Paul Sportelli has been the Music Director at the Shaw Festival for fourteen seasons, where he has music directed such hits as My Fair Lady, Sunday in the Park with George and, most recently, Ragtime. He has also composed multiple scores and is the winner of two Dora awards, including one for his first musical with partner Jay Turvey, Little Mercy’s First Murder.
What musical will you always remember for its choreography/dancing?
Chicago. And I mean the original production—it was the second Broadway musical I ever saw.
What musical will you always remember for its music?
Three shows: Sweeney Todd (original Broadway production), Sunday in the Park with George (original Broadway production) and The Light in the Piazza. I was completely transported by all three. And I saw Sunday on Broadway when I was a poor student in NYC, and I managed to get enough money together to see it a second time.
What musical will you always remember for its book/virtuosic acting?
Gypsy for book for sure. Virtuoso acting: too many great roles played by great actors to mention!.
What musical is your guiltiest pleasure?
I don’t think of musicals in that way. I have no problem with a well-written musical that simply aims to entertain. I feel no guilt in enjoying musicals like that. Not all musicals have to change the world.
What movie would you love to see musicalized?
The only movies I want to see musicalized are pieces that stand to benefit from the different medium, and that is so rarely the case. Nine’s ok, whereas Fellini’s 8-1/2 is, in my opinion, one of the greatest movies ever.
What showtune makes you drop whatever you’re doing and bust a groove?
“Mambo” from WEST SIDE STORY.
Next Thursday we chat with the hilarious, the rambunctious, that fountain of music theatre mania: Bruce Dow.