Sunday, February 21, 2010


I noticed a slight problem in the way my post about orchestrations from yesterday was published, so I thought I'd try again.  This is an interesting category in that, while orchestrators don't really compose any music, they DO turn most of the music they receive into what we hear when we go to the show.  After the composer gives them little more than the tune and lyrics for each song (and maybe some basic chord progressions underneath that), it is the orchestrator's job to create everything the orchestra plays and decides how large of an orchestra to have (along with that instrumentation that orchestra will contain).  This becomes an interesting task in the case of revivals or jukebox musicals because, in these cases, they are reworking music with which we are already familiar.  With that in mind, here are my nomination predictions for the Best Orchestrations category.

A Little Night Music
Million Dollar Quartet

I have chosen Fela! and Million Dollar Quartet because they are two musicals which are all about the music -- and music with which we are not necessarily all that familiar, but which I think we are going to leave the theater humming and appreciating more.  I also think there is a good chance that, after seeing these shows, or even in preparation for seeing them, people will research the original recordings from which these shows take their scores.  Translating this music into something medium-appropriate will be quite a challenge and, I think, quite rewarding come May 4th.  As for Ragtime and A Little Night Music, these are two well received productions with lush scores which sounded better than ever in these productions.  The clear major threat in this category is Finian's Rainbow because of the large orchestra and old-fashioned sound that the M-G-M production values provide.  Memphis is the other logical show to consider in this category.  While, on the one hand, the music felt right and sounded of its time, the songs were rather formulaic and were simply standard rock or blues songs.  So, while this can't entirely be counted out here, it is not high on my list.

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