Great Broadway women of the present will salute great Broadway and Hollywood women of the past and present in a March 18–20 concert series Baby, Dream Your Dream: Dorothy Fields and the Women of the American Songbook as part of the Lyrics & Lyricists series at the 92nd Street YM-YWHA in Manhattan.
Built around the career of Oscar winner Fields (lyricist of Sweet Charity, Redhead, and Seesaw, and co-librettist of Annie Get Your Gun), the concert will feature Emily Skinner, Nancy Opel, Margo Seibert, Kenita Miller, and Marilyn Maye performing songs by Fields and more than a dozen other female songwriters including Betty Comden, Mary Rodgers, Carolyn Leigh, and Lynn Ahrens.
Performances are scheduled at 8 PM March 18, 2 and 7 PM March 19, and 2 and 7:30 PM March 20.
Lyrics & Lyricists Artistic Director Deborah Grace Winer, who serves as writer and host of the event, told Playbill she chose Fields owing to the quality and the longevity of her work. “The amazing thing about Dorothy Fields is not just that she was the only woman songwriter alongside the Gershwins, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and the rest—but that her career outlasted all of theirs. When styles changed in the 1960s and even the great Richard Rodgers felt passed by, Dorothy had the biggest success of her Broadway career—Sweet Charity—teamed with Cy Coleman, Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon...all 25 years her junior. She persisted.”
Winer added, “The persistent wit and brilliance of these women, just like their persistence in creating their iconic masterpieces of American song, make this show inspiring to create. It’s easy to see the light when you sing ‘On the Sunny Side of the Street,’ or ‘I’ve Got Your Number.’ It just fills you with joy.”
The concert will also celebrate the work of Marilyn Bergman, Blossom Dearie, Kay Swift, Dana Suesse, Ann Ronnell, Peggy Lee, Jeanine Tesori, Billie Holiday, Carole King, and Dory Previn. Here is the preliminary playlist, subject to change:
”Baby, Dream Your Dream” / ”There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This” (Fields) / ”On the Sunny Side of the Street” (Fields)
”I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” (Fields)
”Can’t We Be Friends” (Swift)
”You Oughta Be in Pictures” (Suesse)
”Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” (Ronnell)
”God Bless the Child” (Holiday)
”If You Hadn’t But You Did” (Comden)
”The Party’s Over” (Comden)
”He Had Refinement” (Fields)
”You’re Gonna Hear From Me” (Previn)
”And Then There’s Maude” (Bergman)
”Gimme Gimme” (Tesori)
“I’m Flying” (Leigh)
”When in Rome” (Leigh)
”I’ve Got Your Number” (Leigh)
”I’m in the Mood for Love” (Fields) / “Bye, Bye Country Boy” (Dearie) / “Natural Woman” (King)
”The Boy From...” (Rodgers)
”It Amazes Me” (Leigh)
”Fifty Percent” (Bergman)
”Back to Before” (Ahrens)
”The Best is Yet to Come” (Leigh)
John Oddo serves as music director for the event, with Mark Waldrop as stage director.
Winer is the author of On the Sunny Side of the Street: The Life and Lyrics of Dorothy Fields, which was reissued on Amazon.com March 8 in celebration of International Women's Day.
To order tickets, visit 92y.org/event/l-l-dorothy-fields.