Michael Winther sang the songs of Adam Guettel, Ricky Ian Gordon, Jenny Giering and Debra Barsha in spring 2000 in a cabaret show titled Looking Forward: An Evening of New Theatre Music. He's back March 23, this time with Michael John LaChiusa, Mike Reid, Duncan Sheik and Lewis Flinn too, for an evening of new theatre music in conjunction with the American Songbook series at Lincoln Center.
LaChiusa is the best known of the composers, having dueled against himself for Tony honors last season with Marie Christine and The Wild Party. Guettel has also enjoyed some fame thanks to the Off- Broadway productions Floyd Collins and Saturn Returns and the upcoming A Light in the Piazza. Gordon's work was most recently heard Off-Broadway in Only Heaven, which is set to the poetry of Langston Hughes, and the Tina Landau-directed Dream True.
Both Mike Reid and Marcus Hummon are more recognizable in the pop music biz. Reid penned Bonnie Raitt's hit "I Can't Make You Love Me" (as well as The Ballad of Little Jo, the first musical premiere for the Steppenwolf in Chicago) and Hummon for nine top-ten singles by artists like The Dixie Chicks, Wynona Judd and Tim McGraw.
Most of the composers are so up-and-coming, however, that their projects are still in the works. Sheik, a pop singer ("Phantom Moon"), is said to be a part of the upcoming Roundabout season with his Spring Awakening, an adaptation of German playwright Frank Wedekind’s 1891 classic, directed in a recent summer workshop by Michael Mayer (Side Man). Flinn will see the premiere of his Love in the Afternoon in London's West End with actor Simon Callow at the helm. Barsha is the composer of Radiant Baby, the Keith Haring musical the Public Theatre has its eye on. Giering's Mistress Cycle will be workshopped this summer at the Williamstown Theater Festival.
Winther last sang on Broadway in 1776. Other New York credits include Damn Yankees, Artist Descending a Staircase, Gordon's Dream True, Hapgood (Lincoln Center), the original company of Tony 'N' Tina's Wedding and Forever Plaid. For reservations, call (212) 721-6500.
-- By Christine Ehren