When David Andrews Rogers (Gamma-Sigma, ’81) says, “I didn’t choose theatre, theatre chose me”, he means that literally. His career in the arts began at age 12 with an invitation to play for a local stock theatre company on Kiss Me Kate. Rogers “life-long love affair” with theatre nearly broke off during his college years, but true love always finds its way back.
Rogers wanted to follow the “responsible” route and pursue business instead of music or theatre. Geraldine Leer, actor on NBC hit television series, Manifest, was not going to let him waste his talent. Leer heard him playing piano in the LCA house at Southern Methodist University and asked him to audition for a musical at the Dallas Repertory Theatre. After one night, he was asked to be the Music Director for the show.
“My interest in music and theatre was well-known and supported and encouraged by all my brothers. In fact, a very large group of the brothers came to see the very first show I ever Music Directed in Dallas – and just knowing that they were there made me feel that my work was honored and respected and valued in a way that I had, quite frankly, never experienced before” explains Rogers.
Those brothers didn’t only attend the show, they nearly overflowed the house with their support. Each of them knew Rogers calling was to follow his passion of music; he was the one who needed a push. Through the nudge from Leer and encouragement from his brothers, Rogers went on to become one of the most sought-after Music Directors in the industry.
During his 40 years in this line of work, Rogers proved his proficiency by professionally directing and conducting over 100 shows on an international level. He has appeared in countless Broadway National Tours conducting for shows like Les Misérables, An American in Paris and Show Boat. His “mountaintop experience”, however, was his Carnegie Hall debut conducting the New York Pops in 2004.
Rogers is currently traveling on a World Tour of Phantom of the Opera as the Music Director and Conductor. He is sharing its “remarkable” score in destinations like Singapore, Tel Aviv and Dubai. While this is not his first time performing the musical, this go-around has a special place in his heart.
“I put my heart and soul into my work, and as such, it’s not work at all; it’s a glorious opportunity to do what I love to do and make a living doing it. I think that’s the secret of life, don’t you? Finding out what you truly love to do, and then figuring out a way to make a living doing it” says Rogers.
Looking back on his experience in Lambda Chi and theatre, Rogers has some words of wisdom to share with his brothers still finding their path to success. “Be grateful. Above almost all else, be grateful”; Rogers lives through the result of a loyal brotherhood and hopes for others to have that experience as well. As he says, “experience is the best teacher.”
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