Lewis Cleale Joins Mandy Gonzalez, Jonathan Groff and More in 92Y's GETTING TO KNOW YOU: RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN, 4/5-7
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II were established hit makers when they teamed up to make a musical about cowboys and farmers. What follows was a miracle-Oklahoma!, then Carousel and South Pacific; the list of extraordinary hits goes on. On April 5, 6 and 7 get to know these legends even better at Getting to Know You: Rodgers & Hammerstein, Lyrics & Lyricists first look at the two songwriters as a team. Guest artistic director, writer and host Ted Chapin, head of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, shares an insider's perspective on the pair, gleaned from his years with the Rodgers and Hammerstein families; joined by vocalists Lewis Cleale, Mandy Gonzalez, Jonathan Groff, Rebecca Luker, and Phillipa Soo.
Chapin approaches his tribute to these iconic songwriters with a sense of discovery, noting "even I learn things all the time. Take 'People Will Say We're In Love' as an example. At a recent production of Oklahoma! I noticed inner rhymes that I hadn't paid attention to: '...Why do they think up stories that link my name...' "Grantin' your wish, I carved our initials on that tree...' It's a tribute to their genius that no matter how well you know their songs, there is always more to uncover about how the work of two distinctively different artists blended together into a unified whole.
About the Artistic Director, Cast and Creative Team:
Ted Chapin is President and Executive Director of Rodgers & Hammerstein: an Imagem Company. He is past chairman of the Board of Trustees for the American Theatre Wing and was chairman of the Advisory Committee for New York City Center's Encores! series from its inception. He serves on several boards including Goodspeed Musicals, New Music USA, and New York City Center. He served as a Tony Award nominator for two seasons, and is currently a member of the Tony Administration Committee. His career began as production- or directorial assistant for the Broadway productions of Follies, The Rothschilds and The Unknown Soldier and His Wife, as well as Bernstein's Mass at the Kennedy Center, and Candide in San Francisco. As associate to Alan Arkin, he worked on the original Broadway production of Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys, Twigs starring Carol Burnett (CBS); and Neil Cuthbert's The Soft Touch. Chapin was musical director for the National Theatre of the Deaf's production of Four Saints in Three Acts, and producer of the Musical Theatre Lab. He is the author of Everything Was Possible: The Birth of the Musical "Follies" and previously helmed L&L's Stage Door Canteen in 2011.
Lewis Cleale: Cleale currently appears as Joseph Smith, Mission President, Jesus & others in The Book of Mormon. Other Broadway credits include Sondheim on Sondheim, Spamalot (Galahad, Black Knight & others), Amour, Once Upon a Mattress and Swinging on a Star (Drama Desk nomination). Off-Broadway Cleale has appeared in A New Brain (Gordon) for Lincoln Center Theater, The Fantasticks, Time & Again, and Call Me Madam opposite Tyne Daly for Encores!. He has toured nationally in Sunset Boulevard with Petula Clark and in South Pacific with Robert Goulet. He can currently be heard in the Disney film Frozen as the voice of Cliff the Troll.
Mandy Gonzalez: Gonzalez is best known for playing the role of Nina Rosario in the Tony Award-winning musical In The Heights, a role she created Off-Broadway at 37 Arts (Drama Desk Award for Best Ensemble). Other Broadway credits include Elphaba in Wicked (Broadway.com award for Best Replacement), Princess Amneris in Aida, and several characters - including John Lennon - in Lennon. She received an Obie Award for her performance in the Off-Broadway production of Eli's Comin' directed by Diane Paulus, the musical based on the music and lyrics of singer-songwriter Laura Nyro, and her film/TV credits include Across the Universe, Man on a Ledge, After, The Good Wife, White Collar and One Life to Live.
Jonathan Groff: Groff originated the lead of Melchior Gabor in the award-winning Broadway musical Spring Awakening, for which he earned a Tony Award nomination. He later appeared in the 2008 Off-Broadway revival of Hair and received critical acclaim for his role in the West End revival of Deathtrap in 2010. An Off-Broadway regular, Groff earned an Obie Award for starring in the Craig Lucas plays Prayer for My Enemy and The Singing Forrest. He is widely known to TV audiences for his recurring role on the FOX series Glee and currently stars in the HBO series Looking. Groff starred in the first-ever screen adaptation of author David Sedaris' work C.O.G., in which he portrayed a character based on Sedaris himself, and voiced Kristoff in Disney's newest Academy Award-winning feature film Frozen.
Rebecca Luker: Luker most recently appeared on Broadway in Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella. Her Broadway credits also include Mary Poppins (Tony Award nomination), Nine; The Music Man (Tony Award nomination, Drama Desk Award nomination and Outer Critics Circle Award nomination); The Sound of Music (Outer Critics Circle Award nomination); Show Boat (Tony Award nomination); The Secret Garden (Drama Desk Award nomination); and The Phantom of the Opera. With the New York City Opera Luker was featured in X (The Life and Times of Malcolm X) and Brigadoon. Off-Broadway she starred in Maury Yeston's Death Takes a Holiday (Outer Critics Circle Award nomination), the world premiere of A.R. Gurney's Indian Blood, Can't Let Go and The Vagina Monologues.
Phillipa Soo: Soo attended The Juilliard School for acting and was a recent graduate when she landed the role of Natasha in Dave Malloy's Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 in the Off-Broadway pop-up venue Kazino (World Premiere, Ars Nova). She has been seen on NBC's Smash and this spring will in the upcoming workshop of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton Mixtape, directed by Thomas Kail.
Andy Einhorn: Einhorn is music director, conductor and vocal arranger of the new musical, Bullets Over Broadway, opening on Broadway this month. Last season, he was the music director and conductor of Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella and for its cast recording. His other Broadway credits include music director of Noël Coward's Brief Encounter at the Roundabout Theatre, and conductor and pianist of Sondheim on Sondheim, including the Grammy nominated cast album; Evita and The Light in the Piazza. His national tours include South Pacific, Sweeney Todd, Irving Berlin's White Christmas, The Lion King and Mamma Mia! In 2011 Andy was music director for the L&L show Stage Door Canteen with Ted Chapin, and its cast album released later that year.
Sarna Lapine: Lapine has worked as an associate and assistant director on Broadway in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Sondheim on Sondheim, South Pacific, Awake and Sing! and The Light in the Piazza. She directed Odets' Waiting for Lefty at the Lee Strasberg Institute and Tales from the Jazz Age: An F. Scott Fitzgerald Songbook at Café Carlyle, the second national tour of South Pacific, and is the associate director of the national tour of War Horse. This is her L&L debut.
Greg Jarrett: Jarrett served as assistant music director for the Classic Stage Company's production of Sondheim's Passion last season and music director of the company's "45th Anniversary Bash" last year. He was associate music director for the 2011 L&L show Stage Door Canteen and has also served as music director of the Vineyard Arts Project, a performing arts residency space on Martha's Vineyard, at the Barrington Stage and the New York Theatre Workshop. Recently, he contributed dance arrangements and served as associate music director for the new Maltby and Shire musical, Behind the Painting. Off-Broadway, Greg was associate conductor and keyboardist for the world premiere of Maury Yeston's musical, Death Takes a Holiday, starring Rebecca Luker and was associate music director for the Encores! Off-Center productions of The Cradle Will Rock and I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking it on the Road.
ABOUT LYRICS & LYRICISTS: Long one of 92Y's most popular programs, the American Songbook series Lyrics & Lyricists was launched in 1970 when longtime Broadway conductor Maurice Levine and lyricist E.Y. "Yip" Harburg (The Wizard of Oz) took to the stage to talk about the then-unusual topic of songwriting. Over the years the series has featured great Broadway and Hollywood lyricists including Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Johnny Mercer, Stephen Sondheim, Dorothy Fields and Alan Jay Lerner. Since 2004, L&L has featured original programs created by accomplished champions of the repertoire, including John Pizzarelli, Rob Fisher, Sheldon Harnick, Robert Kimball, Kathleen Marshall, Rex Reed, Billy Stritch, Lucie Arnaz, Ted Sperling and Mark Lamos. Each show is designed to celebrate the American Songbook with narrated concert revues, with a particular focus on lyrics. For more information, visit www.92Y.org/Lyrics.
The April 5 evening performance is underwritten in memory of Harold W. and Ida L. Goldstein by the Estate of Sanford Goldstein. The April 6 afternoon performance is underwritten by The Henry Nias foundation, courtesy of Dr. Stanley Edelman.
About 92nd Street Y: 92Y is a world-class nonprofit community and cultural center that connects people at every stage of life to the worlds of education, the arts, health and wellness, and Jewish life. Through the breadth and depth of 92Y's extraordinary programs, 92Y enriches lives, creates community and elevates humanity. More than 300,000 people visit 92Y in New York City annually and many more connect through digital and social media, live webcasts of events, and an extensive archive of stage programs and original content produced for the web, all available on 92YOnDemand.org. A proudly Jewish organization since its founding in 1874, 92Y embraces its heritage and enthusiastically welcomes people of all backgrounds and perspectives. For more information, visit www.92Y.org.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride