For Paul Gemignani, conductor and musical director, the thrill of theatre is "trying to shape a show, getting a new show to work. Getting the best orchestrators, the best musicians, and the best performance out of those musicians."
He has conducted in London's West End, on film and television, and with symphony orchestras. In 2001 he was given a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement. These days he's musical director and conductor of Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood at Studio 54.
Gemignani grew up in San Francisco. "My mother played the piano. There was always music in the house. I started piano at seven and hated it. I ended up playing percussion, because I liked it best."
On a jazz gig in 1969, he "came as far as Minneapolis. I'd never been east, so I went to Chicago and took a train to New York. An actor friend introduced me to the musical director of Cabaret," Harold Hastings. "I got a job as assistant conductor and playing in its road show."