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Alan Cumming ,Del McCoury Band Perform In American Songbook

Week three of Lincoln Center's acclaimed series American Songbook brings to The Allen Room a soulful tribute to black music, a bluegrass legend, a genre-busting singer and the concert debut of a gifted actor, all celebrating the diversity of American popular song. On February 4th Soul Deep, an ensemble of some of the top black singers from Broadway and beyond will perform music - black music - that is the basis for most of the popular music heard today. The next night, bluegrass reigns with The Del McCoury Band (top right), who started out in the 1960s and remain so on top of their game that their latest CD is nominated for a 2009 Grammy. A new voice on the scene, and one that is electrifying all within range, is Lizz Wright (bottom left), who performs two shows on February 6th. She will perform songs from The Orchard, her third CD, as well as other pieces that shine with her expressive treatment. Next up on February 7th is the concert debut of the always surprising actor Alan Cumming (bottom right). Equally at ease in film and on the stage, this classically-trained star has never sung a concert before, and he has selected Dolly Parton and Cindi Lauper tunes, among others, to celebrate this new dimension in his career. American Songbook is presented in the spectacular Allen Room of Frederick P. Rose Hall. The Allen Room possesses one of New York's greatest settings - a stunning vista of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline provides an evocative backdrop for the performers.

Sponsored by Pfizer.

Lincoln Center's American Songbook 2009 - Week Three
February 4 - 7, 2009
At the Allen Room, Frederick P. Rose Hall,
Broadway at 60th Street

Wednesday, February 4, 2009, 8:30 pm: SOUL DEEP: An Anthology of Black Music featuring Adriane Lenox, Ryan Shaw and Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens African-American music's contribution to American popular music is deep, multi-faceted and on-going. From its African roots to gospel to rhythm & blues to rap, black music is the core of American popular music. Soul Deep will showcase black music through some of its best singers from Broadway and the recording studio: Tony winner Adriane Lennox (Doubt), as well as R&B belter Ryan Shaw, Aisha de Haas (Caroline or Change) (left), Sophia Nicole (The Lion King), Antonique Smith, Destan Owens, the incomparable Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens, and more.

Thursday, February 5, 2009, 8:30 pm: THE DEL McCOURY BAND Called "the Tony Bennett of bluegrass," Del McCoury (right) has been an enduring figure in bluegrass music since the 1960s, when he performed with Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys. Playing guitar and singing lead, McCoury later formed his own band with his sons Ronnie (mandolin) and Rob (banjo) and together they have stormed the bluegrass charts. McCoury has been named "Entertainer of the Year" by the International Bluegrass Music Association for four consecutive years, and the group won their first Grammy in 2006 for The Company We Keep. McCoury's collaborations with alternative rock group Phish and other contemporary musicians have kept his music fresh and accessible to a new generation of fans. The new album is Grammy-nominated.

Friday, February 6, 2009, 8:30 and 10:30 pm: LIZZ WRIGHT Both a songwriter and a versatile singer, Lizz Wright (left) is a pop meets soul performer who draws comparisons to Anita Baker, Tracy Chapman and Cassandra Wilson. Wright has been hailed by The New York Times for her "pitch-perfect, smoky, full-bodied (singing) impressive in its steadiness, control and rhythmic subtlety" and for her "astonishing maturity and poise (that) stirs jazz, gospel and rhythm and blues into a reflective, flowing style that elongates songs into prayerful meditations that never wander into vagueness." She released her third album earlier this year - entitled The Orchard - and it was inspired by a trip to visit her grandparents in rural Georgia "where it all began." The album, and Wright's voice, embodies the warmth and layered feelings of coming home.

Saturday, February 7, 2009, 8:30 and 10:30 pm: Alan Cumming (right) Seen in films such as X Men, Spy Kids and The Anniversary Party, starring on Broadway (a Tony winner for Cabaret) and the West End (Hamlet), appearing on television hosting PBS' Masterpiece, Alan Cumming would seem to be everywhere. But this Songbook show marks his cabaret debut. Trained at the RoyAl Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Cumming was most recently on stage in New York playing the debauched, divine rock god Dionysus in The National Theater of Scotland's production, The Bacchae. For Songbook he will be performing songs that have influenced him during his eclectic, electric career. It promises to be as full of surprises as the man himself.

Since it was launched in 1998, American Songbook has been dedicated to celebrating the extraordinary achievements of the popular American songwriter from the turn of the 20th century to the present day. Spanning all styles and genres from Tin Pan Alley and Broadway to the eclecticism of today's songwriters working in pop, cabaret, rock, folk and country, American Songbook traces the history and charts the course of the American song from its past and current forms to its future direction. American Songbook also showcases the outstanding interpreters of popular song.

Artists who have appeared on the American Songbook series include Andy Bey, Betty Buckley, Ann Hampton Callaway, Calexico, Liz Callaway, Neko Case, Rosanne Cash, Michael Cerveris, Kristin Chenoweth, Peter Cincotti, Eric Comstock, Victoria Clark, Mos Def, Christine Ebersole, Sutton Foster, Mary Cleere Haran, Darius de Haas, Joe Henry, Fred Hersch, Jane Krakowski, Judy Kuhn, LaChanze, k.d. lang, Bettye LaVette, Rebecca Luker, Patti LuPone, Nellie McKay, Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley, Audra McDonald, Lori McKenna, Jane Monheit, Megan Mullally, Kelli O'Hara, Tonya Pinkins, John Pizzarelli, Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Steve Ross, Stephin Merritt with The Magnetic Fields, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Bernadette Peters, Jimmy Scott, Patti Smith, Sufjan Stevens, Billy Stritch, Elaine Stritch, The Fountains of Wayne, They Might Be Giants, Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, Deborah Voigt, Lillias White, Dar Williams, David Yazbek and John Lloyd Young. The series has also presented concerts highlighting the music of composers and lyricists such as Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, Harold Arlen, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Leonard Bernstein, Jason Robert Brown, WIlliam Bolcom and Arnold Weinstein, John Bucchino, Michael John LaChiusa, Cy Coleman, Ricky Ian Gordon, Adam Guettel, Frank Loesser, Andy Razaf, Richard Rodgers, Arthur Schwartz, Duncan Sheik, Stephen Sondheim, Stew, Billy Strayhorn, Charles Strouse, Jule Styne, Jimmy Van Heusen, and David Zippel.

 


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