BWW Previews: NYGASP GALA Honoring Sheldon Harnick - Featuring Laura Benanti
Gilbert, of Gilbert and Sullivan, was a lyrical wizard, crafting rhyme scheme and word play that titillates audiences still today - more on that here. His influence has burst through the walls of the theater, permeating myriad markets. And with his influence as far reaching as South Park, it's safe to say that today's lyricists are finding inspiration from him as well: enter Sheldon Harnick.
Harnick is the Tony award winning genius behind such works as She Loves Me, The Apple Tree, Fiorello! (for which he won the Pulitzer), and the little known, rarely performed, Fiddler on the Roof. His lyrics have been consistently compared to Gilbert's body of work and parallels will again be drawn on Wednesday May 2nd when the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players (NYGASP) honor Harnick with the first Albert Bergeret Living Legacy of Gilbert and Sullivan Award. Harnick is an honorary member of the NYGASP board and a long-time fan of Gilbert - this award could not be more fitting.
As part of their event, the company will be hosting a concert honoring Harnick's extensive, impactful body of work. And in keeping with the theme of quick witted wordsmiths, Laura Benanti will be performing a 15-minute rendering of She Loves Me - a show that, in 2016, secured her yet another Tony nomination. While she may not have penned any librettos, her Tweets are some of the best in the twittersphere. That woman can weave 280 characters in a way like no one else, leaving me in stitches every time. The company will also feature other pieces of Harnick's, as well as a host of Gilbert and Sullivan gems - including a traditional G&S 'list song' in his honor, which is sure to be a riot.
If this wasn't enough, there will be a live auction and dinner which will benefit the company's Arts Education program. Items include an Antarctic cruise, a walk on role in The Pirates of Penzance, both of which you can bid on here, as well as numerous other goodies. It's a special event that's sure to leave a lasting memory - I mean, who WOULDN'T want to hear Benanti sing a little She Loves Me at the historic Players Club?!?
For tickets and more information, call the NYGASP office at 212-769-1000 or online at www.nygasp.org.
Photo credit here.