090921 EASY Chair John Tafone hh 78754.JPG

EASY Chair with John Tafone on Tuesday, September 9, 2021. Harold Hanka, The Westerly Sun

AGE: 26.

OCCUPATION: Composer, orchestrator and arranger for the Chorus of Westerly! I’m also the director of creative development for Starting Gate Theatrical.

RESIDENCE: Brooklyn, N.Y.


RIGHT NOW I’M IN THE MIDDLE OF: Moving back to New York City, working on Christmas Pops, and doing rewrites on one of my musicals!

I COPED WITH THE PANDEMIC BY: Working on Summer Pops, getting back into reading for fun, and telling myself I would work out and then never doing it.

MY PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: Premiering my musical, "The Count of Monte Cristo," at the Kennedy Center, or the time I finished an entire head of lettuce in my fridge before it went bad.

TOP ON MY BUCKET LIST: I’d like to visit South America or Asia.

I ALWAYS CARRY/WEAR: Wallet, phone, keys and a pair of mirrored sunglasses.

WHAT I WANTED TO BE WHEN I GREW UP: Either a composer or a lobster! And one of those things ended up working out for me.

MY HEROES ARE: Alan Menken, Danny Troob and Cole Porter.

FAVORITE AUTHORS: Jane Austen, Alexandre Dumas and John Irving.

BOOKS ON MY NIGHTSTAND: "Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music," (Thanks, Andrew!), "The Count of Monte Cristo," "The Disaster Artist" and "Meddling Kids."

TOP THREE SONGS ON MY PLAYLIST: “Flaws” (Bastille), “Lake Pontchartrain” (Ludo)  and “Ring Out, Ye Crystal Spheres” (Ralph Vaughan Williams from Hodie).

LAST THREE SONGS I ASKED ALEXA/PANDORA/SPOTIFY TO PLAY: “I Get Around” (Beach Boys), “Heart of Stone” ("SIX: the Musical") and “Right Hand Man” ("Something Rotten! the Musical").

FAVORITE THREE MOVIES OF ALL TIME: "Catch Me if You Can" (2002), "Pride and Prejudice" (2005) and "The Mask of Zorro" (1998). Not only are they great movies, but they also have some of my favorite soundtracks!

FAVORITE TV SHOWS: Admittedly, I don’t really get a lot of time to watch TV shows, but I do enjoy watching "The Great British Bake Off."

FAVORITE RADIO STATION/SHOWS/PODCAST: I have a laundry list of podcasts to listen to, but haven’t had the chance to listen to any of them yet. Excited to discover my favorite!

TOP COMFORT FOOD: Hands down, popcorn. Except for dental appointments, there are few situations not improved by the presence of popcorn.

SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES I MOSTLY USE: I’m not really much of a social media person, but I do use Facebook.

TRAITS I MOST ADMIRE: Patience, strong work ethic and a sense of humor!

PET PEEVES: The “tortured artist” trope. While there are so many incredible artists that have used their experiences to inform their art, “suffering” doesn’t need to be a required part of the creative process.

FAVORITE QUOTATION: “Never open with a ballad, and never end on one.” (The character Gabe, in the musical biopic "De-Lovely.")

MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT OUR LITTLE CORNER OF THE WORLD: After all the wonderful people who live here, I would say how much amazing art exists in our picturesque town.

CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: In no particular order: my wonderful friends and family, but also snacks.

LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT ME: I have a very minor allergy to artificial green apple flavoring — apparently, green apple Jolly Ranchers aren’t supposed to make your throat itchy.

BEST ADVICE I EVER RECEIVED: “Don’t second-guess yourself,” and “A ‘rough draft’ is meant to be rough.”

ADVICE I BEST LIKE TO GIVE: “Art that is fun is just as valid as art that is serious.”

IF I RULED THE WORLD I WOULD: Immediately panic. I like control (definitely a composer thing), but I think that would be too much. I might get rid of brussel sprouts, and then try to find someone more qualified to fill the role.

IF I WON THE LOTTERY, THE FIRST THING I WOULD DO IS: Take a nap and not feel guilty about it afterwards.

I DRIVE A: Since I live in the city, it’s not really practical to own a car, so I don’t!

I WISH I DROVE A: I’ve never really been a “car person,” but I do enjoy any car that has heated seats.

ALWAYS IN MY FRIDGE: Fresh parsley, a jar of capers and a bottle of sparkling wine — I’ve found that they can solve any problem in the kitchen.

IF I COULD INVITE ONE SPECIAL PERSON TO JOIN ME FOR DINNER AND CONVERSATION, I WOULD INVITE: My grandfather. He was a wonderful man who always had a joke and knew what to say.

— Interview arranged and edited by Nancy Burns-Fusaro

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