The Wiz Song Composer Timothy Graphenreed Dies At 68

Timothy Graphenreed, a musician and choreographer with long ties to Broadway, passed away in March, Broadway World confirmed this week. Graphenreed passed away at. Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, but no statement was made about his passing at the time. The composer and dance arranger, who contributed a pair of songs to The Wiz, was 68 years old when he passed. The first inkling most of the public got that Graphenreed had died was last week, when Old Mill Road Recording shared a "remembering Timothy Graphenreed" post on Instagram, featuring a photo of the artist taken last summer when he was working on an album for the label.

The album, an upcoming record by Broadway star and singer Lillias White, is titled Get Happy!, and features White's interpretations of standards, Motown hits, and jazz and rock songs.

Graphenreed and White have worked together for thirty years, according to Old Mill Road, and this record represents the culmination of the collaboration. It is not clear whether it was recorded as a swan song, or whether that is just the sad way things went. The album is reportedly dedicated to his memory.

You can see the Old Mill Road post below.

View this post on Instagram

Yesterday was Timothy Graphenreed’s birthday.⠀ We remember him with love.⠀ His talent was limitless - and we at Old Mill Road Recording miss him very, very much.⠀ We cannot wait to share the album we all created together in July 2019. Timothy’s arrangements and piano are unbelievable. ⠀ Here’s a photo from one of our rehearsal sessions: Grammy-Winning Engineer Benjamin J. Arrindell ( @bjasound ), Timothy Graphenreed at the keys, and Tony & Emmy Award Winner Lillias White ( @happylillias ) .⠀ #timothygraphenreed #rip #thewiz #broadway #composer #musicaltheatre #theatre #theater #legacy #newyorkcity #hollywood #artist #actor #singer #singersongwriter #film #movies #thewizlive #soundtrack #musical #producer #lyrics #author

A post shared by Old Mill Road Recording (@oldmillrd) on

Graphenreed did the dance arrangements for all of The Wiz, a Tony Award-winning musical that set The Wizard of Oz in a city and featured Black actors playing the primary roles. Besides the dance, he also provided the songs "Emerald City Ballet (Pssst)" with co-writer George Faison, and "Tornado" with collaborator Harold Wheeler. Those songs did not make it into the feature film version, which starred Michael Jackson and Diana Ross.

Besides The Wiz, Graphenreed arranged dance for Comin' Uptown, which took the The Wiz approach to A Christmas Carol and starred Gregory Hines. He also served as an adjunct professor at New York University's Steinhart School of Music and Performing Arts Professionals.

Graphenreed is survived by his life partner David Moore, his daughter, and two grandchildren.


via Deadline