The question in the next 294 words
should not be ‘What has Bill Brohn done in the theater?’ but ‘What has he not done in the theater?” Bill Brohn, more formerly known as
William David Brohn, is a musical arranger and orchestrator who has worked on
more than thirty large-scale productions.
When it comes to a Broadway pedigree, I think that Brohn ranks with the theater
nobility: he won the 1998 Tony Award for Best Orchestrations for Ragtime, was nominated in the same
category in 2002 for Sweet Smell of
Success and in 2004 for Wicked,
and also won the Drama Desk awards for both Miss
Saigon and The Secret Garden in
1991. Furthermore, Brohn arranged
and/or orchestrated for Oklahoma, Mary Poppins, South Pacific, My Fair Lady,
Oliver, and Wind in the Willows, to name a few. Aside from Broadway, Brohn also worked on the score
for the 1997 animated film Anastasia
and provided music for the Boston Pops Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra. Yikes!
So where did Brohn learn the ropes?
Well, he was born in Flint, Michigan, and studied Music Theory at Michigan
State University (1955), Composition at the New England Conservatory (1958) and
studied further in Western Massachusetts and in Salzburg, Austria. Also of note is that Robert Russell
Bennett, an old-time great orchestrator responsible for about 300 productions
such as The King and I (1951), South Pacific (’49), and The Sound of Music (’59), mentored Brohn
for several years early in his career. What’s more is that Brohn performed with several dance
bands and as a conductor for the Royal Ballet before heading into musical
arranging and composing. According
to Colin Anderson in his review of Brohn’s arrangement in the West Side Story
CD soundtrack, “William David Brohn is an old-hand arranger, a good one too,”
(BBC). To quickly summarize: Bill
Brohn is Legend (apocalypse jokes aside).