Oscar-winning composers kick off Shen Curriculum’s masterclass series

Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, co-writers of songs featured in “Frozen,” “Coco” and “WandaVision,” discussed their careers in theater and entertainment at Stoeckel Hall on Friday.




November 08, 2022 at 01:21 am

Collaborating journalist


Tobias Liu, collaborating photographer

Oscar- and Grammy-winning composers and lyricists Bobby Lopez ’97 and Kristen Anderson-Lopez came to Yale on Friday to discuss their careers in theater and entertainment.

Best known for co-writing the songs featured in ‘Frozen’, ‘Frozen II’, ‘Coco’ and ‘WandaVision’, the pair won Best Original Song Oscars for ‘Frozen’s ‘Let It Go’ and “Remember Me” from “Coco”, as well as two Grammy Awards for their work on “Frozen”.

“[Lopez and Anderson-Lopez] talk about the breadth of their education and how it worked to give them a certain type of curiosity, discipline and ultimately, in their case, skill,” said Professor Dan Egan, Shen program coordinator and host of the event. “It’s an amazing use of Yale education, and that’s certainly what the [Shen Curriculum] master classes are here to do.

The Talk was the first masterclass in this semester’s Shen program for @Five Musical Theater Fridays, a series of masterclasses and talks that bring together guest artists from a cross-section of industry professionals.

The Shen Program is an after-school program administered by the Department of Music and co-enrolled with Theater and Performance Studies and the David Geffen School of Drama. The program offers a range of accredited musical theater courses that examine American musical theatre.

“The idea of ​​the Shen program is to connect the idea of ​​the liberal arts study of musical theater as a cultural entity and the professional world,” Egan said. “Yale is not a vocational school, so the masterclass series seeks to bring people like Bobby and Kristen Anderson-Lopez to be examples of what we can do with this education.”

Lopez, who graduated from Yale College with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1997, is one of 17 people to have received the highest honors in entertainment: an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award, colloquially called EGOT. . He is also known for co-creating “The Book of Mormon” and “Avenue Q”.

During the first half of the program, the pair recounted their entry into songwriting and talked about their songwriting and collaboration processes in front of a classroom at Stoeckel Hall.

The couple then opened the conversation with a Q&A with the audience, which was followed by a reception, where the Lopez couple spoke one-on-one with Yale students.

“I did a presentation on Bobby and Kristen Anderson-Lopez in the college band – I was obsessed with [“Frozen” and their songs] — so it’s amazing to now have this opportunity to be inspired by them and see how down-to-earth they are,” said Ellie Norman ’23.

Midway through the program, Egan performed “For The First Time In Forever” from “Frozen” for the attendees, allowing the pair to analyze their decision-making process behind the song and accompanying story. They described how they analyzed each character’s motivations and used personal experiences to inform their musical decisions.

“It seems a big part of their process is about telling a story that resonates with people emotionally rather than just resonating with people musically or stylistically – as a composer and arranger, really applying the story and putting patterns with specific emotions is definitely something I’ll think about more in the future,” said Joey Cumpian of ’25.

Although many attendees were students taking classes in the Shen program, others not in the Shen program came to see the “faces behind some of their favorite songs”, as Norman put it, and to learn more about musical theater and the songwriting process. .

Throughout their discussion, the Lopezes emphasized the importance of their upbringing and experiences in shaping their careers. For Egan, this focus demonstrates the importance of masterclasses.

The Shen program will host a performance class on December 2 with Andrea Burns in the ballroom at 220 York Street.

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