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Undercover Showtunes #2: Stephanie D'Abruzzo

New York Musical Theatre Festival concludes its first-ever Spring Concert Series with "Undercover Showtunes" on Monday, June 18 at 7PM at The Zipper Factory (336 W 37th St.) in Manhattan.

"Undercover Showtunes" is a unique concert comprised of pop and rock songs that weren't written for musicals, but sound as if they might have been – songs that tell a story, create a character, paint a full, vivid portrait as a great song in a musical is meant to do.

For more information on "Undercover Showtunes" and purchase tickets visit the show website at NYMF.org.  Tickets are $50 and $90 with post-concert cast party included by calling 212-352-3101 or visiting online.  Discounts are available here.

Stephanie D'Abruzzo (Avenue Q) is one of the many talented Broadway and screen stars set to appear at "Undercover Showtunes."  BroadwayWorld.com's Eugene Lovendusky, based in San Francisco, got the opportunity to chat with D'Abruzzo about her up-coming performance and her past and future stage experiences…

Eugene Lovendusky: I love the premise of the "Undercover Showtunes" concert.  What song will you be performing Monday, June 18?

Stephanie D'Abruzzo: I will be performing "Unsent" by Alanis Morrisette and "Synchronicity II" by the Police. "Unsent" was Jess McLeod and Brian Nash's idea, "Synchronicity II" was mine. They're both great songs and I'm really looking forward to having some fun with them.

Eugene: Some musical theatre fans feel they simply cannot find anything better than the music, lyrics and orchestrations showtunes provide… especially not on the radio.  How do you feel about this opinion and what kinds of music do you know of outside of musical theatre (like those presented at "Undercover Showtunes") that might tickle their fancy?

Stephanie: Who are these people? I daresay they are listening to the wrong radio stations.  There is nothing wrong with loving musical theatre, but I think that it's naive to hold it superior any other musical classification, especially since these other genres have been influencing Broadway more and more in recent decades.  Look at Spring Awakening or Hair.  These are radio songs. The Color Purple and Caroline, or Change have R&B all over them. And then there are the jukebox musicals... even the bad ones have good music in them.  There are lots of stories in pop music, lots of lush orchestrations, lots of attention to detail. You just have to know where to find them. The best stuff is never overt. "Undercover Showtunes" should be a really wonderful evening, if the Ben Folds night was any indication. For those who are already familiar with the pop songs being performed, they will enjoy the fresh take these amazing performers and musicians spin on them. For those whom you mention, they will be very educated and pleasantly surprised and driven to spend many 99-cent increments on iTunes when they get home.

Eugene: What kind of music were you raised on?

Stephanie: We did not have many record albums in my house growing up, so my music exposure as a youngster was mostly movie soundtracks, television variety shows, Bugs Bunny cartoons, and whatever we listened to on the radio in the car, which was mostly Top 40 in the 70s and 80s, as well as the local oldies station. I still remember discovering the classic rock station when I was in high school and being totally blown away by it.

Eugene: And what kind of music do you find yourself most often listening to today?

Stephanie: My tastes range all over the place, from vocal standards to Motown to 70s funk & soul to 80s pop to film scores to artists like  R.E.M., Ben Folds, Prince, Annie Lennox, the Police, Elvis Costello, Cat Stevens, the Ditty Bops, local bands that friends of mine are in, and the list goes on... I have no single favorite genre or artist.

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Eugene Lovendusky Eugene Lovendusky graduated summa cum laude from SFSU with a BA in Writing for Electronic Media and a minor in Drama. Raised in the SF Bay Area, his love for the arts bloomed at an early-age; a passion that has flourished in NYC, where Eugene now lives and works. He is a proud member of the New York City Gay Mens' Chorus.