Ghostlight Records pays tribute to pioneering theatre artist Elizabeth Swados (Runaways, Alice in Concert) with new album The Liz Swados Project, featuring such theatre favorites as Amber Gray, Ali Stroker, Michael R. Jackson, Grace McLean, Sophia Anne Caruso, and Taylor Mac singing 19 of Swados’ songs—14 of which have never before been recorded.
The Liz Swados Project released for digital purchase and streaming May 22, is available at GhostlightRecords.com.
Also singing on the album are Starr Busby, Damon Daunno, Stephanie Hsu, Jo Lampert, Alicia Olatuja, and Ashley Pérez Flanagan. The album will also feature vocal performances from songwriters The Bengsons, Heather Christian, Dave Malloy, Shaina Taub, and the late Michael Friedman. Swados herself is represented on the track “Bird Lament.”
The album’s songs are pulled from 10 of Swados’ stage works, including Runaways, The Beautiful Lady, Alice in Concert, and Nightclub Cantata. Kris Kukul, Swados’ longtime music director, has orchestrated and arranged the album, which is produced by Lauren Fitzgerald, Kukul, and Matt Stine. Kurt Deutsch and Rosalind Lichter are executive producers.
Swados was a four-time Tony nominee, all in the same season; she was nominated as a director, book writer, choreographer, and composer in 1978 for her work on Runaways. Her experimental and groundbreaking work made her a fixture of the downtown NYC theatre scene in the ’70s and ’80s, though she was produced everywhere from La MaMa E.T.C. and The Public Theater to Carnegie Hall, Broadway, and Manhattan Theatre Club. Swados passed away in 2016 from complications following surgery for esophageal cancer.
Take a look at the full Liz Swados Project track listing below. All songs feature words and music by Swados unless otherwise noted.
1. “We Are Not Strangers” – Heather Christian (from Runaways, 1978)
2. “Every Now and Then” – Dave Malloy (from Runaways, 1978)
3. “Oh, King Daddy” – Amber Gray (from the concert at the Bottom Line, 1978)
4. “The Red Queen” – Taylor Mac (from Alice in Concert, 1980; adapted from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll)
5. “In This My Green World” – Stephanie Hsu, with Preston Martin (from Alice in Concert, 1980; music by Elizabeth Swados, lyrics by Kenneth Patchen from his poem)
6. “Take Me to Paris” – Ali Stroker (from The Beautiful Lady, 1984; based on Russian poems translated by Paul Schmidt)
7. “Souf” – Jo Lampert (from Nomad, 2015; music by Elizabeth Swados, lyrics by Erin Courtney)
8. “You Gave Me Love” – Alicia Olatuja (from Lullaby and Goodnight, 1982)
9. “You Do Not Have To Be Good” – Shaina Taub (from Atonement, 2007; music by Elizabeth Swados, lyrics by Mary Oliver)
10. “Song of the Child Prostitute” – Sophia Anne Caruso (from Runaways, 1978)
11. “The Dance” – The Bengsons (from Nightclub Cantata, 1977)
12. “Salvador” – Ashley Pérez Flanagan, with Rachael Duddy and Hannah Whitney (from Missionaries, 1997)
13. “Isadora” – Damon Daunno (from The Beautiful Lady, 1984; based on Russian poems translated by Paul Schmidt)
14. “Lonesome of the Road” – Michael R. Jackson (from Runaways, 1978)
15. “War Gets Old” – Grace McLean (from Dispatches, 1979; music by Elizabeth Swados, lyrics by Michael Herr)
16. “A Change Shall Come” – Starr Busby (from The Beautiful Lady, 1984; based on Russian poems translated by Paul Schmidt)
17. “Bird Lament” – Elizabeth Swados
18. “Amen” – Choir (from The Haggadah: A Passover Cantata, 1980)
19. “Things I Didn’t Know I Loved” – Michael Friedman, with Rachael Duddy and Dara Orland (from Nightclub Cantata, 1977; music by Elizabeth Swados, lyrics by Nazim Hikmet, recorded as part of Lincoln Center’s American Songbook at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s The Appel Room)