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Paul Gemignani Named Music Director of Encores! 2005-2006 Season

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Arlene Shuler, President & CEO of NEW YORK CITY CENTER, announced today that Paul Gemignani, a name synonymous with the musicals of Stephen Sondheim, will serve as Music Director of the Tony honored Encores! series at NEW YORK CITY CENTER for the 2006 Season. Mr. Gemignani will succeed Rob Fisher, who has been music director for the entire 12-year history of Encores!. Mr. Fisher steps down after conducting the upcoming season finale, The Apple Tree, starring Kristin Chenoweth, Malcolm Gets and Michael Cerveris (May 12 - 16).

Ms. Shuler stated, " We are absolutely thrilled to be welcoming Paul Gemignani to the Encores! family. He is one of Broadway's great musical minds and we are fortunate that City Center will be his new home for the next year." Encores! Artistic Director, Jack Viertel, added, "Rob Fisher is the soul of Encores!, so the upcoming production of The Apple Tree will be a process of wildly mixed emotions for all of us. Rob, however, could not be passing the baton to a more perfect person than Paul Gemignani, who has been at the center of so many landmark moments in the American musical theater. I've admired him for decades, and feel extraordinarily lucky that he's agreed to spend the next year with us. We could not possibly be in better hands."

Mr. Gemignani said, "I look forward to contributing to, and being a part of, the next Encores! season. The work that Encores! does is unique and vital to the American musical theater. My goal is to continue the high level of artistry and dedication that Rob and everyone at Encores! have achieved over the years. There are a lot of Encores! clones, but only one original."

Paul Gemignani began his extraordinary career on Broadway as musical director of Follies in 1971. Since then, he has served in that capacity for the following original productions: A Little Night Music; Sondheim: A Musical Tribute; Candide (1974 revival); Pacific Overtures; Music Is; On the Twentieth Century; Sweeney Todd; Merrily We Roll Along; A Doll's Life; The Rink; Sunday in the Park With George; Grind; Smile; Into the Woods; Jerome Robbins' Broadway; Crazy for You; Passion; Big; 1776 (revival); High Society; Kiss Me, Kate (revival); The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; Into the Woods (revival); Assassins; The Frogs; and Pacific Overtures (revival). He is the recipient of the 2001 Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement.

In a letter that was sent earlier this year to the Encores! subscribers, Mr. Fisher said "This has been a difficult decision for me, but the time has come for me to pass the baton. I feel a need to devote more of my time to a myriad of other projects. I'll be nearby, ready to answer questions and offer opinions to all my friends who comprise the artistic staff."

In a fittingly theatrical gesture, Mr. Fisher ends his Encores! tenure as he began it - with productions by the very same composer and lyricist: Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick ( Fiorello! and The Apple Tree).

Since 1994, NEW YORK CITY CENTER ENCORES! has celebrated the rarely heard works of America's most important composers and lyricists. Conceived as "concert versions," each ENCORES! season gives three scores the chance to be heard as originally intended by their creators. The program is the recipient of a special 2000 Tony® Honor for Excellence in the Theater, as well as the recipient of a New York Drama Critics Circle Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama League's Outstanding Contribution to the Theater Award, Lucille Lortel Award and Jujamcyn Theaters Award.

The landmark not-for-profit New York City Center was founded in 1943 by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia as Manhattan's first performing arts center, and is now the annual New York City home to Alvin Ailey® American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre's fall season, Paul Taylor Dance Company, and Manhattan Theatre Club. New York City Center is host to some of America's and the world's most acclaimed performers and productions, and the producer of the Tony®-honored Encores!® Great American Musicals in Concert series and the annual Fall for Dance Festival.

Lead sponsorship for the NEW YORK CITY CENTER ENCORES! 2005 Season is provided by NEWMAN'S OWN. Newman's Own is a premium food company headquartered in Westport, CT. Paul Newman donates all after-tax profits from the sale of Newman's Own products to educational and charitable causes. Since 1982, he has donated more than $125 million to over 2,000 charities. Newman's Own all natural line of products includes popcorn, salsa, lemonade, salad dressing, pasta sauce, and steak sauce.

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