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Peter Howard

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Peterhoward

Peter Howard (1927-2008) was a Broadway conductor, arranger, and occasional composer. He composed music for multiple Sesame Street songs. including "I'm Flying" (with Luis Santeiro) and "Next to You" and "Arrow Song" (both with Emily Perl Kingsley).

Howard spent most of his career on Broadway, first composing music for the ballet segment "Prodigal Daughter" in the short-run 1949 revue All My Love. He moved on to assisting musical director Franz Allers on My Fair Lady (1956). For the 1958 Say Darling (with lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green), Howard arranged the dance music (soon to become a specialty) and appeared on-stage as an accompanist. He reprised his duties as pianist for A Party with Betty Comden and Adolph Green later that year. He was assistant conductor for The Sound of Music and dance arranger again for Carnival! (with Kaye Ballard, Jerry Orbach, and Will Lee). In 1960, he also played celeste for Tinkerbell in the televised Mary Martin version of Peter Pan. His profile began to increase, as he arranged dance and incidental music for the original run of Hello, Dolly! (1964-1970), and remained with the show for the 1978 Pearl Bailey arrival and the 1995 revival.

Similarly, Howard was musical director (conductor) for 1776 and arranged dance music for the original run, the film version, and the 1997 revival. For Annie, he did dance arrangements on Broadway and dance and vocal arrangements for the 1982 film, and was dance arranger for both the original and 1996 revival versions of Chicago. The short-lived Harrigan n' Hart (closed after four performances in 1985) had Howard wearing many hats, as musical director, orchestra conductor, music contractor, and pianist. He composed incidental music for several short-lived shows. Other notable Broadway shows included Barnum (1980, musical director), The Tap Dance Kid (1983, dance arrangements, with Alfonso Ribeiro), Stepping Out (musical supervisor/arranger for the 1987 show, and dance arranging for the 1992 film with Liza Minnelli), and Crazy for You (1992, incidental/dance music arranger).

In addition to reprising his duties in several filmed musicals, Howard arranged the Chinese-influenced version of "Anything Goes" used to open Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. He also composed music (with lyrics by David Axelrod) for several shows by the puppet troupe Poko Puppets (still used in their repertoire). He later toured with his own show, Peter Howard's Broadway, a mixture of reminiscences and piano. His final Broadway show was the 1999 concert Minnelli on Minnelli.

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