The benefit concert, one of four in the spring 2006 series, supports the educational initiative called American Musicals Project, a curriculum program mixing musical theatre with history and English lessons in New York public schools. AMP draws on the ample resources of the New-York Historical Society.
Scott Alan Evans directs the concert, which has music consultation by Ben Whiteley and musical direction by Sam Davis. The performers are Kate Baldwin (Wonderful Town, White Christmas), Graham Rowat (White Christmas, Dracula), Rachel Ulanet (Cy Coleman's The Great Ostrovsky) and Lee Zarrett (Jane Eyre).
Evans, who is artistic director of these series of benefit concerts that support AMP, said the program is a mix of hits and lesser-known songs by songwriters. Evans said part of his mission is to introduce audiences to more than just the greatest hits.
The songlist includes tunes from Finian's Rainbow, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, Carmelina and motion pictures such as "Dancing on a Dime," "Royal Wedding," "Babes on Broadway," "College Swing" and (from 1939) "Some Like It Hot."
New York City-born Lane (1912-1997) is recognized as a gifted melodist who never had a smash, although Finian's played 725 performances, has been revived and was made into a film. He's known for a handful of popular tunes that came out of his stage and movie projects. Lane never had a longtime "marriage" to a lyricist, but worked with Ira Gershwin, Alan Jay Lerner, Howard Dietz, Yip Harburg and Frank Loesser and others over the years. His Broadway debut was with Artists and Models (1930), to which he contributed a couple of songs. On Feb. 20, expect to hear "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?," "Look to the Rainbow," "Too Late Now," "What Did I Have I Don't Have Now?," "On a Clear Day…," "Everything I Have Is Yours," "Moments Like This," "The Lady's in Love with You," "I Hear Music," and more.
Narration is by author and musical theatre expert Philip Furia.
AMP benefit concerts later this spring include tributes to composer Arthur Schwartz (March 6), "The Future of Broadway: A Generation of Genius" (March 20) and composer Charles Strouse (March 27).
Past concerts have raised more than $50,000 in support of AMP's education work, which introduces teachers to special curriculum units that use musical theatre as a way of enhancing lessons.
The 7 PM Feb. 20 performance is at the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West. Tickets for concerts are $35 for priority seating and $25 for regular seating.
For tickets, call (212) 873-3400 x 305.
American Musicals Project (AMP) "is a Social Studies and English Language Arts curriculum program developed in collaboration between the New-York Historical Society and the New York City Department of Education," according to AMP notes. "Using the power and emotional energy of American musical theater masterworks and evocative primary sources from the museum's vast collections, AMP has created a series of ten curriculum resource guides for 7th and 8th grade Social Studies and ELA teachers. AMP resources directly apply to the two-year curriculum requirements mandated by the New York State Board of Regents. In the seven years since its inception, AMP has been adopted as part of the Social Studies and English Language Arts curriculum by more than 400 schools. Over 10,000 public school students benefit from AMP's approach to learning each year, and more and more schools and districts become a part of this exciting program every day."
For more information on AMP, visit www.americanmusicalsproject.org.