Ep. 31: Jason Robert Brown Talks About His Music, Shows, and the Legendary Hal Prince in Advance of Theatre Raleigh’s ‘The Bridges of Madison County’

Ep. 31: Jason Robert Brown Talks About His Music, Shows, and the Legendary Hal Prince in Advance of Theatre Raleigh’s ‘The Bridges of Madison County’

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Last week, legendary producer and director Harold “Hal” Prince died at the age of 91. He won 21 Tony Awards and was nominated for countless more, including for the 1998 show PARADE. PARADE didn’t earn Prince a Tony, but it did earn one for Jason Robert Brown for Best Original Score. Brown won two more Tony Awards in 2014 for both the score and orchestrations for the musical THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY. The Theatre Raleigh production of THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY runs August 7th through August 18th at the Kennedy Theatre (Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts). This production is directed by Theatre Raleigh’s producing artistic director Lauren Kennedy Brady, who is no stranger to Brown or his music, having originated the role of Cathy in the Chicago premiere of THE LAST FIVE YEARS and collaborating with Brown on her solo album ‘Songs of Jason Robert Brown’ released in 2003. Hear what Brown had to say to RDU on Stage about his music, shows, and the man he called a role model and friend.

About the Guest

Jason Robert Brown talks to RDU on Stage in advance of the Theatre Raleigh opening of The Bridges of Madison County

JASON ROBERT BROWN has been hailed as “one of Broadway’s smartest and most sophisticated songwriters since Stephen Sondheim” (Philadelphia Inquirer), and his “extraordinary, jubilant theater music” (Chicago Tribune) has been heard all over the world, whether in one of the hundreds of productions of his musicals every year or in his own incendiary live performances.  The New York Times refers to Jason as “a leading member of a new generation of composers who embody high hopes for the American musical.” Jason’s score for THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY a musical adapted with Marsha Norman from the bestselling novel, directed by Bartlett Sher and starring Kelli O’Hara and Steven Pasquale, received two Tony Awards (for Best Score and Orchestrations). HONEYMOON IN VEGAS based on Andrew Bergman’s film opened on Broadway in 2015 following a triumphant production at Paper Mill Playhouse.  A film version of his epochal Off-Broadway musical THE LAST FIVE YEARS was released in 2015, starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan and directed by Richard LaGravenese. Other major musicals as composer and lyricist include: 13,  PARADE, written with Alfred Uhry and directed by Harold Prince, which premiered at Lincoln Center Theatre in 1998, and subsequently won both the Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards for Best New Musical, as well as garnering Jason the Tony Award for Original Score; and SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD, a theatrical song cycle directed by Daisy Prince, which played Off-Broadway in 1995, and has since been seen in hundreds of productions around the world, including a celebrated revival at New York’s City Center in the summer of 2018.  Future projects include a new chamber musical created with Daisy Prince and Jonathan Marc Sherman called THE CONNECTOR; an adaptation of Lilian Lee’s  FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE, created with Kenneth Lin and Moisés Kaufman; and a collaboration with Billy Crystal, Amanda Green, Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel on a musical of MR. SATURDAY NIGHT.  For the new musical PRINCE OF BROADWAY, a celebration of the career of Harold Prince, Jason was the musical supervisor and arranger.  Other New York credits as conductor and arranger include URBAN COWBOY the MUSICAL on Broadway; DINAH WAS, off-Broadway and on national tour; WHEN PIGS FLY off-Broadway; William Finn’s A NEW BRAIN at Lincoln Center Theater; the 1992 tribute to Stephen Sondheim at Carnegie Hall (recorded by RCA Victor); Yoko Ono’s NEW YORK ROCK at the WPA Theatre; and Michael John LaChiusa’s THE PETRIFIED PRINCE at the Public Theatre. Jason orchestrated Andrew Lippa’s JOHN AND JEN, Off-Broadway at Lamb’s Theatre.  Additionally, Jason served as the orchestrator and arranger of Charles Strouse and Lee Adams’s score for a proposed musical of STAR WARS  Jason has conducted and created arrangements and orchestrations for Liza Minnelli, John Pizzarelli, and Michael Feinstein, among many others. As a soloist or with his band The Caucasian Rhythm Kings, Jason has performed concerts around the world.  For the past four years (and ongoing), his monthly sold-out performances at New York’s SubCulture have featured many of the music and theater world’s most extraordinary performers. His newest collection, “How We React and How We Recover”, was released in June 2018 on Ghostlight Records. His collaboration with Lauren Kennedy (Theatre Raleigh producing artistic director), “Songs of Jason Robert Brown”, is available on PS Classics. For more information visit: http://jasonrobertbrown.com/.

Connect with RDU on Stage

Music Credits

‘To Build a Home” from the musical THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY is composed by Jason Robert Brown (music and lyrics) and performed by Janine DiVita, star of the upcoming Theatre Raleigh production of THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY.

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