The musical theater is the major employer of woodwind doublers in today’s music industry. As a result, I feel that doublers and all woodwind players need to know as much as possible about the musical environment that surrounds any show. This led me to consider an interview with the musical team involved with Anastasia, the show which I’m currently playing. During my career, I have been involved in many Broadway productions and been witness to the ups and downs of a steady Broadway gig. Often, egos and industry politics can dominate the environment and make coming to work anything but a musical experience. However, during the current run of the Broadway hit show,Anastasia, I have experienced first-hand how positive an experience a show can be when every member of the musical creative team respects and trusts one another and their musicians, thereby creating a joyous atmosphere for each and every show. This is not a “show business as usual” scenario. In spite of the fact that each of the interviewees was incredibly busy, everyone expressed their desire to do this and we were able to spend an afternoon together exploring a variety of topics that should be of interest to all musicians who have played, are playing, or wish to work on a Broadway show. It has been an honor to know and work with these artists and I hope you will sense the passion that each brings to the table.
About the Artists:
Stephen Flaherty/Lynn Ahrens have become one of the most respected musical writing teams in Broadway history. Together, they have written the music/lyrics for some of Broadway’s most popular musicals —Ragtime, Once On This Island, Seussical, Rocky and Anastasia. In addition, they have written a great deal of music for film, television and concerts. They have received many of the industry’s highest honors including the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Award, Olivier Award, Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and Grammy Awards. In 2014, they were given the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement. Please visit ahrensandflaherty.com for more information.
Doug Besterman has established himself as one of the top orchestrators, composers and producers in the music industry over the past 25 years. The winner of 3 Tony Awards and 2 Drama Desk Awards for his orchestration skills, Doug has arranged the music for many of the biggest hit shows during his career including The Producers, Fosse, How To Succeed, The Music Man, Thoroughly Modern Millie, A Bronx Tale, Sister Act, Damn Yankees, Big, Anastasia, and many more. Doug’s website includes a listing of all his industry credits across all genres including TV, Film, Recordings and Concerts. Please log onto dougbesterman.com for more information.
Michael Keller is one of the most successful musical contractors in the world today. Over the past quarter of a century he has contracted over 70 Broadway musicals in addition to his work in recordings and concerts. A successful drummer on Broadway shows for many years, Michael made the transition to contracting in 1993 with the show Goodbye Girl. Since then, he has been responsible for putting together the orchestras for some of the most successful productions in Broadway history. As of 6/1/18, he has 10 shows on Broadway including Frozen, Anastasia, Dear Evan Hansen, Kinky Boots, Wicked, Lion King, Book of Mormon, School of Rock, Sponge Bob Square Pants, and Hamilton. Not too shabby!
Tom Murray has been involved in the musical theater for many years as a pianist, conductor, musical supervisor, and musical director. A native of Chicago, Tom found his way to Broadway by first working extensively in Chicago and London as well as in touring and regional theater productions before eventually settling in New York. He has conducted and/or musical directed/supervised many hit shows since then including Sunday in the Park with George, A Little Night Music, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Bridges of Madison County, Honeymoon in Vegas, and Anastasia. Tom has received several awards for his musical work in the theater—an Olivier Award, the Barrymore Award, and the Jeff Award.