Andrew Gerle Announces Two New Productions, Books & More
Andrew Gerle may be one of the most talented and promising composers/writers for the theatre today. He launches the new year with an incredible lineup of projects on the horizon: a musical, a play, a new book, a star-studded revue, a concert reading at City Opera featuring an 80-piece orchestra, a recital performance of his work at London's Wigmore Hall, and the first-ever published volume of his songs.
So who is Andrew Gerle? He is a recipient of the Jonathan Larson Award, three Richard Rodgers Awards, and was the first composer selected to receive the Burton Lane Composer's Fellowship from the Theater Hall of Fame. He is the composer of six highly praised musicals (with even Stephen Sondheim describing his work as "high quality.") His music has been performed on the stages of New York's Public Theatre and Washington DC's Ford's Theatre, Public Radio International and at the Lincoln Center Songbook Series. He has collaborated with Broadway artists including Tony award-winners Jennifer Holliday, Tonya Pinkins, Leslie Uggams, Karen Ziemba, Richard Maltby, Jr., Michael Rupert and Ted Sperling and performed with John Raitt, Kitty Carlisle, Liz Callaway, The National Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, The Seoul Philharmonic and the Yale Symphony. Gerle is a musical theatre composition professor at Yale University, from which he is also a magna cum laude graduate.
"It feels like everything I've been working on for the past few years is all happening at once," says Gerle. "I wear many different hats: composer, librettist, author, pianist, orchestrator. But I believe that every project I take on informs the others. I'm a better playwright because I can orchestrate an opera, I'm a better composer because I love working with language. It's all storytelling, and I'm the luckiest storyteller around."
Some of Andrew Gerle's upcoming projects include:
SONGS by Andrew Gerle
Songs is the first published volume of the songs by the award-winning songwriter. The 170-page songbook features 23 songs arranged for piano and voice from Meet John Doe (Eddie Sugarman, lyrics), The Tutor (Maryrose Wood, lyrics), Gloryana, Brighter Things, and the revue Say We Flew. Song titles include "I'm Your Man," "Don't Eat Your Friends," "From the Heart," "The Wrong Dress," and "Me Artist, You Rich." Songs is now available at Colony Music (www.colonymusic.com) or www.AndrewGerle.com.
SAY WE FLEW - THE SONGS OF Andrew Gerle
January 31, 2011 at 7:00 PM
Birdland, 315 West 44th Street, NYC
Tony Award-winners Karen Ziemba (Contact, Steel Pier) and Richard Maltby, Jr. (Ain't Misbehavin', Starting Here, Starting Now), Mark Linn-Baker (...Forum, Television's "Perfect Strangers"), Pamela Bob, Kate Fisher, Julian Fleisher, Christa Justus, Carrie Manolakos, Mike McGowan, Jim Moye and Cassie Wooley star in this concert staging of Gerle's songs. Twenty-first century takes on aspiration and inspiration, struggle and triumph create a musical revue that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and reminds us to never look down. For reservations call (212) 581-3080 or visit www.BirdlandJazz.com.
MEET JOHN DOE, music by Andrew Gerle
March 4, 2011-April 17, 2011
Porchlight Music Theatre, 2814 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago
Featuring music by Andrew Gerle, lyrics by Eddie Sugarman, book by Gerle and Sugarman and additional story by Matt August, this Jonathan Larson Award-winning adaptation of Frank Capra's classic film tells the story of a newspaper columnist who, in a last-ditch effort to save her job, fabricates an anonymous letter from a reader threatening suicide over the state of the nation. Capitalizing on the public's reaction to the letter, she convinces the paper not only to keep her employed, but also to hire an out-of-work baseball player to be her "John Doe." But can a social movement born from a media ruse succeed as a catalyst for change? Previously presented by Goodspeed Musicals' Norma Terris Theatre and Washington DC's Ford's Theatre, The Washington Post's Peter Marks called the show "a promising American musical. Gerle and Sugarman conjure a Depression-era America as desperate for a decent public man as it is for a buck. The score, ably served by Jonathan Tunick's orchestrations is filled with clever lyrics and bright and supple melodies." For ticket purchases call 773-327-5252 or visit www.Stage773.com.
THE ENRAGED ACCOMPANIST'S GUIDE TO THE PERFECT AUDITION by Andrew Gerle
To be released March 15 by Applause Books
Selected by Publishers Weekly as one of their top-10 performing arts books of spring 2011, Gerle pulls no punches in this irreverent, fly-on-the-wall guide to everything you've never been taught about auditioning for musical theatre. From the unique perspective of the pianist's bench, he demystifies the audition process, from how to put together your book and speak to an accompanist to the healthiest and savviest ways to approach the audition marketplace and your career. By better understanding the dynamics of professional auditions, you will learn to present yourself in the strongest, most castable way while remaining true to your own special voice - the one that, in the end, will get you the job.
RENOVATIONS, a new play by Andrew Gerle
March 17, 2011-April 3, 2011
White Plains Performing Arts Center, 11 City Place, White Plains
Based on John Marchese's book Renovations: A Father and Son Rebuild a House and Rediscover Each Other, Renovations is the story of a burned-out magazine writer attempting to reconnect with his construction worker father by renovating a house near his hometown in Scranton, PA. For tickets and more information call 877-548-3237 or visit www.wppac.com/tickets.html.
LAWRENCE ZAZZO COUNTERTENOR; SIMON LEPPER PIANO featuring Gerle's "Anacreontea"
March 29, 2011 at 7:30 PM
Wigmore Hall, 36 Wigmore St., London
Lawrence Zazzo, described by The New York Times as "a countertenor of gorgeous tone," will sing Gerle's Anacreontea: Drink Well and Sing on a program also featuring works by Charles Ives, Ned Rorem and Samuel Barber. For tickets and more information, call +44 (0)20 7935 2141 or visit www.wigmore-hall.org.uk/book-tickets?perfno=26583.
THE BEACH, an opera by Andrew Gerle
Featured at New York City Opera's VOX Contemporary American Opera Lab
Each spring, New York City Opera's prestigious VOX opera lab presents up to 12 new, previously un-produced works from both emerging and established American composers in orchestra readings that are free and open to the public. One of this year's selections, Gerle's first opera, The Beach (libretto by Royce Vavrek) is based on the recent true story of a woman in France who locked her elderly husband in her laundry room for a year, feeding him stale pastries while she and her lover stole his fortune. A half-hour excerpt of The Beach will be presented as a concert reading featuring singers from City Opera and an 80-piece orchestra performing Gerle's original orchestrations. NYCO's 2011 VOX series runs May 13-15. Specific date, time and cast for The Beach TBA. For more updates, visit www.nycopera.com/seasontickets/aboutvox.aspx.
ABOUT Andrew Gerle
The son of classical recording artists Marilyn Neeley and Robert Gerle, Andrew started his musical career as a classical pianist in the Baltimore area, appearing with local orchestras and on National Public Radio and Television. While attending Yale University, he won the Yale Symphony's concerto competition and the National Symphony Orchestra's Young Artists' Competition, and appeared as guest soloist with both orchestras. During this time, he was also invited to participate in a private competition for Maestro Mstislav Rostropovich at the Kennedy Center.
After graduating magna cum laude from Yale, he moved to New York and began work as a musical director and accompanist. Over the past 15 years, he has worked with such distinguished artists as Kitty Carlisle Hart, John Raitt, Leslie Uggams, Jennifer Holliday, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Michael Rupert, and Liz Callaway. He was selected by the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization to create a complete re-orchestration of South Pacific for a major regional production, and has worked on projects for composers including for composers including John Kander, David Shire, Scott Frankel and Ricky Ian Gordon.
As a musical theater composer, he is a three-time recipient of the Richard Rodgers Award for new musical writing, administered by Stephen Sondheim and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, for The Tutor (book and lyrics by Maryrose Wood). He won a 2006 Jonathan Larson Award for Meet John Doe (lyrics by Eddie Sugarman), which had its world premiere production at the Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. in 2007 and was nominated for seven Helen Hayes Awards. He was also the first recipient of the Burton Lane Fellowship for Young Composers, awarded by the Theater Hall of Fame. His songs have been performed on Public Radio International, at Symphony Space, The Public Theater and the Lincoln Center Songbook series in New York, and on VH1's Save the Music benefit.
An accomplished orchestrator and arranger, Andrew's symphonic orchestrations of Broadway standards have been performed by the Boston Pops and over a dozen other US symphony orchestras. He created an evening of new arrangements and orchestrations for the Baltimore Symphony's Gershwin Centennial celebration, in which he also appeared as piano soloist. His work as a musical director has taken him from off-Broadway houses to regional theaters, from Texas to Cape Cod, and from Russia to Taiwan. At 26, he was one of the youngest conductors ever to conduct a major international orchestra when he led the Seoul Philharmonic Symphonic in a series of sold-out concerts at the 3,000-seat Sejong Cultural Center. He has been a writer in residence at the Eugene O'Neill National Musical Theater Conference, and a Fellow at the MacDowell Artists' Colony in New Hampshire and the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming.
Andrew's play, Renovations, based on John Marchese's memoir of the same title, will be premiered at the White Plains Performing Arts Center in March of 2011, and his song cycle, Drink Well and Sing, based on ancient Greek love poetry, will be premiered by eminent American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo at London's Wigmore Hall, also in March. His opera, The Beach (with librettist Royce Vavrek), will receive its premiere reading as part of New York City Opera's prestigious VOX series in May. A CD of Andrew's jazz arrangements of the songs of Maltby & Shire with vocalist Christa Justus was released in 2010 under the PS Classics Label. As an actor, Andrew appeared in the 2009 revival of Terrence McNally's Master Class at the PaperMill Playhouse in New Jersey starring Tony nominee Barbara Walsh, and has appeared in productions of Two Pianos, Four Hands. In 2010, he was heard as the "hands" of Coalhouse Walker Jr., in the Tony Award-winning revival of Ahrens & Flaherty's Ragtime at the Neil Simon Theater.
Andrew is the author of The Enraged Accompanist's Guide to the Perfect Audition, which will be published this March by Hal Leonard (Applause Books). He is also on the faculty of Yale University, where he teaches musical theater songwriting.