Jack Viertel, artistic director of Encores!, will host the series. The first topic will be "Sexism. Racism. Show Tunes. Discuss." Dec. 14, a conversation during which Sheldon Harnick, Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Jeanine Tesori will "examine the troublingly sexist and racist attitudes embedded in classic musicals."
The series, according to press notes, "will go beyond the 'talkback'—and beyond nostalgia—for a smart, unsentimental look at how musicals have reflected and shaped American life."
In a statement artistic director Viertel said, "At Encores!, we’re always asking questions about the American musical: where it’s been, where it’s going, what we can learn from the songwriters of Broadway’s Golden Age, and about the attitudes of any given era, which might be very different from our own. This series opens up that conversation to everyone. There’s no one else who does what we do at Encores! in terms of restoring and presenting great musicals as they were originally intended. Our hope is that Encores! Unscripted will explore the connections between the shows we do here—from Cabin in the Sky to 1776—and the shows currently playing on Broadway."
City Center president and CEO Arlene Shuler added, "City Center is delighted to join forces with The Greene Space at WNYC for this new series, which allows us to share the Encores! tradition of passionately researched and performed musical theater with a much wider audience. This is not the first time that these two landmark institutions have worked together. After Mayor Fiorello La Guardia dedicated City Center in 1943, I’m told that he liked to plug our musicals and ballets during his weekly radio chats on WNYC."
The series will feature three sessions, listed below:
"Sexism. Racism. Show Tunes. Discuss."
Dec. 14, 7 PM
"The phrase 'golden age of Broadway' conjures up visions of romantic innocence, but the original scripts of many classic American musicals, from Babes in Arms to Annie Get Your Gun, are full of troublingly sexist and racist attitudes. How can we make sense of an art form that has produced so many beautiful songs and perpetuated so many ugly stereotypes? Encores! Unscripted will explore that question with the help of Tony Award winners Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof), Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Jelly’s Last Jam), Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home), and other guests and performances to be announced."
Feb. 1, 2016, 7 PM
"In the beginning, the American musical was a throwaway art. Musicians doodled on their sheet music and used it to swat mosquitoes; scores were often trashed after a show closed. City Center’s Encores! series was founded in 1994 with a commitment to uncovering these orchestrations—and in some cases, painstakingly restoring them to their original glory. Discover how great orchestrations are created and how they can transform a musical in this Encores! Unscripted event, featuring legendary orchestrator Jonathan Tunick (Follies, A Chorus Line); Encores! Music Director Rob Berman; and Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Last Five Years), who began his career by writing vocal arrangements for other composers' shows."
"Who Tells Their Stories?: Historical Narratives on Broadway"
March 14, 2016, 7 PM
"From the Gershwins’ madcap Of Thee I Sing to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop masterpiece Hamilton, Broadway composers have long been drawn to stories about towering political figures, the women they will never satisfy, and the complicated legacies they leave behind. Dig into the process of bringing American icons to life with Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson composer Michael Friedman; Hamilton star Leslie Odom, Jr.; cast members from the Encores! production of 1776; and other guests and performances to be announced.
For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.