Heidi Blickenstaff, Rebecca Luker and More Set for LYRICS & LYRICISTS Concerts in 2013

Heidi Blickenstaff, Rebecca Luker and More Set for LYRICS & LYRICISTS Concerts in 2013

92nd Street Y announces casting for the 2013 season of Lyrics & Lyricists™. Jason Danieley, Rebecca Luker, Barbara Carroll and James Naughton are among the performers from the worlds of Broadway, jazz and cabaret presenting a panoramic journey through the American Songbook via New York, London, Hollywood, and Stratford-on-Avon. L&L's shows this season explore Shakespeare on Broadway, iconic singer/lyricist Peggy Lee, a fresh take on Jerome Kern, and our look at Vernon Duke's and W. S. Gilbert's influence on Broadway. The season is curated by series artistic director Deborah Grace Winer (also returning as artistic director for one of the shows), and a line-up of guest artistic directors – Rob Fisher (with host Sheldon Harnick), Billy Stritch, David Loud and Mark Lamos.

L&L shows are Saturday at 8 pm, Sunday at 2 and 7 pm, and Monday at 2 and 7:30 pm. Individual tickets and subscriptions are on sale now, with single ticket prices from $52. Please call 212-415-5500 or go to www.92Y.org/Lyrics for more information.

Lyrics & Lyricists is produced by the 92nd Street Y Tisch Center for the Arts under Director Hanna Arie-Gaifman.

Deborah Grace Winer says about the country's preeminent American Songbook series: "Part of the excitement for us is to program shows that let us dive into a subject in a whole new way...and then see how each of those shows plays against what comes before and after it in the season. So this year we had fun shaping a season as varied as Peggy Lee and Shakespeare, or W.S. Gilbert and his Broadway spawn. And were thrilled to realize that in fact our 2013 season has a theme of transformation. Whether it's a White Russian piano virtuoso named Dukelsky morphing into American tunesmith Vernon Duke, or the way that, in a new millennium, Jerome Kern's songs are continuously reinvented by performers of every possible stripe. The really nice part is that the members of our L&L artistic family, who put these shows together, are simply the very best in the business."

Lyrics & Lyricists: 2013 Season

January 12, 13, 14
Rob Fisher, Artistic Director & Piano
Sheldon Harnick, Host & Writer
Gary Griffin, Stage Director

From Porter to Sondheim, theater's lyricists took a lesson from W.S. Gilbert's intricate rhymes and skewering wit. Trace the comic DNA from The Mikado to My Fair Lady and beyond in a celebration of Broadway humor and satire.

Jason Danieley, vocals
Singer/actor Danieley has been hailed by The New York Times as "the most exquisite tenor on Broadway." After making a splash in the theater world in Adam Guettel's Floyd Collins, Danieley has gone on to appear on Broadway in Next to Normal (alongside his wife Marin Mazzie), Curtains, The Full Monty and Candide.

David Garrison, vocals
Singer/actor Garrison has collaborated with Rob Fisher on several L&L productions as both host and performer. He received a Tony® Award nomination for A Day in Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine and has also appeared on Broadway in Wicked, Titanic, and Torch Song Trilogy. He is also widely known for his role on TV's Married… With Children.

February 23, 24, 25
Billy Stritch, Artistic Director, Co-Writer, Piano & Vocals
Mark Waldrop, Stage Director & Co-Writer

As arguably the coolest singing icon of the times, Peggy Lee turned "Fever" and "Is That All There Is?" into standards, and wrote hits like "He's a Tramp." Billy Stritch (Liza's at the Palace, 42nd Street) tours the hip musical landscape of Miss Peggy Lee.

La Tanya Hall, vocals
Singer Hall's stage credits include the last national tour of Dreamgirls, A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden and the New York City Center Encores! production of Promises, Promises. She has toured with such legends as Harry Belafonte, Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin, and is also an in-demand session singer. Michael Feinstein wrote that "…her musicality and myriad interpretive gifts make her singing a unique and joyous experience."

Gabrielle Stravelli, vocals
Singer/actress Stravelli is equally at home with Johnny Mercer and Pink Floyd. She has performed on stages from Amsterdam to New York in such venues as Carnegie Hall, the Hammerstein Ballroom, Iridium, Birdland and Comix. Stravelli has performed as a soloist with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra and the Cincinnati Pops, sang the role of West Side Story's "Anita" with the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra and Hair's "Jeannie" on the show's European tour.

Billy Stritch, vocals & piano
Grammy® Award-winning jazz singer, composer, arranger, vocalist and jazz pianist Stritch was the artistic director for L&L 2009 show on Mel Tormé and has also performed at L&L on numerous occasions. Among many other projects he did vocal and music arrangements for Liza Minelli's Liza's at the Palace and Minelli on Minelli concerts, and appeared on Broadway in 42nd Street.

Marilyn Maye – Special Guest
The Philadelphia Inquirer said of legendary vocalist Maye, "Calling her a cabaret singer is like calling Pablo Picasso a painter; it's true all right, but it leaves a lot out!" A favorite of both L&L and Jazz in July audiences, Maye returns to the 92Y stage to pay tribute to another legend.

April 6, 7, 8
David Loud, Artistic Director, Writer & Host
Few stories are more theatrical than the life of Vernon Duke. Born into Russian nobility, he played Carnegie Hall, penned hits like "Autumn in New York," "April in Paris" and landmark shows like Cabin in the Sky, and led a double life as the classical composer and pianist Vladimir Dukelsky.

Heidi Blickenstaff, vocals
Singer/actress 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 Addams Family, The Little Mermaid and The Full Monty. She won a Helen Hayes Award for her starring role in the musical Meet John Doe at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C.

Rebecca Luker, vocals
Singer/actress Luker received Tony Award-nominations for her roles in Mary Poppins, The Music Man, and Show Boat and also starred on Broadway in Nine and The Sound of Music. She has appeared off-Broadway in The Vagina Monologues, with New York City Opera and in City Center's Encores! and Lincoln Center's American Songbook series.

May 4, 5, 6
Deborah Grace Winer, Artistic Director, Writer & Host
John Oddo, Music Director
Mark Waldrop, Stage Director

With shows, films and songs like Show Boat, "All the Things You Are" and "The Way You Look Tonight," he redefined American Music. It's no accident Jerome Kern is "The Dean."

Karrin Allyson, vocals
Singer Allyson has been hailed by The Los Angeles Times as "…one of the jazz world's finest." Equally at home with the American Songbook as with jazz standards, she has garnered four Grammy Award nominations for Best Jazz Vocal album, most recently for 2011's Round Midnight, her 13th release.

Debby Boone, vocals
Singer/actress Boone won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1977 when "You Light Up My Life" became an overnight hit and then sold over four million copies. Since then, she has won two additional Grammy Awards and has received seven Grammy nominations. Her Broadway credits include Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Grease; she also earned a Drama Desk nomination for her role as Maria in Lincoln Center's 30th-anniversary production of The Sound of Music.

Jeffry Denman, vocals, choreography
Denman's Broadway credits include Irving Berlin's White Christmas, The Producers, Dream, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Cats. He was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his role in the off-Broadway musical YANK! Denman chronicled his experience with The Producers in the book A Year with the Producers: One Actor's Exhausting (But Worth It) Journey from Cats to Mel Brooks' Mega-Hit.

Jay Leonhart, bass & vocals
The Los Angeles Times described Leonhart as "the Fred Astaire of jazz, a craftsman so seamlessly smooth that casual observers often fail to grasp the immensity of his talent." Leonhart has performed with everyone from Tony Bennett to Dizzy Gillespie, recorded numerous albums and is a noted purveyor of witty songs of his own authorship, including "It's Impossible to Sing and Play the Bass." However you describe him, this musical veteran is a favorite with audiences behind and in front of the mic.

James Naughton, vocals
Singer/actor Naughton has won critical acclaim in dramas, comedies and musicals. He is a two-time Tony Award -nominated -winner as Best Actor in a Musical for Chicago and City of Angels, for which he also won a Drama Desk Award. His solo concert/cabaret act, James Naughton Live, at the Manhattan Theater Club, and one-man-show, Street of Dreams, have also earned critical raves.

Paula West, vocals
Acclaimed singer West is known for a distinctive repertoire that includes such diverse material as Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" and standards like "Fly Me to the Moon," West has won three New York Nightlife Awards for Outstanding Female Jazz Vocalist and is a favorite at such clubs as The Oak Room, Feinstein's, The Jazz Standard, Birdland, and Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Lincoln Center. She has also sung at major jazz festivals and shared the bill with such luminaries as Rosemary Clooney, Jimmy Scott, Freddy Cole and Mavis Staples.

Karen Ziemba, vocals
One of Broadway's most versatile stars, Ziemba won the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics' Circle Awards for her performance in the hit musical Contact at Lincoln Center Theater. She garnered Tony nominations for her roles in Steel Pier, Never Gonna Dance and Curtains, and starred in 42nd Street, Crazy for You and Chicago. Off-Broadway, she won a Drama Desk Award for And the World Goes 'Round and for New York City Center Encores!, did The Pajama Game and Bye, Bye, Birdie. Ziemba is appearing now in A.R. Gurney's new play Heresy, off-Broadway at the Flea Theater.

Barbara Carroll – Special Guest
Legendary jazz pianist and vocalist Barbara Carroll has epitomized the glamour and elegance of the city's nightlife since her first New York engagement in 1947, on a bill with Dizzy Gillespie. Her "two week" engagement at The Carlyle's Bemelmans Bar lasted for 25 years, along with jazz festival appearances and recording numerous albums. Carroll has played rooms Dizzy's Club Coca Cola, the Algonquin's Oak Room and Feinstein's at the Regency. She now headlines the Jazz Brunch with Barbara Carroll at 54 Below.

June 1, 2, 3
Mark Lamos, Artistic Director
Wayne Barker, Music Director

Petruchio and Katherine backstage, Romeo and Juliet on a fire escape, Hamlet on the African savannah. From Kiss Me, Kate to West Side Story to Disney's The Lion King, Shakespeare has left his mark on the American Songbook. Tony Award®, -winning director Mark Lamos (Cymbeline, Seascape) makes his L&L debut revealing the ties between Stratford-on-Avon and Shubert Alley.

Long one of 92nd Street Y's most popular programs, the American Songbook series Lyrics & Lyricists™ 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 great Broadway and Hollywood lyricists 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 John Pizzarelli, Rob Fisher, Sheldon Harnick, Robert Kimball, Rex Reed, Billy Stritch, Lucie Arnaz and Ted Sperling. Each show is designed to celebrate the American Songbook through a blend of narrative and entertainment with a particular focus on lyrics. For more information, please visit www.92Y.org/Lyrics.

Lyrics & Lyricists is supported by The Henry Nias Foundation, courtesy of Dr. Stanley Edelman; Gilda and Henry Block; Kenneth Kolker; and the Estate of Sanford Goldstein, in memory of Harold W. and Ida L. Goldstein.

92nd Street Y is a world-class nonprofit community and cultural center that connects people at every stage of life to the worlds of education, the arts, health and wellness, and Jewish life. Through the breadth and depth of 92Y's extraordinary programs, we enrich lives, create community and elevate humanity. More than 300,000 people visit 92Y's New York City venues annually, and millions more join us through the Internet, satellite broadcasts and other digital media. A proudly Jewish organization since its founding in 1874, 92Y embraces its heritage and enthusiastically welcomes people of all backgrounds and perspectives. For more information, visit www.92Y.org.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.

Related Articles

From This Author BWW News Desk

Before you go...