Working With New Composers (And Other Honors)

I had the good fortune to work with 2 new composers in the last month – well, new for me, that is.  Marc Shaiman was honored at a New York Pops concert at Carnegie Hall in the beginning of May, and he had asked me for a new arrangement of a show-stopping song that had appeared in the Martin Short show, Fame Becomes Me. I’ve loved Marc’s music through the years, my favorites being Hairspray and The American President.

Later in May, I scored a new musical, Dog and Pony, with music and lyrics by Michael Patrick Walker, whom I had only met once before while working together on a show at Radio City. Michael is also brilliant, and a consummate musician. He’s known for his Off-Broadway hit, Alter Boyz, but I bet he’ll soon be known for a lot more. His co-writer is the equally brilliant Rick Elice, and the cast (Heidi Blickenstaff, Beth Leavel, Eric William Morris, Nicole Parker and Jon Patrick Walker) is absolutely sensational, as is the director Roger Rees and the Music Director Adam Wachter.  And there’s no place better to work at than The Old Globe. These two projects were very different, and both turned out well. Interesting that the concert was only one song with a huge orchestra, and the show was the usual 2200 measures of music (15 songs or so), but for a tiny band.

This week, I was also at a rehearsal for the Tony Awards broadcast, with conductor Patrick Vaccariello and Hugh Jackman. With the 24-piece orchestra, they’ll perform Mark Hummel’s and my arrangement of “Steppin’ Out.”

My next 3 shows are already lined up: The Visit (John Kander & Fred Ebb), The Unsinkable Molly Brown (Denver Theatre Center) and On the Twentieth Century with Kristin Chenoweth.

First, though, back to LA for the Emmy Awards. I didn’t win the Drama Desk last night (I had been nominated for my orchestrations for Big Fish, and my co-nominees included the great Jonathan Tunick, Michael Starobin, all losing to Jason Robert Brown – things could be worse!). As for the Emmys, it’s my great fortune to be nominated once again as composer for Nickelodeon’s The Wonder Pets.

But the real excitement for me these days is that TrackSlayer continues its progress in our Beta testing! Our public launch is not far away!

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