Broadway stars will shine at Nyack, NY's Helen Hayes Performing Arts Center Augustfest, including cast members from Broadway's Jekyll & Hyde and Jason Robert Brown, composer of the upcoming musical Parade.
Broadway belter Loni Ackerman will perform Aug. 12 at 8 PM, accompanied by the 17-piece Big Band Swing Machine. Ackerman starred in Evita and Cats on Broadway as well as in The Magic Show, No, No Nanette, and George M. Off-Broadway she has performed in Starting Here, Starting Now, Diamonds, The Petrified Prince, Brownstone and Dames at Sea.
Aug. 13, P.J. Benjamin (Torch Song Trilogy, Sophisticated Ladies, Pippin), Donna English (Forbidden Broadway Strikes Back), Lannyl Stephens (My Favorite Year, Love in Two Countries) and Neal Mayer will perform Entering Marion: The Songs of John Forster. Singer-songwriter Forster wrote the lyrics for the 1986 Broadway musical Into the Light, about the Shroud of Turin. His Off Broadway work includes Upstairs at O'Neal's and Pretzels. He recently wrote both book and lyrics for a musical version of Freaky Friday, composed by its author Mary Rodgers. The performance is named for Forster's debut album, Entering Marion.
The 27-year-old composer-lyricist Jason Robert Brown will perform an evening of his new music, accompanied by a five singers and a band, Aug. 14 at 8 PM. Brown is currently finishing work on Parade, a new musical written by Alfred Uhry, directed by Harold Prince and produced by Garth Drabinsky, which will begin its first workshop Sept. 8. His song cycle, Songs For A New World, was performed Off-Broadway in 1995 and this past spring at HHPAC. Brown is the recipient of two ASCAP awards for songwriting and a Commendation Grant from the Gilman and Gonzales-Falla Theatre Foundation.
From Parade Brown will perform "The Old Red Hills of Home," "Big News" and "All The Wasted Time." Brown will also perform songs from another new musical of his now in development, The Money Man Dances, what Brown described to Playbill On-Line as "impressionistic, a musical ballet...about Wall Street in the 1980's." Songs include "I'm In Business," "Reborn" and "Coming Home," a song that Brown said "has plenty of grit." For more on Brown, see Jason Robert Brown Enjoys a Parade of Prince-ly Collaborators. Aug. 16 will see cabaret singer Mary Cleere Haran on stage with composer, singer and pianist Richard Rodney Bennett. Haran appeared on Broadway in The 1940's Radio Hour, and in the long-running San Francisco revue Beach Blanket Babylon. In cabaret, Bennett has worked with Ann Hampton Callaway and Cleo Laine, among others. They perform at 8 PM.
Winding down the week Aug. 17 at 8 PM is In the Works, an evening featuring the work of upcoming composers and lyricists. Performing will be Christiane Noll of Jekyll & Hydewith fellow cast members Charles Wallace and Brad Oscar. With them will be Danielle Lee Greaves (Showboat, Sunset Boulevard, Roseanne's understudy for The Wizard of Oz), Danny Gurwin and Julia K. Murney.
In the Works is directed by Gordon Greenberg and includes songs by Kirsten Childs, David Friedman, Jennifer Giering, Beth Blatt, Andrew Lippa, Zena Goldrich, Marcy Heisler, Dan Messe, David Javerbaum, John Mercurio, Paul Scott Goodman, Mindi Dickstein, Jason Cochran, Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley.
As part of its Music Week, HHPAC will screen the musical documentary Lost in the Stars, about the life of composer Kurt Weill. Featured performers in the film include Teresa Stratas, Lou Reed and Elvis Costello others, and an interview with Weill's wife, Lotte Lenya. The film will be screened Aug. 25 at 7:30 PM.
For tickets or more information on the Helen Hayes Performing Arts Center Augustfest, please call (914) 358-6333.