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Roger Schmelzer's Marilyn Maye-Directed NYC Debut Exceeds Fundraising Goal


Roger Schmelzer's Marilyn Maye-Directed NYC Debut Exceeds Fundraising Goal

Roger Schmelzer's recent New York cabaret debut was a double success; not only was his Metropolitan Room performance found "delightful" by one critic, he has nearly tripled his personal fundraising goal in support of childhood cancer research.

In her review for Theater Pizzazz, Myra Chanin writes that Roger was "confident, charming and original," with a quick connection to his audience "thanks to lively and lush arrangements of melodic tunes with clever or meaningful lyrics that span a time frame between last century and now."

And while one of the earliest songs in Roger's set was "I Won't Dance," Ms. Chanin writes that "the way he moves on stage reminds me of Fred Astaire and I easily imagine him packing one of the lounges on a Queen Mary transatlantic crossing, singing romantic ballads."

The occasion of Roger's NYC debut also benefited the St. Baldrick's Foundation, a private charity created by insurance industry professionals to fund the most promising research to conquer childhood cancer. SBF is second only to the U.S. government in funding pediatric cancer research. By day, Roger leads the National Conference of Insurance Guaranty Funds (NCIGF) and has spent almost 20 years supporting the property and casualty insurance industry.

Before the show opened he had already exceeded his fundraising goal by 250%. His fundraising page remains open at

Marilyn Maye, Roger's director, generously promoted Roger's show to friends, colleagues and her own audiences during a sold-out run at the Metropolitan Room in the days immediately preceding Roger's opening. To her email network she said that "Roger makes it his business to entertain you. He is fun, festive, fervent and friendly. His love for the music is contagious and you'll love the man who presents it!"

Titling his show "HeartSongs," Roger said he wanted to focus attention on "what is good, what works in our lives," encouraging audience members to "embrace the love in your life," and to convey optimism through the enduring messages of the Great American Songbook, which he calls a "path to stability and hope." That theme was most clearly expressed in the penultimate song of his program, Marshall Barer and David Ross' "One Day at a Time."

"Never has the Songbook had more to offer," says Roger, a board member of the Great American Songbook Foundation founded by Michael Feinstein. "This music brings us together and helps reassure friends and family that they can chart their own course with confidence."

Musical direction for "HeartSongs" was provided by Jeffrey Harris who accompanies Ms. Maye and music directs for Maureen McGovern and Lea Salonga. Steve Doyle on bass, Daniel Glass on drums and Jack Cavari on guitar rounded out his musical team.

"HeartSongs" played at the Metropolitan Room June 18 and 20 and will return to New York later this year.

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