Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Green Bay Preble High School alumnus key in Tony Award-winning musical

Liam Robinson and Anais Mitchell_1560212620432.jpg.jpg

Liam Robinson, who grew up in Green Bay, seems to be making a habit of being associated with Tony Award-winning productions.

First, it was “War Horse,” which won five Tonys in 2011, including Best Play. Robinson played Song Man in the original Broadway cast.

Sunday, it was “Hadestown,” which won eight Tonys, including Best Musical. Robinson is music director and vocal arranger. He was appointed to the positions by Anais Mitchell, who won the Tony for Best Original Score.

For “Hadestown,” Robinson also is conductor and plays piano and accordion.

Robinson is a 2001 graduate of Green Bay Preble High School.

He is the son of Jane Blaumeiser and Brock Robinson, today residents of Duluth, Minn., according to a family friend.

According to a feature story, “The Making of ‘Hadestown’” by New York Theatre Workshop, Mitchell chose Robinson for his versatility in his theatrical experience of being in “War Horse” on Broadway for a year and his grounding in traditional folk music.

In a 2011 interview, Robinson’s mother said he is basically a musician first.

That started with classical piano lessons.

“I wasn’t very good and always just wanted to be improvising,” Robinson told me in 2011. I switched to studying jazz with Christine Salerno through middle and high school. She really encouraged my compositional and improvisational voice.

Salerno continues to teach and perform, notably with her Brazilian-flavored ZIJI.

Robinson attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire before studying at the Manhattan School of Music.

Hadestown” is a new take on a myth from ancient Greece Orpheus and Eurydice.

Robinson sings and plays piano, accordion and banjo. He writes and performs with Jean Rohe in their Americana duo, Robinson & Rohe.

The cast of “Hadestown” includes another Tony winner, Andre de Shields (Actor in a Featured Role), a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Contact me at warren.gerds@wearegreenbay.com. Watch for my on-air Critic at Large editions on WFRV-TV at 6:20 a.m. Sundays. My seven books are available in Green Bay at Neville Public Museum and Bosse’s.

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