Imagination Entertainment was hired by Extraordinary Events to co-create a Hollywood Spectacular during this “Academy Award Season” that would rival the thrill, excitement and quality of the opening number of this annual beloved event. Those were the exact words directed to co-Producer Sam Trego when his longtime friend Andrea Michaels of Extraordinary Events called him at home at 5:00 on a Sunday afternoon, conveying the opportunity at hand. “Think the opening number of The Oscars and then bring it up a notch,” she explained. The event made corporate theater history on stage at the Nokia Theater for an audience of 3,000 international leaders and dignitaries. This show had to be “big”, fast paced and engaging, and due to the different languages spoken, had to also have international appeal.
The approach? We staged some of the most iconic moments of the most popular Hollywood films that were well known all over the world and didn’t rely on language.
Sam Trego: “It made sense to begin with the iconic song “Hooray for Hollywood” and follow it with scenes from classics such as Star Wars, Titanic, James Bond and Mission Impossible action moments . Andrea and I wanted to do them in a way that was contemporary and different from what the audience might ordinarily come to expect. We invested massively in the orchestrations and arrangements… a process that in some cases took six completely different revisions before we found the right approach”.
Casting this big of a show was a unique challenge as we had very little time, and each performer had to be a triple threat: A-list singer, tremendous acrobatic dancer and a performance level the size of the stage at one of the nation’s largest theaters.
The choreographer we’ve worked with for years had just come off of a superstar’s European tour so timing was perfect. We swiftly contracted the cast of performers who literally just got off the plane, then were whisked off to our rehearsal studio in Los Angeles. This helped make the rehearsal flow into a seamless process as everyone worked so great together after months on the road.
Sam worried that the global super star may be miffed that we “stole” her cast. She told Sam: “I love the fact that my cast just got off the plane and went right into rehearsals with you guys. I don’t think of it as “stealing” – I just think you guys have good taste!”
As we met people from Turkey, Oman, Australia, and other nations all we heard was “when we knew we’d be meeting in Los Angeles we expected only the best… a fabulous show… but this exceeded what we come to expect from the annual Hollywood night of nights… it was better”
Sam Trego and Andrea Michaels have enjoyed a multi-decade friendship, producing events, telling war stories, serving on industry panels and Chairing industry organizations together but this opportunity was truly a highlight of their many years together, Sam reflected. “Andrea had an amazing vision for what this client needed. It was as if she had a video of it already having been produced, and she didn’t stop until every tiny detail of this vision came into reality,” Sam spoke of the process of working with Andrea. “She really knew her client!”
Andrea Michaels: “It was a pleasure to collaborate with a creative team to produce a show that met the objectives of our client by being so flexible and receptive to my ideas. As I am very hands on and obsessed with details, to see an audience of thousands being wow-ed is the best experience possible. Being listened to was an honor because it resulted in an amazing show.”