By Barry Singer
05 Jan 2013
The presence of Sondre Lerche leading off the third week of American Songbook on Feb. 13 reminds us that American pop music is also world music. The Norwegian singer-songwriter first conquered Scandinavia and then the rest of Europe before moving to Williamsburg, Brooklyn a few years ago and becoming a full-fledged American indie rocker. His Beatles-inspired, Revolver-esque songwriting and recording style is harmoniously off-kilter and terrifically engaging.
Countering the fresh with the classic, Songbook will turn to Mavis Staples on Feb. 14, the Grand Dame of the Staples family, who will shower her Allen Room audience with the unyielding gospel spirit of soul music, Staples style.
The hugely talented Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth returns to American Songbook. As a performer, the Tony Award-winning singer and actress leads and — to paraphrase Thomas Paine — everyone else just gets out of the way. On Feb. 15, in The Allen Room, Chenoweth will deliver an evening of unadulterated Kristin Chenoweth (Drama Desk winner Mary-Mitchell Campbell is the music director, with Richard-Jay Alexander helping to shape it).