As part of a 2006 piano-and-voice concert series called "The Golden Age of Melody," the 7 PM event at The New-York Historical Society benefits American Musicals Project, a curriculum initiative of the institution.
The late Schwartz's son, musician Paul Schwartz, will host and recount his father's career, which included such famed revues as The Band Wagon, Three's a Crowd, Inside USA, book musicals A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, By the Beautiful Sea, Jennie and The Gay Life, as well as Hollywood's "The Band Wagon," which borrowed his and Dietz's stage songs and introduced "That's Entertainment."
Schwartz's best known songs were written with lyricist Howard Dietz and Dorothy Fields. His songbook is impressive, though he never had a household-name, hit book musical. His catalog includes "Make the Man Love Me," "Alone Together," "You and the Night and the Music," "Magic Moment," "Before I Kiss the World Goodbye," "I Love Louisa," "I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan," "Something You Never Had Before," "By Myself," "Triplets," "I See Your Face Before Me," "Haunted Heart," "A Shine on Your Shoes," "Where Can He Be?," "New Sun in the Sky," "High and Low," "Something to Remember You By" and more.
Expect a collection of well-known and obscure numbers in the AMP evening. Schwartz was born in Brooklyn in 1900 and died in Pennsylvania in 1984.
Blackwell was Aida in Aida at The Arvada Center, appeared in Ragtime at Paper Mill Playhouse and in Dreamgirls for Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera; Gurwin starred in Broadway's recent Little Women, as well as Urinetown, The Full Monty, The Scarlet Pimpernel and New York City Opera's A Little Night Music; Nall was most recently seen as a principal soloist with the Omaha Symphony Orchestra, and appeared twice in North Shore Music Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol; Ulanet's Broadway credits include Beauty and the Beast and King David, and Off-Broadway's Saturday Night; Wilfert's Broadway credits include Assassins, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Disney's King David. Shelly Tseng is stage manager. Ben Whiteley (Spamalot, Irving Berlin's White Christmas) is the music consultant, Grant Wenaus is music director.
The concert is directed by Scott Alan Evans, artistic director of the American Musicals Project (AMP) at The New-York Historical Society, and a co-founder and co-artistic director of TACT/The Actors Company Theatre.
This concert series is part of AMP's public performance component, presented at the Historical Society theatre. Previous concert series have focused on the works of Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers and other great Broadway composers and lyricists.
This benefit concert is one of four in the spring 2006 series, and supports the educational initiative American Musicals Project, a curriculum program mixing musical theatre with history and English lessons in New York public schools. AMP, chaired by Alan Levenstein, draws on the ample resources of the New-York Historical Society to train teachers to use scenes from musical theatre to illustrate lessons.
For example, a section from Oklahoma! may introduce students to the American frontier land rush and settlement; a song from Annie may evoke the soul-grinding Depression era; a piece of 1776 may open a window on the Declaration of Independence.
American Musicals Project (AMP) is billed as "a Social Studies and English Language Arts curriculum program developed in collaboration between the New-York Historical Society and the New York City Department of Education," according to AMP notes. "Using the power and emotional energy of American musical theater masterworks and evocative primary sources from the museum's vast collections, AMP has created a series of ten curriculum resource guides for 7th and 8th grade Social Studies and ELA teachers. AMP resources directly apply to the two-year curriculum requirements mandated by the New York State Board of Regents. In the seven years since its inception, AMP has been adopted as part of the Social Studies and English Language Arts curriculum by more than 400 schools. Over 10,000 public school students benefit from AMP's approach to learning each year, and more and more schools and districts become a part of this exciting program every day."
AMP benefit concerts later this spring are The Future of Broadway: A Generation of Genius (March 20) and a tribute to composer Charles Strouse (March 27), which is a splashy gala.
Past concerts have raised more than $50,000 in support of AMP's education work, which introduces teachers to special curriculum units that use musical theatre as a way of enhancing lessons.
For more information on AMP, visit www.americanmusicalsproject.org.
The March 6 performance is at the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West. Tickets for concerts are $35 for priority seating and $25 for regular seating.
For tickets, call (212) 873-3400 ext. 305.