92Y’S LYRICS & LYRICISTS™ Presents
“The Crowd's at El Morocco: The Heyday of the New York Nightclubs”
JULIE WILSON to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cole Porter Family
DEBORAH GRACE WINER, Artistic Director, Writer & Host
JOHN ODDO, Music Director & Piano
MARK WALDROP, Stage Director
DEBBY BOONE, vocals
LA TANYA HALL, vocals
JAMES NAUGHTON, vocals
BILLY STRITCH, vocals
KAREN ZIEMBA, vocals
Sat, April 30 / 8 pm / $62 & $52
Sun, May 1 / 2 pm / $67 & $55
Sun, May 1 / 7 pm / $62 & $52
Mon, May 2 / 2 pm / $62 & $52
Mon, May 2 / 8 pm / $67 & $55
Under-35 ticket price of $25 available for Saturday and Sunday evening shows
New York, NY: April 15, 2011 – Once upon a time, right here in New York City, storied clubs – swanky hotel supper clubs, zebra-striped celebrity showcases, smoky after-hour boîtes – ruled the night. Places like The Stork Club, Copacabana, Persian Room and Latin Quarter (run by Lou Walters, father of Barbara ) were meccas where songwriters, singers and society mingled and fueled American popular music. Author and Lyrics & Lyricists™ series artistic director Deborah Grace Winer takes the helm as artistic director/writer/host for The Crowd’s at El Morocco: The Heyday of the New York Nightclubs, on April 30 and May 1, 2. Joining her are vocalists Debby Boone, La Tanya Hall, James Naughton, Billy Stritch and Karen Ziemba.
Music director John Oddo will lead an all-star band that includes Jay Leonhart, bass; James Saporito, drums; Bob Mann, guitar, Aaron Heick, reeds; and George Rabbai, trumpet
Of that inimitable nightclub ambiance Winer says, “It’s magical because it’s ephemeral. It exists while you’re watching it and then the moment it’s done, it disappears. But the nightclub world’s effect on the American Songbook has been enormous, and lasting.”
Winer also notes that nightclub patrons included not only high-society types, but regular people out for a night on the town. “In the early ‘50s, $4.00 would get you dinner, dancing and a show at the Latin Quarter.” And a show at the Latin Quarter or Copacabana would feature a star headliner like Frank Sinatra, Nat Cole, Peggy Lee or Desi Arnaz, Jr., and a floor show with production numbers and a chorus line of leggy beauties (not to mention alternating swing and Latin dance bands). Music spanned everything from Cole Porter to Sammy Cahn’s latest, to novelty material written for the production: Before becoming a nightclub star holding court at the Persian Room, Julie Wilson, while a “production singer” at the Copa, introduced “The Coffee Song (There’s an Awful Lot of Coffee in Brazil),” which Sinatra shortly made into a hit record.
L&L is especially thrilled to host the presentation of the Cole Porter Family’s Life Achievement Award to Julie Wilson—which will be presented onstage during the Saturday, April 30 performance of The Crowd’s at El Morocco.
L&L shows are Saturday at 8 pm, Sunday at 2 and 7 pm, and Monday at 2 and 8 pm. Individual tickets range from $67 to $52. There is also a special under-35 ticket price of $25 for the Saturday and Sunday evening shows.
Debby Boone, vocals
Boone won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1977 when “You Light Up My Life” became an overnight hit and then sold over four million copies. Since then, she has won two additional Grammy Awards and has received seven Grammy nominations. Her Broadway credits include Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Grease; she also earned a Drama Desk nomination for her role as Maria in Lincoln Center’s 30th-anniversary production of The Sound of Music.
La Tanya Hall, vocals
Hall has toured the world with such legends as Harry Belafonte, Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin, and is also an in-demand session singer. Michael Feinstein wrote that “…her musicality and myriad interpretive gifts make her singing a unique and joyous experience.” Her solo CD, It’s About Time, featuring such standards as “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” “The Nearness of You,” and “Summertime” was hailed as “an unobstructed view of greatness” by Jazz Monthly. Her stage credits include the last national tour of Dreamgirls, A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden and the New York City Center Encores! production of Promises, Promises.
James Naughton, vocals
Naughton has won critical acclaim in dramas, comedies and musicals. He is a two-time Tony Award winner as Best Actor in a Musical for Chicago and City of Angels, for which he also won a Drama Desk Award. His solo concert/cabaret act, James Naughton Live, at the Manhattan Theater Club, and one-man-show, Street of Dreams, have also earned critical acclaim.
Billy Stritch, vocals
Grammy™ Award-winning jazz singer, composer, arranger, vocalist and jazz pianist Stritch has appeared in clubs and concert halls around the world. A frequent collaborator with Liza Minnelli, he oversaw the music for her 2009 Tony Award-winning show, Liza’s at the Palace. Beginning in May, he will be the musical director and perform in The Best Is Yet to Come, a revue featuring the music of Cy Coleman, opening at 59E59 Theatre. He was a guest artistic director in L&L’s 2009 season with a show devoted to Mel Tormé.
Karen Ziemba, vocals
One of Broadway’s most versatile stars, Ziemba won the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics’ Circle Awards for her performance in the hit musical Contact at Lincoln Center. She garnered Tony nominations for her roles in Steel Pier, Never Gonna Dance and Curtains, and starred in 42nd Street, Crazy for You and Chicago. Off-Broadway, she won a Drama Desk Award for And the World Goes ‘Round and for New York City Center Encores!, did The Pajama Game and Bye, Bye, Birdie. She recently appeared in Sylvia at the Long Wharf Theatre, and appears in concert around the country.
Coming up in 2011
May 21, 22, 23
CARRIED AWAY: BEING COMDEN AND GREEN
PHYLLIS NEWMAN, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, WRITER & HOST
LAWRENCE YURMAN, MUSIC DIRECTOR & PIANO
CARL ANDRESS, STAGE DIRECTOR
Sarah Uriarte Berry, Vocals
Josh Grisetti, Vocals
Marcus Lovett, Vocals
Mary Testa, Vocals
Zakiya Young, Vocals
Special Guest: Leslie Uggams
ABOUT LYRICS & LYRICISTS
Long one of 92nd Street Y’s most popular programs, the American Songbook series Lyrics & Lyricists™ 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. Since 2004, L&L has featured original programs created by accomplished champions of the repertoire, including Rob Fisher, Sheldon Harnick, Robert Kimball, Rex Reed, Lucie Arnaz, Billy Stritch, Ted Sperling and Andrea Marcovicci,. Each show celebrates the American Songbook through a blend of performance and narrative with a particular focus on lyrics. For more information, please visit www.92Y.org/Lyrics.
92nd Street Y’s unique fusion of community and culture makes it the only place of its kind in the world. 92Y is a not-for-profit community center, performance stage and lecture hall; a literary salon and home for artists; a school, outreach organization and summer camp; a gym, a residence and more. 92nd Street Y, a proudly Jewish institution since its inception in 1874, has become a community of communities, welcoming people of all ages, races, faiths and backgrounds. Now serving more than 300,000 people each year in its New York facilities, 92Y also reaches millions of “virtual” guests around the world through its website, satellite broadcasts and other electronic media. Committed to making its programs available to everyone, 92nd Street Y awards nearly $1 million in scholarships annually and reaches about 7500 public school children through subsidized arts and science education programs. For more information, please visit www.92Y.org.