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Tuesday, 30-Sep-2014 09:13:23 EDT


SAD NEWS - Philip A. Campanella, Musical Director and Performance Coach

Philip A. Campanella, a renaissance man of Off-Broadway theater who was a musical director, composer, lyricist and actor involved in hundreds of productions and who worked extensively with Geraldine Fitzgerald and Maxene Andrews in their cabaret careers, died on May 5, 2005. He was 56 years old.

The cause of death was an arterial thrombosis.

Services: There will be a wake and viewing on May 10th from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM at Greenville Memorial Home, 374 Danforth Avenue, in Jersey City, NJ. On Wednesday, May 11th, there will be a celebration of life memorial service from 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM and a funeral mass at 11:00, both at Our Lady of Mercy Church, 40 Sullivan Drive, in Jersey City, followed by a burial service at the Holy Name Cemetery and then a lunch at a nearby restaurant, Puccini's.

Family: Mr. Campanella is survived by his brother John; sister-in-law Gail; nephews and nieces Gian Carlo, Dino and Veronica Campanella; Aunt Gertrude (Corio) and Uncle Chuck Manzo; first cousins Marylou (Manzo), Jeff and Lorin Doctor; Aunt Annetta Campanella; Uncle Leonard Macaluso; and first cousins Angela Ricciardelli, Rosemary Ghelli, Robert Kramer, Juliana Macaluso Bursten, John Macaluso, John's wife Fran and children. Philip was predeceased by his parents, Philip and Marie Corio Campanella and infant sister Maria.

Donations: Contributions to the Singers Forum made in Mr. Campanella's memory will benefit the scholarship programs he established.

Mr. Campanella at his passing was Executive Director of the New York vocal academy, Singers Forum, and throughout the 1970s and 1980s was Musical Director of the Roundabout Theater Company. Although he "did perform solo," recalled close friend Mimi Maxmen, a costume designer who had known Mr. Campanella since 1970, "he excelled in supporting roles, whether on-stage, as musical director or as vocal coach and teacher."

Philip Anthony Campenalla was born on May 24, 1948 in Jersey City, New Jersey. He received degrees in music and theater from St. Peter's College in Jersey City. Mr. Campanella, who had movie-star looks and a warm booming baritone, began his career at The Roundabout Theater in 1970 as musical director and composer-in-residence. He was also pianist, accompanist and actor, including the role of Mel in the 1973 Broadway production of Roundabout's "The Play's the Thing," for which he composed the original music.

The Roundabout's 1978 production of Harold Rome's "Pins and Needles," of which Mr. Campanella was music director, ran for a theater record of 225 performances and was later broadcast as a CBS special. He was musical director of the 1983 production of Harold Pinter's "Old Times", which featured performances by Jane Alexander, Anthony Hopkins and Marsha Mason, and of the 1989 production of Peter Nichols's "Privates on Parade," which featured Jim Dale, Simon Jones and John Curry.

In addition to his role as Musical Director, Mr. Campanella wrote the lyrics and score of "James Joyce's The Dubliners" and composed original music for productions of "Hamlet," "The Master Builder," "All My Sons" and "Misalliance."

While at the Roundabout, Mr. Campanella was also the conductor for a production of Ms. Fitzgerald's one-woman show, "Streetsongs" (1980-1981), which later launched her cabaret career and was ultimately performed at the White House.

Mr. Campanella also worked frequently with Maxene Andrews, of the Andrews Sisters, who started a solo career in 1979, three years following the death of her sister, Laverne. From the early 1980s through a 1994 performance that commemorated the 50th anniversary of D-Day, Mr. Campanella was musical director for many, if not most, of Ms. Andrews's solo performances.

Mr. Campanella was deeply involved with teaching. In the 1970s and 1980s he taught at The Lee Strasberg Theater Institute and gave volunteer classes in New York public schools, which Adam Horovitz, later a member of the "Beastie Boys," attended. Among those who valued his coaching in music and performance was Ms. Fitzgerald, who introduced Mr. Campenalla to Andy Anselmo, Founding Director of the Singers Forum. After Mr. Campanella had worked with Ms. Fitzgerald in "Streetsongs," she approached Mr. Anselmo and said, "'Andy, you've just got to meet this young man,'" Mr. Anselmo recalled.

At the Singers Forum, Mr. Campanella produced and directed hundreds of performances, taught private lessons and classes in voice, musical theater and performance styles. He also helped inaugurate the Singers Forum Summer Vocal Retreat, in Brockton, NY, as well as the Singers Forum Community Outreach Program, though which at-risk children were brought to the academy received vocal training and were given an opportunity to develop talents and skills and a sense of accomplishment and self-worth. The program now serves over 100 boys and girls each year in New York City. Mr. Campanella recently extended the reach of the scholarship efforts, launching the Singers Forum Princeton Youth Program in 2003 and, in 2005, the Singers Forum Jersey City Youth Program.

"Phil was trained by John Harris and myself," said Mr. Anselmo. "We taught him the bel canto technique and trained him to lead classes in voice and performance. He taught a class, 'Singing for People Who Think They Can't,'" Mr. Anselmo said, "which was a revelation for many people who had little hope of being able to carry a tune but learned, under Phil's encouraging and irreverent tutelage, how to put a song across and present themselves to the audience." Mr. Anselmo added, "I always referred to him as my heir apparent."

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