Scott Wilkinson uses his passion for music to direct and produce ‘Bonhoeffer.’
By Taylor Morris
Scott Wilkinson has always had a passion for the musical arts. He not only earned his bachelor’s degree in music at Albion College, but also science, spending half of his life juggling between the two. He also obtained his master’s degree in songwriting from The Berklee College of Music in Boston several years ago.
When he’s not spending his time producing music, Wilkinson is an ophthalmologist based in Birmingham.
While Wilkinson was attending Berklee, he felt he needed to hone his artistic talent. At the time, his wife, Jill, was reading a biography about the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor and an anti-Nazi dissident. They were both intrigued and captivated by his story, which inspired Wilkinson to write a song about Bonhoeffer’s experience. He then teamed up with producer Dale Grisa and singer Corey Roberts to take the first step toward creating “Bonhoeffer The Musical.”
On a whim, Wilkinson then decided to enter “Bonhoeffer The Musical” into producer Ken Davenport’s competition for new Broadway composers, which to his surprise, ended up winning.
“I was very surprised that he would take an interest in me,” Wilkinson says. “If he hadn’t, I probably would be writing songs in my basement, just enjoying it.”
Wilkinson and Davenport have been working together for the past four years to make the musical a reality.
When asked how Wilkinson has the time to produce a Broadway musical and work during the day as a surgeon, his wife jokingly says that music is his oxygen and he doesn’t need any sleep.
“I finish one job and then I just go onto the next job,” he says. “My days last from about 7 a.m. until about 2 a.m. many times. The other thing is, they’re more complementary than people think. … There’s the art and the craft of medicine and then there’s the art and the craft and the technical on the music,” he says.
On Sept. 17, hundreds of people gathered at the Gem Theatre in downtown Detroit for a special exclusive showcase of the musical. Wilkinson says the showcase is just another step getting the show to Broadway.
“The average time that it takes to get a show from conception to the stage is about eight years,” he says. “It’s definitely a long-term proposition and we didn’t do it to make money,” Wilkinson laughs.
Wilkinson and his wife have enjoyed putting together the musical. They both say that working on a project like this gives them the opportunity to meet some incredible people.
“Bonhoeffer The Musical” will take stage on Dec. 14 at Signature Theatre in New York City. For more information on the authors and the play, visit bonhoefferthemusical.com/.
Correction: This article previously stated that Scott Wilkinson attended Adrian College. It has been updated to say that he graduated from Albion College.