Video: Broadway Joins Mister Rogers Alums To Create A New Years Tribute To Fred Rogers
On Sunday, December 29th, Michael Moricz released a new song for the New Year's holiday that he has dedicated to the memory of the late Fred Rogers, much-loved host of MISTER ROGERS NEIGHBORHOOD on PBS. Moricz was music director for the final five years (1996-2001) of the PBS children's series.
Featured performers include Lisa Brescia, Rodney Hicks, Harley Jay and from the original cast of MISTER ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD: David Newell and Chuck Aber, as well as Dave Toole, Jasmine Rogers, Jayme Lake, and Becky Bliss, "Voices" a cappella ensemble of the University of Chicago, children from the 2019 cast of A CHRISTMAS CAROL at the Goodman Theatre, and children from the 2019 cast of A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera
Mr. Moricz said of this new song: "America feels more divided than ever these days, with disagreement and tension everywhere we turn. In recent months I've found myself thinking of Fred Rogers and what he might advise us to do in times like these. He always looked for connections between people, and saw the child within each of us as a doorway to communication, common ground and growth. He taught us to try to look within the hearts of people, with compassion, to learn how to love them as they are."
"Many in our theatre community will remember that Rodney Hicks left the Broadway cast of COME FROM AWAY in June of 2017 when he was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called Spasmodic Dysphonia. No longer able to sing or speak, he turned to playwriting (his "FLAME-BROILED, the ugly play" premiered in Boulder CO this past fall). But due to some miraculous medical and therapeutic treatment, he recently regained his voice. One of the reasons I asked Rodney to participate in this song of new optimism was to feature that magnificent instrument of his speaking voice again with all of those who know him - most of his friends and admirers in New York and elsewhere have not heard him speak for nearly three years!"
Michael Moricz is best known as the longtime arranger and music director of the annual The Jimmy Awards on Broadway, produced by The Broadway League. He has also written music for television (PBS, Fox, The Disney Channel) and the concert hall and songs and incidental music for theatre. He's written custom arrangements for Tommy Tune, Marvin Hamlisch, Renee Fleming, Linda Lavin, John Lithgow, Chita Rivera and many others. He has also long been associated as a composer, pianist or conductor of music for dance, in collaboration with American Ballet Theatre, the Mark Morris Dance Group, Houston Ballet, the Juilliard School and others. He currently works for the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago as a rehearsal pianist and assistant conductor. He has conducted extensively for ballet with such orchestras as the Fort Worth Symphony, Chicago Philharmonic, Dallas Opera Orchestra, Pittsburgh Ballet Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony and the Kennedy Center Orchestra at Wolf Trap.
"A New Beginning" is available for streaming or free download at: https://michaelmoricz.bandcamp.com/track/a-new-beginning
Photo Credit: Mister Rogers Neighborhood