Encores! Music Director Rob Berman, who has been part of the Encores! music department since 2001, will step down following the 2022 season at New York City Center.
In his over 20-year tenure at City Center, Berman, who became music director in 2008, worked with former Encores! Artistic Director Jack Viertel on more than 30 productions, including Finian’s Rainbow, Anyone Can Whistle, Merrily We Roll Along, Lost in the Stars, Pipe Dream, The Most Happy Fella, Brigadoon, and Mack & Mabel, among many others. He also oversaw several score restorations, including Cole Porter's The New Yorkers, and conducted six original cast recordings of Encores! productions.
“Rob has played a major part in bringing these revivals to our stage, working alongside Jack for so many years and now with Lear [deBessonet] and Clint [Ramos] as part of this next chapter for Encores!,” said New York City Center President & CEO Arlene Shuler. “We’ve known for some time that Rob would step down following the 2022 season and are forever grateful for his invaluable contributions to the Encores! legacy.”
“I believe it’s so important to celebrate the rich history of American musical theatre and all of the great scores and orchestrations that have come before us,” Berman added. “It has been my great honor and privilege to conduct so many wonderful productions over 14 seasons. I have loved every minute.”
Berman’s final Encores! show as music director will be Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods, which begins performances May 4. The final performance on May 15 will be dedicated to Berman, who will return in future seasons as a guest music director. A successor will be announced later this spring.
It was also announced that music coordinator Seymour “Red” Press will also step down at the end of the season, retiring at the age of 98. Tony recipient Press has been the orchestra contractor for The Encores! Orchestra since the inception in 1994 and also played saxophone and woodwinds in the orchestra for many years. He worked on the original productions of Gypsy, Pippin, Dreamgirls, and almost 100 additional Broadway productions.
The 2022 Encores! season, the first for Artistic Director
Lear deBessonet and Producing Creative Director Clint Ramos, launched in February with The Tap
Dance Kid and was followed by The Life, which was adapted and directed by Tony winner Billy Porter.