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Home #Hwoodtimes Emmy Nominated Duo Behind Music for Disney+’s “High School Musical: The Musical:...

Emmy Nominated Duo Behind Music for Disney+’s “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” “Zombies 2” and Upcoming Musical “Sneakerella”

Doug Rockwell & Tova Litvin Discuss Writing Songs For High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, Zombies 2 & Sneakerella

By Valerie Milano

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Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 8/2/21 – Doug Rockwell and Tova Litvin has worked on two Disney+ series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, where they worked on “Born to Be Brave” with Olivia Rodrigo, and the breakout song, “Flesh and Bone,” from Zombies 2, which has garnered over 170 million views on YouTube. Doug and Tova will also be working on Disney+’s upcoming first original live-action musical Sneakerella.

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Doug and Tova also wrote and produced music for Kenny Ortega’s Julie and the Phantoms, a Netflix Top 10 series in 2020 that hit #4 on the Billboard charts, as well the #1 spot on the iTunes main and soundtrack charts in the USA. Their song, “The Other Side of Hollywood,” was nominated for Outstanding Original Song in the 48th Daytime Emmy Awards to take place in June 2021.

They continue to write for curated film and television projects and are currently developing an original musical, as well as an original musical feature film.

The Hollywood Times caught up with the duo for an interview.

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THT: What is your recipe for success?

Doug and Tova: 2 parts organic kale, 4 parts organic blueberries, 1 part raw almonds, and 5 parts Fiji water —

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Wouldn’t it be amazing if that was all it took? Ha! Honestly, we think it’s a combination of persistence, an absolute obsession with what we do, and having a great partner to fill in the blanks. We both have the same goals, and when you multiply that by 2, it only helps get there faster and achieve those goals. There’s really no secret or shortcut. You almost have to be obsessed with it more than you love it, strangely. If you only love it, the rejection that comes along with the job will get to you. But if you’re obsessed, the hard feelings get pushed aside and the result is the only thing you see.

THT: Your work on Kenny Ortega’s Julie and the Phantoms became a Netflix Top 10 series in 2020. Tell us about this project.

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D & T: That was probably the most fun project we’ve gotten to work on. Kenny is a true visionary and is all for giving creatives a voice. We were very involved from the beginning, and there was a real collaborative effort always going on. Usually when musical projects are put together, there can be A LOT of songwriters that submit music to the show. This one was a very small group of
people, which we loved since we knew everyone. We got a call from our friend Colleen Fitzpatrick at Netflix and she told us she’d love for us to submit a few songs. The tone of the project was right up our alley, so we were thrilled. Also, a lot of the original demos sound completely different from the final product. There were a lot of changes as things unfolded and production started, so we had to adapt to those changes and revise accordingly. But it was all worth it because we couldn’t be happier with how the songs turned out.

THT:  “The Other Side of Hollywood,” was nominated for Outstanding Original Song in the 48th Daytime Emmy Awards. What did you enjoy most about this project?

D & T: We were so excited when we heard about our nomination! Working with Cheyenne Jackson was so wonderful. His charisma, voice, attitude — everything. It was all great. He really brought our song to life. When we flew out to Vancouver (which was where they were filming) to record vocals for this song, we got a sneak peek at the choreography and even that blew us away. It
was so cool to see, especially since all we had up to this point was the song and no visuals to go along with it. A funny story about this one was that it originally sounded like an indie/electro-pop track. There were a few horn flourishes and guitars here and there, but it totally transformed over time. Kenny had a huge vision for the production, and he really brought the best out of us. We’ve got so many versions of this song on our hard drive. It’s fun every now and then to listen down the timeline and hear it turn into what everyone knows it as today. We also got to meet Bryan Adams since we recorded at his studio. He sat with us after the recording session and we listened to music, we spoke about music, and we told stories. It was pretty surreal.

THT: How have you evolved as creatives?

D & T: We feel like we’re always evolving, and always will be evolving. You have to. Times change, music changes with it. Adapting, but at the same time thinking ahead of the curve is important. Just like anything you do on a daily basis, we’re constantly learning and tweaking our skill set, trying to get better and top the last best thing we did. Whether it be lyrically, musically, melodically — all of it. We’re always trying to think of new ways to approach things. A big shift for us has been developing our own material, which we’ve been focusing a lot on lately.

THT:  You are currently developing an original musical. Tell us more. And what are you looking forward to in 2021?

D  & T: We are currently developing an original musical. We can’t talk much about it yet — it’s in the very early stages of development. But we are really excited about the concept and the songs we’ve come up with. We are also working on a musical podcast with our friend Kristine Angelino called “Over My Dead Body.” We have a song coming out in the newest season of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series on Disney+ as well which dropped, July 9th! We’re also working on a theatrical piece with our friend Jen Webber for the Bushnell Performing Arts Center in CT, and we’ve recently signed on to work on a musical feature film. Lots of things we are excited about!

THT:  Please provide your social media links.

@dougrockwell & @tovaonmars — thank you for having us!