On the Couch with Ron Melrose

Ron Melrose Arts Review On the CouchWho is Ron Melrose?
I’m Ron Melrose, originating music director and international music supervisor of Jersey Boys, in Australia to audition and find an exciting new cast for the show.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
In the last thirteen years, Jersey Boys has taken me all over the world – but that means I spend a huge amount of my year away from my home in Los Angeles, missing a wonderful wife who I don’t get to live with about 85% of the time. I would love to take a sabbatical from theatre work, stay home for several months in a row, spend time with her, and perhaps see if I might have a book inside me…

Who inspires you and why?
In a world that seems to be more and more about survival, I’m inspired by people who haven’t lost touch with their moral compass – we can all live busy, but I know very few who live well and rightly – I’d like to be one of them.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I think I’ve done it, in my small way… From 1991 to 1997, I was the music director of a Manhattan church which had an outreach to New York’s homeless population, but it was pretty much limited to soup at arm’s length. When a new minister took over the pulpit, we found ourselves to be like-minded, and we started a gospel choir from that homeless community. There’s a third path:  you can see a panhandler and walk on by, you can see a panhandler, give him/her a dollar and walk on by, or you can stop – introduce yourself – ask their name – ask them why they’re on the street – and invite them to join a choir. Some incredible relationships were formed, some lives became much less isolated, some homeless ended up homed, some amazing music was made…

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Antibes, in the south of France. Gracious living, a fresh-food open market, and Mediterranean beaches…

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Remember that I’m a visitor to Sydney myself. But I’m a visitor who saw a picture of the Sydney Opera House on the cover of National Geographic magazine in 1973 and said “Someday, I’m going to see that building with my own eyes.” As far as I’m concerned, it’s among the most amazing buildings in the world.

What are you currently reading?
I’m re-reading the Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett.  Historical fiction, glorious characters, astonishing details.

What are you currently listening to?
Something to Tell You – the sophomore album from the trio HAIM.

Happiness is?
When your dreams and your reality coincide… Or maybe that’s satisfaction.

What does the future hold for you?
The near future holds dinner at Chefs Gallery. The distant future holds about five more Broadway shows, then retirement.  Or maybe I’ll take that sabbatical…

Ron Melrose has forty years of arranging, music direction and supervision, including eighteen Broadway shows, and productions spanning the world to his credits. Winner of a Helpmann Award for music direction on Jersey Boys, music supervisor of Jersey Boys film, associate producer of Jersey Boys cast and Christmas albums.

Upcoming: A Bronx Tale (Broadway), three more projects in development including Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. As a composer: Fourtune (Off-Broadway), The Silver Swan (NEA Fellowship), The Missing Peace (Washington’s Capitol Fringe), Early One Morning (liturgical one-woman musical), two Harvard Hasty Pudding shows, a gospel-based Requiem, and songs for Saturday Night Live.

Ron is currently in Australia auditioning for a new cast to star in Jersey Boys – opening at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre in September 2018. For more information, visit: www.jerseyboys.com.au for details.

Image: Ron Melrose