Black Conductors Make History on Broadway

Daryl Waters, Zane Mark, Joseph Joubert and Shelton Becton serve as the conductors for major productions on the Great White Way.

Posted: 06/30/2014 03:29 PM EDT

("After Midnight" conductor Daryl Waters. Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

From a recent boost in Black actors to an influx of Black audiences, this year’s Broadway season has proven to be more diverse than usual.

However, another historic moment has also occurred in the orchestra pits, Amsterdam News reports. Four African-American music directors and conductors are leading major Broadway productions running concurrently, marking a first for Blacks in executive roles on the Great White Way.

The longtime music director for the late Eartha Kitt, Daryl Waters currently serves as the music supervisor and conductor for After Midnight, a celebration of the music and performance styles associated with the famous Cotton Club during the Harlem Renaissance era. Holler If Ya Hear Me, a new show inspired by Tupac Shakur, is being led under the baton of music director and conductor Zane Mark.

At this year’s Tony Awards, Audra McDonald won her record-breaking sixth Tony for her performance as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, a musical conducted by the show’s pianist and performer, Shelton Becton. Joseph Joubert serves as the music director and conductor for Motown: The Musical, the longest running of the four productions.

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