Conductor, pianist, composer, arranger and Grammy Award-winning record producer, John McDaniel was the band daily on The Rosie O'Donnell Show (1996) for which he wrote the theme song and has received multiple Emmy nominations for Outstanding Music Direction and Composition. In 2001, John added 'Emmy Award Winner' to his long list of accomplishments when the show picked up the prize in the category of Outstanding Talk Show. On the show, he has worked with such artists as Tony Bennett, Dick Van Dyke, Neil Diamond, Dolly Parton, Liza Minnelli, Barry Manilow, Chaka Kahn and Madonna. His association with Rosie dates back to 1994 when he conducted the Broadway revival of Grease, in which Rosie played Rizzo. This production, for which McDaniel also created new vocal and dance arrangements, went on to become Broadway's longest running revival. Stars throughout its run included Brooke Shields, Jon Secada, Sheena Easton, Chubby Checker and Jennifer Holliday. Mr. McDaniel is the supervising Music Director of the current Broadway revival of Annie Get Your Gun, starring Bernadette Peters, which won the 1999 Tony award for Best Revival of a Musical and for which he received his Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album. He also conducted the current smash hit Chicago on Broadway, the 1993 reunion of the original Broadway cast of Company in concert at Lincoln Center, the U.S. tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Starlight Express, off-Broadway's Blame It On the Movies, and solo performances of such esteemed artists as Cab Calloway, Nell Carter, George Burns and Al Jarreau. He has been a featured pops conductor with many symphony orchestras, including the Milwaukee Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, and the Buffalo Philharmonic in return engagements. In addition, Mr. McDaniel has also enjoyed a long association with Patti LuPone, arranging the show Patti LuPone on Broadway, and having both arranged and conducted the recording of Patti LuPone Live! He has accompanied Ms. LuPone as conductor for many of her symphonic engagements including appearances with the San Francisco Symphony, Charlotte Symphony and the Ann Arbor Symphony. Additional arranging credits include Annie Get Your Gun, the revival of Applause, directed by Gene Saks and choreographed by Ann Reinking, and Busker Alley, for which Mr. McDaniel also conducted the pre-Broadway tour, starring Tommy Tune with music by the Sherman Brothers. In 1989, he created arrangements for How Do You Keep the Music Playing?, a retrospective on the lyrics of Alan and Marilyn Bergman, performed at the Coast Playhouse in Hollywood. He also arranged music for the Tony Awards in 1997, 1998 and 2000. His most recent arranging and conducting credits for television specials include A Rosie Christmas for ABC, and both the Friar's Roast of Jerry Stiller and the Friar's Roast of Rob Reiner for Comedy Central. Mr. McDaniel recently recorded his debut solo CD, John McDaniel at the Piano: Broadway. Other recording credits include his role as producer of the Broadway cast album for the revival of Annie Get Your Gun on Angel Records, his conducting of the new Broadway cast recording of Grease on the RCA/Victor label, Patti LuPone Live! on RCA/Victor, as well as of Davis Gaines' release, Against the Tide, on LAP Records. He is the recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for his musical direction of Chicago, as well as multiple Drama Logue awards. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Mr. McDaniel first studied piano with his mother Jane, and earned a BFA degree in Drama from Carnegie Mellon. Find John's complete bio at:
ROBYN: How Did You Get Into "The Biz"?
JOHN: My mom is a piano teacher, so there was always music in the house. I loved musicals from a very young age and I'm happy to say that my path was always clear and that I've never done anything else besides make music for a living.
R: Who Were Your Greatest Inspirations?
J: My Grandma Crawford lived a great life and showed me how to be kind and giving from an early age. I'm also still completely inspired by Rodgers & Hammerstein, Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim!
R: Worst Audition Experience?
J: The only time I ever auditioned was to play rehearsal piano for LES MISERABLES in Los Angeles many years ago - I had to play one of the hardest sections in the show. I did get it, but perhaps just barely. I don't know how actors do it day in and day out....
R: What Song Is Your "Guilty Pleasure"?
J: Beyonce's "Put a ring on It"!!
R: What is Your Anthem Song?
J: "Nobody Does It Like Me"
R: "Must Haves" Backstage?
J: Diet Coke!
R: What One Sentence Advice Can You Give to Industry Beginners?
J: Say 'yes' to everything and work at your craft whenever possible....you never know where one "yes" will lead you!
R: What Has Been Your Favorite Moment on Stage?
J: It would be pretty hard to beat conducting the onstage orchestra at the 20th anniversary reunion concert of Sondheim's COMPANY at Lincoln Center. pure bliss.