Ever heard of a couple little shows called Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen? Well, Alex Lacamoire is the orchestrator for both. What is an orchestrator, you ask? Great question! An orchestrator takes the music the composer writes and makes it sound the way it does in the theater with a full orchestra (or band) and on the cast recording.
Beyond his duties as an orchestrator (he won the Tony Award® both last year for Best Orchestrations for Hamilton and again this year for Dear Evan Hansen), he is also the Music Supervisor for both shows AND a producer of both cast recordings!
We asked "Lac" to make a playlist for our Showtunes for People Who Don't Like Showtunes series...and, of course, he knocked it out. of. the. park! About the playlist, he says: "I drew from Broadway, Off-Broadway and beyond, sometimes going for deeper cuts from my favorite composers. I tried to pick tracks that I think are so well-written that they would lure those unfamiliar with theater music to learn more about the world. Hope you dig it!"
Without further ado, the songs:
TEAR ME DOWN from HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH
"What a killer opener for a killer cast recording of a killer score. It seemed appropriate to start with this scorcher by Stephen Trask."
TIMES ARE HARD FOR DREAMERS (Pop Version) from AMÉLIE
"I love this melody, arrangement, and production. Hands up for Daniel Messé, Nathan Tysen, and Philippa Soo!"
A SOFT PLACE TO LAND from WAITRESS
"Sara Bareilles wrote a brilliant score, and this is the track that makes my heart swell the most. I love how you can float away on this song. The vocal arrangement is bananas."
WAIT FOR IT from HAMILTON
"I couldn’t help but pick a song from HAMILTON. This is the track I’m most proud of on the album from an arrangement/orchestration/production perspective, and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s song is just the coolest."
STILL HURTING from THE LAST FIVE YEARS
"I’ve yet to meet someone who isn’t compelled the first time they hear that low piano figure and that opening vocal line. Props to Jason Robert Brown for always being so melodic and purposeful in his writing."
THE ASTRONOMER from GHOST QUARTET
"I dig how Dave Malloy has his own distinct voice as a writer, always being honest, uncluttered, and witty. This song makes me smile with its story and arrangement."
TOUCH ME from SPRING AWAKENING
"I never ever ever get tired of this song. This tune would bring me to tears watching the original cast (which I saw on Broadway 5 times!). AnneMarie Milazzo’s vocal arrangement is so darn good it makes me want to quit, and Skylar Astin’s vocal soaring at the end is so powerful that it makes me clench my fists. Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, dude -- they nailed it."
EVERYONE'S A LITTLE BIT RACIST from AVENUE Q
"I remember HOWLING upon hearing this song! Bobby Lopez, Jeff Marx and Jeff Whitty for the win!"
WILL I from RENT
"This was the first track I ever heard from RENT. Ever gorgeous. Thank you, Jonathan Larson."
MIGHT AS WELL from OLD HATS
"I adore Shaina Taub’s writing. If you don’t know her, look her up! You’re welcome."
VEGAS from TALES FROM THE BAD YEARS
"Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk wrote one of the funniest dude songs ever. Dude!"
HERO AND LEANDER from MYTHS AND HYMNS
"It’s hard for me to express how brilliant I think Adam Guettel is. His writing is heartfelt and original, often taking unexpected turns in these melodies and chord progressions that continue to get richer the more one listens."
RING OF KEYS from FUN HOME
"I find this track to be perfect in every way; the lyrics, the melody, the orchestration, the performance….FUN HOME left such an impression on me. Respect to Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron."
SHOW YOU A THING OR TWO from BAT BOY
"Larry O’Keefe is a genius! That guy rhymes like a mofo, and what this song accomplishes in a show, musicalizing a passage of time AND painting a clear story WHILE making you laugh….It’s phenomenal. When I first heard the BAT BOY demo in 1999, this was the song that sealed the deal and made me say 'I have to be on this show.'"
LAURA,LAURA from HIGH FIDELITY
"This gem is one of my favorite songs Tom Kitt and Amanda Green ever wrote. It’s simple and heartbreaking, and it sounds exactly the way this character would talk."
WAVING THROUGH A WINDOW from DEAR EVAN HANSEN
"I wanted to close out with this jam, because I am always blown away by how Benj Pasek and Justin Paul are able to write songs that speak both musical theater and pop so authentically and naturally. You hear this song once and you never forget it."