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It's Alive!

With the launch of SPECTACLE on Sundance Channel, it seems only fitting to reflect on how we got here. But the truth is the story of how SPECTACLE came to be is a bit of an epic itself, and we haven’t the time nor the bandwidth to do it justice here. Let’s just say David Lean could have made the movie. It’s been an adventure that started years ago with the idea that a truly in-depth forum for musicians to discuss and demonstrate their craft was not only overdue but important. A combination of tinkering, refining, some pure dumb luck and a lot of really talented, hard-working people has resulted in SPECTACLE: ELVIS COSTELLO WITH…, a music television show actually about music.

It’s easy to lose perspective when you’re immersed in the process of making something for months at a time. To emerge from the digital dungeon in the past few weeks and see giant posters and billboards for the show all over New York’s buses and subway stations and on the streets of Los Angeles and other places has been surreal. Of course, it’s gratifying and one even enjoys a little frisson of excitement, but definitely a bit weird.

I hope you enjoy the 13 programs that we’ve made. They’re eclectic, electric (ok, occasionally acoustic) and, if I may say, full of interesting information and entertaining performances, all courtesy of many generous, passionate and fascinating musicians – including, of course, our inimitable and curious host, Elvis Costello. So, if all this sounds like your cup of tea, put SPECTACLE in your diary – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

We start with the Elton John episode, which is fitting in many ways, not the least of which is the fact that Elton is also one of SPECTACLE’s executive producers. Without his commitment and support (and energy), our series could and would not have been made. This premiere episode embodies a lot of the fundamental elements and qualities we were striving for with SPECTACLE – great (and often funny) storytelling; passionate advocacy for lesser-known, influential artists; rare, illustrative performance; and unique musical collaboration with Elvis.

Thanks to everyone who made SPECTACLE happen – all at Sundance Channel (great launch), my fellow executive producers – Sir Elton John, Elvis Costello, David Furnish, Steve Hamilton Shaw, Marty Katz and Jordan Jacobs – and co-executive producer Alex Coletti and Liz Kelly. Special thanks to all the artists who appeared. It was a privilege.

Thank you for checking out our little show, and if reading this wasn’t too painful, come back soon for more meanderings on the making of SPECTACLE.

– Stephen Warden

Stephen Warden is the Creator and Executive Producer of SPECTACLE: ELVIS COSTELLO WITH…