On Broadway, Alumni Lacamoire, Oremus, and Wells Give Back

By 
Belinda Huang
November 10, 2016
Alex, Stephen, and Will pose together backstage.
Alex Lacamoire and Stephen Oremus pose next to their Berklee Today posters.
Stephen Webber introduces the moderator Will Wells.
Will Wells moderates the panel with Alex and Stephen.
80 alumni from both Berklee and Boston Conservatory clap after the panel.
Group photo of the organizers of the the NYC panel with the panelists.
Alex Lacamoire gives advice to students in the "In the Heights" show.
Alex Lacamoire gives direction to the singers in the cast of "In the Heights."
Students take "selfies" with Alex after the rehearsal.
A group photo of the cast of "In the Heights" with Alex.
The Office of Alumni Affairs brings together an all-star cast of Will Wells ’11, Stephen Oremus ’92, and Alex Lacamoire ’95 at the Cutting Room in New York City on October 24, for a panel titled “Directing Greatness: An Evening Behind Broadway.”
Lacamoire and Oremus pose alongside their "Berklee Today" magazine covers.
Stephen Webber, managing director for special initiatives, introduces panel moderator Wells, an accomplished producer, engineer, performer, writer, and conductor.
The panelists discuss their journeys to success on Broadway and the behind-the-scenes work that happens on a daily basis while giving advice to students with Broadway aspirations.
The audience, made up of 80 Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory at Berklee alumni, eagerly show their appreciation for the panelists.
The event organizers pose for a group shot on stage. From left: Cindy Link, Stephen Webber, Nona Hendryx, Alex Lacamoire, Will Wells, Stephen Oremus, Jessi Rosinski, Mark Small, Karen Bell, and Carl Beatty.
Lacamoire attends a rehearsal at Berklee with the student cast of "In the Heights," participating in a Q&A for the first hour of rehearsal.
Lacamoire offers detailed guidance and gracious corrections to students during the rehearsal.
Lacamoire teaches students about "passion, work, how to flourish in the industry, and to take opportunities that feel right in your gut," says cast member Gabriela Cabezas. "He's also very down to earth and I loved how he recognized my New York accent off the bat."
Cast member Zaid Tabani says the experience was "surreal." Tabani said Lacamoire was "very personable and had no air of superiority about him. He understood exactly where we were coming from and treated us like we had a voice worth the show he helped make that won him that Tony. The fact that he was so hands-on with us and supportive of the fact we're doing 'In the Heights' at Berklee was incredible."
Tea for Two Photography
Tea for Two Photography
Tea for Two Photography
Tea for Two Photography
Tea for Two Photography
Tea for Two Photography
Dave Green
Dave Green
Dave Green
Kristin Holland

Tony Award-winning Broadway titans Alex Lacamoire ’95 (Hamilton, In the Heights) and Stephen Oremus ’92 (The Book of Mormon, Kinky Boots) recently spoke as part of a panel moderated by Will Wells '11 (Hamilton), "Directing Greatness: An Evening Behind Broadway." The next day, Lacamoire visited Berklee to give notes to students during a rehearsal for an upcoming Berklee production of In the Heights (one performance is sold out but tickets remain for November 17 and November 19 shows).

The panel event at the Cutting Room in New York City offered a chance for alumni from both Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory at Berklee to hear directly from these accomplished alumni who have seen meteoric success in the theater world, noted Karen Bell, Berklee's chief alumni affairs officer. Wells, a producer, engineer, and musician who has worked with renowned artists such as Quincy Jones '51, Barbra Streisand, John Mayer '98, and Ariana Grandein addition to his work on Hamiltonmoderated the discussion.

Lacamoire, an orchestrator, arranger, and musical director who is also a conductor and keyboard player, and Oremus, a composer, arranger, and orchestrator who is also a musical director, music supervisor, and conductor, walked the audience through their journeys from Berklee to New York, where they landed some of the best gigs on Broadway.

Lacamoire reminisced fondly about Berklee, saying that his alma mater and the friends he made here led him to where he is today. Both he and Oremus made it clear that their successes were made meaningful thanks to the people they have worked with. Oremus recounted the story of the first Broadway show he conducted, saying that he got emotional when an audience member approached him to say how Oremus's passion for the orchestra was so clearly visible.

"I do love them," said Oremus, "and it was amazing to have the person see that."

A Rehearsal Like No Other

The Cutting Room event concluded with a celebration of the release of Berklee Today's fall 2016 issue, which featured Lacamoire on its cover, but the spirit of giving back didn't stop there. The following day, Lacamoire made an impromptu visit to Berklee and participated in both a student clinic and a student rehearsal for In the Heights. Lacamoire stayed for the full three hours of the rehearsal, answering questions for the first hour and actively participating in the rehearsal the rest of the time.

Keyboard player Esin Aydingoz was impressed by how Lacamoire was very interactive, giving helpful advice and noticing very subtle differences between their performances and the Broadway production.

"The rehearsal was amazing because he made In the Heights the In the Heights we know," Aydingoz said. "He was involved [with the musical] from the very beginning, so he knew so much about the characters. He gave great tips to the actors and they immediately started to sing and act better after his comments."

Cast member Gabriela Cabezas, who plays the character Camila Rosairo in Berklee's production of the musical, echoed similar sentiments, saying Lacamoire had pointers for every single member of the band and ensemble.

“He was writing on his notepad for every number we performed, stopping us when necessary, and conducting us. He guided, retaught, and was on the ball the whole time. If the tiniest note was off or if a word did not have the right diction, he immediately corrected it with so much grace,” said Cabezas. “He still knows the whole score by heart, and his humbleness and openness astounded us the most.”