"New York City Christmas," a CD for Charity, Gets Digital Release; Esparza, Wilfert, Orfeh, Maroulis Sing

By Ernio Hernandez
17 Nov 2009

"New York City Christmas," a new album of freshly arranged and orchestrated holiday songs sung by theatre folk, is available by digital download starting Nov. 17 from Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records.



The album is inspired by a December 2008 Off-Broadway concert of the same name that raised money for ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty). Proceeds from the sale of the album go to ASTEP, founded by Broadway music director Mary-Mitchell Campbell. The concert was conceived, produced and music-directed by Drama Desk-nominated orchestrator Lynne Shankel (Cry-Baby, Vanities).

The live show was such a hit in 2008 that the songs were later recorded in a studio in 2009. The disc is currently available online at Sh-K-Boom.com, and as a digital download on iTunes. The CD will be at Amazon.com Dec. 8 (it's currently available as an Amazon MP3).

In December 2008, at the now-closed Zipper Theatre, the concert cast boasted Sierra Boggess, Raul Esparza, Chester Gregory II, Andy Karl, Tyler Maynard, Lindsay Mendez, Tory Ross, Anya Singleton and Sally Wilfert, among others. Constantine Maroulis and Orfeh are also heard on the disc.

Special guests such as Sherie Rene Scott will also appear at a reunion concert/benefit/release party Dec. 14 at Joe's Pub.

The record producers are Joel Moss and Lynne Shankel. Executive producers are Mary-Mitchell Campbell, Shankel and Moe Rouse.

Here is the track listing for the new CD "New York City Christmas":

SANTA CLAUS IS COMIN' TOWN — featuring Lindsay Mendez

SILENT NIGHT — featuring Chester Gregory

NEW YORK CHRISTMAS — featuring Andy Karl

O HOLY NIGHT — featuring Raul Esparza

HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS — featuring Sierra Boggess

I SAW MOMMY KISSING SANTA CLAUS — featuring Anya Singleton

LITTLE CHRISTMAS TREE/LAST CHRISTMAS — featuring Tyler Maynard

I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS/CHRISTMAS IN AMERICA — featuring Constantine Maroulis and Orfeh

THAT'S WHAT I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS — featuring Tory Ross

WISH FOR A DADDY — featuring Sally Wilfert

STILL, STILL STILL/THE FIRST NOEL — featuring Sierra Boggess and Lindsay Mendez

FINALE — featuring Chester Gregory, Lindsay Mendez, Andy Karl and Tyler Maynard

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Tyler Maynard in the 2008 concert.
New York City Christmas, the album, "is the product of a very special labor of love in support of ASTEP, a quickly growing international arts education non-profit."

The 12-track holiday album titled "New York City Christmas — a benefit album for ASTEP."

Shankel stated, "I wanted to take the wonderfully creative and generous spirit from last year's concert and try to bottle it! Making an album seemed like the perfect opportunity to do that. To work on a project that was both creatively and philanthropically fulfilling was an amazing experience for everyone involved."

The album featuring fresh, original approaches — pop, soul, R&B, rock and more — to favorite holiday songs boasts an incredible line-up of artists including Tony Award nominee Esparza (Speed the Plow, Company), Sierra Boggess (Ariel in Broadway's The Little Mermaid), Chester Gregory II (Hairspray, Cry-Baby), Andy Karl (Legally Blonde, Altar Boyz, 9 to 5), Tyler Maynard (Altar Boyz; The Little Mermaid), Lindsay Mendez (Grease), Maroulis (The Wedding Singer, Rock of Ages), Orfeh (Legally Blonde, Footloose, Saturday Night Fever), Tory Ross (Cry-Baby, 9 to 5), Anya Singleton (All Music Guide's "Editor's Pick" Award winner) and Sally Wilfert (Assassins, Make Me a Song, national tour of …Spelling Bee).

To mark the release of the album, ASTEP and Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records will host the second annual concert presentation of New York City Christmas at Joe's Pub, 425 Lafayette St., in Manhattan, on Dec. 14 at 9:30 PM.

Sierra Boggess, Raul Esparza, Chester Gregory II, Andy Karl, Tyler Maynard, Lindsay Mendez, Orfeh, Tory Ross, Anya Singleton and Sally Wilfert are currently scheduled to perform. Olivier Award nominee Stafford Arima (London's Ragtime and Off-Broadway's Altar Boyz) will again direct. Also appearing will be musicians Shankel (on piano), Joe Mowatt (drums/percussion), Randy Landau (bass), and Peter Calo and Michael Aarons (guitars).

Tickets for the benefit concert are $50, $25 for standing room.

All proceeds from album sales and tickets to the show go to support ASTEP's mission "to create positive change for young people in need across the globe."

Tickets are now available through the Joe's Pub website at joespub.com.

For more information about the concert e-mail info@asteponline.org. For more information about ASTEP visit www.asteponline.org.

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Artists Striving To End Poverty (ASTEP) "uses the arts as a tool to empower young people with creativity, knowledge, and a strong sense of self-esteem, factors which help them advance their lives and communities." ASTEP "provides artists with opportunities to connect with global youths, allowing them to use their gifts to create meaningful and effective change for young people in need. ASTEP's main goal is to create a community of artists who are actively engaged in using their talents to raise awareness about the plight of the children we serve and to dynamically assist by volunteering at our programs in India, Africa, New York and Florida."

ASTEP's founder is Mary-Mitchell Campbell, the Broadway music director and 2007 Drama Desk Award-winning orchestrator (Company). She's music director of the upcoming Broadway production of The Addams Family.

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Founded 10 years ago by Kurt Deutsch and Sherie Rene Scott, Sh-K-Boom and its imprint Ghostlight Records has become the leading independent force in musical theatre recording. The label is "renowned for its efforts to encourage and support the music of the most innovative new voices on Broadway, to help bridge the gap between pop/rock and musicals, and to preserve the scores of important works."