Pioneer Theatre Co.'s Music Director Retiring

Pioneer Theatre Co.'s Music Director Retiring

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Carole Mikita Reporting‘West Side Story’ is Pioneer Theatre Company's last production of the season, but it is also the last time the company's music director will pick up his baton. James Prigmore is retiring after 35 years.

James Prigmore is once again and for the last time making music in the orchestra pit. His career began at 15 as a rehearsal pianist for the great Maurice Abravanel, but he couldn't follow the maestro's beat.

Pioneer Theatre Co.'s Music Director Retiring

James Prigmore, PTC Music Director: "He said, 'James, you're a very nice boy, give up music.'"

Soon Prigmore was hired by Pioneer Theatre Company for its 1970 production of 'Man of La Mancha', starring Robert Peterson, and this one did, too, 'Camelot'.

And the friendship between James Prigmore and Robert Peterson continued through the years. This is the 1982 production of 'Damn Yankees.'"

100 musicals through the years have the indelible stamp of Prigmore's musical direction.

James Prigmore: "It's been delicious fun for me ever since and it's still delicious fun, I'm having a wonderful time working on 'West Side Story'. It's thrilling to realize that my art has touched the lives of so many people, and it amazes me that they know who I am because they only see the back of my head."

After 35 years he's retiring to compose and spend more time with his mother and father.

James Prigmore: "How many people go through their entire professional life and still have time left at the end of their career to truly enjoy their parents? It's having your cake a eating it, too."

And that's how the PTC staff has felt about him, having his musical talents and his friendship all those years.

'West Side Story' has performances through May 21st. Prigmore says he will still do some arranging and composing for the company.

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