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Encyclopedia > Jason Robert Brown

Jason Robert Brown (born 1970 in Ossining, New York) is an American musical theater composer and lyricist. Often cited[who?] as one of the "New School" of theatrical composers (a list that includes Michael John LaChiusa, Adam Guettel, Andrew Lippa and Jeanine Tesori, among others), Brown's music sensibility fuses pop-rock stylings with theatrical lyrics. An accomplished pianist, Brown has often served as music director, conductor, orchestrator and pianist for his own productions. Ossining is a town located in Westchester County, New York. ... This article is about the state. ... Musical theater (or theatre) is a form of theatre combining music, songs, dance, and spoken dialogue. ... A composer is a person who writes music. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Michael John LaChiusa (born 1962) is a musical theatre composer and lyricist best known for his unusual sounding compositions for shows in the post-modern school. ... Adam Guettel (pronounced Gettle; b. ... Andrew Lippa is an American composer, lyricist, book writer, performer, and producer, and the resident artist at the Ars Nova Theater in New York City. ... Jeanine Tesori (formerly known as Jeanine Levenson) is a composer of musicals. ... The title of music director is used by many symphony orchestras to designate the primary conductor and artistic leader of the orchestra. ...

Contents

Career

Brown grew up in the suburbs of New York City, and attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. During summer, he attended French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts in Hancock, New York. He began his career in New York City as an arranger, conductor, and pianist, working on shows such as William Finn's A New Brain, and playing at several nightclubs and piano bars in the city. Songs for a New World marked the first major New York production of Brown's songs. An off-Broadway revue with a limited run, the show was directed by Daisy Prince, daughter of legendary director/producer Hal Prince, and featured the 25-year-old Brown's pop-rock-influenced music. The song "Stars and the Moon" has since become a cabaret standard, and is probably Brown's best-known composition to date. New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... The Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester (also known more simply as The Eastman School, Eastman, or ESM) is a music conservatory located in the United States. ... This article is about the city of Rochester in Monroe County. ... This article is about the state. ... William Finn (* 28 February 1952), Tony-winning American composer, especially of musicals. ... A New Brain is an Off-Broadway musical with music and lyrics by William Finn and book by Finn and James Lapine. ... Songs for a New World is a work of musical theater written and composed by Jason Robert Brown. ... Hal Prince (born January 30, 1928), full name Harold Smith Prince, is a American theatrical producer and director associated with many of the best-known Broadway musical productions of the past half-century. ...


Through his association with Daisy Prince (which he nursed in order to gain Hal Prince's support), Brown wound up writing songs for the Broadway musical Parade, based on the trial and lynching of Leo Frank. Parade, directed by Hal Prince, and with a book by Alfred Uhry, won Brown the 1999 Tony Award for Best Original Musical Score. Parade is a musical that opened on Broadway at the Vivian Beaumont Theater on December 17, 1998 with a book (musical theatre) book by Alfred Uhry and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. ... For other persons named Leo Frank, see Leo Frank (disambiguation). ... Alfred Fox Uhry (born December 3, 1936) is an American playwright best known for the play and screenplay of Driving Miss Daisy. ... What is popularly called the Tony Award (formally, the Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre) is an annual award celebrating achievements in live American theater, including musical theater, primarily honoring productions on Broadway in New York. ...


Brown went back to working with Daisy Prince for his third major show The Last Five Years, for which he wrote the book as well as songs. Inspired by his own failed first marriage, the show is a two-person musical which tells the history of a relationship from two different perspectives. The male's narrative begins at the beginning of the story and progresses through marriage, infidelity, and divorce, while the female narrative begins at the end of the relationship and ends with the couple's first date; the two actors' only direct interaction takes place mid-point, during the wedding sequence. The original Chicago cast consisted of Norbert Leo Butz and Lauren Kennedy. Kennedy was unable to continue the role in New York due to her commitment to the role of Nellie Forbush in Trevor Nunn's production of South Pacific in London, so Sherie Rene Scott took over her role for the New York run (Butz carried over from Chicago). The Last Five Years received mixed critical reviews and was not a commercial success, lasting only two months off-Broadway, although Brown garnered a pair of Drama Desk Awards for music and lyrics. Additionally, due to the cast recording featuring Scott and Butz, the show has gained enormous popularity among contemporary musical theater aficionados and is an oft-performed piece in regional and community theatres. The Last Five Years is a one act musical written by Jason Robert Brown. ... Norbert Leo Butz is an American stage actor. ... Lauren Kennedy is an actress and a singer who has most recently been seen in Monty Pythons Spamalot on Broadway. ... Sir Trevor King (born 14 January 1940) is a loser and film director. ... This article is about the stage musical. ... Sherie Rene Scott is an American actress and singer. ... Created in 1955, the Drama Desk Award was created to recognize Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway shows in addition to Broadway shows. ...


Brown contributed several songs to the Broadway flop Urban Cowboy, and was nominated (along with over 20 others) for the 2003 Tony Award for best Musical Score, losing out to Hairspray. Broadway poster Urban Cowboy is a musical with a book by Aaron Latham and Phillip Oesterman and a score comprised of numbers by Broadway composer-lyricists Jeff Blumenkrantz and Jason Robert Brown and a variety of country music tunesmiths, including Clint Black, Shania Twain, and Charles Daniels. ...


In June 2005, Brown released a solo album, entitled Wearing Someone Else's Clothes. Wearing Someone Elses Clothes is a solo album by musical theater composer Jason Robert Brown. ...


In December 2005, his Chanukah Suite received its world premiere with two performances by the Los Angeles Master Chorale at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Chanukah Suite is an original chorale composition by Jewish composer Jason Robert Brown. ... The Los Angeles Master Chorale is a famous professional chorus in Los Angeles, California. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Since 2003, Brown has been married to fellow composer Georgia Stitt. Together, they have a daughter. He is currently working on several projects, including a musical version of the hit movie Honeymoon in Vegas. He also teaches courses in musical theatre performance and composition at the University of Southern California. Brown is an active performer of his own work, singing and playing the piano with or without his band, the Caucasian Rhythm Kings (Gary Sieger, guitar, and Randy Landau, bass). The Trojan Shrine, better known as Tommy Trojan located in the center of University of Southern California campus. ...


His most recent completed work, 13, was premiered at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, CA on January 7, 2007. 13 is a musical by Jason Robert Brown detailing the life of 13 year old Evan Goldman as he moves from New York City to Appleton, Indiana, and the resulting dilemma when the move conflicts with his Bat Mitzvah. ... The Mark Taper Forum is a small (<1000 seats) theater-in-the-round (thrust stage) at the Los Angeles Music Center. ...


Musical Style

Brown has many trademarks in his composing style. His piano music is often extremely rhythmically challenging; his sheet music is released in a mostly unmodified format, posing many challenges to anyone who tries to play it. His songs are by no means easy to sing, either, with his choral music including many complex and unconventional harmonies and his songs (for men, in particular) covering a very wide vocal range. Most of his songs are written in AABA' format, the exceptions coming mostly in his show Parade. Perhaps most characteristic are his love duets; all three (I'd Give it All for You from Songs, The Next 10 Minutes from L5Y, and All the Wasted Time from Parade) are written in a very distinct format: male-female-both, compound time in the duet section (two using hemiola), and two of the three end with the couple singing the same pitch. In modern musical parlance, a hemiola is a metrical pattern in which two bars in triple time (3/2 or 3/4 for example) are articulated as if they were three bars in duple time (2/2 or 2/4). ...


Major works

Songs For a New World - Revue, Ran Off-Broadway at the WPA Theatre, October 11 - November 5, 1995. Also conducted, played piano, and sang one line in the last song. Songs for a New World is a work of musical theater written and composed by Jason Robert Brown. ... Off-Broadway plays or musicals are performed in New York City in smaller theatres than Broadway, but larger than Off-Off-Broadway, productions. ...


Parade - Ran on Broadway from December 17, 1998 to February 28, 1999. Won the Tony for Best Score, and a Drama Desk Award for Best Music. Also plays piano on the cast recording. Parade is a musical that opened on Broadway at the Vivian Beaumont Theater on December 17, 1998 with a book (musical theatre) book by Alfred Uhry and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. ... What is popularly called the Tony Award (formally, the Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre) is an annual award celebrating achievements in live American theater, including musical theater, primarily honoring productions on Broadway in New York. ... Created in 1955, the Drama Desk Award was created to recognize Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway shows in addition to Broadway shows. ...


The Last Five Years - Ran Off-Broadway from March 3, 2002 to May 5, 2002. Won Drama Desk Awards for Best Music and Best Lyrics, and nominated for Outstanding Orchestrations. Also wrote the book, conducted, and played piano. The Last Five Years is a one act musical written by Jason Robert Brown. ...


Urban Cowboy - Ran on Broadway from March 27, 2003 to May 18, 2003. Tony-Nominated for Best Original Score. Brown contributed five songs to the score of the musical. Also orchestrated, arranged, music directed, conducted, played keyboards, and sang. Broadway poster Urban Cowboy is a musical with a book by Aaron Latham and Phillip Oesterman and a score comprised of numbers by Broadway composer-lyricists Jeff Blumenkrantz and Jason Robert Brown and a variety of country music tunesmiths, including Clint Black, Shania Twain, and Charles Daniels. ... For other uses of Broadway, see Broadway. ...


Wearing Someone Else's Clothes - 2005 - Brown's solo debut album, composed entirely of tracks which were previously unreleased, some of which were cut songs from shows or written for shows which were never finished, and some of which were written as stand-alone songs for the album. The album features his vocals and compositions on every song, and his arrangements and musicianship on almost every track. Wearing Someone Elses Clothes is a solo album by musical theater composer Jason Robert Brown. ...


Chanukah Suite- 2005 - an 8 minute chorale fanfare in three parts, featuring traditional Hebrew songs infused with up-tempo rock and roll rhythms and Leonard Bernstein inspired chordal flavors. Chanukah Suite is an original chorale composition by Jewish composer Jason Robert Brown. ... Rock and roll (also spelled Rock n Roll, especially in its first decade), also called rock, is a form of popular music, usually featuring vocals (often with vocal harmony), electric guitars and a strong back beat; other instruments, such as the saxophone, are common in some styles. ... Leonard Bernstein in 1971 Leonard Bernstein (IPA pronunciation: )[1] (August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American conductor, composer, and pianist. ...


13 (musical), Composer. Premiered Jan. 7, 2007, at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, CA. 13 is a musical by Jason Robert Brown detailing the life of 13 year old Evan Goldman as he moves from New York City to Appleton, Indiana, and the resulting dilemma when the move conflicts with his Bat Mitzvah. ...


Selected Recordings

Original cast recordings are in print for Songs for a New World, Parade, and The Last Five Years. "Stars and the Moon" has been recorded many times, including on Audra McDonald's Way Back to Paradise and Betty Buckley's Stars and the Moon: Live at the Donmar. Audra Ann McDonald (born July 3, 1970) is a four-time Tony Award-winning American actress and singer. ... Betty Lynn Buckley (born July 3, 1947) is an American theater, film, and television actress. ...


Actress Lauren Kennedy, who originated the role of Cathy in the Chicago production of The Last Five Years, released Songs of Jason Robert Brown, featuring Brown's compositions from his previous shows, as well as several previously unreleased songs. Lauren Kennedy is an actress and a singer who has most recently been seen in Monty Pythons Spamalot on Broadway. ...


Work as arranger, music director, etc.

A New Brain is an Off-Broadway musical with music and lyrics by William Finn and book by Finn and James Lapine. ... New York Rock is an off-Broadway musical by Yoko Ono. ...

Sources/External Links


 
 

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