Paul J. Reekie
April 20, 1972 – October 2, 2020
Paul Reekie enjoyed a brief but brilliant career as a music director in Lansing theater in the 1990’s, working mostly at Riverwalk. He was beloved by all who knew him for his warmth, humor, intelligent insights and particularly his incredible musical talent.
While still a junior at MSU, Paul was “discovered” by West Side Story director Jeff Brenner in 1993 on an emergency basis after the original music director withdrew and opening night was just a few weeks away. Paul mastered the score in short order and the show was a resounding success.
This of course had been foreshadowed by Paul’s five summers spent at Interlochen Music Camp as well as his high-school portrayal of Mozart in Amadeus in which he went the extra mile to play several Mozart pieces during the show.
Paul’s main focus had always been on getting his computer-related MSU degree, after which he was hired by the then-giant computer firm EDS; but he also served as music director for Riverwalk’s The Cat in the Castle and LCP’s Into the Woods. He also worked with Jane and Mark Zussman to develop a “touring” cabaret-style show, Marriage Sweet and Sour.
In 1995, for a Riverwalk benefit concert of the “ABBA” musical Chess – which still had no published score – he developed an accompanying score from just listening to the cast album, then recorded it for use at Riverwalk since he could not attend the scheduled performance(!).
T.E. Klunzinger’s original musical version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame brought him back to Riverwalk twice – first in 1997 for a workshop concert version in support of Sweeney Todd, then in 1999 for the full version, orchestrating the entire original score.
Paul’s last appearance at Riverwalk was on March 13, 2004, to accompany future full-time opera tenor Brenden Gunnell (who had been in Hunchback) in his professional debut, on what turned out to be the day that famed tenor Luciana Pavarotti announced his retirement from the Met stage in New York.
Paul was soon “discovered” again by the South Florida theater community and over the past 15 years had music-directed many professional and educational shows in the Greater Miami area, winning many awards and the lasting affection of all who knew and worked with him.
Paul died in an accident which occurred while he was working outside his home. He was born in Argentina as was his mother; his father was a development engineer for General Motors. Although he leaves no immediate survivors, his south-Florida “family” will organize a memorial to his life and work, date and location to be announced.