Theatre Under the Stars

Theatre Under The Stars welcomes Tony and Drama Desk Award winning composer Jason Robert Brown to Houston for an exclusive Master Class and Concert Performance benefiting the Humphreys School of Musical Theatre (HSMT). Jason Robert Brown is best known for composing the critically acclaimed musicals The Last Five Years, Parade, Honeymoon In Vegas, The Bridges of Madison County, Thirteen, Urban Cowboy, and Songs For A New World. Brown is being tapped as Music Supervisor and Arranger for the future Hal Prince project The Prince of Broadway, which is slated to hit the Great White Way in 2017.

Mr. Brown will conduct an exclusive Master Class on Thursday, January 19, 2017 during which HSMT students will have the unique opportunity to sing from his songbook. The following evening, Friday, January 20, 2017, Theatre Under The Stars will present Jason Robert Brown: In Concert in Zilkha Hall at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.

Jason Robert Brown is the ultimate multi-hyphenate – an equally skilled composer, lyricist, conductor, arranger, orchestrator, director and performer – best known for his dazzling scores to several of the most renowned musicals of his generation, including the recently revived The Last Five Years, his debut song cycle Songs for a New World, and the seminal Parade, for which he won the 1999 Tony Award for Best Score.

Brown has been hailed as “one of Broadway’s smartest and most sophisticated songwriters since Stephen Sondheim” (Philadelphia Inquirer), and his “extraordinary, jubilant theater music” (Chicago Tribune) has been heard all over the world, whether in one of the hundreds of productions of his musicals every year or in his own incendiary live performances. The New York Times refers to Jason as “a leading member of a new generation of composers who embody high hopes for the American musical.” His major musicals as composer and lyricist include: 13, written with Robert Horn and Dan Elish, which began its life in Los Angeles in 2007 and opened on Broadway in 2008 (and was subsequently directed by the composer for its West End premiere in 2012); The Last Five Years, which was cited as one of Time Magazine’s 10 Best of 2001 and won Drama Desk Awards for Best Music and Best Lyrics (and was subsequently directed by the composer in its record-breaking Off-Broadway run at Second Stage Theatre in 2013); Parade, written with Alfred Uhry and directed by Harold Prince, which premiered at Lincoln Center Theatre in 1998, and subsequently won both the Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards for Best New Musical, as well as garnering Jason the Tony Award for Original Score; and “Songs for a New World,” a theatrical song cycle directed by Daisy Prince, which played Off-Broadway in 1995, and has since been seen in hundreds of productions around the world.

The Bridges of Madison County, a musical he adapted with Marsha Norman from the bestselling novel, directed by Bartlett Sher and starring Kelli O’Hara and Steven Pasquale, had a successful run on Broadway followed by a national tour that played all around the country. Honeymoon In Vegas, based on Andrew Bergman’s film, ran on Broadway in 2015 following a triumphant production at Paper Mill Playhouse last fall. A film version of his epochal Off-Broadway musical The Last Five Years starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan and directed by Richard LaGravenese was released in 2014. For the new musical “Prince of Broadway,” a celebration of the career of Harold Prince, Jason will be serving as the musical supervisor and arranger.

Brown is the winner of the 2002 Kleban Award for Outstanding Lyrics and the 1996 Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Foundation Award for Musical Theatre. His songs, including the cabaret standard “Stars and the Moon,” have been performed and recorded by Audra McDonald, Billy Porter, Betty Buckley, Karen Akers, Renée Fleming, Philip Quast, Jon Hendricks and many others, and his song “Someone To Fall Back On” was featured in the Walden Media film, “Bandslam.” Brown has conducted and created arrangements and orchestrations for Liza Minnelli, John Pizzarelli, Tovah Feldshuh, and Laurie Beechman, among many others.

He studied composition at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., with Samuel Adler, Christopher Rouse, and Joseph Schwantner. He lives with his wife, composer Georgia Stitt, and their daughters in New York City. Brown is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and the American Federation of Musicians Local 802 & 47. He currently teaches musical theater performance and composition at the USC School of Dramatic Arts.

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