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Arts and Lifestyle

History made on Broadway
Published Monday, July 14, 2014
by Special To The Triangle Tribune

NEW YORK - New York City’s world famous Broadway industry may have just concluded another box office breaking season, however there is no timeline when it comes to making American Theater history.

Four African -Americans doing just that.

These four men of music at one n time found themselves simultaneously heading Broadway orchestras. Broadway veterans Shelton Becton, Joseph Joubert, Zane Mark and Daryl Waters were too busy to even wrap their brains around this important moment. However, all four had something to say when asked what this moment meant.

Mark is the most recent addition to the list of conductors with his show “Holler If You Hear Me” just opening on Broadway at the Palace Theatre. He is also dance arranger for the current hit shows “Motown The Musical” and “Pippin,” and served as conductor for the seminal “Bring in Da Noise,” “Bring in Da Funk.”

“I'm so proud to be a part of this group of men that I know personally as well as professionally. This group of men can compose, arrange, orchestrate and conduct anything. The ONLY negative thing about being in this group is that it's so small,” he said.

Joseph is conductor of Motown the Musical. A few of his other credits include associate conductor of the musicals “The Color Purple” and “Nice Work If You Can Get It.”

“Of course, it shouldn't have to be a big deal. At least we can say we've come a long way in this business of discrimination that there's hope for us as a people.  Talent should be recognized no matter what the color of your skin is. Let's hope this positive trend keeps up!”

Becton is conducting, accompanying and also acting in “Lady Day At The Emerson Bar and Grill” now on Broadway.

“Having three other black conductors on Broadway at this historic time means that we are beginning to be recognized for our abilities as trained musicians and artists. It also means that other blacks are getting their creations supported and produced for a larger Diaspora. Hopefully it means that there is a greater acceptance of individual qualifications and less consideration of skin hues.”

Waters, Tony Award winner for orchestration for the hit musical “Memphis” and conductor of the star studded orchestra of the critically acclaimed musical “After Midnight,” added: “It means there are more opportunities for black conductors to hone their craft. As Broadway continues to diversify in both audience and material, I can only hope this trend will also continue.”




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