Lyricists take centerstage in the final concerts of the fourth season of Lincoln Center's American Songbook series. The acclaimed series devoted to the American popular song features three distinct evenings April 11, 12 and 13 that will pay homage to lyricists of the past and present.
On April 11 at 8 PM, American Songbook will present a new musical from Kirsten Childs, the Obie-winning composer/lyricist of Off-Broadway's The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin. Based on the classic Grimm fairy tale and featuring book, music and lyrics by Childs, Rumpelstiltskin, will star Darius de Haas in the title role as well as La Chanze, Steven Pasquale and John Jellison. Both de Haas and La Chanze were featured in Bubbly Black Girl, and that show director, Wilfredo Medina, will also be at the helm of the one-act Rumpelstiltskin.
Hear & Now: Contemporary Lyricists with Michael Winther is the title of American Songbook's April 12 evening, which will play at 8 and 10 PM. Winther, an accomplished cabaret and musical theatre performer, will be joined by Julia Murney, star of Manhattan Theatre Club's The Wild Party and A Class Act. The two will spotlight such emerging lyricists as John Mercurio, Nathan Tysen, Maryrose Wood, Mindi Dickstein, Rufus Wainwright, Peter Mills, Jason Robert Brown and Brian Crawley. Kimberly Grigsby will serve as the show's musical director.
The final evening of the series, The Lyrics of Andy Razaf, is a tribute to the late lyricist of "Ain't Misbehavin'," "Honeysuckle Rose," "Black and Blue" and "Stompin' at the Savoy." Cabaret veteran Bobby Short, one of only two performers to record an album devoted to Andy Razaf's lyrics, will host the April 13 evening (at 8 and 10 PM), which will also include performances from Eli's Comin' Obie winner Anika Noni Rose and Keith Byron Kirk, who has starred on Broadway in The Civil War and The Piano Lesson. Musical direction will be supplied by Linda Twine.
Founded in 1999, Lincoln Center's American Songbook series has remained dedicated to the popular American songwriter. The series encompasses all styles and genres of songs, and some of the performers who have taken part in the programs include Betty Buckley, Margaret Whiting, Judy Kuhn, Mary Cleere Haran and Carol Woods. The series is held in the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse of Lincoln Center's Rose Building (165 W. 65th Street). Tickets are priced at $45 (8 PM shows) and $30 (10 PM shows). Call (212) 721-6500 for reservations. —By Andrew Gans