Giving artists hope: Broadway producer builds basement studio in Madison amid pandemic

Connecticut Families

MADISON, Conn. (WTNH) – – “I’ve been involved in the Broadway community for 25 years and it’s a very trying time,” said Billy Jay Stein, a Grammy award-winning producer and mixing engineer.

When the pandemic struck, he left New York and sought refuge at a place he loves: Madison.

“My kids took their first steps here, we bike ride to the beach,” he said. “We decided to move up here to my mother-in-law’s house and I set-up my little studio in the dining room.”

The dining room studio recently grew into an incredible basement studio where Stein will continue creating tunes for stage, television and film.

Technology makes it possible for musicians to collaborate.

“We can do different parts in different places,” he explained. “The drummer can do his drum parts, send them to me. The vocalists do their own parts.”

It’s not ideal, he said, but it’s working, providing some jobs and creative outlets for employees of dark theaters and shutdown sets.

“It’s been a tremendous hit to actors, musicians, hairstylists, makeup artists, stagehands, ushers,” said Stein.

This summer, Stein co-produced a remote musical called A Killer Party featuring 55 artists from around the world.

“It came out fantastically well,” he said.

Stein will return to the Big Apple from time to time but plans to make the Connecticut coast his home.

“I fell in love with Madison and Hammonasset,” he said.

Stein advises other artists to practice their craft, re-invent themselves with a focus on technology so they can stay strong until the curtain goes up once again.

“I do yearn for the time when we can all get back together, work together in a theater, perform live and even just jam with my friends,” he said. “Hopefully one day soon.”

From the basement studio, Stein is currently working on a socially distanced streaming concert series with the Broadway Pops Orchestra.

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