NBC’s revival of Will & Grace is a beloved hit that’s added three seasons to the show’s original eight-season run and, now in its (second) final seasons, the show continues to deliver the same lovable characters but with updated sounds from composer Lior Rosner.
Will & Grace returned after an eleven-year hiatus with its four stars on board. Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally, and Sean Hayes all returned to deliver new seasons that didn’t skip a beat. From the start, the reception was positive, “Will & Grace reunites its ever-hilarious cast for a revival season that picks up right where the show left … adding a fresh relevance and a series of stories that make sharply funny use of the passage of time.”
PopAxiom spent about the length of a sitcom talking to Lior about his journey from Israel to the U.S., making music for famous franchises, and an unofficial sequel to the Nutcracker known as Sugar Plum on the Run.
With a musical dad, Lior picked up instruments like guitar and trombone early on, but it wasn’t for him. “I liked playing the piano, and I was very into jazz.”
Born in Israel, Lior’s musical career took hold while performing military duties for his homeland. “It all started with my service in the Israeli Army. I got accepted to the prestigious group called the Air Force Beat Band. I was a keyboard player.”
Being a member of the band was motivational. “It’s amazing hearing your arrangements performed by a group.”
Lior, “… started writing arrangements …”
About his time in the Beat Band, Lior adds, “… it’s a great opportunity for young people to be in an environment like this where you can write something and hear it immediately. You hear it, fix it, come back the next day.”
After military service, Lior moved on to the University of Jerusalem. “It drew me back to study the masters of classical music.”
Ultimately, Lior, “… moved out here [L.A.] to work on film and T.V.”
Lior’s earliest gig in the U.S. started when he was hired by Fox Family. It was there that the young composer became part of a long existing franchise: Power Rangers. Lior laughs, “It was some of my first work and how I got my VISA here.”
At Fox Family, Lior says, “I learned a lot on the spot. You get to write a lot for cartoons and children’s shows. I did it for three years.”
After Fox Family was purchased by Disney, “I worked there for one more year.”
Will & Grace
Lior co-composes Will & Grace with Scott Icenogle. Lior, “… knew the original show.” His composer knew the producers of the show and together, “We implanted the idea of us giving the theme a facelift.”
The team put a presentation together where they “… created some new cues …” As they say, the rest is history. Lior and Scott were hired for the show.
Working on Will & Grace is “… a lot of fun.” Taking things to a whole other level of challenge and fun for Lior on Will & Grace: “I had to re-create the themes and song from I Love Lucy for a special episode. I had to write some original music in that kind of style.”
Run, Sugar Plum, Run
Lior’s work is part of a project called Sugar Plum on the Run, which features new and familiar sounds. The project, “… came out of my desire to create something for the holiday season.”
Lior explains, “When I moved here, I was fascinated by how, for a whole month at the end of the year, the vibe changes everywhere. I realized they always use the same music, and I wanted something that was evergreen like that.”
Lior began creating “… variations of the Sugar Plum Fairy.”
Together with a friend, they, “… created a story.” Lior “… created interludes …” and, “… narration telling a story about the Sugar Plum Fairy leaving the kingdom and going on a journey outside of the kingdom … basically a sequel to the Nutcracker. The day after.”
Lior recognized that he “… needed a strong narrator.” He began by “… approaching different actors.” One actor agreed, and his name is Jeremy Irons! “He did it for charity, which was nice.”
About working with Irons, “He’s incredible. His performance in the original Lion King is insane. It’s so good.”
Sugar Plum on the Run is available on your favorite streaming service. For fans, there’s also something more coming soon. “There’s also an animation short in the works with the character.”
Who is part of Lior’s creative DNA? “If you look at my music on my iPhone, I have an eclectic list.” Lior thinks about it for a moment before dropping some names from the film scoring world. “Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, James Horner, and John Powell.”
More specifically, Lior explains, that for Sugar Plum, “… it’s all very inspired by Russian composers. If, like, Tchaikovsky could assemble the best Russian musicians. Rachmaninoff, Khachaturian …”
How does the music of his homeland inform his work today? “One of the reasons I left Israel was because I don’t like the music. Especially the pop music. I was always attracted to the classic American songbook. I studied jazz. Film music and old Frank Sinatra.”
Lior reflects, “I must have some influence from Jewish music but in a very subtle way.”
Lior is hard at work on Will & Grace as it heads through its (second) final season. In January a new project is coming out. “It’s a show on Netflix called A.J. and the Queen created by Michael Patrick King and RuPaul.”
Thanks to Lior Rosner and Impact24 PR for making this interview possible.
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