Conductor, pianist, composer, orchestrator, record producer, Grammy and two-time Emmy Award winner, John McDaniel is the Artistic Director of the Tony Award winning O’Neill Theater Center’s Cabaret & Performance Conference. John was seen leading the band daily on TV’s The Rosie O’Donnell Show for its entire six year run. He wrote the theme song and received five Emmy nominations for Outstanding Music Direction and Composition. On the show, he worked with such luminaries as Billy Joel, Tony Bennett, Dick Van Dyke, Neil Diamond, Dolly Parton, Liza Minnelli, Rosemary Clooney, Barry Manilow, Chaka Kahn and Madonna.
Recent projects include creating new orchestrations for the St. Louis Muny Opera’s “Meet Me In St. Louis” as well as for rising star, Erich Bergen. John received two Barrymore Award nominations for his musical work on “Lights Out: Nat King Cole”, which will have a new production in 2019 at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles starring Dulé Hill. He continues to work often with Melissa Manchester and enjoys his continuing collaboration and recordings with London’s Barb Jungr. The pair’s newest recording, “Float Like A Butterfly – the Songs of Sting” is available on iTunes & Amazon. In 2018 John directed and conducted the 50thAnniversary production of HAIR in concert at the Patchogue Theatre.
John has been a featured pops conductor for the Milwaukee Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Oklahoma Philharmonic, the Colorado Symphony, the Stamford Symphony, the Phoenix Symphony, and the Utah Symphony orchestras as well as multiple return engagements with the San Francisco Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Indianapolis Symphony and his hometown St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.
He first worked with Rosie 1994 when he conducted the Broadway revival of Grease, in which Rosie played Rizzo. McDaniel also created new vocal and dance arrangements for this production. Stars throughout its run included Brooke Shields, Jon Secada, Sheena Easton, Chubby Checker, Debby Boone, Jennifer Holliday and Al Jarreau.
His more recent Broadway credits include Bonnie & Clyde, for which John received a Drama Desk nomination for Best Orchestrations, Catch Me If You Can, and Brooklyn,which he also orchestrated and produced.
Mr. McDaniel was the supervising Music Director of the Broadway revival of Annie Get
Your Gun, starring Bernadette Peters (and subsequently Reba McEntire), which won the 1999
Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical and for which he received the Grammy Award as
producer for Best Musical Show Album. He also was the supervising Music Director for Boy
George’sTabooon Broadway, and produced the cast album. He conducted the
Smash hit Chicagoon Broadway, the1993 reunion of the original Broadway cast of Companyin
concert at Lincoln Center, the U.S. tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express, off-
Broadway’sBlame It On the Movies, as well as solo performances for such esteemed artists as Cab
Calloway, Shirley MacLaine, George Burns, Betty Buckley, Bette Midler, Frederica von Stade
and Carol Burnett. He also created arrangements for the show, Patti LuPone on Broadway.
In 2011, McDaniel made his opera debut, conducting The Daughter of the Regiment at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis.
His musical adaptation of Pirates! has played the Goodspeed Opera House, the Paper Mill
Playhouse, the Huntington Theatre in Boston and most recently the St. Louis Muny Opera.
He arranged music for the Tony Awards on CBS in 1997, 1998 and 2000. Other arranging and conducting credits for television specials include A Rosie Christmasfor ABC, starring Celine Dion and Marc Anthony, and the Friar’s Roasts of Jerry Stiller,Rob Reiner, Hugh Hefner and Chevy Chase, all for Comedy Central, as well as A Family is a Family for HBO.
In 2001, Mr. McDaniel produced, arranged and conducted a national television commercial in the wake of 9/11 to promote tourism in New York City starring Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Michele Lee, Joel Grey, Elaine Stritch and a host of other Broadway stars.
Mr. McDaniel produced and conducted The Maury Yeston Songbook, for PS Classics featuring Tony Award winners Betty Buckley, Sutton Foster and Christine Ebersole among many others. Mr. McDaniel has recorded four solo CD’s, John McDaniel at the Piano: Broadway, John McDaniel at the Piano: Christmas, andJohn McDaniel at the Piano: Compositions and most recently, John McDaniel Live at Joe’s Pub. He produced the Broadway Cast Recordings of Bonnie & Clyde, Brooklyn, Taboo as well as The Journey Home (Malcolm Gets). Other recording credits include the Broadway cast album for the revival of Greaseon the RCA/Victor label, Patti LuPone Live!on RCA/Victor, as well as Davis Gaines’ release, Against the Tide.
He is the recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for his music direction of Chicago, as well as multiple Drama Logue awards. Mr. McDaniel received the Board of Director’s Award from the Manhattan Association of Cabaret in 2000. In 2002, Mr. McDaniel was elected to The Television Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors.
A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Mr. McDaniel first studied piano with his mother Jane, and earned his BFA degree in Drama from Carnegie Mellon University