Karen Ziemba, Brent Barrett & More Set for AMERICAN SHOWSTOPPERS at Schimmel Center, 3/6
On Friday, March 6, noted arranger Fred Barton will bring the music of Broadway and the American Songbook showmanship to the Schimmel Center at Pace University in American Showstoppers: An Evening of Irving Berlin. Hailed by George Gershwin as "the greatest songwriter that has ever lived," the legendary Irving Berlin composed some of the most influential and widely-known songs ever written, many of which have come to form the Great American Songbook. Fred Barton now brings the power of Berlin's Broadway sound front and center, with a hot 14-piece orchestra and a cast of 17 Broadway singers and dancers, and direction and choreography by Jason Wise.
The concert will feature the top Irving Berlin hit songs drawn from his volume of work, which includes over 1,500 songs and the scores for 19 Broadway shows and 18 films, including selections from White Christmas and Annie Get Your Gun, along with hit songs "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "God Bless America," "Puttin' on the Ritz," and more. Berlin's work is the gold standard in American show music, spanning over 100 years from his Russian-Jewish origins. His earliest purely American hit was "Alexander's Ragtime Band," which was playing on the Titanic as it was sinking. Jerome Kern's sudden death ironically led to Irving Berlin's most renowned score, Annie Get Your Gun, when producers Rodgers and Hammerstein convinced a reluctant Berlin to replace Kern on the project. Berlin's "God Bless America" became famous in Kate Smith's 1938 rendition, though Berlin had actually written it in 1918 as World War I came to a close. In 1938, World War II was imminent, and the song became a "second national anthem," which it has remained to this day. Over the decades the song has earned millions for the Boy and Girl Scouts, to whom Berlin donated all royalties.
American Showstoppers: An Evening of Irving Berlin will be performed by the 14-piece Fred Barton Orchestra and a cast including Tony Award-winner Karen Ziemba, Brent Barrett, and Lee Roy Reams, as well as David Elder, Damon Kirsche, Bruce Landry, Karen Murphy, and NaTasha Yvette Williams. The cast also features Hanna DeFlumeri and Jesse Luttrell.
Ticket prices for American Showstoppers: An Evening of Irving Berlin at Schimmel Center at Pace University range from $29-$49. The performance will take place on Friday, March 6 at 7:30pm. Tickets can be purchased online at schimmel.pace.edu, by calling (866) 811-4111 or (212) 346-1715, or in person at Schimmel Center Box Office, open Monday-Friday from 1pm-6pm. Schimmel Center is located at 3 Spruce Street in downtown Manhattan.
FRED BARTON (Host, Producer, Arranger). Fred Barton's symphony arrangements are played regularly by the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall and major symphonies around the country. On Broadway and national tour, Fred conducted Anthony Quinn in Zorba, Hal Prince's production of Cabaret, Cy Coleman's City of Angels and Robert Goulet in Camelot; he played in the pit of Cy Coleman's The Will Rogers Follies; and appeared as actor and musical director in Coleman's Lawyers, Lovers, and Lunatics. Fred is currently co-librettist, musical supervisor and arranger for the Broadway-bound Harold Arlen musical One For My Baby. Fred debuted in New York as the original arranger/pianist for Forbidden Broadway. Fred's TV credits as composer and arranger include HBO's Cathouse: The Musical, "Olivia," "Wonder Pets!," and "The Magic School Bus" (Emmy Award). He has produced and arranged numerous CDs.
JASON WISE (Director/Choreographer). Recent credits include Season 5 of Lifetime's "Dance Moms"; The 50th Anniversary Concert of Fiddler on the Roof starring BD Wong, Stephanie J. Block, Len Cariou, Tovah Feldshuh and Linda Lavin (Choreographer); National Tour of 4 Girls 4 starring Andrea McArdle, Donna McKechnie, Faith Prince, Leslie Uggams and Maureen McGovern (Associate Choreographer). Special Events include: Night of a Thousand Judys starring Carolee Carmello, Julia Murney, Sierra Boggess, Ashley Brown and The Radio City Rockettes (Director/Choreographer); 54 Below's Xmas Spectaculars (starring Jackie Hoffman); and The Broadway Beauty Pageant featuring Michael Urie, Andrea Martin and Billy Porter (Assistant Choreographer). Former Resident Choreographer at Ellen's Stardust Diner, home of New York's world-famous singing wait-staff.
KAREN ZIEMBA (Principal Performer) received the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards for her performance in Contact at Lincoln Center Theatre. Other Broadway, Off-Broadway and Regional appearances include: Bullets Over Broadway; Curtains (Outer Critics Circle award, Tony nomination); Crazy for You; Chicago; Never Gonna Dance (Outer Critics Circle Award, Tony nomination); And the World Goes 'Round (Drama Desk award); Steel Pier (Tony nomination); I Do! I Do! (Drama Desk nomination); Sweeney Todd; 110 in the Shade; The Most Happy Fella; Bye, Bye Birdie; The Pajama Game; Hello, Dolly!; Boeing-Boeing; Much Ado About Nothing; Brighton Bean Memoirs; Broadway Bound; Heresy; Sylvia; and Six Degrees of Separation. Karen has appeared in several episodes of the many "Law and Order" series; The Kennedy Center Honors in tributes to Angela Lansbury and Julie Harris; and in PBS's "Great Performances," including "Sondheim: A Celebration At Carnegie Hall," "My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies," and "Gershwin at 100."
BRENT BARRETT (Principal Performer). In New York, Brent has starred in, Chicago, Annie Get Your Gun opposite Reba McEntire, Dance a Little Closer, Grand Hotel, Candide, Brigadoon, and West Side Story. He originated the role of "Dr. Hannibal Lecter" (the cannibal) in Silence! The Musical. He spent two years playing "the Phantom", in the Las Vegas Spectacular at the Venetian Hotel. Brent played the role of "Ben" in the sold out run of Follies at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Other credits include London: Kiss Me, Kate (Olivier nomination) filmed for PBS and Grand Hotel. National Tours: Ken Ludwig's Leading Ladies, Busker Alley with Tommy Tune, Annie Get Your Gun opposite Cathy Rigby, Chicago (L.A. Drama Critics Award). Off-Broadway: Closer Than Ever, March of the Falsettos, The Time Of Cuckoo and Portrait of Jenny. In Concert: Boston Pops, Minnesota Opera, Opera Pacific, Michigan Opera, Carnegie Hall, Royal Festival Hall, and Birmingham Symphony. Brent has recorded three solo albums: The Alan Jay Lerner Album, The Kander and Ebb Album and Christmas Mornings.
LEE ROY REAMS (Principal Performer) has played leading roles in ten Broadway shows: The Producers (Carbonell, Helen Hayes and Las Vegas Life awards); 42nd Street (Tony and Drama Desk nominations); Beauty and the Beast; Hello, Dolly!; Lorelei; Oklahoma!; La Cage aux Folles; Applause; Sweet Charity; and An Evening with Jerry Herman. He's also directed two Broadway shows: Hello, Dolly! (1994) and An Evening with Jerry Herman. His concert, TV and cabaret appearances have taken him to the White House and around the world. He has performed before four U.S. Presidents: Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton. Most recently, he played to sold out houses at the 54 Below. He is the proud recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from his alma mater, CCM/University of Cincinnati.
DAVID ELDER (Principal Performer) recently returned from the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, where he headlined as "Bert" in Mary Poppins. He's been a regular song-and-dance headliner on Broadway; his appearances on the Great White Way include Curtains, 42nd Street, Kiss Me Kate, Strike up the Band (Encores), Titanic, Once Upon a Mattress, Beauty and the Beast, Damn Yankees and Guys & Dolls.
DAMON KIRSCHE (Principal Performer).Stage and screen actor Damon Kirsche has played a long list of leading musical theatre roles from coast to coast. He can be seen as Civil War era performer "Harry McCarthy" in Ted Turner's epic Gods and Generals, gadfly talent scout "Ranny Sanson" in the TV series "LA Confidential," and as the first Nuu'bari to appear on "StarTrek: Voyager." Kirsche can be heard on the Decca Broadway Original Cast album of The Ziegfeld Follies of 1936 and the Carnegie Hall archival recording of The Gershwins' Tip-Toes, as well as the vintage swing recordings Goblin Market and Devil's Serenade, and is featured on the recording In Here: Music and Lyrics by Charles Bloom.
BRUCE LANDRY (Principal Performer). Most recent credits include the First National Tour of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella ("Topher u/s, Ensemble"), The Little Mermaid at North Shore Music Theatre ("Prince Eric"), and Les Miserables ("Marius"). Proud AEA Member and represented by The Mine; Ithaca College alumnus. www.BruceLandry.com.
KAREN MURPHY (Principal Performer). Karen's collaboration with Fred Barton goes back 30 years to the opening of Forbidden Broadway in Boston. Since then, their mutual admiration society has produced their award-winning show Torch Goddess (Backstage Bistro Award Best Debut), and numerous stints with Pops Orchestras throughout the USA and Canada. Career highlights include stepping in for Angela Lansbury during the 2010 Broadway revival of A Little Night Music, singing "Feed the Birds" in Mary Poppins (National Tour), My Vaudeville Man (DD Nomination), Zombie Prom (Encore Taking Off Award), and Forbidden Broadway in New York and Tokyo. Additional Broadway credits include 42nd Street, Titanic, 9 to 5, the original cast of A Christmas Carol, and National Tours of White Christmas, The Wizard of Oz and Les Miserables.
NaTASHA YVETTE WILLIAMS (Principal Performer) is currently appearing on Broadway in the role of "Matron Mama Morton" in the acclaimed long-running revival of Chicago. Previously she was featured as "Mariah" in The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess on Broadway, and has been a featured singer with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, The Naples Philharmonic, and The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. On Broadway: The Color Purple ("Sofia"), Dessa Rose at Lincoln Center. She was "Mammy" in Trevor Nunn's London West End production of Gone with the Wind.
HANNAH DeFLUMERI (Featured Performer) moved to New York immediately after touring North America with Legally Blonde: The Musical. Regional: Rocky Horror Picture Show ("Magenta"), Cats ("Grizabella"), Les Miserables ("Eponine").
JESSE LUTTRELL (Featured Performer) is considered by many the consummate "modern-day" vaudevillian. He has appeared nationally and internationally in musicals, cabaret, and concert engagements. His critically acclaimed vaudeville/burlesque musical revue Bawdy has been running in New York City at Stage72/The Triad since 2009. Select theatrical credits include: Joseph..., Cabaret, The Rocky Horror Show and Cats. Jesse trained and danced with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and The Rock School/Pennsylvania Ballet.