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’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 additional credits as musical director include Parade (Acting Up Stage/Studio 180); The Fantasticks, Threepenny Opera (Soulpepper); 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).
Recently, he returned to Washington’s Arena Stage to musically direct My Fair Lady.
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.