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Photo Coverage: Lea Salonga Kicks Off 2013 Lincoln Center's AMERICAN SONGBOOK

Tony Winner, Disney Legend Lea Salonga ("Miss Saigon," "Les Miserables") opened this year's Lincoln Center presents "American Songbook" concert series, a 15-year-old annual tribute to great American songwriters, past and present, to sold-out crowd at The Allen Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center last night.

"Normally the 'American Songbook' features a great Broadway-centric canon dating between the '20s and the '60s. But we're not doing that. We're paying tribute and celebrating about nine decades worth (of music) dating far back to people like Gershwin, Berlin, Lerner and Loewe, and The Sherman Brothers; and moving forward to people like Stephen Schwartz, David Foster, Bruno Mars -- he's American; he belongs here," Salonga mentioned in her opening spiel.

For 75 minutes without intermission, the accomplished singer, actress, directed by real-life best friend Victor Lirio ("Two Rooms," "Suites by Sondheim"), delightedly engaged her audience (which erupts in occasional cheers during Salonga's relaxed, naturally-delivered spiels) in an intimate concert in three acts, made up of (1) old Broadway classics rearranged as jazz by Larry Yurman, Salonga's long-time musical director and pianist; (2) contemporary pop music that culminated in a surprise pop rock rendition of recording artist Bruno Mars' "Grenade"; and (3) a sampling of animated movie songs and musical theater gems that included the New York premiere performance of "Higher," written by Jay Kuo, composer, lyricist, and co-author of the Broadway-bound musical "Allegiance."

Lincoln Center's "American Songbook" concert series plays 14 more nights at The Allen Room featuring a diverse set of artists, which includes country music singer Kathy Mattea (Wed, Feb. 27); cabaret singer Valerie Simpson (tonight, Jan . 31); and Broadway favorites Kristin Chenoweth (Fri, Feb. 15), Alice Ripley, Brian d'Arcy James, and Idina Menzel, performing songs by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, multi-award-winning duo behind "Next to Normal" (Fri., Mar. 1).

For more information, visit americansongbook.org.

Photos by Carlo Damocles

Photo Coverage: Lea Salonga Kicks Off 2013 Lincoln Center's AMERICAN SONGBOOK

Photo Coverage: Lea Salonga Kicks Off 2013 Lincoln Center's AMERICAN SONGBOOK
Lea Salonga

Photo Coverage: Lea Salonga Kicks Off 2013 Lincoln Center's AMERICAN SONGBOOK
Lea Salonga

Photo Coverage: Lea Salonga Kicks Off 2013 Lincoln Center's AMERICAN SONGBOOK
Lea Salonga

Photo Coverage: Lea Salonga Kicks Off 2013 Lincoln Center's AMERICAN SONGBOOK
Lea Salonga

Photo Coverage: Lea Salonga Kicks Off 2013 Lincoln Center's AMERICAN SONGBOOK
Lea Salonga

Photo Coverage: Lea Salonga Kicks Off 2013 Lincoln Center's AMERICAN SONGBOOK
Lea Salonga

Photo Coverage: Lea Salonga Kicks Off 2013 Lincoln Center's AMERICAN SONGBOOK
Larry Yurman (piano), John Miller (bass), Lea Salonga, Dave Ratajczak (drums), Jack Cavari (guitar)

Photo Coverage: Lea Salonga Kicks Off 2013 Lincoln Center's AMERICAN SONGBOOK
Lea Salonga

Photo Coverage: Lea Salonga Kicks Off 2013 Lincoln Center's AMERICAN SONGBOOK
John Miller (bass), Lea Salonga, Dave Ratajczak (drums), Jack Cavari (guitar)

Photo Coverage: Lea Salonga Kicks Off 2013 Lincoln Center's AMERICAN SONGBOOK
Lea Salonga

Photo Coverage: Lea Salonga Kicks Off 2013 Lincoln Center's AMERICAN SONGBOOK
Lea Salonga

Photo Coverage: Lea Salonga Kicks Off 2013 Lincoln Center's AMERICAN SONGBOOK

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Oliver Oliveros Oliver Oliveros received a master's degree in public relations and corporate communication from New York University while serving as regional director for BroadwayWorld.com, where he accepted an Award for Excellence: Best International Editor in 2013.

For nearly 20 years, Oliver has been handling public relations, corporate communication, and integrated marketing communications for numerous brands (including Pepsi), Broadway shows, Broadway stars, non-profit organizations, and mainstream celebrities.

He is also the editor-in-chief for Fil-Am Who’s Who, a monthly magazine that tells the real-life success stories of Filipino Americans from the New York Tri-State area.


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