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Natalie Cortez and Mary Testa Join Michael John LaChiusa and Audra McDonald at 92Y, 4/15

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Natalie Cortez and Mary Testa  Join Michael John LaChiusa and Audra McDonald at 92Y, 4/15

Vocalists and a pianist are announced for Lyrics & Lyricists Downtown, the L&L series at 92YTribeca. On Monday, April 15, this one-night-only event features a conversation with Tony Award-nominated lyricist composer and librettist Michael John LaChiusa. As one of today's most innovative, prolific and honored artists, LaChiusa's credits include Giant (which recently garnered a Lucille Lortel Award nomination as "Outstanding Musical,") Queen of the Mist, See What I Wanna See and Marie Christine. Joining him as moderator is five-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, who has starred in several of his works and included his songs on her CDs Way Back To Paradise and Happy Songs. The conversation - touching on LaChiusa's significant works and his songwriting process - is punctuated by songs with vocalists Natalie Cortez and Mary Testa and pianist Chris Fenwick.

Lyrics & Lyricists Downtown features one-night-only events with songwriters working in today's musical theater, bringing the legendary American Songbook series - running since 1970 - to the intimate, nightclub-style mainstage at 92YTribeca.

Michael John LaChiusa
Musical theater/opera composer, lyricist and librettist LaChiusa is best known for such Broadway shows as Marie Christine (starring Audra McDonald) and The Wild Party - both Tony Award-nominated in 2000 for score and book. In 1995 he received a Best Book of a Musical Tony nomination for his work on Chronicle of a Death Foretold. His off-Broadway credits include the Lincoln Center Theatre-produced musical Hello Again (nominated for 10 Drama Desk awards, including three - Outstanding Book of a Musical, Outstanding Music and Outstanding Lyrics - for LaChiusa), Little Fish, See What I Wanna See (Drama Desk nominations for Outstanding Music and Outstanding Lyrics), Queen of the Mist and most recently Giant, based on the Edna Ferber best-seller, which ended its run at The Public Theater last month. An original cast recording is expected to be released this spring.

Audra McDonald
With a record-tying five Tony Awards (Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun, and The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess), Audra McDonald is among today's most highly regarded performers. The Juilliard graduate is as much at home on Broadway and opera stages as she is on film and television. In addition to her theatrical work, she maintains a high-profile career as a concert and Grammy Award-winning recording artist, regularly appearing on the great stages of the world and with leading international orchestras. In 1999, she created the title role in the premiere of Michael John LaChiusa's musical Marie Christine. As an exclusive Nonesuch recording artist, McDonald releases her next album, Go Back Home, in May 2013, marking her first solo disc in seven years.

About Lyrics & Lyricists
Long one of 92nd Street Y'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, Rex Reed, Billy Stritch, Lucie Arnaz and Ted Sperling. Each show is designed to celebrate the American Songbook through a blend of narrative and entertainment with a particular focus on lyrics. For more information, please visit www.92Y.org/Lyrics.

Lyrics & Lyricists is supported by The Henry Nias Foundation, courtesy of Dr. Stanley Edelman; Gilda and Henry Block; Kenneth Kolker; and the Estate of Sanford Goldstein, in memory of Harold W. and Ida L. Goldstein.

About 92nd Street Y
92YTribeca is 92nd Street Y's downtown arts and culture venue in New York City. Opened in October 2008, 92YTribeca presents music, comedy, film, theater, talks, classes, family events, and Jewish community and holiday programs in a versatile, street-level, modern space at 200 Hudson Street. For more information, visit www.92YTribeca.org.

Since launching its first concert series in 1934, what is now 92nd Street Y Tisch Center for the Arts, which produces Lyrics and Lyricists, has presented acclaimed classical musicians and exciting newcomers; it is also home to 92Y's winter and summer jazz series, guitar series, family concerts and the renowned Unterberg Poetry Center.

Founded in 1874 by a group of visionary Jewish leaders, 92nd Street Y has grown into a wide-ranging cultural, educational and community center serving about 300,000 people of all ages, races, faiths and backgrounds each year. For more information, please visit www.92Y.org.

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