Peter Melnick belongs to a fairly small group of composers whose careers straddle the worlds of film scoring and live musical theater. His film credits include the soon to be released Farce of the Penquins , written and directed by the irrepressible Bob Saget. Other credits include award-winning independent features Call Waiting and West of Here; L.A. Story, the Steven Martin comedy; The Only Thrill, starring Diane Keaton and Sam Shepard; Horton Foote's Convicts, with Robert Duvall and James Earl Jones; Only You, directed by Betty Thomas and starring Helen Hunt and Kelly Preston; and Arctic Blue, the Peter Masterson film starring Dylan Walsh and Rutger Hauer. His cable and television credits include the Emmy-winning Indictment: The McMartin Trial (HBO), Grand Avenue (HBO), Lily Dale (Showtime), Mermaid (Showtime), and numerous PBS documentaries including the recent American Masters portrait Robert Rauschenberg and the four-part series The Dinosaurs.
Melnick's musical comedy, ADRIFT IN MACAO, with book and lyrics by Christopher Durang, will receive its New York premier in February 2007, at Primary Stages. Looking ahead, Melnick is working with librettist Bill Russell on THE LAST SMOKER IN AMERICA, a futuristic fantasy about a dysfunctional family in a smoke-free America. Melnick and Russell also collaborated on PATTER FOR THE FLOATING LADY, a musical based on Steve Martin's eponymous one-act comedy about a magician who levitates his ex-girlfriend as a means of coming to terms with their failed relationship. Very Steve Martin. (And now, very Melnick and Russell, too.) Melnick has also composed the scores to CHINESE CABARET, Twyla Tharp’s SEXTET, and several very Off-Broadway pieces that you probably never heard of.
Melnick attended Harvard College, Berklee College of Music, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He also studied privately with jazz legend Jaki Byard. (Disclosure: he dropped out of Harvard one year shy of a degree in order to study music at Berklee, which he similarly abandoned seven semesters later when offered his first film scoring assignment. Interestingly, he receives approximately as many solicitations each year from these two schools as do his classmates who stuck it out to the bitter end.) Melnick lives in Montecito, California, with his wife, Laini, and children Daniel and Reine. He currently has 779,000 frequent flyer miles on account from all the trips he has made to New York and Philadelphia this past year.