While still championing the American Songbook, the 2004 “L&L” season will feature five artists who will design a show specifically for the series. John Pizzarelli, Andrea Marcovicci, Rob Fisher and Mary Cleere Haran will all work with L&L artistic advisor Kristin Lancino to devise shows celebrating the works of American composers. One additional artistic director will be announced at a later date.
The 2004 season kicks off Jan. 10-12, 2004, with John Pizzarelli’s Pentimento, which features Pizzarelli and his wife, singer-actress Jessica Molaskey. Their show explores how song lyrics acquire various meanings over time; concertgoers will be treated to renditions of “We’re in the Money,” “Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning” and “What’ll I Do.” The evening will also feature Bucky Pizzarelli on guitar, Martin Pizzarelli on bass, Johnny Frigo on violin, Ken Peplowski on clarinet and pianist Ray Kennedy.
From May 8-10, 2004, cabaret veteran Andrea Marcovicci will serve as chanteuse and host of Easy to Love: The Lyrics of Cole Porter. Marcovicci, who recently performed an acclaimed set of Porter tunes at New York’s Algonquin, has selected a company of performers she calls her “dream team”: Anna Bergman, Klea Blackhurst, Mark Coffin and Jeff Harnar. Bergman will offer some of Porter’s soprano-friendly work (“You Do Something to Me”); Blackhurst, an Ethel Merman aficionado, will handle the belty material; Harnar will croon the works written for the “male ingénue” (expect to hear the multi-versed “It’s Delovely”); and Coffin will lend a Sinatra-like sensibility to the Porter repertoire.
Rob Fisher, the musical director of the City Center Encores! Series, has fashioned a show entitled The Wit and Wisdom of Ira Gershwin, which will be presented June 12-14, 2004. The show — starring a cast to be announced — will explore the lyrics of Ira Gershwin, who worked with brother George and, after George’s death, Burton Lane and Kurt Weill. Says Fisher, “There’s a certain joie de vivre in Ira’s work with George, which comes partly from George’s music. They were a perfect team for the 20 years they worked together, and although he never found an equally perfect partner, he continued to grow and develop as a lyricist. I’m interested in how he was a different lyricist with different composers, and in how the music changed his approach to words."
Mary Cleere Haran, who is currently performing a month-long engagement at the Algonquin Hotel, will also create a show for the new “Lyrics & Lyricists” season. As of press time, however, the cast and theme have yet to be announced. The title, date and artistic director of one additional show are also pending. Subscriptions to the 2004 “Lyrics & Lyricists” season will go on sale July 1. Call (212) 415-5500 for reservations or visit the 92nd Street Y box office, Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street. For more information, go to www.92y.org.