Helluva Town: Show Tunes That Celebrate NYC Echo in Revue at Museum of the City of New York May 15-16

News   Helluva Town: Show Tunes That Celebrate NYC Echo in Revue at Museum of the City of New York May 15-16
Diehard mavens of musical theatre could list a dozen New York-related show tunes on a moment's notice, from "NYC" to "New York, New York" to "Manhattan" to "Lonely Town."

The Museum of the City of New York and stage director Michael Montel have a long list of songs, too, some of which will be sung at the museum by Broadway singers in a special concert, About New York: A Broadway Musical Tour, 3 PM May 15-16.

Tony Award winner Phyllis Newman (Subways Are for Sleeping), T. Oliver Reid (Never Gonna Dance, Chicago), Joanna Young ( Grease!, national company of Les Misérables), Diane Sutherland (She Loves Me) and others celebrate New York City in songs from musical theatre.

The show is the first in a series of performances artistic directed by Montel, who recently staged a concert of Harold Rome's Fanny for The York Theatre Company. Montel was staging director and co-conceiver for 10 shows for "In Performance at the White House," and co-artistic director of New Phoenix Rep for three years on Broadway, 1974-76. Musical direction for About New York is by Andrew Gerle.

Although the first show is not specifically tied to an exhibit (the museum's theatre gallery is a favorite of visitors), one of the goals of the series as it matures is to link musical material to exhibits to provide "background and context for what people are looking at," Montel told Playbill On Line.

He's aiming for a second concert in the fall. Performances are in the Museum of the City of New York's 200-seat auditorium. Montel said he unearthed some material for the first concert with the help of Gerle and musicologist Michael Lavine, and looked at the museum's sheet music holdings.

Have you heard of "On the Banks of the Bronx"? Or Jerome Kern's "The Subway Express" from 1907? Neither had Montel — until now.

"It's Broadway's view of the city from the 1880s on," Montel said of his show. "There are things that people will immediately know, like [Rodgers and Hart's] 'Manhattan' and [Cole Porter's] 'Down in the Depths on the 90th Floor' to 'The Subway Express,' from a show called Fascinating Flora..."

Also expect Harold Rome's "Don José of Far Rockaway" from Wish You Were Here and Stephen Sondheim's "What More Do I Need?" from the once Broadway-aimed Saturday Night.

The genesis of the concert series was simple: Montel spoke to curator Marty Jacobs, of the museum's theatre collection, and the pitch moved up the chain of command at the museum.

Tickets to the hourlong About New York concert are $7 for members, seniors and students, $12 for non members and includes museum admission. For reservations, call (212) 534-1672, ext. 3393 or visit www.mcny.org/tickets.htm.

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