Broadway Songbook Series THE WORDS AND MUSIC OF STEPHEN SONDHEIM to Play the Ordway, 1/18-27


The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts presents its second installment of the popular Broadway Songbook Series for the 2012-2013 Theater Season, "The Words and Music of Stephen Sondheim," Jan. 18-27 in the Ordway's McKnight Theatre. This three-event series highlights the lives, histories and stories of musical theater legends.

The series, which debuted during the Ordway's 2011-2012 Season, breathes fresh life into beloved songs from Broadway, making every show a warm, humorous and moving portrait of musical theater legends. Conceived and directed by the Ordway's vice president of theatrical programming, James A. Rocco, each Broadway Songbook program features a dynamic mix of composer life stories, discussion of what made their work so extraordinary and performances by an ensemble of renowned artists from the Twin Cities musical theater, jazz and cabaret scenes.

"We wanted to start an informal, living-room-kind-of series where myself and a group of other Twin Cities artists could talk about great songwriters and perform their songs," Rocco says. "This edition of Broadway Songbook overflows with hits."

The Words and Music of Stephen Sondheim Picking up where his mentor-the renowned Oscar Hammerstein II-left off, Stephen Sondheim is by far the most influential theatrical composer and lyricist of the later part of the 20th Century. His show "Company" was the first to revolutionize and perfect the "concept musical."

Sondheim brings deeply felt human insight and a rich use of language to everything he touches. He wrote the lyrics to "West Side Story" and "Gypsy," wrote words and music for "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum," "Sweeney Todd," "Into The Woods," "A Little Night Music," "Sunday in the Park With George" and many others. His chilling song "Send in the Clowns" has been recorded by everyone from Frank Sinatra to Judy Collins.

The first installment of the series, "The Words and Music of Rodgers & Hammerstein & Hart," was completely sold out. The Broadway Songbook Series will conclude April 19-28 with "The Words and Music of Cole Porter," and is expected to continue during the Ordway's 2013-2014 Theater Season.

Raymond Berg (Musical Director) ORDWAY: "Broadway Songbook Series: Words and Music of Irving Berlin," "Words and Music of Johnny Mercer," "Words and Music of Contemporary Broadway," "Cinderella," "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," "Grey Gardens," "White Christmas," "Yankee Doodle," "Blues in the Night," "The Sound of Music," "The Rocky Horror Show," "Spamalot," "Love Janis," "My Way," "Hot N' Cole," "8 Track," "Grand Night For Singing," "Plaid Tidings." Theater: Chanhassen Dinner Theatres: "Footloose," "Always Patsy," "Altar Boyz," "Forever Plaid," "Forbidden Broadway," "42nd Street"; Mixed Blood Theatre: "Messy Utopia," "Maria Maria..."; History Theatre: "Sisters of Swing," "Christmas of Swing," "Rigged For Laughter (Raw Stages)"; Illusion Theater: "Vanishing Point," "Six of One," "Angel Headed Hipster (Fresh Ink)"; Hey City Theater: "Forever Plaid," "Beehive," "Nat King Cole"; Troupe America: "1940's Radio Hour," "Nunsense," "Lovely Liebowitzes"; Dudley Riggs' Brave New Workshop. Musical Arrangements: MTI: "Plaid Tidings," "Sounds of Plaid"; R & H Library: "Grand Night For Singing"; "Sisters of Swing"; Florida Stage; MusicalFare NY; Deutsches Theater Gottingen, Germany; Seaside, FL; Meadowbrook, MI; Penn State, Foothills Stoneham, MA. Compositions: SteppingStone Theatre: "History Detectives"; AHA: "Quiltmaker and the King"; ACF Community Partners, CitySongs. Commercial/Industrial: General Mills, Health Partners, NFL, NWA, Shell Oil, Target, McDonald's, Great Clips. Awards: 2007 Ivey Award for Musical Direction and Performance ("Love Janis" - Ordway), Star Tribune "Best Musical Director 2007." Residencies/Teaching: Ordway Triple Threat Summer Intensive, Minnesota Opera, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota State Arts Board, Children's Theatre Company, Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, McNally Smith College of Music.

James A. Rocco (Writer and Host): ORDWAY: Director/Choreographer: "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," "Singin' in the Rain," "Yankee Doodle;" Director: "Grey Gardens;" "Love Janis" (Ivey Award); Producer: Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," "Blues In The Night," "The Rocky Horror Show," "Cabaret" (Ivey Award). Broadway: Musical Staging and Choreography: "Wizard of Oz;" Off-Broadway: Co-writer, Director: "Streakin'!;" Co-Creator: "Nite Club Confidential;" Director: "Sweeney Todd." Other Directing: London: "Doin' What Comes Naturally;" Tokyo: "Singin' in The Rain," "Galaxy Express" (World Premiere); Los Angeles: "The Melody Lingers On," "She Loves Me," "The Bad Seed," "Crazy For You" (Ovation Award Nominee), "Superstar," Chess. Regional: "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," "What A Glorious Feeling" (World Premiere), "As Bees In Honey Drown," "A Little Night Music," "Smokey Joe's Café" (multiple awards), "Guys & Dolls" (multiple awards), "On The Town," "Violet," and 50 more. Film & Television: "The World We Create" (regional Emmy nominee), "21 for the 21st," "Born of a Dream," "Galaxy Express, Monsters;" "Commissioned: "A Country Christmas Carol." Writer: "Rock & Roll Christmas," and "The Words & Music Series." Before becoming a full-time producer/director Rocco played The Rum Tum Tugger in "Cats" on Broadway among many other theatrical roles, sang with The Duke Ellington Band and Herbie Hancock's Super Sounds. Rocco is a member of SSDC, AEA, ASCAP, The Broadway League, National Alliance for Musical Theatre Producers and the Independent Presenters Network. Last year he released a new solo CD, "It's Between Us." The album's single, "And The Night Stood Still" can currently be heard on college radio stations around the country. More information at

Jennifer Baldwin Peden (Performer) ORDWAY: "Oklahoma!"; Nautilus Music-Theater: "Joan of Arc," "Sister Stories," "Carousel," "Meditations on Arion"; Theatre de la Jeune Lune: "Magic Flute," "Cosi fan Tutte," "Maria de Buenos Aires," "Carmen," "Figaro," "Don Juan Giovanni," "Mefistofele," "Ballroom," "Fishtank"; American Repertory Theatre: "Carmen," "Figaro," "Don Juan Giovanni"; Berkeley Repertory Theater: "Haroun and the Sea of Stories," "Figaro"; Guthrie Theater: "Comedy of Errors," "A Christmas Carol," "Pirates of Penzance"; Minnesota Orchestra: "Hansel and Gretel," "Carmen," "Bernstein's Mass"; Minnesota Opera: "Transatlantic," "MacBeth," "Semiramide," "Faust, Otello, Street Scene"; Skylark Opera: "Wonderful Town," "Die Fledermaus," "Bittersweet"; Dorian Opera Theater: "Fiddler on the Roof," "Carousel"; Vocal Essence: "Most Happy Fella." Astoria Music Festival: "West Side Story." Film: "Drop Dead Gorgeous." Animation/Voice: "Jona/Tomberry" (Cannes Award 2005), "Monster of Nix." Concert: Minnesota Orchestra, Schubert Club, A Prairie Home Companion. Training: DePaul University (B.M.), University of Minnesota (M.M).

Dieter Bierbrauer (Performer) ORDWAY: "A Grand Night For Singing"; Guthrie Theater: "Pirates of Penzance," "As You Like It," "The Secret Fall of Constance Wilde"; Theatre de la Jeune Lune/American Repertory Theatre: "Carmen," "Figaro," "Don Juan Giovanni"; Theater Latté Da: "A Christmas Carole Petersen," "A Man of No Importance," "Violet," "Parade," "Company"; Chanhassen Dinner Theaters: "West Side Story," "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," "Oklahoma!", "Xanadu"; Midtown Theater: "Power Balladz"; Pantages Theatre: "Hair"; Children's Theatre Company: "A Year with Frog & Toad," "Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas."

JOEL LIESTMAN (Performer) ORDWAY: "Broadway Songbook Series: Words and Music of Rodgers & Hammerstein & Hart," "Words and Music of Johnny Mercer," "Words and Music of Contemporary Broadway," "Cinderella," "Broadway Songbook Series: Words and Music of Irving Berlin," TCTA for Japan Benefit, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," "The Rocky Horror Show," "The Sound of Music." International Tour: "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" (30Saints/Broadway Asia Tokyo Tour). Theater: Guthrie Theater: "The Master Butchers Singing Club," "A View from the Bridge"; Children's Theatre Company: "Mr. McGee and the Biting Flea"; Nautilus Music-Theatre: "The View From Here," "Joan of Arc," "Apple Tree," "Carousel," "I am Anne Frank" (Ivey Award), "Man of La Mancha"; Illusion Theater: "My Antonia"; History Theatre: "A Servants' Christmas"; Theater Latté Da: "King of Hearts"; The E.S.C.: "The Grand National," "Gangster No. 1"; TheatreWorks USA: "Babes in Toyland"; Still Standing Productions: "Skiing on Broken Glass." Film: "Still Life," "How to Live Better, Look Busy." Radio: PowderKeg Live!

KERSTEN RODAU (Performer) ORDWAY: "Broadway Songbook Series: Words and Music of Irving Berlin," "Words and Music of Johnny Mercer," Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," "A Grand Night for Singing"; Park Square Theatre: "Ragtime," "Side Show"; Guthrie Theater: "H.M.S. Pinafore," "She Loves Me," "The Pirates of Penzance," "A Christmas Carol," "Sweeney Todd"; Chanhassen Dinner Theatres: "Xanadu," "Jesus Christ Superstar," "LES MISERABLES," "Nunset Boulevard," "The Musical of Musicals," "Forbidden Broadway," "Oklahoma!," "The Sound of Music"; Minnesota Orchestra: "Springtime in Paris," "Peer Gynt, Mass"; Nautilus Music Theater: "John and Jen"; Bloomington Civic Theatre: "Funny Girl"; North Star Opera: "Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris"; Illusion Theater: "The Cocoanuts"; Buffalo Gal Productions: "Legendary Ladies"; Plymouth Playhouse: "How to Talk Minnesotan." Training: B.M., Vocal Performance, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

ERIN SCHWAB (Performer) Erin Schwab is thrilled to be joining the "Broadway Songbook Series" at the Ordway. Erin can be seen performing her cabaret act with Jay Fuchs at Hell's Kitchen, and with Lori Dokken in "Honey and the Townhouse." She also sings with Metro Jam, Twin Cities Hot Club and The Wolverines. Most recently, Erin was seen in Theater Latté Da's production of "Beautiful Thing" at The Lab Theater in Minneapolis. Erin lives in St. Paul with her husband Michael and daughter Sophia. She also is a member of the voice faculty at McNally Smith College of Music and is the director of the musical theater ensemble, whose most recent production, "The Rocky Horror Show," played to enthusiastic crowds at the History Theatre.

REGINA Marie Williams (Performer) ORDWAY: "Blues in the Night," "Dinah Was"; Capri Theater: "Eartha...the Whole Kitt and Kaboodle," "Nina...I Put a Spell on You"; Mixed Blood Theatre: "Next to Normal" (Dr. Madden), "On the Spectrum," "Ruined" (Mama Nadi); Syracuse Stages: "Caroline or Change" (Dotty Moffett); Milwaukee Rep: "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill"; Guthrie Theater: "The Burial at Thebes," "Streetcar Named Desire," "Caroline or Change" (Dotty Moffett), "Crowns"; Park Square Theatre: "Doubt," "Gee's Bend," "Constant Star"; Ten Thousand Things: "Doubt," "Man of LaMancha," "Once on this Island"; Recordings: "Regina is...the songs of Dinah Washington," "When a Woman Loves a Man," "Feel the Spirit"; Awards: Ivey Award for "Ruined," McKnight Theatre Artist, Helen Hayes Nomination; Penumbra Theatre Company Member.

LISA M. SMITH (Stage Manager) Theater Latté Da: "All is Calm," "Company," "Spring Awakening," "Passages," "Old Wicked Songs"; Mu Performing Arts: "Into the Woods," "Four Destinies," "Little Shop of Horrors," "WTF," "Becoming," "Yellowface," "The Romance of Magno Rubio," "Flower Drum Song," "Ching Chong Chinaman," "Walleye Kid"; MN Orchestra: "Hansel and Gretel," "Bernstein: Mass."; The Directors Studios: "The Love Knot," "Jr. Claus," "Fish the Musical"; Producing House: "Cowards," "Women"; Sandbox Theatre: "Zelda: Wonderland," "What Remains," "The Horse the Bird the Monkey and the Dancer"; Theatre de la Jeune Lune: "Amerika," "Little Prince," "Antigone." Festivals and Events: Spotlight Awards, Flint Hills International Children's Festival, MN Fringe Festival.

RENEE PROLA (Company Manager) ORDWAY: Ordway Summer Dance, Flint Hills International Children's Festival, "Broadway Songbook Series," "Cinderella," TCTA For Japan Benefit, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," Heart for Haiti Benefit, Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," "Singin' in The Rain," "Grey Gardens," "Yankee Doodle," "Cabaret," "Blues In The Night," "The Sound of Music," "The Rocky Horror Show," "Love Janis" and many other special events. Education: University of St. Thomas.

The Ordway is widely recognized as one of the nation's leading nonprofit performing arts centers and Saint Paul's most elegant and inviting performance space. The Ordway's Music Theater and McKnight stages attract diverse audiences with an array of productions showcasing the finest in American musical theater, world music, dance and vocal performance. Education and community engagement are integral to the Ordway's mission, with major initiatives including the annual Flint Hills International Children's Festival and Ordway Education programs that serve more than 50,000 students annually. The Ordway also serves as authorizer for the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, a professionally guided academic and artistic environment that trains aspiring pre-professional performing artists. Together with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Opera and The Schubert Club, the Ordway is a member of the Arts Partnership and serves as the principal venue for their performances.

Performance Dates: January 18 at 7:30 p.m. January 19 at 2 & 7:30 p.m. January 20 at 2 p.m. January 24 at 7:30 p.m. January 25 at 7:30 p.m. January 26 at 2 & 7:30 p.m. January 27 at 2 p.m.

Ordway Center for the Performing Arts 345 Washington Street Saint Paul, MN. Ordway's McKnight Theatre Tickets start at $26 including fees. Ticket Office: 651.224.4222 Groups: 651.282.3111

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