Obituary: John McGlinn, 55

Posted on: February 18, 2009

Tuesday (2/17) on the Playbill Arts website, Robert Simonson reports, “John McGlinn, a conductor and musical archivist who devoted himself to finding and recording the restored scores of early works of the American musical theatre, was found dead in his apartment on Feb. 14. It’s believed the cause of death was a heart attack. In 1987, he helped bring to the public’s attention the incredible discovery, in a Seacaucus, NJ, warehouse, of the original versions of the scores of many Broadway shows, written by the likes of Kern and Gershwin. Many of these original versions had been presumed lost. … Mr. McGlinn’s first album was a recording of Gershwin overtures and dance music using their original orchestrations. It was released by EMI in 1987. After that, he made recordings of the complete scores (with original orchestrations) for Show Boat, Anything Goes, Brigadoon, Annie Get Your Gun, Kiss Me, Kate and Sitting Pretty, an obscure show by Jerome Kern … The recordings were exhaustive; the Show Boat album was comprised of three discs and three-and-a-half hours of music (including cut songs, variants, revival music, film music and more). It is treasured by fans of the groundbreaking Kern-Hammerstein show, which is considered to be the launch of the modern American musical.”