Booking It! Tony and Grammy Award-Winning Book of Mormon and Wicked Music Director and Orchestrator Stephen Oremus

By Adam Hetrick
04 Mar 2014

Can you speak about etiquette when approaching the accompanist, establishing tempo and being clear on your cuts?
Oremus: The goal is to communicate with the pianist as concisely and directly as possible. You don't want to take too much time at the piano having to explain yourself. It's most important to explain the beginning tempo, the end of the song, as well as any visible cuts in the music. If your music is clearly marked, you're golden here. If it's not, odds are you will take lots of extra time at the piano and have the team waiting for you to begin, which is never a good thing.

For aspiring Broadway music directors and conductors, what is the best way to break into the industry?
Oremus: Everyone's path is different. It's really just about getting out there, doing good work and building strong relationships with collaborators. Some people choose to stay in town and try to break in to the Broadway pits as substitute players, while others go out and music direct shows regionally. Again, there is no right or wrong answer. Choose your path and get out there and make great music!

For aspiring Broadway music directors and conductors, is being an audition accompanist a good way to network and establish relationships with professionals in the industry, or can you become pigeon-holed?
Oremus: It is absolutely a good way to network and establish professional relationships. Serving as an accompanist for auditions, rehearsals or musical theatre classes will develop important skills that will serve you well as a music director. I did all of the above, and I learned as much as, if not more, than the students and people who were auditioning.

Many times music directing and conducting jobs open up on the road, which can put you out of touch with the New York theatre community. Can you speak about that challenge? Is it worth heading out of town?
Oremus: I spent almost ten years of my life doing shows out of town regionally before I got any opportunities in New York City. My advice? Hone your craft. If you want to be a music director and/or arranger, then take every opportunity to go wherever you feel you can do great work.


(Adam Hetrick is the editor in chief of His work appears in the news, feature and video sections of, as well as in the pages of Playbill magazine. Follow him on Twitter @PlaybillAdamH).