With "More Musicals From Original Concepts," the 92nd Street YMCA concludes this season of its lauded "Lyrics & Lyricists" concert/seminar series. The series of musical seminars on the topic, "Broadway Songs Of The Sixties," began in December and ends June 1997.
Ty Stephens hosts this installment, June 7-9, which focuses on Funny Girl, The Roar Of The Greasepaint -- The Smell Of The Crowd, Sail Away and Anyone Can Whistle and Off-Broadway's The Fantasticks, Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris, Your Own Thing and Hair.
Under Barry Levitt's musical direction, performers for this installment include Lorna Dallas, Bobbi Baird, Steven Brinberg, Bill Daugherty, Kim Morgan, Patrick A'Hearn and KT Sullivan (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes). Rita Gardner, who originated the role of Luisa in The Fantasticks, will also make a special appearance.
A mix of entertainment and education, presentations generally offer songs, biographical material, film clips and archival recordings. In the early years, the evening was structured around an interview with a living lyricist (such as Sammy Cahn, Yip Harburg and Johnny Mercer). Later on, the series turned to themes, such as "The Glory Days Of Tin Pan Alley" and entire seasons devoted to Cole Porter and Jerome Kern.
The first segment this season was "Broadway Musicals From Novels And Short Stories" in December, hosted and narrated by Werner Klemperer (TV's "Hogan's Heroes"; Broadway revival of Cabaret). Pat Suzuki and Spiro (Most Happy Fella) Malas were the special guests, along with company members Rebecca Baxter, Trisha Gorman, Gary Lyons, Jan Neuberger, Ryan Perry and Martin (Baby) Vidnovic. Pamela Sousa staged the evening, which comprised songs from Camelot, Mame, Oliver! and Fiddler On The Roof. The series is scripted, directed and cast by artistic director, Maurice Levine, who co-initiated the project with Arthur Cantor in 1970. "The overarching goal of our 27th season," Levine wrote, "is to explore this rich decade of American song. The beginning of the 60's saw the last of the great `romantic' musicals with Lerner & Loewe's Camelot. The end of the decade ushered in the first `concept' musical with Stephen Sondheim's Company. Between the two landmarks lies a vast expanse of theatre songs from more than 200 Broadway and Off-Broadway musicals."
For tickets ($33-$38) and information on the "Lyrics & Lyricists" series, call (212) 996-1100.
-- By David Lefkowitz