1. Did you see Audra McDonald take home the Tony Award last week for her performance as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill? It seems that African American torch songstresses are hotter than ever, with Holiday showing up in two New York productions in the past year (off-Broadway’s Lady Day starring Dee Dee Bridgewater) and Nina Simone playing key roles in Broadway’s Soul Doctor and A Night With Janis Joplin.

    If you can’t get enough of the incredible chanteuses of the 60s and 70s, we’ve got a talk coming up that’s just for you. Professor Ruth Feldstein will lead a discussion about Simone, Lena Horne and other black entertainers during the civil rights movement who took risks in the U.S. and abroad and raised the issues of gender and race. Find out more about the July 8 event here.

  2. While we get ready to celebrate flop musicals this weekend with our latest Lyrics & Lyricists concert, we thought it’d be a good time for some Tony trivia! Do you know what the shortest-lived Tony Award-winning role is? Dolores Gray won Best Actress in a Musical honors in 1954 for her performance in Carnival in Flanders, which ran for only six performances.

    Check out her award-winning performance above, then get your tickets to see Panning for Gold: Great Songs from Flop Shows from May 31 through June 2!

    Source: Tony Awards.com

  3. Tony Yazbeck, who will star as Gabey in the Broadway revival of On the Town next season, makes his Lyrics & Lyricists debut this weekend in David Zippel’s “Panning for Gold: Great Songs From Flop Shows.” Below, the California native reflects on his own experiences with flops and modeling himself after Fred Astaire. Do you have a particularly memorable “flop” show experience?I did a production of the musical Doctor Doolittle that was to tour across America but closed about two months into our run. It was a very unexpected closing announcement. I played the Anthony Newley part from the movie and was given some beautiful songs to sing. We were in Hershey, PA, and we got our notice on a Tuesday that our show would close that Sunday. I had five days to figure out where I would live in NYC, since I had given up my apartment at the time. Do you have a song from a show that you especially like and wish was better known?I really like “Can’t You See It?” from the musical Golden Boy. I’m using that song in my solo show at 54 Below coming up in August.What is your favorite song from the American Songbook?There are so many, but I was very young when I heard Fred Astaire sing “Cheek to Cheek” and that showed me what I wanted to do.
[[MORE]]Likewise, is there a show that you have a secret passion for and wish could get more visibility?Sycamore Trees by Ricky Ian Gordon.What are some of your dream roles still waiting for you?George in Sunday in the Park with George, Bobby in Crazy for You, Bobby in Company and Harold Hill in The Music Man. With next season’s On the Town, you’re becoming one of Broadway’s reigning song-and-dance men. When and how did you realize this was the path for you?I was 4 years old and I was glued to the TV watching Fred Astaire. That’s when I knew I wanted to dance. I didn’t know I had a voice until I got to college, and then I started to really believe I could incorporate all that I do to tell a story. Most people’s first contact with musicals is through the movies. What’s your favorite movie musical?Swing Time, with Fred Astaire and Ginger RogersWhat was your first professional gig?One of the Newsboys in Gypsy with Tyne Daly on Broadway—I was 11 years old, and I dreamed of being Tulsa. Seventeen years later, I got to play Tulsa in Gypsy with Patti LuPone. Only on Broadway!

    Tony Yazbeck, who will star as Gabey in the Broadway revival of On the Town next season, makes his Lyrics & Lyricists debut this weekend in David Zippel’s “Panning for Gold: Great Songs From Flop Shows.” Below, the California native reflects on his own experiences with flops and modeling himself after Fred Astaire.

    Do you have a particularly memorable “flop” show experience?
    I did a production of the musical Doctor Doolittle that was to tour across America but closed about two months into our run. It was a very unexpected closing announcement. I played the Anthony Newley part from the movie and was given some beautiful songs to sing. We were in Hershey, PA, and we got our notice on a Tuesday that our show would close that Sunday. I had five days to figure out where I would live in NYC, since I had given up my apartment at the time.

    Do you have a song from a show that you especially like and wish was better known?
    I really like “Can’t You See It?” from the musical Golden Boy. I’m using that song in my solo show at 54 Below coming up in August.

    What is your favorite song from the American Songbook?
    There are so many, but I was very young when I heard Fred Astaire sing “Cheek to Cheek” and that showed me what I wanted to do.

    Read More

  4. 92Y’s Lyrics & Lyricists salutes the original “funny girl,” Fanny Brice from May 3 through 5. Joining the cast in her L&L debut is one of today’s most delightful Broadway funny girls—Faith Prince. Below, the Tony Award winner opens up about some of her funniest on-stage moments and more.Fanny could do comedy one moment, pathos the next. What’s your favorite torch song?"What Did I Have That I Don’t Have" from On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.What’s your favorite comedic song?"The Boy From…" from The Mad Show.To see such a funny lady sing torch songs surprised many. What surprise/unknown/underused talent do you have?Finding great real estate.In Funny Girl, Fanny stuffs a pillow under her dress. What was the funniest/most unexpected thing to happen to you on stage?During my performance as Ursula on Broadway’s The Little Mermaid, the apparatus didn’t hook properly and the tentacles flew off in the middle of a song, so I improvised with what I had left. Who’s your favorite comic, past or present?Red Skelton Carol Burnett Barbara HarrisWhat artist(s) from the past would you like to have performed with?Dean Martin Jack BennyWhat artist of today would you like to perform with whom you haven’t yet?Alfred MolinaWhat was your first professional gig?My first gig was for an off-Broadway show, Scrambled Feet, at the Village Gate. If you weren’t a performer, what would you do?I would be a psychologist.

    92Y’s Lyrics & Lyricists salutes the original “funny girl,” Fanny Brice from May 3 through 5. Joining the cast in her L&L debut is one of today’s most delightful Broadway funny girls—Faith Prince. Below, the Tony Award winner opens up about some of her funniest on-stage moments and more.

    Fanny could do comedy one moment, pathos the next. What’s your favorite torch song?
    "What Did I Have That I Don’t Have" from On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.

    What’s your favorite comedic song?
    "The Boy From…" from The Mad Show.

    To see such a funny lady sing torch songs surprised many. What surprise/unknown/underused talent do you have?
    Finding great real estate.

    In Funny Girl, Fanny stuffs a pillow under her dress. What was the funniest/most unexpected thing to happen to you on stage?
    During my performance as Ursula on Broadway’s The Little Mermaid, the apparatus didn’t hook properly and the tentacles flew off in the middle of a song, so I improvised with what I had left.

    Who’s your favorite comic, past or present?
    Red Skelton Carol Burnett Barbara Harris

    What artist(s) from the past would you like to have performed with?
    Dean Martin Jack Benny

    What artist of today would you like to perform with whom you haven’t yet?
    Alfred Molina

    What was your first professional gig?
    My first gig was for an off-Broadway show, Scrambled Feet, at the Village Gate.

    If you weren’t a performer, what would you do?
    I would be a psychologist.

  5. Check out Broadway star Leslie Kritzer’s heartbreaking rendition of “My Man,” which she’ll be singing at our Lyrics & Lyricists concert, Ziegfeld Girl: The Many Faces of Fanny Brice, May 3-5. To see more of Leslie’s performance, as well as her interview, click on over to BroadwayWorld.

    Check out Broadway star Leslie Kritzer’s heartbreaking rendition of “My Man,” which she’ll be singing at our Lyrics & Lyricists concert, Ziegfeld Girl: The Many Faces of Fanny Brice, May 3-5. To see more of Leslie’s performance, as well as her interview, click on over to BroadwayWorld.

  6. A gentleman never brags, but…
See the cast and creative team of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, recipient of 10 Tony Award nominations including Best Musical, here on May 11.

    A gentleman never brags, but…

    See the cast and creative team of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, recipient of 10 Tony Award nominations including Best Musical, here on May 11.

  7. Instructor Spotlight: Louis RosenLouis Rosen has been teaching Music Appreciation and Music Theory at 92Y School of Music for over 30 years. What began as a part-time gig to make ends meet when he relocated to New York as a young composer resulted in the Chicago native becoming a faculty fixture. His career as a musician and composer blossomed, too. Louis’ partnership with Broadway actress Capathia Jenkins yielded three albums and return concert engagements at New York venues such as Joe’s Pub, Birdland and Iridium Jazz Club, along with tours that took him from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Harare, Zimbabwe. His work also includes a recent solo album, four musical theater pieces and over 30 scores for plays produced on and off-Broadway and in major regional theaters. Most recently, he composed the score for Lincoln Center Theater’s Act One, which opens on Broadway tonight. Here, Rosen talks about the similarities between Bach and the Beatles, seeing 92Y change over the years, and the student that inspired him most. How have you seen 92Y evolve in your 30 years teaching here?The more 92Y integrates new ideas and reaches out to new audiences, the more successful it is. My sense is that the institution is a bit more nimble now; we’re more able to adapt to changes in the culture and look beyond the present in planning for the future. This is certainly true of the 92Y School of Music. 
[[MORE]]
You’ve taught everything from Bach to the Beatles. What do you see as the link between all these genres?The most important connection that links all of the music that I teach, whether it’s Bach, Beethoven, The Beatles, Gershwin, Ellington, Dylan or contemporary concert composers such as Glass, Adams or Reich, is that all of these artists have written terrifically well-made, expressive music. Good music is simply good music. Period. And all of this music comes out of a particular place and time; so when one studies the music of a particular composer or era, one is also studying history. When I was in high school, I briefly considered becoming a history teacher. One could say that I did, indeed, become a history teacher; it’s just that I teach history through the endlessly fascinating lens of music and art. What kinds of New Yorkers take Music Appreciation and Music Theory?Music Appreciation students range from avid music lovers and concert-goers to people who want music to be an important part of their life, but feel their lack of knowledge regarding the technical elements or history of music is a barrier. The age range is broad—from thirty-somethings to senior citizens—usually folks who are in a moment in their lives when they’re able to pursue interests that take them beyond career and family. My students are usually very accomplished people who bring a lot into the classroom, and that makes the classroom a very interesting and vibrant place.  The same groups of people also tend to take our Music Theory courses; but Theory also attracts the passionate amateur musician who is taking lessons on a particular instrument, or playing in a rock band or classical chamber music group, some of whom even aspire to professional work in the field. The age range among students goes from late teens and twenty-somethings to senior citizens. And our Music Theory classes, similar to Music Appreciation classes, study works across all genres. Our more advanced classes have analyzed the work of composers including, Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, Ravel, Debussy, Gershwin, Paul Simon, The Beatles, Harold Arlen and much more. What was the most inspiring story to come out of your class?There have been many. I’ve taught musicians in their teens and twenties who have gone on to have thriving professional careers. Perhaps the most delightful story is that of a fellow who began studying both theory and appreciation with me at the age of 68, and who after four years of work decided to return to university and get a Bachelor’s of Music degree. He was 76 when he walked down the aisle to collect his diploma. Before he came to 92Y, he had never touched an instrument in his life. Who were your musical inspirations growing up?I was raised on popular music. My father’s favorite singer was Frank Sinatra. He also loved the musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein. This music, along with all of the pop music I heard on AM Radio, was my pre-adolescence soundtrack. Classical music wasn’t at all part of my growing up. But it was a small group of songwriters who were prominent in the late 1960s that inspired me to become a musician: Paul Simon, The Beatles, Laura Nyro, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, all of the songwriters that I teach. I actually only began to study music formally when I was 18 years old. That’s when I discovered classical music. Copland, Bernstein, Stravinsky, Ravel, Gershwin, the theater music of Stephen Sondheim—they could all be added to the list of important influences after I began studying. And I was fortunate in my mid-twenties to have the opportunity of studying in master classes with Bernstein and Sondheim. You’ve been teaching here for 30 years. What fuels you today?I’m invigorated by my students. People return to study with me semester after semester, and that allows me to continually explore a vast range of music and history. It keeps me learning. And when I learn something new, I want to share it. That excitement—the wow factor of learning about something and sharing— hasn’t gotten old for me. Hear Rosen’s original music in the new Broadway play Act One at Lincoln Center Theater, as well as his new solo CD Time Was. Sign up for a class with Rosen in either Music Appreciation or Music Theory.

    Instructor Spotlight: Louis Rosen

    Louis Rosen has been teaching Music Appreciation and Music Theory at 92Y School of Music for over 30 years. What began as a part-time gig to make ends meet when he relocated to New York as a young composer resulted in the Chicago native becoming a faculty fixture. His career as a musician and composer blossomed, too. Louis’ partnership with Broadway actress Capathia Jenkins yielded three albums and return concert engagements at New York venues such as Joe’s Pub, Birdland and Iridium Jazz Club, along with tours that took him from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Harare, Zimbabwe. His work also includes a recent solo album, four musical theater pieces and over 30 scores for plays produced on and off-Broadway and in major regional theaters. Most recently, he composed the score for Lincoln Center Theater’s Act One, which opens on Broadway tonight.

    Here, Rosen talks about the similarities between Bach and the Beatles, seeing 92Y change over the years, and the student that inspired him most.

    How have you seen 92Y evolve in your 30 years teaching here?
    The more 92Y integrates new ideas and reaches out to new audiences, the more successful it is. My sense is that the institution is a bit more nimble now; we’re more able to adapt to changes in the culture and look beyond the present in planning for the future. This is certainly true of the 92Y School of Music.

    Read More

  8. Jonathan Groff Shares His Ultimate Rodgers & Hammerstein Playlist
From “Oh What A Beautiful Mornin’” to “Some Enchanted Evening,” there’s a Rodgers & Hammerstein song to fit any mood (or time of day). Below, Frozen and Looking star Jonathan Groff shares his ultimate Rodgers & Hammerstein playlist for any situation. Check it out, then catch Groff in our Lyrics & Lyricists concert Getting to Know You: Rodgers & Hammerstein running April 5 through 7, in only five performances. The Rodgers & Hammerstein Song I Listen to When…
I’m happy: “My Favorite Things”
I’m sad: “This Nearly Was Mine”
I’m angry: “Many A New Day”
I’m working out: “Kansas City”
I’ve had a great date: “I Cain’t Say No” 
The Rodgers & Hammerstein Song I Want Played at My…
Wedding: “Something Good”
Funeral: “Edelweiss”
Which songs are on your ultimate Rodgers & Hammerstein playlist?

    Jonathan Groff Shares His Ultimate Rodgers & Hammerstein Playlist

    From “Oh What A Beautiful Mornin’” to “Some Enchanted Evening,” there’s a Rodgers & Hammerstein song to fit any mood (or time of day). Below, Frozen and Looking star Jonathan Groff shares his ultimate Rodgers & Hammerstein playlist for any situation. Check it out, then catch Groff in our Lyrics & Lyricists concert Getting to Know You: Rodgers & Hammerstein running April 5 through 7, in only five performances.

    The Rodgers & Hammerstein Song I Listen to When…

    The Rodgers & Hammerstein Song I Want Played at My…

    Which songs are on your ultimate Rodgers & Hammerstein playlist?

  9. Want a musical preview of what Jonathan Groff is singing at our Rodgers & Hammerstein Lyrics & Lyricists concert April 5 thru 7? Get the swoon-worthy preview over at BroadwayWorld. In his interview, the Frozen and Looking star reveals which R&H character he pretended to be when he was 3!

    Want a musical preview of what Jonathan Groff is singing at our Rodgers & Hammerstein Lyrics & Lyricists concert April 5 thru 7? Get the swoon-worthy preview over at BroadwayWorld. In his interview, the Frozen and Looking star reveals which R&H character he pretended to be when he was 3!

  10. Jonathan Groff gave us a preview this morning of what he’s singing at our Rodgers & Hammerstein Lyrics & Lyricists concert. You guys are going to love it! The Frozen and HBO Looking star is headlining with four of Broadway’s biggest names and performing numbers from the songwriting duo behind The Sound of Music, South Pacific and more. The show runs April 5 thru 7; you don’t want to miss it!

    Jonathan Groff gave us a preview this morning of what he’s singing at our Rodgers & Hammerstein Lyrics & Lyricists concert. You guys are going to love it! The Frozen and HBO Looking star is headlining with four of Broadway’s biggest names and performing numbers from the songwriting duo behind The Sound of Music, South Pacific and more. The show runs April 5 thru 7; you don’t want to miss it!