Jonathan Larson, In His Own Voice, Will Be Heard on PS Classics' "Songwriter" CD

News   Jonathan Larson, In His Own Voice, Will Be Heard on PS Classics' "Songwriter" CD PS Classics, the label dedicated to the heritage of Broadway and American popular song, has announced the next volume in its ongoing Songwriter Series: It will celebrate the late composer-lyricist Jonathan Larson.

"Jonathan Sings Larson" — featuring performances by the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer-lyricist-librettist of Rent and tick, tick...BOOM! — will be released Nov. 6.

The PS Classics Songwriter Series albums are drawn primarily from private "demo" recordings and have included such songwriters as "Yip" Harburg, Hugh Martin and Charles Strouse performing their own work. The series is produced in conjunction with the Library of Congress, under the supervision of producer Steve Nelson.

Unlike the label's previous Songwriter Series releases, which have been sold only at the PS Classics website and in specialty stores, "Jonathan Sings Larson" will be available through all retailers.

The 16-track CD will include selections from Rent and tick, tick...BOOM!, the lesser-known Superbia, "plus half a dozen rarer items dating back to 1984," according to PS Classics. The package will also include a special four-track DVD, with performances from Larson's Nov. 25, 1991 appearance at New York's Village Gate.

Larson did not live to see the international success of his musical Rent. On the eve of the show's 1996 Off-Broadway premiere, he died of an undiagnosed aortic aneurysm (believed to be a result of Marfan Syndrome). He was 35. To learn more about this condition, contact the National Marfan Foundation at www.marfan.org. Jonathan Larson was born in Mt. Vernon, New York, and raised in suburban White Plains, the second child of Allan and Nanette Larson.

He received the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Rent. The show, which is still running on Broadway after 11 years, received four 1996 Tony Awards (including Best Musical and two to Larson — Best Book of a Musical and Best Score of a Musical); six drama Desk Awards (including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Music and Best Lyrics); Best Musical Awards from the New York Drama Critics Circle and the Outer Critics Circle (Off-Broadway); and three Obie Awards (including Outstanding Book, Music and Lyrics). Previously, he received the Richard Rodgers Production Award, the Richard Rodgers Development Grant, the Stephen Sondheim Award and the Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Theatre Foundation's Commendation Award. Earlier work includes Superbia; tick, tick...BOOM!; the music for J.P. Morgan Saves the Nation; and numerous individual numbers. He also wrote music for "Sesame Street" and the children's book/cassettes "An American Tail" and "Land Before Time" as well as for Rolling Stone magazine publisher Jann Wenner. He conceived and directed a children's video, "Away We Go!," for which he wrote four songs. Rent had its world premiere on Feb. 13, 1996 at New York Theatre Workshop and opened at Broadway's Nederlander Theatre on April 29, 1996.

For more information about Larson's legacy, visit the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation website at www.jlpaf.org.

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Founded in 2000 by Tommy Krasker and Philip Chaffin, and twice Grammy-nominated (for its cast recordings of Assassins and Nine: The Musical), PS Classics's recent releases include the Broadway productions of Grey Gardens and 110 in the Shade. Upcoming discs include solo albums by Victoria Clark, Lauren Kennedy and Andréa Burns, all due in stores Nov. 6.

For more information, visit www.psclassics.com.