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Wopat, Panaro, Arnaz and More Part of LYRICS & LYRICISTS 2009 Series

The 92nd Street Y opens its 2009 season of Lyrics & Lyricists,TM the Y's legendary American Songbook series, with Rodgers &...: Inside Five Collaborations, by artistic director Martin Charnin, who also serves as host.

The show features vocalists SHELLY BURCH (Stop the World, I Want to Get Off, Annie, Nine), off-Broadway regular MICHELLE LIU COUGHLIN, Seattle theater scene fixture RICH GRAY, HUGH PANARO (Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Sideshow, Lestat) and ALTON WHITE (Miss Saigon, The Lion King, Ragtime, The Color Purple). This is the debut season for the series under the artistic direction of Deborah Grace Winer.

Charnin, best known as the creator, director and lyricist of Annie, is the last lyricist to have worked with Richard Rodgers on Broadway before his death in 1979; the two worked together on Two by Two (starring Danny Kaye) and I Remember Mama (starring Liv Ullman). In a personal retrospective, Charnin traces the career of this musical legend through his collaborations with five remarkable songwriters: Hart, Hammerstein, Sondheim, Harnick and Charnin, along with Rodgers' own Tony Award-winning lyrics. The show draws from such iconic musicals as Oklahoma, The King and I and South Pacific, as well as lesser-known works such as Hallelujah, I'm a Bum, Dearest Enemy, and Peggy Ann.

L&L shows are Saturday at 8 pm, Sunday at 3 and 8 pm, and Monday at 2 and 8 pm. Individual tickets are $60 and $50. There is also a special under-35 ticket price of $25 for the Saturday and Sunday evening shows.
L&L shows are Saturday at 8 pm, Sunday at 3 and 8 pm, and Monday at 2 and 8 pm.  Individual tickets are $60 and $50, with a special under-35 ticket price for the Saturday and Sunday evening performances of $25. Tickets for all performances are currently on sale. Please call 212-415-5500 or go to www.92Y.org/lyrics for more information.

 The Lyrics & Lyricists series is partially underwritten by The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation.  The performances of Lyrics & Lyricists’ “Sunday in New York” show are underwritten by Gilda and Henry Block and Kenneth Kolker.

Deborah Grace Winer comments on the cast, “The American Songbook has always been a collaboration between great songwriters and great singers. I'm thrilled that for our 2009 season, we're already joined by a roster of performers that includes terrific stars from Broadway and the jazz and cabaret worlds, as well as a few talented newcomers...with more great names on the way.”

 
Lyrics & Lyricists: 2009 Season

 
January 10, 11, 12

RODGERS &…: INSIDE FIVE COLLABORATIONS

Martin Charnin, Artistic Director, Host

Dwight Beckmeyer, music director & piano

Martin Charnin (Annie) is the last lyricist to have worked with Richard Rodgers on Broadway before his death in 1979. In a personal retrospective, Charnin traces the career of this musical legend through his collaborations with five remarkable songwriters: Hart, Hammerstein, Sondheim, Harnick and Charnin, along with Rodgers’ own Tony Award-winning lyrics.

 
Cast (complete):

Shelly Burch, vocals

Burch’s Broadway credits include Stop the World, I Want to Get Off, Annie and Nine.

Michelle Liu Coughlin, vocals

Coughlin’s numerous off-Broadway and regional credits include Flower Drum Song, The King and I, Miss Saigon, South Pacific and A Chorus Line

Rich Gray, vocals

Composer/director/performer Gray is a fixture in Seattle’s theater scene, where he has performed with Martin Charnin.

Hugh Panaro, vocals

Panaro’s Broadway credits include Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Sideshow and Lestat.

Alton White, vocals

White’s Broadway credits include Miss Saigon, The Who’s Tommy, The Lion King, Ragtime and The Color Purple.

 
February 21, 22, 23

IT STARTED WITH A DREAM: David Zippel

LYRICS HE WROTE - LYRICS HE WISHES HE WROTE

David Zippel, Artistic Director, Host

One of today’s leading lyricists, David Zippel (City of Angels, The Goodbye Girl, Mulan, Hercules) is a Tony Award-winner and multiple Oscar, Emmy and Grammy award nominee. He presents highlights from his own scores and shares his inspirations and personal favorites from the American Songbook canon.

Cast TBA

April 4, 5, 6

SUNNY SIDE UP: ROARING THROUGH THE TWENTIES WITH DESYLVA, BROWN & HENDERSON

Robert Kimball, Artistic Director

Randy Skinner, stage director & choreographer

The Lennon/McCartney of their time, DeSylva, Brown & Henderson were the megastar songwriting team of Prohibition-Era Tin Pan Alley who turned out hits like “You’re the Cream in My Coffee,” “Button Up Your Overcoat,” “The Best Things in Life Are Free” and the definitive college musical, Good News. Musical theater historian and guest artistic director Robert Kimball has previously created L&L shows on Mack Gordon, Johnny Mercer and Irving Berlin. Featuring the vintage big band Vince Giordano & The Nighthawks, with authentic sizzling-‘20s arrangements.

Cast (complete):

Nancy Anderson, vocals

Anderson’s Broadway credits include Wonderful Town and A Class Act. She also starred in the recent Encores! production of  No, No Nannette.

Jeffry Denman, vocals & dancer

Denman’s Broadway credits include the upcoming production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, The Producers, Dream and How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

Jason Graae, vocals

Cabaret star Graae’s Broadway credits include A Grand Night for Singing and Falsettos.

Randy Graff, vocals

Graff won the Best Featured Actress in a Musical Tony Award for City of Angels, and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for A Class Act. Additional Broadway credits include Fiddler on the Roof, Falsettos and Grease.

Meredith Patterson, vocals & dancer

Patterson’s Broadway credits include the upcoming production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas and 42nd Street.

 
May 9, 10, 11

THE MAN THAT GOT AWAY: IRA AFTER GEORGE

Rex Reed, Artistic Director, Host

Tedd Firth, music director & piano

Some of Ira Gershwin’s greatest hits – including “Long Ago and Far Away,” “The Man That Got Away,” and “My Ship” – were co-written not with his brother George, but with composers Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen and Kurt Weill, among others. The inimitable critic and author Rex Reed, longtime co-host of the syndicated television show At the Movies and currently a culture columnist for The New York Observer, leads this showcase celebrating the astonishing career of Ira Gershwin apart from George.

Cast (additional artists TBA)

Lucie Arnaz, vocals

Actress/singer Arnaz began her career on the TV shows The Lucy Show and Here’s Lucy, appearing with her legendary mother, Lucille Ball. She won an Emmy Award as the executive producer of the documentary film Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie. As a stage actress she has appeared in London’s West End and Chicago, as well as on Broadway, where her credits include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Lost in Yonkers and They’re Playing our Song.

Polly Bergen, vocals

Over the course of a six-decade-plus career (starting at age 14), Bergen has been as well known for her dramatic film and Emmy Award-winning TV performances as for her musical endeavors, which include a Tony Award nomination as recently as 2001, for her role in Follies. Additional Broadway credits include Love Letters and Cabaret.

Kurt Reichenbach, vocals

Jazz vocalist Reichenbach has drawn comparisons to such jazz legends as Chet Baker, Mel Torme, and Bobby Darin, and plaudits for his debut album The Night Was Blue, hailed by jazz columnist Christopher Loudon as “… one of the most dynamic vocal debuts of the past decade… a truly impressive new guy… who can stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Kurt Elling, John Pizzarelli and Curtis Stigers….”

Tom Wopat, vocals

Wopat’s Broadway credits include A Catered Affair, which garnered him a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical, Glengarry Glen Ross, 42nd Street, Annie Get Your Gun, Chicago, Guys and Dolls and City of Angels.

 
June 6, 7, 8

SUNDAY IN NEW YORK: MEL TORMÉ IN WORDS AND MUSIC

Billy Stritch, Artistic Director, Vocals, Piano

Billy Stritch, Grammy-winning jazz singer, composer, arranger, vocalist, and jazz pianist, honors the incomparable singer and songwriter Mel Tormé. Widely known as a singer, Tormé also wrote more than 250 songs, including one of the most famous lines in the American Songbook: “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,” from “The Christmas Song.” Billy Stritch performed with Mel Tormé in 1988 as part of the JVC Jazz Festival at Carnegie Hall and his fifth CD, Billy Stritch Sings Mel Tormé, was released earlier this year.

Cast (additional artists TBA)

Marilyn Maye, vocals

Legendary cabaret star Maye appeared a record-setting 76 times on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Earlier this year she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Bistro Awards committee, and played to SRO crowds at the Metropolitan Room. Music writer Gene Lees called her “the best singer I have ever heard of either gender, in any language, in any style, and in any idiom.”)

ABOUT LYRICS & LYRICISTS

Long one of the 92nd Street Y’s most popular programs, the American Songbook series Lyrics & Lyricists™ was launched in 1970 when longtime Broadway conductor Maurice Levine and lyricist E.Y. “Yip” Harburg (The Wizard of Oz) took to the stage to talk about the then unusual topic of songwriting. Over the years the series has featured every great Broadway and Hollywood lyricist including Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Johnny Mercer, Stephen Sondheim, Dorothy Fields, and Alan Jay Lerner. In 1978, Lyrics & Lyricists began celebrating composers as well as lyricists and, in 1982, the series evolved from first-person histories of the American musical theatre to narrated musical revues. In 2004, the 92nd Street Y reinvented the format yet again when it asked several accomplished champions of the repertoire – artists like John Pizzarelli, Andrea Marcovicci, Rob Fisher, Sheldon Harnick, Robert Kimball and Ted Sperling – to present original programs in the Lyrics & Lyricists tradition: seamless mixtures of information and entertainment with a particular focus on lyrics. For more information, please visit www.92Y.org/lyrics.

The Lyrics & Lyricists series is partially underwritten by The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation. The performances of Lyrics & Lyricists’ “Sunday in New York” show are underwritten by Gilda and Henry Block and Kenneth Kolker. The January 11 evening performance of “Rodgers &…:Inside Five Collaborations” is underwritten by The Henry Nias Foundation, courtesy of Dr. Stanley Edelman. The April 5 evening performance of “Sunny Side Up: Roaring Through the Twenties with DeSylva, Brown & Henderson” is underwritten by The Henry Nias Foundation, courtesy of Dr. Stanley Edelman. The May 10 evening performance of “The Man That Got Away: Ira After George” is underwritten by The Henry Nias Foundation, courtesy of Dr. Stanley Edelman.

 
ABOUT THE 92nd STREET Y

Since launching its concert series in 1934, what is now the 92nd Street Y Tisch Center for the Arts has presented acclaimed classical musicians and exciting newcomers. The Center is also home to the Y’s legendary American songbook series, Lyrics & Lyricists, and to major names in jazz and world music, from Dick Hyman, John and Bucky Pizzarelli, and Bill Charlap, artistic director of the Y’s summer Jazz in July festival, to Israel’s David Broza and Chava Alberstein and Brazilian guitarists Sergio and Odair Assad. Through its literary program, the Unterberg Poetry Center, the Tisch Center presents the country’s oldest and arguably most illustrious reading series as well as an extensive writing program that gives working adults access to teachers who are published authors – a rarity outside M.F.A. programs. The 92nd Street Y Tisch Center for the Arts is endowed through the generosity of the Joan and Preston Robert Tisch family. For more information, please visit www.92Y.org/tisch.

Founded in 1874 by a group of visionary Jewish leaders, the 92nd Street Y has grown into a wide-ranging cultural, educational and community center serving people of all ages, races, faiths and backgrounds. The 92nd Street Y’s mission is to enrich the lives of the over 300,000 people who visit in person each year as well as those who visit virtually, through the Y’s satellite, television, radio and Internet broadcasts. The organization offers comprehensive performing arts, film and spoken word events; courses in the humanities, the arts, personal development and Jewish culture; activities and workshops for children, teenagers and parents; and health and fitness programs for people of every age. Committed to making its programs available to everyone, the 92nd Street Y awards nearly $1 million in scholarships annually and reaches out to more than 6,000 public school children through subsidized arts and science education programs.

For more information including ticket purchase please visit www.92y.org/lyrics

Photo Credit Peter James Zielinski


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