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Little-known theater jobs: music supervisor

Andrea Grody shares her experiences working as a Broadway music supervisor on “Suffs” and “The Band’s Visit.”

Andrea Grody (Credit: Jacq Harriet)

When Andrea Grody was in college she met Michael Friedman, the late Obie Award-winning composer and lyricist known for Broadway’s “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.” Grody began her own career on the music side of theater as Friedman’s music assistant. Soon, she began music directing for small projects and realized her passion for the craft, so she gave up music-assisting and landed the job as music director and music supervisor for “The Band’s Visit,” with music and lyrics by David Yazbek. Today, Grody is the music supervisor and director of “Suffs,” for which she also co-wrote vocal and incidental arrangements. Additionally, she conducts the new musical. 

“The Band’s Visit” won the 2018 Tony Award for best score and, just last week, “Suffs,” with music and lyrics by Shaina Taub, won the 2024 Tony in the same category. 

Aside from a great track record, Grody possesses a clear and lifelong passion for theater. She made up stories with her siblings in her childhood basement and wrote a play for her first grade class called “Penguins in Life” about who was sitting next to whom at lunch. After seeing “The Phantom of the Opera,” Grody dreamt of playing Christine Daaé. Storytelling through music called to Grody, but it was only in her adolescence that composing became her focus. “I started college wanting to be a film composer,” Grody said. “I spent a summer in L.A. and realized I didn’t like the day-to-day of it; it’s a lot of time alone in a room with computer sounds. I want the core of my work to be collaborating with other people. That’s when I decided to pursue music directing in theater. 

“Looking back, it seems inevitable that I’d end up doing what I do now,” Grody continued. Grody has worked as a music supervisor and music director, but she is also a composer. 

“Music jobs often overlap, so I did other jobs like arranging and orchestrating along the way, even when it wasn’t officially in my job description,” she said. “I usually end up doing vocal and incidental arrangements for shows I music-direct. I really enjoy both. I’m a composer, too, and I have several one-off songs, scores for plays and a full-length musical under my belt.”

Here, Grody explains the duties of a music supervisor at every stage of a production, a collaborative moment she’ll never forget and her wish for Broadway.

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