The 'Love Actually' Soundtrack Is Now A Live LA Stage Show

The finale of Love Actually Live, featuring the entire company, from the Dec. 4 premiere of the show. (Kevin Parry for For The Record)

Fifteen years ago, the romcom Love Actually elbowed its way into becoming required holiday viewing by letting you mainline love in nine romantic storylines with the best British actors. Now, it's going to another level with Love Actually Live, a stage concert version of the film.

The musical/concert/play/experience uses the songs of the film's pop-flavored soundtrack — "Christmas Is All Around," "The Trouble With Love Is," and more — with live performers to bring the music to life.

They've even got an original song, "Love, Actually Is All Round," which you can see performed here:

While it's not exactly a straight-ahead one-to-one conversion of movie to musical, don't worry — you're still getting Love Actually.

"Big fans of the film will still get to have that journey of the whole, the full arc of the narrative of Love Actually," said director Anderson Davis, who also adapted the film and its soundtrack for the stage. "You'll re-experience and enjoy just how good the writing is."

Love Actually in concert. For The Record performs the soundtrack to one of the most entertaining holiday movies of all time at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. (Lawrence K. Ho for For The Record)

The actual film and live actors work together to create the experience, giving you the story audiences have come to love backed up by a live orchestra. Davis described it as the voice of the character coming from the film, while the live performers serve as the "musical spirit" of each character.

"The traditional kind of cinematic storytelling is all going to be there in the film, and then what swirls around it is the music, is the musicians, the actors," Davis said. "It's all projected on what I like to call our London version of a doll's house, which is, we project the film on the walls of this really beautifully designed London townhouse — and then those walls fall away, and then behind those walls you'll see scenes come to life, through music."

Rex Smith as Billy Mack rocks out in Love Actually Live. #LoveIsAllAround (Kevin Parry for For The Record)

The show is being put on at the Wallis by For The Record, a theater company that takes music from pop culture and turns it into live shows. They've done it before with shows based around the music from a particular director, including Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese, and last year they put on the initial version of Love Actually Live.

It's the first time For The Record is tackling a single soundtrack as a show.

"I've always been interested in celebrating soundtracks that not only have good songs, but soundtracks that were just so well chosen for the characters and the stories that they represent," Davis said.

Davis pointed out that Love Actually director Richard Curtis has said that he had many of the songs before he had the script. He was inspired by the movie's musical moments, going on to inspire the rest of the story.

"We're just taking that idea about how important the music was, flipping the relationship between the movie and its music, and putting the music in the foreground," Davis said. "And still maintaining all the classic scenes."

Getting romantic, in virtual stereo, in For The Record's Love Actually Live. (Lawrence K. Ho for For The Record)

Love Actually remains popular thanks to its huge cast, allowing everyone to choose their favorite storyline, as well as how it tackles the real complications of love, Anderson said.

"Maybe people who don't know the film that well, or haven't seen in a while, might write it off as just another silly romantic comedy," Davis said. "Of course, there are lots of silly parts in it, and lots of fun to be had in the movie — but there are also some really complex relationships."

He used Emma Thompson's character as an example, when she doesn't receive the gift she knew he'd bought — indicating that her husband likely gave that gift to another woman.

"Just the way in which it's dealt with is, I think, pretty mature, and yet still charming and heartbreaking," Davis said.

Davis also noted that it's pretty edgy for a Christmas movie, or even for a romcom.

Actress Rumer Willis (aka daughter of Bruce) stars in the production, along with singers including Tony and Grammy winners and nominees, supported by a 15-piece orchestra.

Love Actually Live runs through New Year's Eve at the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts, which is also co-producing the show. Tickets range from $35-$125.


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