music, technology & life in pasadena, california


The band in NY was rehearsing for the opening of Hairspray on Broadway, but they were a little upset by the tempo of one of the tunes. It wasn't sitting just right, so they elected one of the players to approach Marc Shaiman, the composer of the show. The player explained that the tempo was a bit too fast and that it was killing the groove. Without batting an eye, Marc said, "Yes, but this is theatre. And in theatre, gay trumps groove."

January 16, 2009 | Link to this entry

New Year's Changes

Happy New Year!

I thought I'd take the time to tidy things up around here.

First, there's a great new search box for searching this site. Results are returned via Google, so all the usual Google search rules apply. I'm really excited and have been meaning to implement this for a while, but as usual, life kept getting in the way, so over the last few days I did a little research and reformatting and...voila! Try's really handy!

Second, the entries for the browsing, reading and listening sections have been swept into the browsing archives which can always be accessed from the bottom of the browsing section (just click on the word "More..."). There you can find every item that ever appeared in the right column of the site.

Another big change is the fact that Wicked, the musical I've been playing at the Pantages Theatre for the last two years, closed last Sunday, January 11. It was an incredible ride playing with all the amazing musicians that contractor Brian Miller put together. I made some new friends, like drummer Chris Jago, and hung out with old friends. My rhythm section buddies, keyboardist Dave Witham, bassist Trey Henry and Chris were without a doubt the most rocking players you could ever hope to work with. Thanks, guys...

We had several conductors as we made our way through the run. Dominic Amendum started us off in February 2007 and eventually made his way to Broadway and a spot as assistant music supervisor. He was replaced in August 2007 by Bryan Perri. Players are always a little leery of new conductors, but Bryan turned out to be a great guy, supportive of the players, extremely generous and with a huge heart. It was a great pleasure working with him. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention two other conducting standouts, associate conductors Jim May and Dave Witham. Both of these guys learned a hugely difficult book, put up with diva-osity and just slammed it on every show. Wow!

Last, but not least by any stretch, I want to thank my associate guitarist, Justin Smith. The associate is there to handle things when the regular guy needs to take a day off, for work or just a little time out, or during illness. The eight-shows-a-week schedule (Tuesday through Friday, all day Saturday, all day Sunday, off Monday) can grind you down if you're not prepared for it. In the end,we played 815 shows, and Justin never once let me down. He's a fantastic young player, enthusiastic, amazingly helpful...I can go on and on. The word around the pit was, "Everyone should have a Justin!" Thanks,'re the best!

Paul Viapiano & Justin Smith celebrate at Magnolia after the last show

January 14, 2009 | Link to this entry


Paul Viapiano is a guitarist working in film, television and live performance based in sunny Pasadena, California.

You can email me here.

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