trish Joyce, added additional joy by singing some of carols featured in the film.

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

The NJ Symphony replicated the event once again on Sunday afternoon, Dec 6th at New Brunswick’s State Theatre. Earlier this year, the orchestra delivered the same treatment to MGM’s Singin in the Rain. Let us hope they continue this wonderfully vital tradition of accompanying motion pictures with their always glorious sound.

For tickets and information about the NJ Symphony, including future concerts with Megan Hilty and Cheyenne Jackson, please visit  http://www.njsymphony.org/