PLAYBILL PLAYLIST: Julia Murney, Jeremy Jordan, Caissie Levy and Wild Party Concert Cast Pick Favorite Andrew Lippa Songs
By Michael Gioia
Julia Murney, who received a Drama Desk nomination for her performance as Queenie in Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party, is among the performers who will star in a special concert version of that Drama Desk Award-winning musical. In anticipation of the April 17 evening, Murney and the cast pick their favorite Lippa songs as part of Playbill.com's Playbill Playlist.
Presented at 9:30 PM and 11:30 PM, The Wild Party Swings features songs from Lippa's musical as re-imagined by Charlie Rosen's Broadway Big Band. Noah Himmelstein (I Am Harvey Milk, Little Miss Sunshine) will direct the evening that has music supervision by Mary-Mitchell Campbell. Robb Nanus produces.
Composer-lyricist Lippa (Big Fish, The Addams Family) will be part of the evening that features Murney alongside Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan (Newsies, "Smash"), Les Miz star Caissie Levy (11:30 PM concert only), Ciara Renee (Pippin), Tony winner Michael Cerveris (Assassins), Christopher Jackson (In the Heights) and Leslie Kritzer (Elf).
According to the creators, "Andrew Lippa’s iconic musical The Wild Party is back and bigger than ever. With the help of Charlie Rosen and his 17-piece jazz band, hear your favorite hits like never before. Join award-winning composer/lyricist Andrew Lippa and some of Broadway’s best as they reimagine and rediscover the score that started it all."
There is a $40-$50 cover with a $25 minimum. 54 Below is located at 254 W. 54th Street. Tickets and additional information are available at 54Below.com.
Julia Murney: Don't make me pick! A bunch of my favorite Lippa songs are ones that got written and cut while we workshopped Wild Party for four years. I love "I'm Not Waiting" because he wrote it for my first solo show… but one of absolute favorite moments is the trio section from "Make Me Happy" in Wild Party. The harmony is so tight and fun and those guys (Brian d'Arcy James and Taye Diggs) are just the best.
Jeremy Jordan: I'm gonna say "Life of the Party" just cause it's always a good day for some Idina.
Caissie Levy: When I first moved to New York for drama school, I only knew a handful of musicals like Rent and Les Miz. My best friend, Danielle, knew every show and insisted I listen to Andrew's "John and Jen" cast recording. She knew I'd love it, and I did. "Hold Down The Fort" became an instant favorite because I have two older brothers who I'm extremely close with, and I can remember times we've had similar conversations. Andrew's melody is as beautiful as the sentiment.
Leslie Kritzer: There are so many amazing songs that Andrew has written. My personal favorite isn't a complete song really. It's transition music that was in John and Jen that is only a few sentences long. The beginning lyric is "I'm gonna be like an eagle…" [heard in "Think Big"], and it just took my breath away. It had such an impact on me when I first saw the show in college. I remember the moment so clearly and even recently talked to Andrew about how much I loved it. I have always wanted him to expand it into a full piece. So there ya go. Something small yet powerful to appreciate within a great piece of work.
Ciara Renee: Since it would probably be totally lame to say the Witch's song [from Big Fish] is my favorite, I'll say my favorite song is definitely "The Juggernaut." That number is a beast and so much fun, it gets me excited every time I hear it!
Charlie Rosen (arranger and music director): I think I'd have to go with "How Did We Come To This?" I love Andrew's somber lyric and melody juxtaposed over harmony, which has twists at just the right time in the form to really send the listener on an emotional journey.
Noah Himmelstein (director): "San Francisco" from I Am Harvey Milk. Among his most extraordinary compositions… a personal and vulnerable expression of longing that personifies a city into a hug for both one boy and an entire community; as sung here by 285 members of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony Orchestra. "You surround me, then I'm wanted and welcome and perfect..."
Robb Nanus (producer): I have to go with "Lavender Pen" from I Am Harvey Milk. I'm a bit biased, as I'm working on the show, but I had the distinct pleasure of seeing him quite literally discover the song. We were in rehearsals in San Francisco about a month from the premiere, and he still hadn't written the piece that he had dubbed "Lavender Pen." We were rehearsing a completely different number, and the accompanist played a particular melodic hook that Andrew has written at the beginning of that song. Andrew stopped singing. "Oh my god. That's the hook. That's 'Lavender Pen.'" Three days later, we got an email with a demo of the exact song that's on the recording.
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