HBO to Premiere THE EMPEROR'S NEWEST CLOTHES with Original Songs by FALSETTOS' William Finn
A classic Hans Christian Andersen fable gets a colorful, music-filled makeover this November when THE EMPEROR'S NEWEST CLOTHES is reimagined as a playful animated special for today's children. Written and produced by Sheila Nevins, and featuring the voices of Alan Alda, Jeff Daniels and Alison Pill, the whimsical tale includes original songs by Tony Award winner William Finn ("Falsettos," "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"). This HBO Family presentation debuts THURSDAY, NOV. 15 (6:00-6:30 p.m. ET/PT) on the main HBO channel and FRIDAY, NOV. 16 (8:45-9:15 p.m.) on HBO Family.
Directed by Simon Wilches-Castro and filled with bold animation, catchy musical numbers and expressive characters, the special brings an important message to today's young audiences about speaking up for the truth and standing up to the powerful.
THE EMPEROR'S NEWEST CLOTHES tells the story of a vain ruler who lives in a great kingdom where he decides everything and everyone agrees with him - at least in his company! Whether he tells villagers it's sunny when it's actually raining, or it's raining when it's actually sunny, the Emperor is the only arbiter who matters. Fearful of losing their jobs (or more), the Emperor's closest confidantes, Syco the Jester and Phantic the Advisor, praise his decisions, however foolish.
When the Emperor declares a holiday celebrating himself, he orders Syco to round up the world's greatest tailors to choose who might make him the "most beautiful, most exquisite" outfit. Predictably, he hires the most flattering two tailors in the kingdom. Little does the Emperor know that the tailors are con men, and when Syco is sent to their shop, he sees only an empty metal mannequin, which the tailors praise as real clothes.
Afraid to crack the Emperor's fragile, INSECURE shell, Syco and Phantic tell the increasingly impatient ruler that the outfit is glorious and perfect. Finally, the tailors are "finished" with the suit, and put it on him with great fanfare. Though skeptical in his heart, the Emperor believes the praise from his ministers and is convinced he's wearing the finest frock the world has ever seen.
On the day of the parade, the Emperor marches before his subjects - wearing only his underwear! The townsfolk hesitantly go along, fearing the wrath that might come if the Emperor knew his clothes were fake. But Thomasina, a perky girl who is too young and too smart to join her elders in praising something that is not there, blurts out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all! It takes a child to reveal the truth that no one else is willing to say out loud.
Lending their voices to THE EMPEROR'S NEWEST CLOTHES are: Emmy® winner Alan Alda ("M*A*S*H") as the narrator; Emmy® winner Jeff Daniels (HBO's "The Newsroom") as the Emperor; Alison Pill (HBO's "The Newsroom") as Thomasina; comedians John Early (HBO's "Animals.") and Tim Heidecker ("Tim and Eric's Bedtime Stories") as the Emperor's advisers, Syco and Phantic; and Gabriel Sunday and Matt Hobby as the two tailors.
THE EMPEROR'S NEWEST CLOTHES was written and produced by Sheila Nevins; original songs by William Finn; songs arranged by Danny Ursetti and Michael Starobin; directed by Simon Wilches-Castro; produced by Josh Hetzler, Casey Rup; art director, Galen Pehrson. For Starburns Industries: executive producer, James Fino. For HBO: executive producer, Jacqueline Glover; production executive, Susan Benaroya.