Broadway diva Judy Kaye and playwright Tony Kushner will kick off the 1998-99 New York Festival of Song series Oct. 15 in an evening celebrating the centenary of New York City’s consolidation, with songs by Leonard Bernstein, Cole Porter, Marc Blitzstein and others.
Playwright Kushner (Angels in America) will narrate the 8 PM performance, dubbed “New York, New York,” which includes Festival of Song artistic directors Michael Barret and Steven Blier on piano, plus singers Amy Burton, Lewis Cleale (A New Brain), William Sharp and others. The show marks the first time the 11-year-old Festival of Song has appeared at the Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse in New York City.
Mezzo-soprano Kaye currently plays Emma Goldman in Ragtime and is known for her Tony Award-winning performance as Carlotta in The Phantom of the Opera and as Madeline Kahn’s replacement in On the 20th Century, the show that launched her back in 1979.
The songlist includes Irving Berlin’s “Slumming on Park Avenue,” Porter’s “I Happen to Like New York,” Stephen Sondheim’s “What More Do I Need?” and Bernstein-Comden-Green's “Come Up to My Place” from On the Town.
The Kaye Playhouse is at 695 Park Avenue at 68th Street, at Hunter College, New York. Tickets are $14-$28. For information, call (212) 772 4448. Also in the 1998-98 series:
Soprano Audra McDonald (Sarah in Ragtime ) is featured in “George Gershwin is 100,” Nov. 12 at 8 PM, with mezzo-soprano Margaret Lattimore, tenor Ted Keegan and others. A rarely-heard handful of unpublished Gershwin works is on the songlist, played by pianists Blier and John Musto.
“Love and Betrayals,” May 13 at 8 PM, flirts with courtship, marriage and jealousy, using composers from Haydn to Richard Rodgers. Among the singers are soprano Ainhoa Arteta, mezzo-soprano Mary Phillips and baritone Dwayne Croft. Blier and Barret play piano.
-- By Kenneth Jones