The concept choral concert exploring gay urban life in the 20th century, A Gay Century Songbook, gets released on CD Sept. 12, five months after being performed at Carnegie Hall by The New York City Gay Men's Chorus. The music is by Broadway composer Larry Grossman (Grind, Minnie's Boys), with lyrics and libretto by Michael Korie, who penned the lyrics to the opera, Harvey Milk. The concert was commissioned for The New York City Gay Men's Chorus by the Dick Cable Fund in 1999, in honor of the company's 20th anniversary.
Through songs that remind a listener of genuine show tunes and dramatic theatre music, A Gay Century Songbook charts gay life in New York in places such as Harlem, Gramercy Park, Brooklyn, the Bowery and Carnegie Hall. Songs include "A Hundred Years," "We Have a Boston Marriage," "Something So Gay in a Barbershop Quartet," "That Way," "Name the Names/Sodomy Clause," "Lunch at the Turkish Baths," "I Joined the Army," "A Very Private Person," "Nothing is as Open as the Road," "Kieran McHugh Remained Abroad," "Lavender," "I Joined the Chorus," "Sister Hallie Lujah at the Harlem Drag Ball," "Antiques," "A Circle of Lights," "The Old Hall."
Barry Oliver conducts. Orchestrations are by Curtis Moore. Choral arrangements by Nina Gilbert. The disc is on the DRG label.
-- By Kenneth Jones