Oscar telecast producer Joe Roth announced the news Jan. 23. Wheeler, who is the music orchestrator for this season's Never Gonna Dance, will grace the Oscar podium for the first time at the Feb. 29 awards ceremony. He joins another Hairspray creator, the previously announced Marc Shaiman, who will serve as musical director and conductor for Oscar host Billy Crystal. Shaiman, of course, wrote the music and co-wrote the lyrics — with Scott Wittman — for Hairspray. Harold Wheeler was nominated for Best Orchestrations Tony Awards for his work on The Life, Little Me, Swing!, The Full Monty and Hairspray. He has also worked as orchestrator and musical director for such television events as "The People's Choice Awards," " VH1 Honors," "The Essence Awards" s and "American Film Institute Awards."
ABC will broadcast the 76th Academy Awards live from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, CA.