Laura Osnes & Julian Ovenden Join Michael Feinstein at Carnegie Hall Tonight
Grammy Award-nominated singer and renowned interpreter of the Great American Songbook, Michael Feinstein, returns to Carnegie Hall with a special concert featuring a variety of love songs in celebration of Valentine's Day, tonight, February 14 at 8:00 p.m. He is joined by special guests Laura Osnes (Broadway's Cinderella, and Maria in Carnegie Hall's The Sound of Music) andJulian Ovenden (Season Four of PBS's Downton Abbey, the West End's Finding Neverland, and as John F. Kennedy in the "Bombshell" production on NBC's Smash).
This concert marks Mr. Feinstein's first return to Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage since October 2010. His annual three-concert series in Zankel Hall, Standard Time with Michael Feinstein, examines the wide-ranging canon of American song, joined by luminaries from both stage and screen. Upcoming Standard Time with Michael Feinstein performances this season will be on Wednesday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m., and Wednesday, April 30 at 7:30 p.m. in Zankel Hall.
Michael Feinstein, the two-time Emmy nominated, five-time Grammy Award-nominated entertainer dubbed "Ambassador of the Great American Songbook," is considered one of the premier interpreters of American standards. His 200-plus shows a year have included performances at Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House, and the Hollywood Bowl, as well as the White House and Buckingham Palace.
More than simply a performer, Mr. Feinstein has received national recognition for his commitment to celebrating America's popular song and preserving its legacy for the generations to come. In 2007, he founded the Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Initiative, dedicated to celebrating the art form and preserving it through educational programs, master classes, and the annual High School Vocal Academy and Competition, which awards scholarships and prizes to students across the country. He also serves on the Library of Congress's National Recording Preservation Board-an organization dedicated to ensuring the survival, conservation, and increased public availability of America's sound recording heritage.
In April 2013, Mr. Feinstein released Change of Heart: The Songs of André Previn (Concord) in collaboration with the legendary composer-conductor-pianist. The album featured Previn's repertoire from his catalogue of pop songs that have most commonly been featured in motion pictures.
Mr. Feinstein earned his fifth Grammy Award nomination in 2009 for The Sinatra Project, his Concord Records CD celebrating the music of the legendary singer. The Sinatra Project, Volume II: The Good Life was released in 2011. His Emmy-nominated TV special, Michael Feinstein: The Sinatra Legacy-taped live at the Palladium in Carmel, Indiana-aired across the country. His PBS series Michael Feinstein's American Songbook was the recipient of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Television Broadcast Award; the first two seasons are now available on DVD. For his nationally syndicated public radio program Song Travels, Mr. Feinstein interviews and performs alongside music luminaries such as Bette Midler, Neil Sedaka, Liza Minnelli, Moby, Rickie Lee Jones, David Hyde Pierce, and others.
Mr. Feinstein's book, The Gershwins and Me (Simon & Schuster), which appeared on the Los Angeles Times' Best Seller list, includes a CD of Gershwin standards performed with pianist Cyrus Chestnut. Recently, Mr. Feinstein released The Power of Two (a collaboration with Glee and 30 Rockstar Cheyenne Jackson) and Cheek to Cheek (with Broadway legend Barbara Cook).
Mr. Feinstein serves as artistic director of the Center for the Performing Arts-a $170 million, three-theater venue in Carmel, Indiana. The theater is home to an annual international Great American Songbook festival, diverse live programming, and a museum for Mr. Feinstein's rare memorabilia and manuscripts. In 2010, he also became director of Jazz at Lincoln Center's Jazz and Popular Song Series. In 2013, he replaced the late Marvin Hamlisch as the lead conductor of the Pasadena Pops.
The roots of all this work began in Columbus, Ohio, where Mr. Feinstein started playing piano by ear when he was five. After graduating from high school, he worked in local piano bars for two years, moving to Los Angeles when he was 20. The widow of legendary concert pianist-actor Oscar Levant introduced him to Ira Gershwin in July 1977. Mr. Feinstein became Gershwin's assistant for six years, which earned him access to numerous unpublished Gershwin songs, many of which he has since performed and recorded.
Laura Osnes is currently starring as the title role in Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella (Drama Desk Award; Tony Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama League Award nominations). Other Broadway credits include: Bonnie And Clyde (Tony Award nomination, which she also performed at the Asolo Repertory Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse, earning her a San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Lead Female Performance In A Musical); the Tony-winning revival of Anything Goes (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Astaire Award nominations); Lincoln Center Theater's production of South Pacific; and her Broadway debut in the most recent revival of Grease.
Other recent New York theatre credits include Pipe Dream at Encores! and a one night only concert ofThe Sound Of Music at Carnegie Hall. Her many regional credits include Broadway: Three Generations (Kennedy Center). Television credits include Elementary, Six By Sondheim, HBO's pilotThe Miraculous Year written by John Logan and directed by Kathryn Bigelow, Sondheim: The Birthday Concert at Avery Fisher Hall, the Kennedy Center Honors salutes to Barbara Cook (2011) and Dustin Hoffman (2012), and the Las Vegas Smith Center Gala Opening.
Ms. Osnes made her cabaret debut at the Café Carlyle in 2012 which resulted in her first solo CD-Dream A Little Dream: Live At The Carlyle and quickly followed that appearance with an evening of Maury Yeston music at 54 Below which produced her second solo CD-If I Tell You: The Songs Of Maury Yeston.
Stage and screen actor Julian Ovenden is well known from playing many leading roles in high profile television shows on both sides of the Atlantic. He has conquered both the West End and Broadway and has seen his career diversify with the release of his debut album. The newest addition to PBS' critically acclaimed series Downton Abbey, Julian will join season four as Charles Blake, set to melt hearts and stir up emotions with Ms. Mary. Two show-stopping performances at the 2010 and 2012 Proms, featuring songs by Sondheim, Rogers and Hammerstein and Bernstein, won him not only standing ovations and garnered him rave reviews across the board, but also resulted in a recording contract with Decca.
Born in Sheffield, England, the son of Canon John Ovenden who served as chaplain to the Queen - Julian was musically gifted, and at seven won a scholarship to St Paul's Cathedral School. Not only has he performed for the Queen, herself, but he has performed numerous times with the John Wilson Orchestra at some of the most prestigious venues across the UK, including; The Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms, The Royal Festival Hall, The Wigmore Hall and many more.
When his voice broke, he won a music scholarship to Eton and another music scholarship gave him a place at Oxford: "Music made my life, it has been my ticket. It's given me my education," says Julian. It was at Oxford that that he decided to pursue an acting career, and, before his year at London's Webber Douglas Academy ended, he had already landed a role with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
The lead role in Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along at the Donmar Warehouse followed, and his career took off, and now flourishes on both sides of the Atlantic. He has starred in the Broadway play Butley, opposite Nathan Lane, and in West End musical, Marguerite. He recently starred in Harvey Weinstein's first foray into Live Theatre, the musical Finding Neverland, and played JFK in the Steven Spielberg produced TV show Smash. Last spring, Julian played Georges Seurat in the first production of Sondheim's Sunday in The Park with George in Paris.
Photo by Nathan Johson