African American conductors repeat history on Broadway
News Desk | 7/30/2014, 9:47 a.m.
Cleveland Native Daryl Waters, leads ‘After Midnight’
It took almost four decades, but history repeated itself recently on Broadway, and African
Americans in a sparsely populated corner of the music world took notice.
African American conductors and music directors were thrilled that the orchestras of “After
Midnight,” “Holler if ya hear me,” “Motown the Musical” and “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” were under the batons of four of their own, men of great distinction in the industry.
Not since the mid-1970s has Broadway seen as many African Americans leading the orchestras of major productions running contemporaneously. That milestone first was achieved when Charles Coleman (“The Wiz”), Lloyd Mayers and Neal Tate (“Bubbling Brown Sugar”),
Howard Roberts (“Guys and Dolls”) and Eddie Brown (“Your Arms Too Short to Box with God”) electrified Broadway musical theater with a small cadre of African American music directors and conductors calling the shots in the orchestra pit.
Proudly reprising that watershed accomplishment is a new generation of music-executive talent who are mindful of their place in history.