Donald W. Johnston, the composer, orchestrator and arranger who penned arrangements and additional orchestrations for the current Broadway revival of 42nd Street, died Jan. 7 of cancer, according to his friend and attorney David E. LeVine.
Mr. Johnston, 57, was also credited with the hit revival's "musical adaptation." Philip J. Lang wrote the orchestrations. Mr. Johnston arranged dance music for the original 1980 production of 42nd Street and conducted its last two years on Broadway. His arrangements and orchestrations for the musical theatre were heard in Grossingers, The Last Resort; The Night of the Hunter; The Melody Lingers On; Entirely Sophie; Oh, Kay! (Broadway, 1991); the Goodspeed Opera productions of Oh, Kay, Leave It To Jane, Miss Liberty and Bloomer Girl; Marilyn, An American Fable; and A Broadway Musical. He was conductor and musical director of The Melody Lingers On (Blowing Rock, N.C.), The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (Broadway and Los Angeles, Cyrano de Bergerac and Much Ado About Nothing (Broadway and Washington, D.C.) and All's Well That Ends Well (Broadway).
Mr. Johnston's recordings include "Superman: The Ultimate Collection," "Titanic: The Ultimate Collection," "Monster Mania," "The Night of the Hunter," "Strike Up the Band!" and "42nd Street" (original and revival). He also worked on jazz albums.
Mr. Johnston attended Staatliche hochschule fur Musik, Freiburg, West Germany as a Fullbright Scholar. He received an M.M.A. in Piano and Composition from Yale School of Music and graduated Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa (Theory and Composition) from Yale College.
He is survived by his wife Diane Johnston; two sons Adam and Evan Johnston; his father, Donald Johnston; and a sister Suzanne Clark. Funeral services will be held at Marble Collegiate Church, 1 West 29th Street, New York City 11 AM Jan. 10.
— By Kenneth Jones