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The American Songbook Project Honors MICHAEL MAYER & MARGARET WHITING 11/6


The American Songbook Project, a non-profit dedicated to presenting American popular songs in our schools with the goal of educating and developing new audiences for them, will honor singing legend Margaret Whiting and directing wunderkind Michael Mayer at a wildly original charity event at the Edison Ballroom, 240 West 47th Street on Saturday November 6 from 7pm to 11pm.

Giving new meaning to wearing your emotions on your sleeve, Songbook's "Name That Tune" costume party will feature costumes ranging from the simple to the sublime, entertainment and dancing, cocktails and dinner, a silent and a live auction, as well as a juried costume fashion show for the most eye-catching and clever designs. Tickets for the charity event are $250 per person, with a limited number of $150 tickets available for supporters under-35.

Among the Broadway stars taking part in the festivities (and sharing their talent) are the actress Jane Kaczmarek; the Tony Award-winning librettist and lyricist Dick Scanlan, and the Tony-nominated actress Kate Baldwin ("Finian's Rainbow"). Introducing a special tribute to Ms. Whiting will be her friend, Broadway's Carol Woods. Nightlife impresario Jim Caruso, the host of the ever-popular Cast Party at Birdland, will serve as auctioneer for the benefit's live auction.

The party's Celebrity Judges Panel includes the five-time Tony Award-winning costume designer William Ivey Long; NY 1 News's Roma Torre; Jujamcyn president Jordan Roth; casting director Tara Rubin; jazz vocalist Hilary Kole; Time Out NY's theater and cabaret critic Adam Feldman, and arts patron Frank Skillern.

"The evening's honorees Margaret Whiting and Michael Mayer emblemize the scope of our organization's cultural mission," states Michael Putman Estwanik, who is the president of the board of directors of The American Songbook Project. "It is our belief that American popular songs are our country's unique contribution to world culture." Since its founding in 1999, The American Songbook Project has been bringing Broadway and top cabaret talent into New York City schools so that young people can hear great songs, both classic and contemporary, by American songwriters. "With so many music programs in our schools being drastically cut," Estwanik continues, "our role is becoming essential if we want to foster an appreciation of American popular songs among the young."

Margaret Whiting, the seminal interpreter of American standards throughout her major recording career in the 40's, 50's, and into the 60's continued to perform regularly until just a few years ago. Among the songs she introduced are "That Old Black Magic," "It Might as Well Be Spring," "Come Rain or Come Shine," and "Moonlight in Vermont." Her father, Richard Whiting, was the composer of numerous popular hits.

Michael Mayer, a four-time Tony nominee and two-time winner, is recognized for effectively bridging traditional and contemporary sensibilities for today's Broadway audiences. He directed the groundbreaking musical "Spring Awakening," for which he earned the 2007 Tony and Drama Desk awards for best direction of a musical. On Broadway he directed "Side Man" (the Tony for best direction of a play), "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," "Thoroughly Modern Millie" (Tony nominee, Drama Desk Award), and last season's "American Idiot," and "Everyday Rapture."

This is Songbook's second "Name That Tune" Costume Party. The first such supremely catchy event occurred in 2005. The grand-prize winner for Best Song Title Costume wins a one-week vacation to Paris and the French Riviera courtesy of Radisson Blu Hotels, including roundtrip airfare. To purchase tickets, or for more information, call 212/362-2115, or visit

Estwanik adds: "Our songs, both old and new, with their beautiful melodies and meaningful lyrics, are our birthright as American citizens. Through our programs, we hope to be planting the seeds for new songwriters, performers and, if nothing else, appreciative and proud listeners."

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