Seven of Broadway's most prolific songwriters have been assigned to spots in the 30th anniversary season of the popular "Lyrics & Lyricists" series at the 92nd Street Y in New York City in 2000.
The following living-legend composers and lyricists will be celebrated in separate shows devoted to their careers, craft and songs: Cy Coleman (Jan. 8-10, 2000), John Kander & Fred Ebb (Feb. 12-14), Stephen Sondheim (March 11-13), Betty Comden & Adolph Green (April 15-17), Jerry Herman (June 3-4).
Live performances, archival film clips and live interviews with the songwriters (when available) are usually part of the series. Some past evenings have been preserved on recordings, offering a glimpse of the process.
The casts will include veterans of stage and screen, as well as newcomers. A special guest host guides the audience through the life and work of the composers and lyricists.
Projects planned or mentioned for the songwriters who are being spotlighted include a Las Vegas musical called Miss Spectacular (Herman); Broadway stagings of the revue, Putting It Together and the new musical, Wise Guys (Sondheim); a musical version of The Visit (Kander & Ebb); a possible revival of Bells Are Ringing (Comden & Green) and a national tour of On the 20th Century (Coleman, Comden & Green). *
"Lyrics & Lyricists" began in 1970 and started a trend of concerts and public appreciations of craft in American popular song -- much of it rooted in musical theatre. Early programs included evenings with living (and now dead) lyricists E.Y. "Yip" Harburg, Sammy Cahn, Alan Jay Lerner, Johnny Mercer and more. As the series grew, theme evenings took hold, including "The Tuneful Thirties," "Great Song Writing Teams Remembered" and "The Glory Days of Tin Pan Alley."
Barry Levitt, the Broadway musical director, orchestrator and vocal arranger, is the L&L artistic director.
The final show of the 1999 series was June 12-14, "The Great Hollywood Studios: Songs From Original Movie Musicals (MGM)."
The 92nd Street Y is at 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. Call (212) 996-1100 for ticket information.
-- By Kenneth Jones