Music & Theater

Shows I’m Working On Now or Soon

Now playing through Oct 9: Camelot at Contra Costa Civic Theatre

See below for shows I’ve worked on recently.

Ways I support local theater

I go to the theater a lot. Here’s a list of theaters I frequent and/or subscribe to.

  • I hope the advice in my book Piano/Conductor: So They Talked You Into Being Music Director  will be useful to  both new and experienced Music Directors. The link is to purchase hardcopy on Amazon, but you can download the PDF for free.

  • I maintain Audience1st, the open-source ticketing/subscription/donation management/CRM for small theaters. The goal is not to make money off of small theaters but rather support them in the critical mission of building a subscriber/audience base, including subscription sales, ticket sales, donations, etc., at the lowest possible price and with no per-ticket fees.

  • Board of Directors (2004-2012) and Advisory Board (2013-present) of Altarena Playhouse, the Bay Area’s oldest continuously-operating community theater (founded 1938). 
  • Advisory Board, Custom Made Theatre Co., 2013-present.
  • Much of what I learned working with them and with others is summarized in my open-source Small Theater Growth & Development Field Manual

I Play Some Instruments

I play piano and keyboards very well, drums reasonably well, single reeds (clarinet and tenor/alto sax) not very well at all, and I’m slowly getting better on accordion, harmonica, and tin whistle.

I started classical piano training at age 5 with private instructors, and later completed the Mannes College of Music (now part of the New School) Certificate Program including piano performance with concert pianist and educator Michael Boriskin and others, ensemble, theory, ear training, orchestration, choir, chamber performance, …the whole enchilada.

My graduation recital tracks are representative of that era, when my technical chops were slightly better than now but my musicality was less developed.  My jazz improvisation is decent. I am a strong sightreader and I love to accompany soloists and participate in chamber music parties for fun.

I’ve been keyboardist and drummer (sometimes simultaneously) for original & cover bands Spoon (MIT Battle of the Bands finalist 1990), More At Eleven (MIT Battle of the Bands finalist 1987), and Reminiscent Jam (MIT Battle of the Bands Finalist 1988).

My vintage 80s synthesizers (Juno-106, D50, DX7) used in those bands have a new lease on life in my 80s cover band Disposable Pop (currently on COVID hiatus).

Musical Direction Credits (* = original orchestration or reduction)

Productions I’ve been involved with in reverse chronological order: (* marks a production for which I did substantial original arrangements or reductions)

  1. The Pajama Game (42nd Street Moon, dir. Becky Potter), May/June 2022
  2. La Cage Aux Folles (Altarena Playhouse, dir. Noah Haydon), Mar/Apr 2022
  3. Sunday In the Park With George (Gatehouse Theatre, dir. Rachel Pospíšil), June/July 2020~~ Cancelled due to COVID-19
  4. Dreamgirls (Altarena Playhouse, dir. ShawnJ West), May/June 2020 Cancelled due to COVID-19
  5. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Custom Made Theatre Co., dir. Brian Katz), Sep/Oct 2019
    • Guys and Dolls (Altarena Playhouse, dir. Stewart Lyle), Mar/Apr 2018
  6. In the Heights (Contra Costa Civic Theatre, dir. Ryan Weible), TBA Finalist  Music Direction, Direction, Best Musical, Best Ensemble, Jul/Aug 2017
    • Chess (Custom Made Theatre Co., dir. Brian Katz), BATCC Winner Music Direction, Ensemble, Best Overall (SF), Best Overall (entire Bay Area), Sep/Oct 2016
  7. Next to Normal (Custom Made Theatre Co., dir. Brian Katz), BATCC Finalist  Music Direction, Sep/Oct 2013
  8. Rent (Altarena Playhouse, dir. Stewart Lyle), Mar/Apr 2013
  9. The Fantasticks (Altarena Playhouse, dir. Stewart Lyle), Oct/Nov 2012
  10. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Altarena Playhouse, dir. Stewart Lyle), Mar/Apr 2011
  11. * Man of La Mancha (Altarena Playhouse, dir. Stewart Lyle), Feb-Apr 2010 
  12. * Gypsy  (Altarena Playhouse, dir. Christina Lazo), Mar/Apr 2009
  13. Chicago (Altarena Playhouse, dir. Christina Lazo), Mar/Apr 2008
  14. Sweeney Todd (St. Mary’s College, dir. Reid Davis), Apr 2009
  15. * Assassins (Custom Made Theater Co., dir. Brian Katz), TBA Top Ten, Jun/Jul 2007
  16. The Last Five Years (Altarena Playhouse, dir. Corrie Lenn Borris), May/Jun 2007
  17. You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Altarena Playhouse, dir. Ron Lytle), May/Jun 2006
  18. * Merrily We Roll Along (Altarena Playhouse, dir. Phil Lowery), Oct/Nov 2006
  19. * The Man Who Saved Christmas (Altarena Playhouse, dir. Ron Lytle), Dec 2006
  20. Cabaret (Altarena Playhouse, dir. Phil Lowery), Sep/Oct 2005
  21. * Oh My Godmother! (Altarena Playhouse, dir. Ron Lytle), Jul/Aug 2005
  22. Company (Altarena Playhouse, dir. Phil Lowery), Mar/Apr 2004
  23. Company (Haste Street Players, dir. Phil Lowery), 1998
  24. Bye Bye Birdie (Baker House Productions at MIT, dir. Liz Ambrogi), Apr 1990
  25. Chicago (Baker House Productions at MIT, dir. Ben DeSousa), Apr 1989
  26. Guys and Dolls (Baker House Productions at MIT, dir. Ben DeSousa), Apr 1988

Other Original Reductions for Small Theater Pits: Oklahoma! (Contra Costa Civic Theatre, 1998)