Benjamin Schmidt has been on the directing team for over 30 musicals and conducted nearly 20 at Theatre Cedar Rapids. Ben is also an arranger and composer, as well as the show choir band director for Cedar Rapids Washington High School.
He has composed original music for plays not only at TCR, but also in collaboration with SPT and area creative artists. He is also an occasional consultant, clinician, and adjudicator. Ben also plays with Iowa City’s Fez and Soul Sherpa.
“First and foremost, I do a lot of score study. I try to absorb as much information from the score as possible. In musical theatre, the music and lyrics tell the story as much as the book and choreography does. Musical motifs can represent characters, emotions, memories, environments…. orchestrations provide aural texture. The score provides so much story and character information. Another core philosophy of mine is that I want to make sure the performers are taking something away from the show. Growing as people, actors, singers, ensemble members, dancers…. there is always an opportunity to grow. I also focus a great deal on the intention behind what is being sung, as well as making our version of the show individual and stylistically appropriate. Upbeat jazzy songs have different requirements than ballads or dance numbers or underscoring or expositional songs….. interpreting all of that with the individual or ensemble or director/choreographer is always very rewarding! And of course, it’s always good to have a little fun along the way.”
Ben joins our 19/20 season as…
- Conductor, Hello, Dolly!
- Music Director/Conductor, Matilda