Kristin Chenoweth, Lea Salonga and More Set for 2013 Lincoln Center American Songbook Series

Kristin Chenoweth, Lea Salonga and More Set for 2013 Lincoln Center American Songbook SeriesNow in its 15th season, Lincoln Center’s acclaimed series American Songbook will expand its scope and offer two series that celebrate the best in American singing and songwriting. “American Songbook in The Allen Room” will run from January 30 through March 2, 2013 and will present 15 nights of music from Broadway old and new, rhythm & blues, country, pop, gospel, blues, rock, jazz, and folk. Then from March 29 through April 20 a new chapter in the Songbook story will begin with “American Songbook in the Penthouse,” a series of weekend-only performances by performers and composers presented in the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse, an intimate yet elegant venue that brings artists closer to the audience in a cabaret-style setting. With a seating capacity of just 225, the Kaplan Penthouse allows acoustic performers such as songwriter/cellist/singer Ben Sollee to be heard the way they intend – near to the audience and without elaborate amplification. The size of the space also allows a performer like Meow Meow to interact with her audience to make them an integral part of her performance, something difficult to do in a larger, more formal venue. Complimentary glasses of wine and bottled water will be served to audience members, who will be seated at cocktail tables. The Kaplan Penthouse was the site for American Songbook shows before the series moved to The Allen Room in 2005, and it shares with The Allen Room stunning city views.

For “American Songbook in The Allen Room” shows, Broadway stars Lea Salonga, Karen Akers, and Kristin Chenoweth will dazzle with music from Broadway as well as standards from both established and newer composers from the world of musical theater. In keeping with American Songbook’s tradition of honoring great composers and lyricists, those being celebrated this season in The Allen Room are John Kander and Fred Ebb (Cabaret, Chicago) and Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, the creators of the ground-breaking musical, Next to Normal. Another songwriter and performer on the schedule is Valerie Simpson, who, with her late husband and lyricist Nickolas Ashford, created era-defining rhythm & blues for Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Ray Charles, and Whitney Houston, as well as for their own stage shows. The legendary Mavis Staples, whose gospel-trained, blues-belting voice is a favorite of millions, will shake The Allen Room rafters later in the season. Over her long career, Staples has often performed songs of a political nature, and hers has been a continuing voice for civil rights. She shares being a “voice of protest” with another Songbook performer, Tom Morello, aka The Nightwatchman. Harlem native Morello is the guitarist of the influential rock band Rage Against the Machine, but his work as The Nightwatchman is as a singer/songwriter with strong political views and ardent activism.

Country music will be well represented in the series by one of its most gifted interpreters, Kathy Mattea. And while his music has elements of country in its sound, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, the pseudonym of singer/songwriter Will Oldham, also will bring rock and folk elements to a performance of his songs. Further into the folk genre is a relatively new group from North Carolina, Lost in the Trees, a septet that performs “chamber folk,” taking many of its cues from chamber music practices of classical music.

The Allen Room series will also feature two popular singer/songwriters: Brooklyn-based Ingrid Michaelson and Norwegian-bred Sondre Lerche. Rising star jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant is in the series, and, in a repeat of her stunning show first presented in American Songbook 2010, opera great Stephanie Blythe performing the songs of Kate Smith.

“American Songbook in the Penthouse,” will embrace adventuresome performers and celebrate composers and lyricists, both newer and veteran. Kerrigan & Lowdermilk, a creative team sparking critical acclaim for their musicals The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown, Henry and Mudge, and others, will perform an evening of their music. The critically-lauded composer Ricky Ian Gordon, known for his vocal music that spans art song, opera, and musical theater, will present Green Sneakers, a theatrical song cycle about love lost.

A rising star in the musical theater world, Lindsay Mendez, will be joined by pianist and composer Marco Paguia. Mendez starred as Rose in the play Dogfight, and Paguia was a finalist for the Cole Porter Fellowship, among other career highlights. They will combine their talents for an evening of jazz.

Carving out a career niche perhaps all his own, singer/songwriter/cellist Ben Sollee will bring his smoky vocals and jazz and folk-flavored songs to the Kaplan, as will Cristin Milioti, whose expressive voice earned her a 2012 Tony nomination for her work in Once. Adding to this mix of music will be “kamikaze cabaret” artist Meow Meow, a diva in every sense of the word.

TICKETS can be purchased online beginning November 13, 2012 at Lincoln Center’s website, via CenterCharge at 212-721-6500, at the Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall Box Office, or at the Frederick P. Rose Hall Box Office. Tickets for the Friends of Lincoln Center go on sale November 2, and single tickets go on sale to the public beginning November 13.

Premium packages—including wine, dinner, and the best seats in the house—are available for $250. More information at

Major support provided by Fisher Brothers, in memory of Richard L. Fisher
Amy and Joseph Perella
Additional corporate support is provided by Bank of America and PVH Corp.

Lincoln Center’s American Songbook 2013 Season
January 30 – April 20, 2013

“American Songbook in The Allen Room”
Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th Street

Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 8:30 pm Lea Salonga
A very young Lea Solanga burst onto the theater scene in Miss Saigon in 1971, and captured the Tony, Olivier, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, and Theater World awards in her first Broadway outing. A child star in her native Philippines, Solanga followed her Miss Saigon triumph with subsequent roles in Les Misérables, Flower Drum Song, and as the shimmering soprano voice of Disney princesses Jasmine and Fa Mulan in the movies Aladdin and Mulan, respectively. She has concertized all over the world, and has recorded albums of musical theater shows, pop songs, and movie soundtracks.
Tickets start at $50

Thursday, January 31, 2013, 8:30 pm Valerie Simpson
“Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand),” “I’m Every Woman,” “Solid (As a Rock)” and other era-defining tunes were written by Valerie Simpson and her husband, the late Nickolas Ashford, in a songwriting career that began in 1964 when they wrote Ray Charles’ classic “Let’s Go Get Stoned.” A flurry of hits written for Motown stars Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell as well as Diana Ross & The Supremes followed, then a switch to the Warner Brothers label led them to write for Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, Quincy Jones, Luther Vandross, and Whitney Houston among many others. Simultaneously with their songwriting, in the early 1970s Simpson and her husband launched a performing career, letting their passion as a couple ignite their stage shows. With Ashford’s passing in 2011, Simpson continues her solo career, releasing her most recent CD in June 2012.
Tickets start at $35
Sponsored by TopPatch, Inc.

Friday, February 1, 2013, 7:30 and 9:30 pm Karen Akers
The very definition of a nightclub chanteuse – and with cheekbones made to be lit by a pin spot ? Karen Akers’ silky contralto captivated audiences for many seasons in the Algonquin hotel’s late, lamented Oak Room where she interpreted songs by Cole Porter, Jacques Brel, Edith Piaf, Kander & Ebb, and Stephen Sondheim. Also a gifted musical theater and dramatic actress, Akers was in the original Broadway production of Nine (Tony nomination) as well as Grand Hotel, both directed by Tommy Tune. She performs in nightclubs and concert halls around the world and to date has recorded ten albums.
7:30 show tickets start at $35
9:30 show tickets start at $30

Saturday, February 2, 2013, 8:30 pm Cécile McLorin Salvant
Winner of the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocal Competition in Washington DC, Salvant dazzled the judges – Patti Austin, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Al Jarreau, and Dianne Reeves among them – with her expressive vocal communication. Jazz singers come from all sorts of backgrounds, and the combination of a French mother, Haitian father, and training in French classical and baroque voice has yielded a master of idiosyncratic style in Cécile McLorin Salvant. Her growing popularity in the US and Europe attests to not just her vocal prowess but her focused way with a lyric.
Tickets start at $30

Wednesday, February 6, 2012, 8:30 pm Ring Them Bells: Rob Fisher Celebrates Kander & Ebb featuring Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley with special guests Chita Rivera and Joel Grey
“All That Jazz,” “Mister Cellophane,” “Wilkommen,” “A Quiet Thing,” “Maybe This Time” and the incomparable “New York, New York” are some of the dozens of songs written by John Kander and Fred Ebb over the course of their creative collaboration. They are also some of the great songs that Broadway stars Marin Mazzie (Kiss Me Kate, Next to Normal) and Jason Danieley (Curtains, Next to Normal) will perform, along with Chita Rivera and Joel Grey, in a review conducted by Rob Fisher. Fisher’s previous three composer celebrations for American Songbook – on Cole Porter, Leonard Bernstein, and the Gershwins – were joyous explorations of the work of those composers, presented with a firm understanding of how they fit into American musical life. Artistic Director of the Gershwin centenary (1996-1998), founding music director and conductor of the award-winning Encores! series, Fisher works extensively on Broadway and in concert halls across the country. Kander & Ebb’s indelible songs – with all of their brass, sass and heart ? will pulse under Fisher’s capable hands.
Tickets start at $50

Thursday, February 7, 2013, 8:30 pm Bonnie “Prince” Billy
Bonnie “Prince” Billy is the performance name used, since the late-1990s, by the singer, actor, and songwriter Will Oldham. Known for his tender, sweet tenor, his music has been described as Americana, folk, roots, country, punk, and indie-rock. He has appeared in over 50 releases, and he rarely records with the same group of players twice. He first recorded under various versions of the Palace label and he has changed his name many times before settling on Bonnie “Prince” Billy for its “mellifluous sound” and references to Billy the Kid and Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Tickets start at $35

Saturday, February 9, 2013, 8:30 pm Stephanie Blythe: We’ll Meet Again – The Songs of Kate Smith
The mezzo-soprano's commanding, rich voice has captivated audiences in many of the world's great opera houses. This season she brings her singular voice to the new production of Un Ballo at Maschera as well as Il Trovatore and the Ring cycle at the Metropolitan Opera, and in August she triumphed in Dido and Aeneas with the Mark Morris Dance Group in Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival. Blythe, who made her popular music debut in American Songbook 2011 with this very show, returns to the series to pay personal tribute to the great Kate Smith by singing songs made famous by Smith, a beloved music icon whose stirring voice helped to comfort and galvanize our nation in wartime.
Tickets start at $50

Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 8:30 pm Sondre Lerche
Described by The New York Times as “an alluring and slyly outré singer/songwriter from Norway,” Sondre Lerche counts both Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello as his chief musical influences, with some shadings from Bruce Springsteen evident in his rollicking delivery. After early success in his native country (winning “Best New Artist” at the Norwegian Grammys) Lerche moved to New York in 2005 and quickly built on his reputation for beautifully crafted songs delivered in an outgoing, immediate style. He has recorded eight CDs.
Tickets start at $30

Thursday, February 14, 2013, 8:30 pm Mavis Staples
Mavis Staples, hailed as one of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” by Rolling Stone, is also the recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and the National Heritage Fellowship Award, and has been named one of the 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll by VH1. She was launched in 1950 with her family group The Staple Singers, who scored several top hits, including “I’ll Take You There” and “Respect Yourself”—both of which Rolling Stone magazine named among the top-500 songs of all time. In 2010 Ms. Staples released her latest album, You Are Not Alone, for which she won a Grammy Award for best Americana album. Ms. Staples has also collaborated with artists Bob Dylan, Prince, Aretha Franklin, Ry Cooder, Los Lobos, and Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers; performed before many of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches; and sang at the inaugurations of presidents Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton. She appeared at Lincoln Center this summer at the Lincoln Center Festival tribute to Curtis Mayfield.
Tickets start at $35

Friday, February 15, 2013, 7:30 and 9:30 pm Kristin Chenoweth
A huge talent from the small town of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, Kristin Chenoweth has made her mark on the Broadway stage, in television, and in film. TV credits include, most recently, The Good Wife, Glee (Emmy nomination), The West Wing, and Pushing Daisies (Emmy Award in 2009). On Broadway, her performance as Sally Brown in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown earned her a Tony Award in 1999, and she created the role of the good witch, Glinda, in Wicked in 2004 (Tony nomination). Subsequent Broadway roles have included Eve in The Apple Tree and Fran Kubelik in last season’s Promises, Promises opposite Sean Hayes. She performed in the New York Philharmonic’s revival of Candide and the Encores! production of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, broadcast on PBS’ Great Performances. She is one of only three musical theater singers to perform a solo concert in the Metropolitan Opera, the others being Yves Montand and Barbara Cook. Her most recent CD is Some Lessons Learned.
Tickets start at $50

Saturday, February 16, 2013, 8:30 pm Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman
From Woody Guthrie to Peter, Paul, and Mary, Pete Seeger to Merrill Garbus, protest music occupies a prominent place in the greater American Songbook. A newer member of that group is Tom Morello, who, for most of his career, has been the lead guitarist and vocalist with iconic rock band Rage Against the Machine. With that band Morello was known for a guitar-playing style using feedback noise and unconventional tapping and picking, but once he developed an alter ego to channel his left-leaning political views, calling it The Nightwatchman, his music style became an acoustic guitar solo act that features distinctly political folk music. His topics have ranged from including third party candidates in political debates to supporting teachers in Minnesota to parity in the workplace.
Tickets start at $30

Wednesday, February 27, 2013, 8:30 pm Kathy Mattea
Twice named Female Vocalist of the Year by the Country Music Association, Kathy Mattea is among the most successful women in the genre’s history. In 1990, the West Virginia native won the first of her two Grammy Awards, earning the Best Female Country Vocal Performance award for her moving “Where’ve You Been.” An early spokesperson and advocate for AIDS awareness and research, Kathy’s long history of activism has led her to bring public attention to several current environmental issues. The work and the music joined together to produce her recent CD, COAL, featuring songs from the coal country and culture of “her place and her people,” and her latest release, Calling Me Home.
Tickets start at $30

Thursday, February 28, 2013, 8:30 pm Lost in the Trees

North Carolina band Lost in the Trees is a musical collective of seven members who look at the vast field of American folk music and classical chamber music to produce a sound best described as ‘chamber folk.’ It has lush clusters of piano, swooping strings, an inevitable forward propulsion, and ardent vocals usually sung by group founder Ari Picker. Picker and his bandmates have won acclaim usually reserved for seasoned veterans: “both heart wrenching and beautiful” said Paste, and the Huffington Post called their recent album “spellbinding in its musical ambition, touching in its intimacy, and often overwhelming in its emotional honesty.”
Tickets start at $30

Friday, March 1, 2013, 7:30 and 9:30 pm The Songs of Tom Kitt & Brian Yorkey with Alice Ripley & Brian d’Arcy James & Idina Menzel
A musical about mental illness that opened during a recession proved to be a popular hit and critical smash because of the genius of Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, the composer and lyricist of Next to Normal. The musical captured the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as theTony for Best Original Score, and its numbers, which ranged from frenetic rock songs to singalong musical theater pieces, were game changers on Broadway. Alice Ripley, who won a Tony for Best Actress in the show, will be on hand to sing from it as well as other works by the pair, as will Brian d’Arcy James. The “vocally superb” ( James, known to television audiences for his roles in Smash and The Big C, has had starring roles in the musicals Shrek, Sweet Smell of Success, The Wild Party, and others. Tony winner Idina Menzel (Wicked) currently a star of Glee on television, will add her voice to the evening. Ripley, James, and Menzel will be joined by Jennifer Damiano from the Next to Normal original cast. Michael Mayer will direct.
7:30 show tickets start at $35

9:30 sow tickets start at $30

Saturday, March 2, 2013, 8:30 pm Ingrid Michaelson
Brooklyn-based Ingrid Michaelson is a rising indie-pop singer/songwriter whose music has reached huge audiences through the magic of television. Popular shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, The Vampire Diaries, Bones, Scrubs, and So You Think You Can Dance have propelled Michaelson’s music across the country, and her frequent touring has boosted her popularity in Europe. The New York Times marveled at how she was "singing her way from obscurity to fame." Billboard trumpeted her as the face of the new music business. NPR declared, "Ingrid Michaelson is everywhere." Michaelson plays guitar, piano, and ukulele, and sings with an earnest soprano her stories of alienation, urban living, and love and its loss most of all.
Tickets start at $30

“American Songbook in the Penthouse”
Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse, 165 West 65th Street

Friday, March 29, 2013, 8:00 pm Lindsay Mendez & Marco Paguia
Broadway rising star Lindsay Mendez and pianist & music director Marco Paguia will join together to perform jazz, pop, soul and contemporary songs by singers and songwriters who inspire them. Ms. Mendez appeared in many notable shows including the revival of Godspell, Everyday Rapture, and the Broadway revival of Grease, but it was her recent turn in Dogfight that set the theater world talking. Marco Paguia is the music director of the Tony-winning Broadway production of Peter and the Starcatcher and also music directed Broadway’s Everyday Rapture. Through their collaboration, Mr. Paguia will showcase Ms. Mendez’s vocal versatility as she sings a more jazz-inflected repertoire.
Tickets start at $25

Saturday, March 30, 2013, 8:00 pm Meow Meow
with Lance Horne, musical director
"Cabaret diva of the highest order" (New York Post), international sensation Meow Meow entertains audiences with her unique brand of "kamikaze cabaret" and outré performance art exotica with a personality that walks the line between devastating dominatrix and damsel in distress. Both hilarious and poignant, the multi-award winning performer is as at home in the smoky bars of Berlin as on London's West End stages and in the Sydney Opera House, and from punk cabaret bands to the London Philharmonic. Meow Meow now adds Lincoln Center as another notch on her (rather glittering) performance belt.
Tickets start at $25

Friday, April 5, 2013, 8:00 pm Cristin Milioti

Making her solo concert debut, Cristin Milioti is an American actress and the face of the Tony-winning musical Once. She is poised to be one of the future leading women of Broadway. Before starring in Once, Milioti was seen in Off-Broadway’s That Face and she has also appeared in television programs such as 30 Rock and films such as Greetings from the Shore. An actor who has “a way of combining music and character and story, where everything just falls into place,” (Huffington Post), Milioti also has a way of combining accents and other voices that make her performances unique.
Tickets start at $25

Saturday, April 6, 2013, 8:00 pm Ricky Ian Gordon: Green Sneakers, for Baritone, String Quartet, Empty Chair, and Piano (sung by Jesse Blumberg)

Ricky Ian Gordon is an American composer of songs, stage musicals and opera. His compositions have been presented twice before in American Songbook: Bright Eyed Joy in 2002 and the world premiere of Orpheus & Euridice in 2005, which won an OBIE Award. The New York Times defines Gordon’s music by a single quality—“the bursting effervescence infusing songs that blithely blur the lines between art song and the high-end Broadway music of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim.” Among his many works are Sycamore Trees (a musical), The Grapes of Wrath (a full-scale opera), and Green Sneakers, a theatrical song cycle based on a series of poems that Gordon wrote after the death of his long-time partner. The music will be played by the acclaimed Voxare String Quartet, and it will feature baritone Jesse Blumberg, who previously worked with Gordon when he played Connie Rivers in The Grapes of Wrath. According to Opera Today, wherein Green Sneakers was called, a "Masterpiece," Gordon, who had noted Blumberg’s artistry, charisma, honesty and simplicity as a performer, knew that Blumberg would be the perfect vocalist for Green Sneakers.
Tickets start at $25

Friday, April 19, 2013, 8:00 pm Kerrigan & Lowdermilk
Featuring Michael Arden, Nikki M. James, Carrie Manolakos, Josh Young and others
Playwright and musical theater lyricist Kait Kerrigan and musical theater composer and lyricist Brian Lowdermilk worked together to make their off-Broadway debut in 2006 with their adaptation of Henry and Mudge. Since then, the two have created numerous musicals including The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown and The Woman Upstairs. Kerrigan received the 2009 Kleban Award for libretto-writing while Lowdermilk received the Alan Menken Award as well as the 2005 Richard Rodgers Award for his compositions for Red. Their upcoming American Songbook performance will feature Michael Arden, a stage, television and film actor and singer whose Broadway credits include The Times They Are A-Changin’ and Big River; the electric Nikki M. James, Tony Award-winner for her performance in The Book of Mormon; the chart-topping Carrie Manolakos whose debut CD is entitled Echo; and Josh Young, who won the Theater World Award for "Outstanding Broadway Debut" for his work in Jesus Christ Superstar in 2012.
Tickets start at $25

Saturday, April 20, 2013, 2013, 8:00 pm Ben Sollee
Ben Sollee is a young singer-songwriter, cellist, and composer who is known for his unique sound—a mix of folk, bluegrass, jazz and R&B. With a voice that complements his cello-playing, he is an artist that strives to stay true to himself through his music, his personal lyrics and his intimate performances. Sollee was first recognized in 2008 when he debuted with Learning to Bend, which gained him a place on NPR’s Morning Edition’s list of “Top Ten Great Unknown Artists” of the year. Now out with his fourth CD Half-Made Man—an album that creates a deeply moving narrative of a man who is trying to figure himself out—Sollee challenges himself to become more personal and adventurous with his music.
Tickets start at $25