The musicians of Broadway’s orchestra pits are seldom visible to the audience, but as an essential part of storytelling in theater, the music moves the plot forward, intensifies the experience, and communicates how the story is meant to feel.
Nick Jemo and Jesse-Ray Leich, both graduates of the University of Rhode Island’s (URI) music department, are musicians working in Broadway orchestra pits. They will host an event on “Music As Storytelling on Broadway” on Sunday, October 15 at 3:00pm in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall on URI’s Kingston campus. The Kingston Chamber Music Festival is co-sponsoring this event with URI’s Center for the Humanities.
Jemo and Leich will discuss a range of topics: from amusing anecdotes about the secret lives of orchestra pit musicians to reflections on the changing landscape of musical theater at a time when artificial intelligence and pre-recorded tracks pose threats to live music as musicians know it. They will also perform songs from The Phantom of the Opera, Mary Poppins, & Juliet, and Mr. Saturday Night. These selections cover the most profound to the lightest ways of being — an apt expression of the human experience.
They both earned scholarships from the Kingston Chamber Music Festival as URI undergraduates. Jemo was the first-ever KCMF scholarship recipient in 2004; Leich was a 2016 recipient. The scholarship was established to bolster the relationship between the festival and URI. It is the only award of its kind given to a music student at the sophomore level, and one recipient a year is chosen by faculty in URI’s music department.
This event is free and open to the public, and it will be livestreamed on the URI website. The Fine Arts Center is accessible. Register here.