By Michael Gioia
03 Mar 2014
Written circa 1969 with music by Grammy Award nominee Lee Pockriss (Ernest in Love) and a book by Tony Award winner Hugh Wheeler (Sweeney Todd), the $600,000 Artie Shaw production never came to fruition. Leigh and Pockriss' Gatsby score received a world-premiere concert in 2011 with Von Essen in the title role.
The recording has musical direction and arrangements by Fran Minarik (At Home Abroad), who is also the musical director of Unsung Carolyn Leigh.
Additionally, Adam Kantor (The Last Five Years), Jeremy Kushnier (Jersey Boys, Next to Normal), Alli Mauzey (Wicked, Cry-Baby) and Teal Wicks (Wicked, Jekyll & Hyde) complete the cast of Unsung Carolyn Leigh.
As previously announced, the 8 PM concert, a special evening produced for Lincoln Center's American Songbook at the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse, will feature Obie Award winner Donna Bullock (Ragtime, A Class Act), Rachel de Benedet (Catch Me if You Can), Drew Gehling (Jersey Boys, On a Clear Day), Autumn Hurlbert (Legally Blonde), Drama Desk nominee Jenny Powers (Donnybrook!, Happiness) and Von Essen (Evita).
Unsung Carolyn Leigh is created and directed by Ben West (The Fig Leaves Are Falling, At Home Abroad, Make Mine Manhattan).
Here's how the evening is billed: "Celebrating her enduring legacy of smart, sophisticated and often sexy songwriting, Unsung Carolyn Leigh highlights the legendary lyricist's little-known works, including several jazz-infused items from her acclaimed 1969 Gatsby score, a cut song from How Now Dow Jones, and two numbers written with Marvin Hamlisch for the original, unproduced version of Smile. Eight dynamic performers, a sizzling trio of musicians and over twenty melodic gems color the intimate evening, which also features rare audio clips from two of Ms. Leigh's original demo recordings."
For more information, visit UnsungMusicals.org.