Harold Wheeler, renowned Musical Director and Orchestrator, received a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2019, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the NAACP Theatre Awards in 2008, and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Orchestrations in 2003 for Hairspray. His Broadway credits (31 shows, with a dozen Tony and Drama Desk nominations) include Music Direction and Orchestration for Promises, Promises (he was the youngest director on Broadway), Lena Horn: The Lady and her Music, The Wiz, Dreamgirls, Swing, The Full Monty, Hairspray, and Dirty Rotten Scoundels.
Wheeler’s motion picture credits include: Straight Out of Brooklyn; Love! Valour! Compassion!; Spanish Judges; Cotton Comes to Harlem; Fortune and Men’s Eyes; Hercules; City Slickers; Keeping the Faith; and The Kid.
On television in 2004, Wheeler was named Music Conductor for the 76th Academy Awards (the second African-American conductor in the Academy’s history). Other credits include 17 seasons as the musical director on the ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, the 1995 and 1996 People’s Choice Awards, Motown 30 “What’s Goin On?”, the 1996 Olympics, 2002 American Film Institute Awards, and the 2003 Academy Awards.
Throughout his career, Wheeler arranged and produced for Debbie Allen, Aretha Franklin, Della Reese, Nina Simone, B.B. King, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Chita Rivera, and Whitney Houston, among scores of other performers.