On 19th March, Jason decided to serenade his mother and West End star Maria Friedman, on their mutual birthday, on social media. Various friends suggested he play more and, between 20th March and 3rd July, Jason went on to post 75 YouTube videos on different aspects of musical theatre. Shows covered included Broadway classics from Rodgers & Hammerstein and the Gershwins, songs written in Hollywood for stars like Betty Grable and Carmen Miranda, British shows from Noel Coward and Vivian Ellis, as well as Jason’s own songs.
Now happily back ‘live’, this Tony and Olivier nominated composer, lyricist and orchestrator, looks back on an extraordinary time finding joy in quarantine.
Jason studied composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. After winning the 1988 Vivian Ellis Prize for young writers of musicals, Jason was invited by Sir Peter Hall to compose the musical Born Again (Chichester Festival Theatre, starring Mandy Patinkin and José Ferrer). As Associate Composer at Chichester, Jason wrote music and lyrics for several new musicals; The Water Babies and Six Pictures of Lee Miller (nominated for the British Composer Awards), and A Christmas Carol (also West Yorkshire Playhouse and Birmingham Rep.) His new musicals Lockhart and Cold Front are currently in development.
Jason has composed incidental music for over 50 plays at the NT, RSC, in the West End and on Broadway, including 17 productions for the late Steven Pimlott, and the Unicorn Theatre’s much-revived The Velveteen Rabbit (also NYC, Barcelona & Seattle).
Orchestration credits include the Menier Chocolate Factory’s Sunday in the Park with George, La Cage aux Folles and A Little Night Music (all also West End and Broadway, winning the Drama Desk Award and two Tony nominations for Best Orchestrations), as well as Maria Friedman: Re-arranged, Candide, She Loves Me and their recent Trevor Nunn production of Fiddler On The Roof (Playhouse – Olivier Award nomination for Best New Orchestrations).
Jason has accompanied many artists including Elisabeth Welch, Michael Ball (Alone Together at the Donmar), Dame Felicity Lott, Anne Reid (including her CD You Are The Best Thing That Ever Has Happened To Me with Derek Jacobi), and Maria Friedman.