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Concerts

Broadway Unplugged 2015

July 26, 2015

An astounding array of Broadway singers triumphantly performed without any electronic assistance at Scott Siegel’s Broadway Unplugged 2015 at The Town Hall. All were terrific. Several were magical. Most pre-1960’s shows were unamplified. The act of listening was different then. Technology has changed all that. Some believe performances are more nuanced today. Others miss the excitement of hearing “real” voices. Whatever one’s opinion, Scott Siegel assembled a program that clearly showed what we’ve been missing lately. [more]

Broadway by the Year: The Broadway Musicals of 1991-2015 

June 26, 2015

Hobbling on crutches and with one injured leg encased in a large boot, all due to a recent automobile accident, Sahr Ngaujah made a dramatic entrance from the wings onto the stage of The Town Hall to appear at "Broadway by the Year: The Broadway Musicals of 1991-2015." Joined by the accomplished guitarist Ricardo Quinones, the charismatic Mr. Ngaujah passionately sang “Sorrow, Tears of Blood,” from 2009’s "Fela!" In which he starred. It was a galvanizing episode that came near the end of a concert that had been packed with powerhouse sequences. [more]

Cheyenne Jackson at The Town Hall

June 15, 2015

“It’s been a rough two years,” Mr. Jackson observed. Deaths in his family, a disintegrating romantic relationship, and becoming sober, were all detailed during his heavily autobiographical patter that was integral to this presentation. This quirkily handsome Broadway performer dazzled his fans with a variety of songs and personal anecdotes during this 95 minute presentation. Being openly gay has been characteristic of his career and this fact was expressed simply during his commentary. [more]

92Y’s Lyrics & Lyricists Series: “To Life! Celebrating 50 years of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ with Sheldon Harnick”

June 1, 2015

“Is there anything left to discuss? There IS!” exclaimed Rob Fisher, artistic director of the 92nd Street Y’s Lyrics & Lyricists Series about "Fiddler on the Roof," in his introductory remarks to the concert “To Life! Celebrating 50 Years of ‘Fiddler on the Roof” with Sheldon Harnick.” A violinist and Klezmer clarinetist, who played tunes from that show, then joined him briefly before they settled in on stage with the other band members. The format of the presentation was to commemorate this milestone anniversary of that classic Broadway musical in a unique fashion. “Those expecting to hear the entire score of 'Fiddler on the Roof' will be very disappointed,” explained "Fiddler on the Roof"’s 91 year-old lyricist Sheldon Harnick, and the concert’s affable host. “These songs are twenty outtakes that were not heard in the final version.” [more]

Broadway by the Year: The Broadway Musicals of 1966 – 1990

May 14, 2015

“Life Is,” from the 1968 Kander and Ebb musical "Zorba" as grandly performed by it’s original Tony-nominated cast member, Lorraine Serabian, was the show stopping highlight of the historical survey concert, Broadway by the Year: The Broadway Musicals of 1966 – 1990. With fiery hued hair, in a flowing black dress, tied with an elaborate gold belt, Ms. Serabian, fabulously recreated her theatrical moment of glory with this hard-edged anthem. Her deep, rich, expressive voice was matched with intense facial expressions that ranged from fierce to joyous. Mesmerizing on all levels, her performance of this one song felt like an entire concert all by itself. She was initially the understudy in the show, and was picked by director Harold Prince to replace the first actress during the out-of-town tryouts. [more]

92 Y’s Lyrics & Lyricists Series: “All Dancing! All Singing! Irving Berlin in Hollywood”

May 5, 2015

Sandy Duncan and Don Correia, wearing shabby tuxedos, top hats, and Converse high top sneakers, beautifully dancing and singing, “A Couple of Swells,” was one of the many highlights of the 92 Y’s Lyrics & Lyricists Series’ "All Dancing! All Singing! Irving Berlin in Hollywood." Ms. Duncan and her husband Mr. Correia vibrantly demonstrated why they have had such enduring careers in show business, which have included a number of appearances on Broadway. Guest starring here, they effortlessly recreated that famous number from MGM’s 1948"Easter Parade," originally performed by Judy Garland and Fred Astaire, who replaced the injured Gene Kelly. The tune itself dated from 1917, when it had the unpopular title and lyrics, “Smile, and Show Your Dimple.” [more]

Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan: An Evening of Indian Music

April 23, 2015

Shahid Parvez Khan comes from a long line – seven generations – of musicians and sitar masters. This fact is emphasized in both the musician's own and the World Music Institute publicity materials. Shahid Parvez Khan's ancestry is critically important for those who are well versed in both historical and contemporary Indian culture and music, but for those who know little about Indian music, it figures only as an interesting biographical fact. What is much more relevant to the listening experience is Shahid Parvez Khan's assertion that “the Sitar and Self are identical entities,” a statement confirmed by the experience of simultaneously watching and listening to the sitar player as well as his colleagues. [more]

The New York Pops: “Let’s Be Frank”

April 14, 2015

December 12, 2015 marks the 100th birthday of Frank Sinatra. Sinatra’s singing career spanned seven decades starting in the 30’s until shortly before his death in 1998, winning him eleven Grammy Awards. Even those born after his death know his iconic songs such as “Love and Marriage,” which was used as the theme song of the TV sitcom Married with Children. Sinatra is one of the best-selling artists of all time, having sold more than 150 million records worldwide. He is considered by many to be "the greatest singer of the 20th century.” Led by the energetic and creative Music Director Steven Reineke, The New York Pops Presents "Let’s Be Frank" affectionately and admirably paid tribute to the prolific and unique singing career of Frank Sinatra with the help of four robust and polished guest singers, Storm Large, Tony DeSare, Frankie Moreno and Ryan Silverman. [more]

Broadway by the Year: The Broadway Musicals of 1941-1965

April 4, 2015

In the course of Mr. Siegel’s erudite remarks, the work of key figures responsible for these often classic musicals recurred. Composer and lyricist Cole Porter was represented by four shows, composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II by three shows, as was composer Jule Styne. Most monumental was the achievement of legendary producer David Merrick who was responsible for bringing five of the shows to Broadway. [more]

92Y’s Lyrics & Lyricists Series: “New York: Songs of the City”

March 31, 2015

Lyrics & Lyricists artistic director Deborah Grace Winer was the show’s host. Charming, and with dry humor and passion, Ms. Winer delivered informative and entertaining commentary between songs. Her funny material included riffs on Seinfeld, the high cost of pastrami, and King Kong climbing The Empire State Building: “Not everyone makes it in New York.” [more]

New York Pops: “One Night Only: Sutton Foster”

March 19, 2015

The concert’s triumph was due largely to its headliner, the incomparable Sutton Foster. Since her Tony Award-winning portrayal of the title character in the 2002 Broadway production of Thoroughly Modern Millie, she has proven herself to be one of the most versatile leading ladies to grace the Great White Way. Her brassy, yet lithe voice soared over the melodies of Cole Porter classics; her feet glided precisely across choreographer Michelle Elkin’s tap number (yes, a tap number at a New York Pops concert!); and her storytelling chops shone during heartrending takes on a couple of choice Sondheim ballads. She is a true triple threat in a way that most, if not all, of her Broadway diva contemporaries simply are not. [more]

Composer Portraits: Augusta Read Thomas, with JACK Quartet and Third Coast Percussion

March 15, 2015

Recently, as part of the Miller Theatre at Columbia University's Composer Portrait series, Augusta Read Thomas was briefly interviewed between performances of recent and new works for string quartet and percussion. The first half of the program featured the world premiere of Capricci for violin and viola (2014) and of Selene for percussion quartet and string quartet (2015) as well as “Invocations” from Sun Threads for string quartet (1999). The second half of the program began with an informal interview between Thomas and percussionist David Skidmore and then concluded with the New York premiere of Resounding Earth. [more]

JACK Quartet: Georg Friedrich Haas’ Quartet No. 8, U.S. premiere

March 9, 2015

The structure of the early evening concert was simple, sensible, intimate … and exhilarating. The JACK Quartet was seated on the stage, as were several rows of spectators; more spectators were in the auditorium proper. The concert consisted of three parts: first came the world premiere of the new twenty-minute quartet, then an informal discussion by the composer, then the second performance of the new quartet. What a treat, to hear a new work … twice! [more]

Broadway by the Year: The Broadway Musicals of 1916-1940

February 28, 2015

Director Mindy Cooper’s very well executed transitions between the show’s 27 numbers, the personable Scott Siegel’s erudite remarks, and the variety of gifted performers who participated made "Broadway by the Year: The Broadway Musicals of 1916-1940" a brisk and very enjoyable event. [more]

92nd Y’s Lyrics & Lyricists Series: “Here’s to The Girls!: Hollywood’s Leading Ladies”

February 9, 2015

Mr. Busch, known as a playwright of campy homages to old movies in which he often plays female roles, was an appropriate and authoritative host. For most of the proceedings, he sat off to the side wearing male attire wryly reading the often affectionate commentary. He chronicled the history of the Hollywood musical, its stars, its songwriters and its studios. This background material described the distinctive cinematic styles of the major studios, and the idiosyncratic moguls who ruled them. The musical movie histories of Warner Brothers, MGM, Universal, Paramount, 20th Century Fox and Columbia were detailed. Well-selected illustrative slides and film clips were projected above the orchestra. [more]

Yungchen Lhamo

February 9, 2015

Though Lhamo has absorbed all sorts of Western musical idioms and made them her own, her voice is distinct in its range of octaves and volumes and in its gorgeous ability to make both human and nature sounds that Western singers wouldn't permit themselves to attempt. Lhamo's musical origins are identifiably Tibetan, but the accumulation of her human and artistic experience has made of both her voice and her intentions something entirely her own. [more]

The New York Pops: Kelli and Matthew: Home for the Holidays

December 28, 2014

While it may have been “Cold Outside” on the streets of New York City, the interior of Carnegie Hall was warm and cozy during Kelli and Matthew: Home for the Holidays, this year’s seasonal event hosted by The New York Pops. Opening their set list of holiday favorites with Frank Loesser’s classic cat-and-mouse carol, concert headliners Kelli O’Hara and Matthew Morrison—previously Broadway costars in The Light in the Piazza as well as the 2010 South Pacific revival—set the tone for a lovely, festive evening. Pulling out all the stops, the duo made sure that the audience had its fill of classic songs and Christmas spirit. [more]

New York Pops: “By Special Request: An Evening with the Orchestra”

November 17, 2014

The New York Pops are the perfect antidote for those who suspect orchestral music to be dull or tedious. Proving again that celebrity performers are not needed to fill performance venues, Steven Reineke and his orchestra brought Carnegie Hall to life with their second installment in what is shaping into a rather exciting season. With adoring regard By Special Request: An Evening with the Orchestra truly had two stars, the orchestra itself and the music of seven time-honored composers. [more]

New York Pops: All You Need Is Love: The Music of The Beatles

October 28, 2014

Despite the sometimes-questionable song selection and orchestration choices, All You Need Is Love upheld the New York Pops' well-established standard of excellence. Reineke's unparalleled expertise and steady hand provide evenings of culture, history and entertainment time and time again. [more]

Voices of the Tarantate

October 28, 2014

Choosing National Domestic Violence Awareness Month as the time to premiere her Voices of the Tarantate, internationally acclaimed Italian singer and dancer Alessandra Belloni led her dance troupe, Daughters of Cybele, with additional dancers and performers, in a remarkable performance whose purpose was to examine the annihilating violence of domestic sexual abuse, to identify the rituals of song, dance and folk traditions that can heal the pain, and to celebrate rebirth, wholeness and sanctifying joy. [more]

Marilyn Maye: The 14th Annual Kathryn W. Stein Memorial Concert

June 30, 2014

"I've been a pauper, a poet—no! That's not right! How does it go?" she feigned confusion as the audience called out lyrics before she launched into a rollicking "That's Life." Having seen the original cast of My Fair Lady, she was transfixed at observing Rex Harrison on the street soon after and "stalked him" she recounted before singing a touching "I've Grown Accustomed to His Face" and a jazzy "On the Street Where You Live." [more]

Broadway by the Year: The Broadway Musicals of 1990 – 2014

June 23, 2014

Two sensational sequences were dances from Forever Tango and Swing! Mark Stuart and Mindy Wallace breathtakingly did a super sensual "Libertango," climaxing with him tossing and catching her a few times. "Don't try that at home," joked Siegel. "Sing, Sing, Sing" appeared in Swing! and Fosse, both in 1999, and was aggressively and euphorically tapped and choreographed by charismatic Jimmy Sutherland. [more]

Broadway by the Year: The Broadway Musicals of 1965 – 1989

May 26, 2014

"For many of us this was our golden age," said creator, writer and host Scott Siegel in his introduction that for many present devotees of the art form that this evening's presentation was very meaningful as this was the era in which they came of age seeing many of these shows in their original productions and they are quite appreciative of them. [more]

Lyrics & Lyricists Series: “Getting to Know You: Rodgers and Hammerstein”

March 29, 2014

Every song was well chosen to demonstrate the versatility and range of R & H and the singers all met the challenge. Rebecca sang the often neglected "The Gentleman is a Dope" (Allegro) and turned it into a showstopper. The show closed with "Edelweiss" (Sound of Music) that Ted said people think is an old Austrian folk song but was written by these legendary collaborators. It was the perfect ending for a wonderful tribute to a never to be duplicated writing team whose shows and music will live forever. [more]

Spotlight on Ahrens and Flaherty: Dessa Rose and a Merkin Hall Tribute Concert

March 28, 2005

The 12-person cast, as staged by longtime Ahrens & Flaherty director Daniele Graciele, presents a moving tale throughout the show. However, the material, especially in Ahren's dialogue scenes, can be very repetitive and can seem overly sentimental. This is often the case with Ahrens & Flaherty shows, which usually contain a batch of stunning musical numbers performed by excellent actors in shows that never seem to be perfected – say "My Favorite Year," "Ragtime," and "A Man of No Importance." Of course, one is glad that Ahrens & Flaherty's shows get regularly produced on Broadway, Off Broadway, and at Lincoln Center. [more]
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