Karen Akers Sings Stephen Sondheim, Cyndi Lauper, Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey Songs in Feb. 1 American Songbook Shows
By Andrew Gans
Karen Akers, who appeared on Broadway in the original productions of Nine and Grand Hotel, is offering an eclectic evening of tunes by American composers Feb. 1 at 7:30 PM and 9:30 PM at the Allen Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Part of the American Songbook Series, Karen Akers: Time Flies features musical director Don Rebic on piano, Sean Harkness on guitar and Tom Hubbard on bass. Richard Niles directs.
Attendees can expect to hear Akers' renditions of songs by Stephen Sondheim, Shel Silverstein, John Bucchino, Stephen Lawrence and Mark Saltzman, Rob Hyman and Cyndi Lauper, and Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey.
In program notes for her new show, the acclaimed singing actress writes, "When I was invited to take part in Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series, I realized that I’ve never thought of our songbook as a realm peopled only by the great composers and lyricists of the first half of the 20th century. Our classic standards are wonderful, of course. I love singing the likes of Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Jule Styne, and Rodgers and Hart. But I don’t feel the American songbook should be an exclusive medium of the past, to be revered and revived—but a living, breathing expression of all the joys and pains and conundrums we live with today. Together with my director, Richard Niles, and my musical director, Don Rebic, both of whose help is invaluable, I wanted to create an eclectic show—a show that would include contemporary composers and lyricists, as well as more classic choices.…Part of what excites me about exploring the work of newer songwriters is the fact that they are not limited by the conventions of the past. They feel free to write about subjects and issues that may have been with us all along but which are only now openly recognized and discussed. We seem to have lost a lot in the realm of real communication, besotted as we are with our new technologies, but as a singer, I feel that the best songs actually help restore some of what we’ve lost and remind us of how it feels to be human. All the songs I’ve chosen speak to me in different ways, some moving, some humorous. In my mind, they are all related to the passage of time."
Karen Akers received a Tony nomination for her Broadway debut as Luisa Contini in the original Tommy Tune-directed production of Nine and returned to Broadway in another Tune musical, Grand Hotel. Her feature film credits include "The Purple Rose of Cairo," "Heartburn" and "Vibes," and she was seen in an episode of the hit TV series "Cheers." It's been the concert/cabaret stage where Akers has been most praised. Her solo recordings — including "Like It Was," "Presenting Karen Akers," "In a Very Unusual Way" and "If We Only Have Love" — are available on CD.
DRG Records also released Akers' newest recording, "Simply Styne."
For tickets visit AmericanSongbook.org, or phone (212) 721-6500.
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