During the 35-year period that I have worked in musical theater, I have encountered a few conductors who carried forth their responsibilities with not only great talent and integrity but also created a positive feeling within the orchestra and cast. The three gentlemen interviewed here represent that type of individual and this interview provides great insight into the conductor’s world. While their backgrounds are varied, they have all succeeded in finding a way to bring forth the best results and have a good time.
I first met David Chase during the run of Damn Yankees in 1994 when he took over conducting the show shortly after it opened. He made going to work every night a joy and was respected by everyone in the band and cast. He gave each musician every cue, every night!
I met Constantine Kitsopoulos while subbing at the show Cyrano-The Musical. This superb conductor guided you through all solo passages and made a demanding score and hard book simple and fun. It was impossible to miss! Since then, we have also encountered one another in educational scenarios where he demonstrates the same affinity for working with students as professionals.
Charlie Alterman is a more recent acquaintance who I had the pleasure of working with on the recent run of Pippin on Broadway. Where are you going to meet a conductor who can laugh with you when you make a mistake (mistakes in my case) while still conducting; or is willing to talk to everyone in the band as equals and go have a drink with you after a show; or is genuinely excited for you when you request a leave of absence to travel across country? Charlie is that type of mensch and a wonderful musician to boot. I hope everyone viewing this video has the opportunity to work with all of these artists.
Charlie Alterman has been a conductor and/or a music director of many hit Broadway shows over the past decade including Fame Becomes Me, Legally Blonde, Godspell, and Pippin, as well as the conductor of the upcoming Broadway show, Gotta Dance. He has toured with Grease and served as Music Supervisor for the North American tour of Next to Normal. Off-Broadway work includes Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver and Silence: The Musical! He has worked extensively in the most successful regional theaters including St. Louis MUNY, American Repertory Theatre (ART), La Jolla Playhouse, and Williamstown Theater Festival.
David Chase has been the Music Director, Supervisor, and/or Arranger for 30 Broadway productions including the recent hit shows of Finding Neverland, Cinderella, How To Succeed…, Anything Goes, and Billy Elliot. He has also been the Music Director and Arranger for the live television productions of The Sound of Music and Peter Pan. Additional work includes arrangements for the Boston Pops, the Kennedy Center Honors, Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s productions of Carousel and The King and I. The next show that he is involved with is the upcoming Broadway musical, Tuck Everlasting.
Constantine Kitsopoulos has had a diverse career conducting Broadway musicals and symphony orchestras. He is at home conducting world famous ensembles such as the Chicago Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Dallas Symphony, and the New York Philharmonic as he is leading a Broadway pit orchestra. His work on Broadway includes Cinderella, The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, A Catered Affair, Coram Boy, La Bohème, Swan Lake, Dracula-the Musical, Cyrano-The Musical, and Les Misérables. Constantine has also been the principal conductor of the Queens Symphony Orchestra, the OK Mozart Festival, and currently serves as Music Director of the Festival of the Arts BOCA in South Florida.