Michael Pedicin, an associate professor of music at Stockton University in Pomona, Galloway Township, will be on stage playing the tenor saxophone in a new Tom Stoppard play, “The Hard Problem,” through Feb. 6 at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia.
The play opens tonight, and opening night is sold out.
Pedicin will improvise with his saxophone for every scene and scene transition. He also will be on stage improvising for 15 minutes before the play’s first scene.
His role is to be the inner subconscious voice of the play’s protagonist, Hilary, a 22-year-old psychology student applying for a coveted position with the Krohl Institute for Brain Science.
“I improvise to her as she is going through her dilemmas,” said Pedicin, 68. “The director had a great idea to do this, and ... Tom Stoppard came to see it and told me that he loved this concept.”
The Wilma is introducing “The Hard Problem” to the U.S., following the play’s sold-out run at the National Theatre in London. It is Stoppard’s first new play since “Rock ’n’ Roll” in 2006.
Pedicin entered the Philadelphia jazz scene in the early 1960s after graduating from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
During the 1970s, Pedicin was a fixture of Philadelphia International Records, contributing alto, tenor and soprano saxophone work on hundreds of sessions with the likes of the Spinners, the O’Jays, the late David Bowie and the MSFB Orchestra.
After touring with jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson, Pedicin released his debut as a leader in 1980. He has released 12 CDs as a leader since then.
Since 2008, he has been at Stockton, where he is also the coordinator of jazz studies.