ImageThe Broadway orchestrator and arranger Charlie Rosen at home, playing the tuba.CreditCreditIke Edeani for The New York TimesIn a recording studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn last month, where wood paneling on the walls and ceiling gave off the faint scent of pine, Charlie Rosen stood in front of 17 fellow musicians, smiling. Chiefly known for his…
The Broadway orchestrator and arranger Charlie Rosen at home, playing the tuba.Credit scoreCredit scoreIke Edeani for The Contemporary York Times

In a recording studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn last month, the put wooden paneling on the walls and ceiling gave off the faint scent of pine, Charlie Rosen stood in front of 17 fellow musicians, smiling. Basically identified for his work on Broadway, Mr. Rosen bopped alongside to the song, baton conveniently in hand, while the ensemble played the derive of a Nintendo racecar game.

With a TV on soundless offering cues, he and his 8-Bit Gigantic Band possess been recording the song from Mario Kart sixty four, blown formula out with 36 devices, including saxophones, trumpets, trombones, Eleven violins, three cellos and a harp.

“You bought everything we would like for that share?” he asked his engineer. “Mountainous. Let’s transfer on to Level 3.”

At 28, Mr. Rosen is an orchestrator, composer and arranger alongside with his hands in many musical cookie jars.

He is the song supervisor and orchestrator for Broadway’s “Be Extra Chill,” a show for which he also plays guitar in the pit. He has one massive band devoted to on-line game songs and each other devoted to theater song, which can function at Feinstein’s/54 Below on Monday.

Mr. Rosen also produces commercial soundtracks for the skin care firm Olay out of his shrimp home place of work in Harlem, the put he stashes Fifty two devices in a 9-foot-by-10-foot room that overlooks a peaceable facet avenue.

There’s a melodica, a flugelbone, a zither and a theremin, which makes the ooo-oo-ooo sound from worn sci-fi movies and is played by waving your hands around in the air. If you happen to count what he calls his “toys” — like harmonicas, tambourines and a kalimba — Mr. Rosen has 70 devices at home. He can play all of them.

“That’s insane,” he said after counting. “I’m insane.”

This sequence represents bigger than a nifty occasion trick. Indeed, while he considers himself basically a bass player, his facility with so many devices is allotment of what makes him this kind of precious orchestrator.

“It’s roughly like cooking,” he added. “The more spices you’re conversant in, the more you would possibly maybe combine them to function unique flavors in areas you would possibly maybe now not question.” Every year, he estimates, he’ll be working on share of song and notify, “You know what this wants? A bass melodica.”

Mr. Rosen exists as a assemble of bridge between genres and generations, embracing Broadway standards, pop songs and the song of Tetris. And all of it funnels into his work.

Marc Shaiman, a Tony-winning theater and Oscar-nominated film composer, described Mr. Rosen as a massive talent, nonetheless with out the eccentricities that normally near alongside for the promenade. “It’s the roughly talent the put I almost want to abhor him,” Mr. Shaiman said. “However I will’t.”

Clockwise from high left, Mr. Rosen on the flugelbone, factual bass, theremin and Fender Rhodes.Credit scoreShots by Ike Edeani for The Contemporary York Times

Jennifer Ashley Tepper, a producer on “Be Extra Chill” and the inventive and programming director of Feinstein’s/54 Below, described him as a hub for younger Broadway musicians, since, between his bands and the reveals for which he hires, he employs so a huge selection of them.

“He’s an unbelievably restful and steadying source,” Ms. Tepper said. “If you happen to discover that a massive press individual is coming, or that one thing has fallen apart and we are able to’t set up it relieve together, he’s the main individual to be like, ‘O.Ok., let’s near up with a thought.’”

Mr. Rosen, a straightforward-to-smile bundle of bearded vitality, has lived in the similar six-bed room Harlem condo since he was once 22, with a rotating solid of roommates. His girlfriend, Danielle Gimbal, does the reproduction work for his song and is a frequent presence in his home and at recording classes.

Raised in Los Angeles, Mr. Rosen is the son of a classical bassoonist (his mother, who also plays flute, clarinet, piccolo and sax) and an organist (his father, who also plays guitar, banjo and accordion). A fleshy sized Wurlitzer pipe organ, the form from restful-movie homes, sat in his childhood home.

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When he was once 3, his dad and mother noticed he would possibly maybe well expose if a repeat played on the piano was once white or black — he had ideal pitch. So he began on the piano, alongside with his mother as his first teacher.

He didn’t location out to work on Broadway. However as a 15-year-worn jazz student at a performing arts excessive college, he auditioned to play in the pit for a regional manufacturing of the musical “13” — and off he went.


Mr. Rosen backstage on the Lyceum Theater, the put he plays in the band for the musical “Be Extra Chill.”Credit scoreIke Edeani for The Contemporary York Times

He attended Berklee College of Tune in Boston for four semesters, on and off between Broadway reveals. He gravitated to classes he felt would abet him professionally, like song manufacturing, arranging and Afro-Caribbean percussion.

His main gigs now are playing guitar for “Be Extra Chill” — his instrument, dressed for the occasion, wears a brown hair bow on its headstock — and co-orchestrating the manufacturing of “Moulin Rouge!” scheduled to initiate on Broadway in July. (On the main day of performances for “Be Extra Chill,” he was once suggested by his union’s unique leadership that contract principles prohibited him, because the show’s orchestrator, from playing in the band, nonetheless he was once set up relieve in while the contract is being renegotiated.)

Thanks to Mr. Rosen, “Be Extra Chill” parts a theremin, which does its electronic ooo-oo-ooo thing when a thoughts-controlling huge pc dies. There would possibly maybe be also a flugelbone, which he described as his “orchestrating secret weapon”: It’s a horn that can also be managed by a trumpet player nonetheless can sound assemble of like a French horn or a trombone, which enables one musician to fabricate a diversity of timbres for a small orchestra.

Joe Iconis, who wrote the song and lyrics for “Be Extra Chill,” said Mr. Rosen’s ability to possess so many devices in his head, nonetheless also so many alternative forms of song, each worn and unique, can present his work an air of “magic.”

“His breadth of recordsdata of song of all kinds is factual intimidating,” Mr. Iconis said. “As powerful as he knows the synth sound that was once extinct on the most modern Ariana Grande anecdote, he knows the mannequin of trombone extinct in orchestration for ‘Learn how to Prevail in Industry Without Genuinely Attempting.’”

Mr. Rosen has hundreds plans — he’d prefer to write song for video video games, derive a movie, be commissioned by a prime symphony orchestra to write a share — nonetheless no enlighten endgame in thoughts, he said. He factual desires to protect going.

“You don’t fetch to be Charlie with out being insanely ambitious,” said Jason Robert Brown, who was once the composer and lyricist for “13” and has worked with Mr. Rosen on several concerts and reveals since. “However I own it’s in actuality an ambition to possess as powerful song in his existence and in his head and in his mouth as he seemingly can. He factual loves making song.”

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