November 29, 2012
Mass Class Session with Stephen Oremus
Story Courtesy of Marilyn Joyce Lehren
When Stephen Oremus was growing up in Livingston, his elementary music teacher would write his own musicals for students to perform. “They were so catchy and fun,” says Oremus, a Tony-award winner on Broadway.
It was this inspired creation by Paul Stefany and repeated by music teachers throughout his education in Livingston Public Schools that led Oremus on his own path in music. “My teachers were so supportive that I wanted to make music,” he said.
It’s been quite a musical journey, from LHS to Berklee College of Music in Boston, to Broadway and working with casts that include witches, puppets and Mormons.
Oremus is the music director, vocal arranger and co-orchestrator of The Book of
Mormon, for which he received the 2011 Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Best Orchestrations. He received a 2012 Grammy award as a producer of The Book of Mormon original Broadway cast recording.
It’s been an amazing time, and the accolades included his induction on November 29 into the Livingston High School Hall of Fame.
The Livingston Education Foundation invited Oremus to conduct a master class. Select vocal choirs were coached by one of Broadway’s brightest lights on a moving rendition of Rufus Wainwright’s Alleluia, a song best known by this younger generation from Shrek.
“It is sometimes the small intimate moments, the connections we make with people that fuel the passion for our interests and that these moments bring about our ultimate successes,” observed Heidi Cislo, Livingston Education Foundation President.
In the coming weeks, the arts will shine in Livingston Public Schools. Music students will be performing in their Winter Concerts, while LHS Theatre presents the adventures of the mystery-loving hero, Sherlock, this weekend.
Among these rising artists, perhaps, is another shining star.
The Livingston Education Foundation has been bringing back to their hometown some of the best and brightest for the LHS Hall of Fame. And it was in the LHS music room where Oremus was honored by students and his former teachers.
"Stephen is a true champion of arts education in the public schools,” said Joshua Salzman, the LHS music teacher who conducts this generation of young musicians.
In addition to Book of Mormon, Oremus is the music supervisor and arranger of the original Broadway and subsequent worldwide productions of Wicked and Avenue Q, which he also orchestrated.
His next project is working as music supervisor, orchestrator, and vocal arranger for Kinky Boots, with music by Cyndi Lauper and book by Harvey Fierstein, slated for a Broadway run beginning in April 2013.
"Our students were extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Stephen on some of their upcoming concert repertoire,” Salzman said. “They will carry the musical and life lessons he shared with them well beyond their Winter Concert. He has inspired them to continue to follow their dreams and to be true to themselves. For that, we are all extremely grateful."