Photo Coverage: Mostly Arlen...All Audra

December 4
1:12 PM 2005
Four-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald (Master Class, Carousel, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun) performed the songs of the legendary composer in Mostly Arlen... All Audra!, a benefit concert for the New York Festival of Song (NYFOS) held on Saturday, December 3 at the Rafael Vinoly Architects Studio (50 Van Dam Street, between Varick and Hudson).

Emceeing the show and accompanying McDonald on piano was Steven Blier, the artistic director of NYFOS, which has presented over 90 voice recitals since its founding in 1988 by Blier and pianist Michael Barrett. The festival has featured composers as diverse as Schubert, Porter, Weill, and Lennon and McCartney.

Harold Arlen, who is considered one of the great twentieth century composers of musicals and popular song, wrote music for the shows Bloomer Girl, House of Flowers and Jamaica as well as for the films The Wizard of Oz and A Star is Born, among others; his songs included "Stormy Weather," "It's Only a Paper Moon," "Let's Fall in Love" and many more.

For more information, visit

Audra McDonald and Steven Blier

Michael Barrett, Associate Artistic Director of the New York Festival of Song, and Steven Blier

Audra McDonald and company

Audra McDonald and Jamie Bernstein, the daughter of Leonard Bernstein and on the NYFOS Board of Directors

Audra McDonald, Judy Goetz Sanger (on the NYFOS Board of Directors), and Sirgay Sanger

Steven Blier, Audra McDonald and Michael Barrett

The program

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Ben Strothmann Ben Strothmann has been a portrait and theatrical photographer since 1995. Since building his first darkroom in his hometown of Milwaukee WI, his portrait studio now looks out over Manhattan where he shoots headshots and production photos. Born to a famous cheesecake lady (Suzy Strothmann of Suzy's Cream Cheesecakes), Ben is also an actor and pianist. Currently he lives in Astoria and studies guitar and Icelandic. Ben is also a volunteer for The Heart Gallery ( and helps NYC foster children find permanent, loving families. Ben is proud to be a part of the world famous singing waitstaff at Ellen's Stardust Diner. See for more info.