By Matthew Blank
28 Jan 2014
Hosted by Playbill staff writer Michael Gioia, author of the ongoing column that premiered on Playbill.com in October 2012, concerts — in which each songwriter or composing team debuts a world-premiere song — were offered at 7 PM and 9:30 PM.
Performers included Teal Wicks (Jekyll & Hyde), Jason Gotay (Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark), Bryan Terrell Clark (Motown), Hannah Elless (Godspell), Raena White (Marriott Theatre's Dreamgirls), Molly Hager (Fat Camp), Sam Heldt, Jessie Hooker (Off-Broadway's Sistas), Bonnie Milligan, Dimitri Moise, Zach Reiner-Harris (Spring Awakening), Jason SweetTooth Williams, Lauren Marcus, Barrett Davis (Mary Poppins), Josh Assor (Mary Poppins), Ben Thompson (Matilda), Drama Desk nominee Julia Murney (Wicked, The Wild Party, Falling), Tituss Burgess (Guys and Dolls, The Little Mermaid, Jersey Boys), Steffanie Leigh (Mary Poppins), F. Michael Haynie (Wicked, Dogfight), Preston Sadleir (Next to Normal), Michael Deleget (Goodspeed's Camelot), John Michael Lyles and Courtney Kofoed.
Directed by Brandon Ivie (assistant director of Broadway's First Date, A Christmas Story) with music direction by Benjamin Rauhala (Pippin), the concerts featured new music from all writers (yet to make their Broadway songwriting debuts) featured in Part One and Part Two of the column. They include Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk, Scott Alan, Katie Thompson, Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond, Deborah Abramson, Will Van Dyke, Sam Carner and Derek Gregor, Ryan Scott Oliver, Adam Gwon, Drew Gasparini, Joe Iconis and Jonathan Reid Gealt.
Here's how 54 Below bills The Contemporary Musical Theatre Songwriters You Should Know: LIVE!: "The pages of Playbill.com come to life in The Contemporary Musical Theatre Songwriters You Should Know: LIVE!, based on the series of the same name by Playbill staff writer Michael Gioia. Join a handful of the contemporary songwriters who are making noise in New York City's theatre district as they offer world-premiere songs performed by Broadway’s best. At 54 Below, audiences will learn about the new sound that is making waves in Broadway's underground before it surfaces on the Great White Way."
Gioia also produced, and Rochel Saks stage managed. Proceeds from the evening will be donated to The Jonathan Larson Grants Fund at the American Theatre Wing.
For Part One of the Playbill.com article The Contemporary Musical Theatre Songwriters You Should Know, click here. For Part Two, click here. A third part of the series will premiere following the 54 Below concert.