A Fine Tune

With Pitch Perfect, his irreverent new comedy about a cappella singers, Avenue Q director Jason Moore creates another instant classic about outsiders.



The vivid, larger-than-life characters that populate the work of Jason Moore, director of the zeitgeisty puppet musical Avenue Q and the stage adaptation of Shrek, are about to make some new friends. His first feature film, Pitch Perfect, which follows a ragtag band of collegiate a cappella singers and stars Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick and Bridesmaids sensation Rebel Wilson, is another tribute to colorful, relatable outsiders.

“It has what I love about the other stuff that I’ve done,” Moore says by phone from his newly purchased Hollywood hills home, once occupied by Rock Hudson. “It has an irreverence to it, but it’s about friendship and finding your place in the world — all themes which are so universal.”

True, but it’s a gleefully wacky, left-of-center universe his characters inhabit. It’s also a world Moore knows well. The oldest son of divorced parents, he was raised with his younger brother in Fayetteville, Ark., by his single mother. His father, three hours away in Little Rock, was immersed in the larger-than-life world of Southern politics as chief of staff for the state’s then-governor, Bill Clinton. Moore, now 41, still laughs remembering that after he came out to his family, his liberal father revealed that he occasionally judged drag contests during his political career.

Like many children of his generation, Moore discovered a love of music after obsessively watching a certain 1978 blockbuster. “Grease was how I learned that I really liked music and musicals and movies that included music,” he shares. Moore can’t help but chuckle with irony when recalling another youthful obsession, with The Muppet Movie, creating a familiarity that would serve him well later in his career. “I wanted to watch it again and again, so I got my recorder out and held it up to the TV for the entire two hours so I could just listen to the movie.”