Thomas Z. Shepard

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Thomas Z. Shepard (born June 20, 1936) [1] is an American record producer who is best known for his recordings of Broadway musicals, including the works of Stephen Sondheim. Shepard is also a composer, conductor, music arranger and pianist.

Broadway theatre class of professional theater presented in New York City, New York, USA

Broadway theatre, also known simply as Broadway, refers to the theatrical performances presented in the 41 professional theatres, each with 500 or more seats located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway theatre is widely considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world.

Stephen Sondheim American composer and lyricist

Stephen Joshua Sondheim is an American composer and lyricist known for more than a half-century of contributions to musical theatre. Sondheim has received an Academy Award, eight Tony Awards, eight Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, a Laurence Olivier Award, and a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom.


He has won twelve Grammy Awards and produced the original cast recordings of many of the Sondheim musicals, including Sweeney Todd , Company and Sunday in the Park with George , among others. He also produced the original cast recordings of 1776 , La Cage aux Folles and 42nd Street , among over a hundred others. He has produced hundreds of classical music and popular music recordings.

<i>Company</i> (musical) 1970 musical comedy

Company is a 1970 musical comedy with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth. The original production was nominated for a record-setting fourteen Tony Awards and won six.

<i>Sunday in the Park with George</i> 1984 musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine

Sunday in the Park with George is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. It was inspired by the French pointillist painter Georges Seurat's painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. The plot revolves around George, a fictionalized version of Seurat, who immerses himself deeply in painting his masterpiece, and his great-grandson, a conflicted and cynical contemporary artist. The Broadway production opened in 1984.

<i>1776</i> (musical) musical with music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards and a book by Peter Stone

1776 is a musical with music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards and a book by Peter Stone. The story is based on the events surrounding the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It dramatizes the efforts of John Adams to persuade his colleagues to vote for American independence and to sign the document.


Shepard attended The Juilliard School's preparatory division, training in piano and composition, leaving after his third year, in 1949. He then attended Oberlin College, again studying piano and, privately, composition, receiving his B.A., Music, in 1958. He then continued his studies in 1959 at the Yale Graduate School of Music. [2]

Oberlin College Private liberal arts college in Oberlin, Ohio, United States

Oberlin College is a private liberal arts college and conservatory of music in Oberlin, Ohio. It is the oldest coeducational liberal arts college in the United States and the second oldest continuously operating coeducational institute of higher learning in the world. The Oberlin Conservatory of Music is the oldest continuously operating conservatory in the United States. In 1835 Oberlin became one of the first colleges in the United States to admit African Americans, and in 1837 the first to admit women. It has been known since its founding for progressive student activism.

Beginning in 1960, Shepard worked for fourteen years for Columbia Records, eventually becoming co-director of CBS Masterworks. He joined RCA Records in 1974, where he was Division Vice President of RCA Red Seal, responsible for recording, signing and marketing of the label, until 1986. [3] He was then Vice President: Classical and Theatrical until 1989 for MCA Records in New York, where he created their classical and theatrical record line. Shepard then became an independent producer, wrote, narrated and produced The WQXR/MCA Classics Listener's Guide (1988; music appreciation recordings) and has lectured on musical theatre and classical music. [2] [4]

Columbia Records American record label; currently owned by Sony Music Entertainment

Columbia Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. It was founded in 1887, evolving from the American Graphophone Company, the successor to the Volta Graphophone Company. Columbia is the oldest surviving brand name in the recorded sound business, and the second major company to produce records. From 1961 to 1990, Columbia recordings were released outside North America under the name CBS Records to avoid confusion with EMI's Columbia Graphophone Company. Columbia is one of Sony Music's four flagship record labels, alongside former longtime rival RCA Records, as well as Arista Records and Epic Records.

RCA Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America. It is one of Sony Music's four flagship labels, alongside RCA's former long-time rival Columbia Records, Arista Records, and Epic Records. The label has released multiple genres of music, including pop, classical, rock, hip hop, afrobeat, electronic, R&B, blues, jazz, and country. Its name is derived from the initials of its defunct parent company, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). It was fully acquired by Bertelsmann in 1986, making it a part of Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG); however, RCA Records became a part of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, a merger between BMG and Sony Music, in 2004, and was acquired by the latter in 2008, after the dissolution of Sony BMG and the restructuring of Sony Music. It is the second-oldest record label in American history, after sister label Columbia Records.

MCA Records US record label, imprint of MCA Records, Inc.

MCA Records was an American record label owned by MCA Inc., which later gave way to the larger MCA Music Entertainment Group, which the label was part of until its dissolution in 2003. The label's country division MCA Nashville is a still an active imprint of Universal Music Group Nashville.

Shepard has produced numerous classical and Broadway cast albums, winning 12 Grammy Awards, including four with songs by Stephen Sondheim. [3] In 1984, he received the NARAS Governors' Award for Lifetime Achievement, [2] and in 1986, he won a Drama Desk Special Award "for preserving musical theater heritage on record." [5] Shepard received two Emmy Award nominations for songs he composed for the PBS television show Between the Lions (2007). He has also produced live concert events, most recently My Fair Lady in 2007, and Camelot in 2008, with the New York Philharmonic, broadcast on PBS as part of the Live from Lincoln Center series. [6] Shepard has arranged music and conducted for Anna Moffo, [7] Richard Kiley, the Norman Luboff Choir and Richard Tucker, [8] among others. He performed as a pianist at various concert venues, and his recording of classical piano pieces and improvisations, "Love on a Stormy Weekend", was released by Planet Earth Recording Co. in 1998. [9]

The Drama Desk Special Award is an annual award presented by Drama Desk in recognition of achievements by an individual or an organization that has made a significant contribution to the theatre among Broadway, Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway productions.

Emmy Award American television production award

An Emmy Award, or simply Emmy, is an American award that recognizes excellence in the television industry. It is presented at numerous annual events held throughout the calendar year, each honoring one of the various sectors of the television industry. The two ceremonies that receive the most media coverage are the Primetime Emmy Awards and the Daytime Emmy Awards, which recognize outstanding work in American primetime and daytime entertainment programming, respectively. Other notable Emmy events include those honoring national sports programming, national news and documentary shows, and technological and engineering achievements in television, including the Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards. Regional Emmy Awards are also presented throughout the country at various times through the year, recognizing excellence in local and statewide television. In addition, the International Emmy Awards honor excellence in TV programming produced and initially aired outside the United States.

PBS Public television network in the United States

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is an American public broadcaster and television program distributor. It is a nonprofit organization and the most prominent provider of educational television programming to public television stations in the United States, distributing series such as American Experience, America's Test Kitchen, Antiques Roadshow, Arthur, Barney & Friends, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Downton Abbey, Finding Your Roots, Frontline, The Magic School Bus, Masterpiece, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Nature, Nova, the PBS NewsHour, Sesame Street, Teletubbies, and This Old House.

Shepard is the composer of five musicals and five operas, among other pieces. [10] The operas include That Pig of a Molette (1988) and A Question of Faith (1990), both with libretti by Sheldon Harnick, which were presented as a double-bill under the title Love in Two Countries at St. Peter's Church Theatre, in New York City, by Musical Theater Works in 1991; [11] and a score for the lost music of Thespis (2008), which has been called "a love letter to [ Gilbert and Sullivan ] and ... might be better than the original". [12] In 1971, he composed the motion picture score for Such Good Friends , directed by Otto Preminger, and in 1974, he wrote a children's cantata, In the Night Kitchen, with words by Maurice Sendak. He also composed the piano folio Folk a la Classique for Carl Fischer Music (2003; original compositions for children) and was the composer and lyricist for children's educational material for the Carnegie Hall Explorers Division, The Children’s Symphony (2004, intended to teach the instruments of the orchestra to second-and third-grade schoolchildren) and for the PBS television show Between the Lions (2007). [2] [13]

Sheldon Harnick American lyricist

Sheldon Mayer Harnick is an American lyricist and songwriter best known for his collaborations with composer Jerry Bock on musicals such as Fiddler on the Roof.

York Theatre is an Off-Broadway theatre company based in East Midtown Manhattan, New York City. In its 50th year, York Theatre is dedicated to the production of new musicals and concert productions of forgotten musicals from the past. Each season consists of three or four mainstage productions, six or more concert presentations and dozens of developmental readings. It has had several transfers of its work to larger off-Broadway theatres and to Broadway. The company was awarded a special Drama Desk Award in 1996 to its artistic director Janet Hayes Walker and in 2006 for its "vital contributions to theater by developing and presenting new musicals".

<i>Thespis</i> (opera) opera

Thespis, or The Gods Grown Old, is an operatic extravaganza that was the first collaboration between dramatist W. S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan. No musical score of Thespis was ever published, and most of the music has been lost. Gilbert and Sullivan went on to become the most famous and successful artistic partnership in Victorian England, creating a string of comic opera hits, including H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado, which continue to be popular.

Selected list of recordings produced

Shepard has produced numerous musical theatre, classical and opera albums, including the following. (G) indicates a Grammy Award winner.

Shepard's classical music recordings include albums with Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez and others, [15] and his albums of popular music include, among others:

In addition, Shepard contributed to the early 1970s "switched-on" cycle of synthesized electronic classical albums, with Everything You Always Wanted to Hear on the Moog* (*but were afraid to ask for), in collaboration with Andrew Kazdin (1973). [16] In the 1990s, he also produced several albums for Sony Classical, with conductor John Williams and The Boston Pops, including The Star Wars Trilogy (Skywalker Orchestra); The Spielberg-Williams Collaboration; I Love a Parade; Kismet , starring Samuel Ramey, Jerry Hadley, Dom DeLuise, Ruth Ann Swenson and Julia Migenes; [17] and The Green Album, among others. [18]


  1. Holland, Bernard (July 15, 1984). "Capturing Broadway on Record". The New York Times. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Thomas Z. Shepard". Masterworks on Broadway, accessed October 25, 2010
  3. 1 2 3 Thomas Z. Shepard at the SondheimGuide, accessed February 9, 2011
  4. Bio of Shepard at
  5. Shepard's Drama Desk Award Archived 2011-05-24 at the Wayback Machine
  6. Stempleski, Susan. Review of Camelot (
  7. Wishing You a Merry Christmas, with Moffo and Tucker, CBS SBR 235161
  8. e.g., Richard Tucker, The Soul of Italy, tracks 13-24, Sony Classical (1999), CD SMK 66309; and Hatikvah! Richard Tucker sings great Jewish Favorites, with the Norman Luboff Choir, Columbia (1969), cat. no. MS 7217
  9. PE-CD-2418. See "Tom (Thomas Z.) Shepard" Archived 2011-07-15 at the Wayback Machine , Planet Earth Recording Co., accessed October 25, 2010
  10. The musicals are When Time Stands Still, with a libretto by Tony Musante, produced at Oberlin College in 1957; Haircut, with writers Larry Sigman and Danny Silverstein, based on a Ring Lardner short story (Oberlin 1958); The Snow Queen (1963, after Hans Christian Andersen; Richard Tucker recorded the opening song, "When You're Young") and Blaming it on You (1970; Joan Morris and Bill Bolcom recorded one of the songs, "Sweet Mary Go to the Movies"), both with a libretto by Charles Burr and yet to be produced; and The Horse's Mouth (1960s, based on the novel by Joyce Cary, lyrics by Shepard, no book written). His first opera was The Last of the Just, with a libretto by Gerald Walker, based on the novel by Andre Schwarz-Bart (1980)
  11. Simon, John. "Theatre: The Belle of Kenya", New York Magazine, April 15, 1991, pp. 66–67
  12. Koven, Vance R. "G&S’s Thespis Grown New by GaSLOCoLI", The Boston Musical Intelligencer, July 9, 2014. Shepard's score was first performed in concert in June 2008 by the Blue Hill Troupe in New York City. See Jones, Kenneth. "Thespis, Lost G&S Operetta, Gets New Score by Thomas Z. Shepard" Archived 2013-11-13 at the Wayback Machine , Playbill, 28 May 2008; and Filichia, Peter. "G&S&S" Archived 2011-06-06 at the Wayback Machine , TheaterMania, June 9, 2008. It received a fully staged production in June–July 2014 by the Gilbert and Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island. See Parks, Steve. "Gilbert and Sullivan Light Opera Company marks 60th anniversary", Newsday , June 19, 2014.
  13. Information about Shepard's contributions to Between the Lions
  14. Hetrick, Adam. "Library of Congress Adds Original Sweeney Todd Cast Album to National Recording Registry" Archived 2014-04-03 at , Playbill, April 2, 2014
  15. See North, James H. New York Philharmonic: The Authorized Recordings, 1917–2005, 2006, pp. 142–255, The Scarecrow Press, Inc. ISBN   0-8108-5854-1 and Thomas Z. Shepard at the Sondheim Guide
  16. Everything You Always Wanted to Hear on the Moog, CBS cat. no. 73146
  17. Kismet – A Musical Arabian Night, Sony Classical (1991) ASIN: B00138JCT8
  18. See, e.g., Sony Classical: Great Performances, 1903-1998 Sony Music 65819 (1999), at Allmusic, accessed February 9, 2011

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