Matthew Broderick stood before a packed housed at The New School’s Tishman Auditorium, took a deep breath and declared his love for a certain movie star.
And no, he didn’t mention Sarah Jessica Parker.
“When I was young, my mom took me to a Charlie Chaplin movie in the theater and I fell in love with him,” Broderick said. “I had posters on my wall, I drew pictures of him, I was in love with him, basically. The whole world was and they still are.”
The College of Performing Arts at The New School got entangled in that love affair Monday night when it presented its first-ever (Un)Silent Film Night, in which music ensembles from the College’s performing arts schools—Mannes School of Music, School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, and School of Drama—performed live music with screenings of landmark silent films.
Hosted by Broderick, the inaugural program kicked off with a screening of Chaplin’s 1917 silent romantic comedy, The Immigrant, accompanied by original music written by School of Jazz faculty member Alexis Cuadrado and performed live by the School of Jazz Improvisation Ensemble. The event also featured the debut of the Mannes Theatre Orchestra, which, under the baton of faculty member Charles Neidich, performed a new score by Craig Marks to Buster Keaton’s 1924 film Sherlock Jr.
(Un)Silent Film Night marked the first time the three performing arts schools collaborated on and presented a performance together.
“This event came to fruition through the combined efforts of each of the schools in the College of Performing Arts,” said Richard Kessler, the school’s executive dean. “We’re all so excited to be moving into our shared space at 55 West 13th Street. We plan to host many more events like this in the future.”
Motioning to the big screen at Tishman, Broderick reflected on the enduring popularity of Chaplin, whose movies, he said, were best watched in settings like the Tishman Auditorium.
“The only way to see these movies is with other people on the big screen,” he said. “And it’s even better when they’re accompanied by music performed by a group of excellent young musicians.”