Laura Osnes, Santino Fontana, Marc Shaiman & More Set for Second Season of AMERICAN SONGBOOK AT NJPAC

Laura Osnes, Santino Fontana, Marc Shaiman & More Set for Second Season of AMERICAN SONGBOOK AT NJPAC

NJTV, New Jersey's public television network, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) announced the artists who will perform in the second season of American Songbook at NJPAC, to be taped before a live audience at the Arts Center for a series to air on NJTV, WLIW and THIRTEEN this fall.

The six-part series, in NJPAC's Victoria Theater on Saturday, September 20 and Sunday, September 21, will feature performances from stars of stage, screen and concert halls. Marilyn Maye, Tommy Tune, John Pizzarelli, Nellie McKay, Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana, and Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman will each perform a program of classics from the American songbook followed by a Q&A session conducted by Ted Chapin, president and executive director of Rodgers & Hammerstein: An Imagen Company. The television series will be crafted from the two days of live performances.

The first American Songbook at NJPAC performance, on September 20th at 7pm, will feature Marilyn Maye, Tommy Tune, and Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. The September 21 performance at 3pm will include John Pizzarelli, Nellie McKay, and Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana.

American Songbook at NJPAC is presented, in part, through the generosity of the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation and the David S. Steiner and Sylvia Steiner Charitable Trust.

Tickets are now on sale for each of the American Songbook at NJPAC sessions, ranging in price from $39-$49. Tickets are available by phone at 1-888-466-5722, online www.njpac.org, and at NJPAC's box office at 1 Center Street in Downtown Newark.

"NJTV is committed to featuring the arts in New Jersey," said John Servidio, General Manager of NJTV. "We are delighted to once again partner with NJPAC to make homegrown arts content available to everyone across the state and beyond."

"The American songbook is the soundtrack of our lives," said John Schreiber, President and CEO of NJPAC. "We are proud that these master interpreters of the music will be sharing their genius for live and broadcast audiences."

American Songbook at NJPAC is a production of New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Public Media NJ, Inc. The first season of the series, which aired on local public television stations this January, was recently awarded a New York State Broadcasters Association award for Outstanding Locally Produced Television Program. All six episodes from season one can be viewed online at http://www.njtvonline.org/programs/american-songbook-at-njpac/

The American Songbook at NJPAC series follows on the success of several recent television events from the Arts Center, including One-on-One at NJPAC with Steve Adubato, BET's Black Girls Rock, the HBO Special Ghetto Klown with John Leguizamo, and NBC's America's Got Talent.

John Pizzarelli, the world-renowned jazz guitarist and singer, has established himself as one of the prime interpreters of the Great American Songbook and beyond, bringing to his work the cool jazz flavor of his brilliant guitar playing and singing. After his recent smash success with the Boston Pops, he was hailed by the Boston Globe for "reinvigorating the Great American Songbook and re-popularizing jazz." His 2008 recording, the GRAMMY Award nominated With a Song in My Heart, celebrates the music of legendary composer Richard Rodgers.

Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana were both nominated for 2013 Tony Awards for their leading roles in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. Osnes also starred in the Off-Broadway revival of The Threepenny Opera, earning her a Drama Desk Award nomination. She received a Tony Award nomination for Broadway in Bonnie and Clyde and appeared in the Tony-winning revival of Anything Goes (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Astaire Award nominations), Lincoln Center's production of South Pacific, and her Broadway debut as Sandy in the most recent revival of Grease. In addition to his starring role in Cinderella, Fontana was recently seen in Act One at Lincoln Center Theater. His other Broadway credits include The Importance of Being Earnest (Clarence Derwent Award), Brighton Beach Memoirs (Drama Desk Award), Billy Elliot, Sunday in the Park With George. He has also acted on television, including on The Good Wife, Nurse Jackie, A Gifted Man, Royal Pains, Made in Jersey. He will star in the upcoming Universal film The Nest alongside Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and appeared in Disney's Frozen; Paramount's Jack Ryan.

The award-winning Marilyn Maye appeared 76 times on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson - the record for a singer. She is a highly praised singer, actress, director, arranger, educator and a musical treasure. Ms. Maye's RCA recordings consist of seven albums and 34 singles including the first hit recordings of Cabaret and Step to the Rear. Among her many symphony concert appearances around the United States, she has joined The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall for tributes to Stephen Sondheim and Frank Loesser. Maye's starring roles in theater include Mame, Hello, Dolly, Follies and Can Can.

Hailed by The New Yorker as "funny and touching, ceaselessly clever and scarily talented," Nellie McKay recently finished an extended run in the Off-Broadway hit Old Hats (winner of the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Alternative Theatrical Experience and Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revue) and won a Theatre World Award for her portrayal of Polly Peachum in the Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera. She has produced five critically acclaimed solo albums, including the debut double-album Get Away From Me (with Beatles' engineer Geoff Emerick), Normal as Blueberry Pie: A Tribute to Doris Day ("among the killer overhauls of American standards" - The New York Times), and her latest, Home Sweet Mobile Home. She has written and toured behind three musical biographies - Silent Spring: It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature, an exploration of environmental pioneer, Rachel Carson, I Want to Live!, the story of Barbara Graham, the third woman executed in the gas chamber at San Quentin, and her latest, A Girl Named Bill - The Life and Times of Billy Tipton. Nellie is a contributing writer to The New York Times Book Review, and her music has been heard on the Emmy-winning documentary Gasland, as well as on TV's Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Weeds, Grey's Anatomy, NCIS and Nurse Jackie. She also performed on The Late Show with David Letterman (with the Brooklyn Philharmonic).

Known as one of the most prolific director/choreographers of the twentieth century, Tommy Tune has enchanted audiences over the past 50 years with his charisma, vision, and innovation. He won his first Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical Broadway in Seesaw. Tune has been honored with nine Tony Awards celebrating him as a performer, choreographer and director (Best Actor in a Musical for My One and Only, Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Seesaw, Best Choreography for A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, My One and Only, Grand Hotel and The Will Rogers Follies, and Best Direction of a Musical for Nine, Grand Hotel and The Will Rogers Follies). In addition, Tune has been awarded eight Drama Desk Awards, three Astaire Awards and the Society of Directors and Choreographers' George Abbott Award for Lifetime Achievement. Tune is the recipient of The National Medal of Arts, the highest honor for artistic achievement given by the President of the United States, and he has been honored with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2009, Mr. Tune was designated as a Living Landmark by the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

Much-awarded, much-applauded composer-lyricists Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman are best known as the musical duo behind Hairspray, but also collaborated on Broadway's Catch Me If You Can and the current West End smash Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The partners' work on the NBC series Smash landed them Emmy, GRAMMY and Golden Globe nominations. Shaiman is a five-time Oscar nominee for scoring such films as South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut and The American President.

Visit NJTV online at njtvonline.org, Facebook and Twitter @njtvonline for more programming news and information.

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