Composing the Music for Animaniacs: The Talent Behind the Toons
As the Animaniacs get ready for tonight’s shows, you may wonder who wrote the music that helped make the animated TV series one of the most popular during it’s heyday.
Randy Rogel, composer and lyricist
Randy has won three Emmy Awards (nominated for ten), a Peabody Award, two Annie awards, three Leo Awards, and the Ovation Award. He recently co-wrote the hit song Poisonous Love for Kristen Chenoweth with John Powell for the major motion picture Rio 2. He was show-runner for the animated series 1001 Nights and won Leo Awards for Writing and Best Animated Series.
At Disney, Randy wrote songs and scripts for the animated movies Peter Pan – Return to Neverland, Cinderella II, Cinderella III, Winne the Pooh, Around the World In Eighty Days, The Three Musketeers, and 101 Dalmations II. Randy spent nine years on staff at Warner Bros. Animation where he began as an original writer on the Batman series and then joined the staff of Steven Spielberg’s Animaniacs, for which he wrote most of the songs and many of the scripts. Randy is a West Point graduate with ten years service as an officer in the combat arms. He has a B.S. in Engineering from the academy and a Masters Degree in International Relations from Boston University.
Steve Bernstein, composer and songwriter
Steve is a composer, songwriter and singer on Animaniacs. He is married to fellow composer and songwriter Julie Bernstein, with whom he collaborated with on Animaniacs.
Steve began as an orchestrator for composer Fred Steiner on Tiny Toon Adventures, the first collaborative effort of Warner Bros. Animation and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment after being conceived in the late 1980s by Tom Ruegger. He also composed scores to episodes of Taz-Mania, Pinky and the Brain, Freakazoid!, Histeria!, and A Flintstones Christmas Carol.
Steve’s current project, Mr. Fish: Cartooning from the Deep End, will be screened at the 2017 Newport Beach Film Festival. The documentary follows cartoonist Mr. Fish and his struggles to stay true to his creativity in a world where biting satiric humor has an ever-diminishing commercial value. More information on the screening can be found at the festival’s website.
Julie Bernstein, composer, songwriter and singer
Julie is a composer, songwriter, orchestrator and singer for Animaniacs. Her tenure began with Richard Stone, who played an important part in the revival of Warner Bros. animation in the 1990s. Soon after that, she wrote and arranged hundreds of songs, many of them parodies for these shows, as well as orchestrating for Steve Bernstein, her husband, and Richard Stone. Some of these projects included the classic animated television series Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, Freakazoid!, Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain, Histeria! and ‘The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries.
She was a co-writer on the Animaniacs feature Wakko’s Wish and was orchestrator for and wrote the songs heard in Tiny Toon Adventures: Spring Break Special and Tiny Toon Adventures: Night Ghoulery.
About Animaniacs Live!
Animaniacs, a mix of old-fashioned wit, slapstick, pop culture and music, fueled the animation renaissance of the late 1990s, with iconic voices, characters, an original score for every cartoon and an Emmy® Award-winning theme song. Now the hilarious ‘90s animated series starring the wacky Warner Brothers (and the Warner Sister, Dot) is back in live form, as voice actors Rob Paulsen, Tress MacNeille, and Jess Harnell reunite with original songwriter Randy Rogel for an unforgettable evening. The group will perform songs from the beloved show, in addition to several numbers that didn’t make the cut the first time around. A delightful show for all ages!
Animaniacs became a very successful show, gathering both child and adult fans. The series received ratings higher than its competitors and won eight Daytime Emmy Awards and one Peabody Award.
ANIMANIACS and all related characters and elements © & ™ Warner Bros.
(Photo: from l to r: Jess Harnell, Tress MacNeille, Rob Paulson, Randy Rogel, Julie Bernstein and Steve Bernstein)