Musical Composer Peter Melnick ’76 Premieres "The Last Smoker in America"
Posted 07/30/2012 12:00AM

The Last Smoker in America, a new musical comedy, with book and lyrics by Tony Award nominee Bill Russell (Side Show) and music by Drama Desk nominee Peter Melnick '76 (Adrift in Macao), opens off-Broadway at the Westside Theatre (407 West 43rd Street) on August 2.

Smoker takes place in the America of tomorrow, where cigarettes have been outlawed, and the government is in your kitchen, sniffing for contraband. Smoker was the hit of the New York Musical Theater Festival in 2009, followed by a run in Columbus, Ohio, in 2010.

Melnick is currently adapting Pete Hamill's Snow in August for Broadway, collaborating with book-writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Spiderman, and the TV series Glee), and lyricist Mindi Dickstein (Little Women). He has also contributed scores to over 30 films, television shows and documentaries. His scoring credits include the Steve Martin comedy L.A. Story; The Only Thrill, with Diane Keaton and Sam Shepard; Horton Foote's Convicts, with Robert Duvall and James Earl Jones.

He attended Harvard College, Berklee College of Music, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He also studied privately with jazz pianist Jaki Byard. His father was the late film producer Daniel Melnick (All That Jazz, Straw Dogs, Altered States, Footloose, Roxanne, That's Entertainment, and the seminal television comedy Get Smart). His mother is Linda Rodgers (composer of "Three to Make Music," "A Child's Introduction to Jazz" and numerous popular children’s songs) and his grandfather was legendary composer Richard Rodgers.