Lyrics & Lyricists at 92Y Host A Tribute to Burton Lane 2/14
One of the American Songbook's great melodists, Burton Lane wrote the scores to Finian's Rainbow, Royal Wedding and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, and standards like "How About You." On February 14, Broadway music director David Loud (The Scottsboro Boys, Curtains, Ragtime) leads a celebration of Lane's music at 92nd Street Y's Lyrics & LyricistsTM.
Loud spotlights Lane's collaborations with lyricists like Frank Loesser, Ira Gershwin, Dorothy Fields, Alan Jay Lerner and E.Y. "Yip" Harburg on classics like "How About You" and "Too Late Now," as well as some of his lesser known gems. The cast includes vocalists Heidi Blickenstaff, Liz Callaway, James Clow, Joshua Henry¸ and Michele Ragusa. The show also features special guest John Cullum, who garnered his first Tony Award nomination for the lead role in the original production of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, in which he introduced the title song.
Burton Lane worked both on Broadway and in Hollywood and had intersecting relationships with the cream of both worlds from the beginning of his career. At 17 he performed for the Gershwins, and Ira introduced Lane to "Yip" Harburg; the two collaborated on Finian's Rainbow years later. Harburg, of course, wrote the lyrics for The Wizard of Oz, featuring Judy Garland, who was 11-year-old Frances Gumm when Lane discovered her, brought her to MGM and played at her audition. Lane's first Oscar nomination was for "How About You," from Babes on Broadway, sung by Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. His collaboration with Alan Jay Lerner resulted in both the Fred Astaire-Jane Powell hit Royal Wedding and - many years later - On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, for which he won a GrammyTM Award for Best Original Cast Album.
"Burton Lane is one of the under-celebrated masters of the Great American Songbook," comments David Loud. "Writing with an astonishing array of lyricists, he produced a sparkling catalog of melodic gems, some of them neglected for far too long." For Loud, Lane's breakthrough masterpiece, Finian's Rainbow, with its combination of Irish lilt and down home Americana, stands in sharp contrast to the urbane sophistication of his Hollywood songs. "Well-constructed melodies," he says, "seemed to flow effortlessly from Burton Lane's fingers, in whatever style was required."
The L&L show Monday at 2 and 8 pm. Individual tickets range from $67 to $52.
Heidi Blickenstaff, vocals
Blickenstaff gained widespread notice for her work in [title of show], during both its Off-Broadway and Broadway runs, playing what she called a "concentrated version" of herself. Her other Broadway credits include roles in The Little Mermaid and The Full Monty. She won a Helen Hayes Award for her starring role in the musical Meet John Doe at the Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C.
Liz Callaway, vocals
Callaway received a Tony Award nomination for her performance in Baby, and for five years, appeared as "Grizabella" in Cats. She also starred in Broadway in the original casts of Miss Saigon, The Three Musketeers, and The Look of Love. She has provided the voices for a number of animated characters, including "Anya/Anastasia" in Anastasia, in which she sang the Academy Award-nominated song "Journey to the Past."
James Clow, vocals
Clow's Broadway credits include Assassins, Blood Brothers, Company, She Loves Me Wonderful Town and Irving Berlin's White Christmas. He has toured nationally in numerous shows, including Beauty and the Beast, Into The Woods, Jekyll & Hyde, and Oklahoma.
Joshua Henry, vocals
Henry won a Drama Desk Award for his performance in In the Heights, and has gone on to appear in American Idiot and a starring role in The Scottsboro Boys.
Michele Ragusa, vocals
Ragusa has appeared on Broadway in Young Frankenstein, Urinetown, A Class Act, Ragtime, Titanic and Cyrano. The New York Times raved about her Off-Broadway performance in Adrift in Macao (for which she garnered Lucille Lortel and Drama Desk nominations): "Ragusa gave an inspired comic performance with consistently hilarious effect."
Special Guest John Cullum, vocals
Cullum made his Broadway debut in Camelot, and netted his first Broadway starring role in On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, garnering a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical. He has gone on to win two Best Actor Tony Awards, for Shenandoah and On the Twentieth Century, as well as nominations for Urinetown and 110 in the Shade. He was most recently seen on Broadway in The Scottsboro Boys, and is well-known to TV viewers for his role as "Holling the bartender" on Northern Exposure, for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award. Cullum was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 2007.
Coming up in 2011
March 12, 13, 14
STAGE DOOR CANTEEN: BROADWAY RESPONDS TO WWII
Ted Chapin, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR & HOST
ANDY EINHORN, MUSIC DIRECTOR
Caitlin Carter, STAGE DIRECTOR
Anderson Davis, Vocals
Jeffrey Denman, Vocals
Brandon Victor Dixon, Vocals
Betsy Wolfe, Vocals
Additional vocalist to be announced
April 30, May 1, 2
THE CROWD'S AT EL MOROCCO: THE HEYDAY OF THE NEW YORK NIGHTCLUBS
DEBORAH GRACE WINER, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR & HOST
John Oddo, MUSIC DIRECTOR & PIANO
Mark Waldrop, STAGE DIRECTOR
Debby Boone, Vocals
La Tanya Hall, Vocals
James Naughton, Vocals
Billy Stritch, Vocals
Karen Ziemba, Vocals
May 21, 22, 23
CARRIED AWAY: BEING COMDEN AND GREEN
Phyllis Newman, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, HOST & VOCALS
Carl Andress, STAGE DIRECTOR
Cast to be announced
ABOUT LYRICS & LYRICISTS
Long one of 92nd Street Y's most popular programs, the American Songbook series Lyrics & LyricistsTM 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 every great Broadway and Hollywood lyricist 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 Rob Fisher, Sheldon Harnick, Robert Kimball, Rex Reed, Lucie Arnaz, Billy Stritch, Ted Sperling and Andrea Marcovicci,. Each show celebrates the American Songbook through a a blend of performance and narrative with a particular focus on lyrics. For more information, please visit www.92Y.org/Lyrics.
92nd Street Y's unique fusion of community and culture makes it the only place of its kind in the world. 92Y is a not-for-profit community center, performance stage and lecture hall; a literary salon and home for artists; a school, outreach organization and summer camp; a gym, a residence and more. 92nd Street Y, a proudly Jewish institution since its inception in 1874, has become a community of communities, welcoming people of all ages, races, faiths and backgrounds. Now serving more than 300,000 people each year in its New York facilities, 92Y also reaches millions of "virtual" guests around the world through its website, satellite broadcasts and other electronic media. Committed to making its programs available to everyone, 92nd Street Y awards nearly $1 million in scholarships annually and reaches about 7500 public school children through subsidized arts and science education programs. For more information, please visit www.92Y.org.