The Musical Side of Theater World
It has been my privilege for the past number of years to help provide a musical vehicle for those Osher members, with or without much or any background in musical theatre or performance, to have a chance to flex their musical wings so to speak, and get a taste of what musical performance and the camaraderie of musical theatre is all about.
The adventure started out seven or eight years ago as the brainchild of Al Korobkin, who had been involved in non-musical plays through Theater World, but had the desire to have Theater World present a Broadway type musical at Osher. He knew I was a professional pianist/vocalist in the San Diego area and must have felt he needed to recruit someone with my skills to make his vision a
At any rate, it sounded like an interesting adventure so we went for it. The first year we produced “South Pacific,” and each year after that we’ve put on a different Broadway musical, or a show with a musical theme, utilizing an ever expanding repertoire company of singers, actors, directors, stagehands, set designers and the like from the Osher membership Both the cast and our audiences seemed to greatly enjoy the new experience of participating in or attending such musical events at Osher, so we’ve kept it going for a number of years, recently putting on a retrospective of Richard Rodgers’ music. This was probably the most extensive musical experience we’ve attempted, having 35 songs for our cast members to learn and perform. Our “theatre kids” pulled it off beautifully!
I chose to focus on Richard Rodgers’ music for our last show because of the sheer volume and
diversity of his wonderful work with both of his long time lyricists Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein. Most of our cast had some familiarity with much of the musical material, so it added to the fun, and perhaps made the learning experience in performing the music a bit easier Its been fun to watch the growth and enjoyment both of people who had never done this kind of thing before, as well as some of our cast who had some prior experience in theater doing solo or choir vocal performance.
It’s definitely a time commitment for the cast with rehearsals twice a week for two and a half months before the shows, working on songs at home on their own, and learning the structure of songs which they might not have ever heard before, at least not in the format we needed to use in the show in order to present the volume of material we ended up performing.
Doing theatre is very much a team effort and I’ve made some great friendships with some
extraordinary people at Osher that I otherwise would have missed out on. It’s been a real kick for me to watch people blossom into a world which they never thought they would experience up close and personal. Doing music at Osher has added a lot of joy to my already wonderful musical life. What’s better than music anyway?
-Jay Berman (Musical Director Osher Theater World)