Roger Nelson

Professor Emeritus


Roger Nelson retired from the Department of Theatre & Dance in 2011.  Roger is an accomplished teacher, composer, arranger, conductor, pianist and performer. He has written the scores for the musicals Mary S., which received the Grand Prize in the American Musical Theatre Festival Competition, and Lisa and David (based on the novel by Dr. Theodore Isaac Rubin), which won the Eugene O'Neill Award and was presented at the O'Neill Center, the Marilyn Monroe Theatre in Los Angeles, UWSP Studio Theatre, and the York Theatre in New York City. Other works include the comic American opera Trio Con Brio (Recommended Work: National Music Theatre Network), which premiered under his direction at Northwestern University, the full-length opera John Brown, the musical-in-mime Festivities, produced at The 45th Street theatre in New York, and numerous song settings performed by concert artists including Frederica Von Stade.

His music director/arranger credits include A Reel American Hero (Broadway), the hit revue Scrambled Feet (both Off-Broadway and the RKO video production starring Madeline Kahn), and major tours of They're Playing Our Song with stars including Susan Anton, Larry Kert and Dawn Wells. His arrangements for The United States Army Band and Chorus continue to be standard repertoire for the organization. At UWSP, he has directed and/or music directed over 20 productions including Into the Woods, Working, Fiddler On the Roof, Crazy for You, The Fantasticks and Songs for a New World.

As an actor, he has performed leading roles Off-Broadway in The Fantasticks, Scrambled Feet (Show Business Award), and the dramatic song revue Bittersuite. Other roles include Cladwell in Urinetown, Michael in I Do! I Do!, and the lecherous Don in Mozart's Don Giovanni.

Mr. Nelson holds both Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees (with highest honors) from Northwestern University. He is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda (National Music Honorary), ASCAP, Actor's Equity Association, SAG, AFTRA, and has served as Adjunct Professor of Music Theatre at New York University.