92Y'S LYRICS & LYRICISTS Presents Poisoning Pigeons in the Park 5/8-10

Merriam-Webster defines satire as "a literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn." To explore satire in song lyrics, the 92nd Street Y's Lyrics & LyricistsTM offers Poisoning Pigeons in the Park: The Art of the Satiric Comedy Song. Artistic director Rob Fisher teams up with writer David Garrison and host Sheldon Harnick (whose lyrics for "Politics and Poker" from Fiorello exemplify the form) and Broadway vocalists Judy Blazer, Chuck Cooper, Jeff McCarthy and Debra Monk to salute Tom Lehrer and satirical songsmiths such as W.S. Gilbert, Noel Coward, Stephen Sondheim and Randy Newman, in a program written and directed by David Garrison.

Fisher says about satire: "This is exactly what L&L can be - exploring satire as a particular kind of writing done for a particular reason. There's an art in knowing how far to exaggerate in order to make us laugh while we also see the truth behind the joke. Because if you're not laughing, it's not working - it's just grumpiness."

To that end Fisher has chosen songs like Lehrer's sentimentality-skewering "When You're Old and Gray" and "The Old Dope Peddler" ("He gives the kids free samples/Because he knows full well/That today's young innocent faces/Will be tomorrow's clientele"); Randy Newman's gently scathing foreign policy commentary "Political Science" ("Let's drop the big one/And see what happens"); and Spamalot's meta-satire "The Song That Goes Like This," a song that mocks musical theater songs ("Once in every show/There comes a song like this/It starts off soft and low/And ends up with a kiss"). Fisher also promises selections from Ira Gershwin, Fred Ebb, Lorenz Hart and Gilbert & Sullivan, whose seminal work ridiculed the conventions of their straight-laced, formal society.

L&L shows are Saturday at 8 pm, Sunday at 3 and 8 pm, and Monday at 2 and 8 pm. Individual tickets are $62 and $52. There is also a special under-35 ticket price of $25 for the Saturday and Sunday evening shows.


Judy Blazer, vocals
Judy Blazer's Broadway credits include Titanic, Lovemusik, A Change in the Heir and Me and My Girl

Chuck Cooper, vocals
Chuck Cooper won a Tony Award as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his performance in The Life. He has also appeared on Broadway in Finian's Rainbow, Chicago, and Caroline, or Change

Jeff McCarthy, vocals
Jeff McCarthy's Broadway credits include The Pirate Queen, Urinetown, Side Show, Chicago and Beauty and the Beast.

Debra Monk, vocals
Singer/actress/writer Debra Monk won a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress in a Play for her role in Redwood Curtain. Her Broadway musical credits include Curtains, Chicago, Company, and Pump Boys and Dinettes, which she also co-wrote. She has also appeared in dramas and comedies on and off-Broadway including Reckless, Ah, Wilderness!, Picnic, and Prelude to a Kiss.

Coming Up

June 5, 6, 7
Ted Sperling, Artistic Director & Host
Jeffrey Klitz, Music Director & Piano

Laura Marie Duncan, Vocals
Capathia Jenkins, Vocals
Clarke Thorell, Vocals
Additional artists to be announced

Long one of the 92nd Street Y's most popular programs, the American Songbook series Lyrics & LyricistsTM 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' "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening: The Stardust of Hoagy Carmichael" are underwritten by Gilda and Henry Block, and Kenneth Kolker.

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 - about 300,000 people each year.

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 92Y's legendary American songbook series, Lyrics & Lyricists, and to 92Y's summer Jazz in July festival, with artistic director Bill Charlap. The Tisch Center's literary program, the Unterberg Poetry 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.

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