The annual New Year's Eve Concert for Peace at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine will include a new song by composer-lyricist Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years, Parade). Additional Broadway notables on the bill are Liz Callaway (Cats, Spitfire Grill), Darius de Haas (The Running Man), and Adriane Lenox (Dinah Was).
Judy Collins and John and Bucky Pizzarelli are also expected to perform. Opera diva Lauren Flanigan will sing two songs by Ricky Ian Gordon (Dream True), with the composer at the piano. Glen Cortese leads the New York Festival Chorus and the New York Chamber Sinfonia. Religious leaders from several faiths will address an audience expected to be in the thousands.
Jason Robert Brown, whose musical The Last Five Years begins previews at Minetta Lane Theatre in February, is an artist-in-residence at the cathedral, a house of prayer for all people, with a rich history of arts programming. Brown, a self-described "nice Jewish boy," explained that his affiliation with the cathedral started because the Rev. Harry Pritchett, Jr., a former Dean of the Cathedral who came to New York City after decades in Atlanta, was a big fan of the Atlanta-set musical Parade. For the 1999 New Year's Eve concert, Pritchett invited the cast of Brown's Songs for a New World to greet the millenium with the revue's opening number.
"Coming Together," Brown's latest, was written soon after the tragedies of September 11. Brown and Adriane Lenox will sing lead vocals in the gospel-inflected song, accompanied by symphonic orchestra, electric bass and drums. Broadway performers Brooks Ashmanskas, Jonathan Dokuchitz, Keith Byron Kirk, Jessica Molaskey, Nicole Van Giesen, and others will sing backup on Brown's piece, eventually joined by a 100-member chorus which is also slated to perform Beethoven's Ode to Joy. At rehearsals with the Festival Chorus, he joked about his harmonization of the choral lines (he is conservatory trained) and urged the singers to "get funky."
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, on Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street, is back in operation after the fire which destroyed the gift shop earlier this month. The concert begins at 7:30 PM and will last about two and a half hours. General admission to the concert is free. A limited number of $50 reserved tickets are available from CityTix at (212) 581-1212 or at the Cathedral box office. —Amy Asch