Ensemble Bios

Paul Sportelli

Paul Sportelli

Paul Sportelli returns for his sixteenth season as The Shaw’s Music Director. This season, Paul is the musical director for Cabaret and composer for Juno and the Paycock.

Paul’s growing list of credits at the Shaw Festival include musical director and/or conductor for Guys and Dolls, The Light in the Piazza, Ragtime, Trouble in Tahiti, Maria Severa, My Fair Lady, One Touch of Venus, Sunday in the Park with George, Play, Orchestra, Play, Wonderful Town, A Little Night Music, Follies: In Concert, Tristan, Mack and Mabel, High Society, Gypsy, Happy End, Floyd Collins, Pal Joey, On the Twentieth Century, Merrily We Roll Along, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Shadow Play, She Loves Me, and A Foggy Day. Musical reading series credits include The Golden Apple, Jubilee, Panama Hattie, Hello Again, archy and mehitabel, and Sadie Thompson. Paul has composed music for On the Rocks, Saint Joan, An Inspector Calls, Belle Moral, Arms and The Man, The Crucible, Love Among the Russians, Man and Superman, Three Sisters, The Plough and the Stars, Candida, His Majesty, Chaplin, Picnic, The Millionairess, Lord of the Flies and The Madras House.

Maria Severa was the second musical by Paul Sportelli and Jay Turvey to appear at the Shaw Festival. Their first was the musical Tristan in 2007. There are recordings of both Maria Severa and Tristan available at the Shaw Shop, at jaypaulproject.com, iTunes and cdbaby. Paul and Jay are also co-songwriters (and keyboardist and lead singer, respectively) for the pop group jaypaul project. As jaypaul project, they released two recordings: j-paul and the story of my life. These recordings are also available at the Shaw Shop, at jaypaulproject.com, iTunes and cdbaby.

Paul and Jay have co-written four other musicals to date: Little Mercy’s First Murder (with book and lyrics by Morwyn Brebner) received its world premiere at the Tarragon Theatre in 2003. A co-production between the Tarragon Theatre and the Shaw Festival, it received seven Dora Awards (Paul was awarded the Dora for musical direction). It was later produced in 2005 by Vancouver’s Touchstone Theatre and in 2006 by Calgary’s Vertigo Theatre. Step Right Up! (written with Eric Woolfe) received its world premiere at Theatre Orangeville in 2008. nobody told me, a cycle of songs, received its first public performance in Toronto in 2009 at the Berkeley Upstairs Theatre. And Oracle, their most recent musical, is a work-in-progress, was presented at SummerWorks 2011 as part of Musical Works in Concert. Maria Severa received its European premiere in late 2011 in Krakow, Poland, translated into Polish, and directed by Tadeusz Bradecki. Paul and Jay are currently writing a new musical called 33-1/3.

Paul’s additional credits as composer include Cloud 9 (Mirvish Productions), The Babysitter (Theatre Direct), Sideshow of the Damned (SummerWorks), and Music for Contortionist (Tarragon Theatre).

Paul’s credits as musical director include Marry Me A Little (Tarragon Theatre); My Fair Lady (Arena Stage, Washington D.C.); Parade (Acting Up Stage/Studio 180); The Fantasticks, Threepenny Opera (Soulpepper Theatre Company); The Light in the Piazza (Helen Hayes nomination, Arena Stage); Side by Side by Sondheim, Larry’s Party, The House of Martin Guerre, Leslie Arden and Friends (Canadian Stage); You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, The Wizard of Oz (Young People’s Theatre); Company (Toronto Reprise Concert Series); sex with strings (Toronto Fringe Festival); Beauty and the Beast (Dora Award – musical direction, Disney/Mirvish Productions); Miss Saigon (Mirvish Productions); Les Misérables (Mirvish Productions, Canadian/U.S. tour, Broadway); Aspects of Love (Livent, Canadian/U.S. tour, Broadway).

Paul made his conducting debut in Aspects of Love on Broadway, and made his Massey Hall debut conducting a 32-piece orchestra performing with Colin James and his Little Big Band. Paul has also conducted at the Skaneateles Music Festival (NY) and was musical director for Harbourfront World Leaders galas for Stephen Sondheim and Joni Mitchell.

Paul received his Bachelor of Music degree and Performers’ Certificate from the Eastman School of Music and his Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the Manhattan School of Music.