Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association

Contemporary Theatre Orchestration – Style, Electronics and the Rhythm Section


2 hours

Contemporary Theatre Orchestration – Style, Electronics and the Rhythm Section

Saturday, December 19, 2020

LA 12 PM – NY 3 PM – UK 8 PM


Four of the most renowned of Broadway’s new generation of orchestrators discuss the techniques and tools they use to create the contemporary sound of musical theater.

Interviewed by Brian Usifer (Frozen, Kinky Boots), we’ll hear scores and discussion from John Clancy (Mean Girls, The Prom), Tom Kitt (Jagged Little Pill, Sponge Bob Squarepants), Alex Lacamoire (Dear Evan Hansen, Hamilton), and Kenny Seymour (Ain’t Too Proud, Amazing Grace). Topics will include writing for the rhythm section, using Ableton in live performance and integrating contemporary pop/rock styles into the Broadway sound.

Don’t miss this look at state-of-the-art orchestration for the theater.

JOHN CLANCY is a New York City born and based arranger and orchestrator. BroadwayDiana (Netflix Release 2021), Mean Girls (Tony nom.), Fun Home (Tony/Drama Desk noms.), The Prom (w/L. Hochman), Tuck Everlasting, Shrek the Musical (w/D. Troob, Tony/Drama Desk noms.), Cats 2016 (Dance Arr.), Off-B’way/Regional: Gun & Powder, Becoming Nancy, Fortress of Solitude, The Secret Life of Bees (w/D. Shiek), Soft Power (dance arr.) Jasper in Deadland, string arr. for Rhianna: NBA All-Star Game. New Irish Tenors: Full Orchestra Arr. Orlando Symphony, 2018 Tony Award Opening song by Sara Bareilles/Josh Groban, Goodspeed: Just So. As drummer and/or music director: Corey Glover of Living Colour, Darlene Love, Solange Knowles, Blood Orange, Chrissy Amphlett of Divinyls, Kasim Sulton, Danielia Cotton, Alexa Joel, Constantine Maroulis of American Idol, Randy Newman, Carly Simon, Kidz Bop Live! nat. tours; and worked with Bono and Edge of U2 on Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark.

Upcoming shows include: 1776 (Diane Paulus Revival), The Notebook (Ingrid Michaelson), Kimberly Akimbo (Jeanine Tesori).

TOM KITT (Composer/Arranger/Orchestrator/Music Supervisor) received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as two Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Orchestrations for Next to Normal. He is also the composer of If/Then (Tony Nom); High Fidelity; Bring it On, The Musical (co-composer with Lin-Manuel Miranda); Almost Famous (written with Cameron Crowe); Superhero; Disney’s Freaky Friday (Stage Production and Original Disney Channel Movie Musical); Dave; and The Winter’s Tale, All’s Well That Ends Well, and Cymbeline (The Public’s NYSF).

As a music supervisor, arranger, and orchestrator, credits include The SpongeBob Musical (Tony Nom); Jagged Little Pill (Tony Nom, Grammy Nom, Drama Desk Award); Head Over Heels; Grease Live!; Rise (NBC); and American Idiot. His work with Green Day also includes additional arrangements for their Grammy Award-winning album 21st Century Breakdown and their album trilogy, ¡Uno! ¡Dos! ¡Tré! Tom received an Emmy Award as co-writer (with Lin-Manuel Miranda) for the 2013 Tony Awards opening number “Bigger”. Other Television Songwriting credits include the 2019 Tony Awards Opening Number “Live!”, a musical episode of Royal Pains, and songs for Penny Dreadful and Sesame Street. As a musical director, conductor, arranger and orchestrator, Tom’s credits include the Pitch Perfect films, 2Cellos featuring Lang Lang (Live and Let Die), The Kennedy Center Honors, 13Debbie Does Dallas, Everyday Rapture, Hair, Laugh Whore, Pippin (Deaf West), and These Paper Bullets. Upcoming projects include The Visitor (Public Theater) and Flying Over Sunset (Lincoln Center Theater, Fall 2021). Tom is also now a recording artist at Sony Masterworks and will soon begin recording his debut album.

ALEX LACAMOIRE is an award-winning music director, arranger, and composer. He is best known for his work on Broadway’s critically-acclaimed shows Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, and In The Heights, which have won him three Tonys for Best Orchestrations and three Grammys for Best Musical Theater Album. He won a fourth Grammy for producing The Greatest Showman soundtrack and won an Emmy for Outstanding Music Direction on FX’s mini-series Fosse/Verdon. Alex was also the recipient of a first-of-its-kind Kennedy Center Honors for his contribution to Hamilton, where the creative team was recognized for “a transformative work that defies category” — a distinction never before awarded by the arts institution.

Kenny Seymour has developed a reputation as a consummate professional for his creativity, talent, versatility, exquisite musicianship, and his ability to navigate a wide variety of musical styles and genres with authenticity and integrity. He has worked with many of Broadway’s top producers, composers, playwrights, choreographers, and directors, a wide variety of artists in the recording industry, as well as many up and coming directors of film and television.

Currently the music director/music supervisor and arranger of the 12 Time Tony nominated hit Broadway show Ain’t Too Proud: The Life & Times of the Temptations, some of Kenny’s other credits include: music director for the Tony Award winning Best Musical Memphis, orchestrator for Broadway’s Amazing Grace, music supervisor / arranger / orchestrator for MARLEY: A Premiere Musical, music director/supervisor/orchestrator for Carnegie Hall’s A Time Like This: Music For Change, as well as dance arranger/electronic music producer for Half-Time: The Musical, music director/arranger/incidental music for The Tallest Tree In The Forest, and music supervisor/orchestrator for Big Maybelle: Soul of the Blues.

As a composer Kenny has had his work performed by the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, received a Global Music Award for Best Original Score of the independent film Talking with the Taxman About Poetry and composed and orchestrated music for the popular international children’s language program English Egg. Kenny has arranged and orchestrated music for shows on Fox, BET, and NBC as well as the Inaugural Ball for President Barack Obama. He has performed on stages around the world, from the legendary Apollo Theatre and Carnegie Hall, to the Montreux Jazz Festival, working with a wide variety of the industry’s top recording artists.

Kenny owes his start in the music industry to his late grandmother, entertainer Wilhelmina C. Pappy, his mother, Broadway actress Mary Seymour of Hair (original Broadway cast) and Raisin: The Musical, and his late father, Kenny W. Seymour formerly of the music group “Little Anthony and the Imperials”.

Kenny attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art, Manhattan School of Music, and Berklee College of Music.

Brian Usifer is a New York City based music director, pianist, orchestrator/arranger, producer and composer. Most recently, he was the Music Director of Disney’s Frozen on Broadway. He is also currently the Associate Music Supervisor of The Book of Mormon on Broadway and on tour. Prior to that he was the Music Director of Kinky Boots on Broadway, which won 6 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Orchestrations. The cast recording won the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album and the West End production won an Olivier Award for Best Musical. He was the Associate Music Supervisor as well for Kinky Boots on tour in London and in Toronto. Brian has played in the Broadway and off-Broadway orchestras of …Spelling BeeAvenue Q, Altar Boyz and The Book of Mormon. Other theatre credits also include Chess at the Kennedy Center and more than 5 years of regional theatre including Follies at Barrington Stage Co. Concerts include Bobby and Kristen Lopez: American Songbook at Lincoln Center and Clay Aiken “Tried and True DVD,” for PBS.

As an orchestrator, Brian’s projects have included The Heart of Rock and Roll featuring the catalog of Huey Lewis, Swept Away with music by the Avett Brothers, Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money with music by Motown legend Lamont Dozier, Into the Wild by Niko Tsakalakos and Janet Allard, A View From The River by Will Van Dyke and Jeff Talbott, Fantasy Football: the Musical?, by David Ingber, Pool Boy by Niko Tsakalakos and Janet Allard, The UnCivil War by Rick Kunzi, Barnstormer by Douglas Cohen and The First Snow by Niko Tsakalakos. Additional shows in development include Galileo featuring music by Michael Weiner and Zoe Sarnak with a book by Danny Strong as well as A Beautiful Noise featuring the catalog of Neil Diamond.

On TV, Brian contributed orchestrations to NBC’s The Wiz Live and can be heard as a pianist on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon.

As a composer, Brian’s latest project is a songwriting collaboration with Colin Donnell called The Nineteen Twenty. Their first EP, Chaos + Cocktails, is available for sale on iTunes and everywhere music streams.

He holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from SUNY Fredonia and a Masters degree in Collaborative Piano from NYU and a Specialist Certificate in Orchestration from Berklee Online.

Back to Calendar