Broadway, opera and cabaret stars ranging from Faith Prince to Harolyn Blackwell to Michael Feinstein will be bewitched by the melodies of Richard Rodgers Mar. 5-6 in With a Song in My Heart, the second of a series of "Lincoln Center's American Songbook" concerts at Alice Tully Hall.
The sold-out celebration of composer Rodgers, whose musicals are split between work with Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II, will feature musical theatre classics such as "If I Loved You" and "What's the Use of Wondrin'" (from Carousel), "My Romance" (from Jumbo), "Isn't It Romantic?" (from the film, "Love Me Tonight"), "Out of My Dreams" and "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'" (from Oklahoma!) and "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" (from Pal Joey).
Rodgers (1902-1979) wrote for the musical stage (including college shows) over an amazing seven-decade period. His last Broadway show was a musical of I Remember Mama in 1979. After the death of Hammerstein, he worked solo (writing his own lyrics for the film, "The Sound of Music," and for the Broadway musical, No Strings. He also worked with Stephen Sondheim (Do I Hear a Waltz?), Sheldon Harnick (Rex) and Martin Charnin (Two by Two and I Remember Mama).
The concert staging is directed by Richard Maltby Jr. and music-directed by Eric Stern, with accompaniment by musicians such as Mike Greensill, Richard Rodney Bennett and Mike Renzi. Music historian Jonathan Schwartz is the concert host and the series artistic director.
Singers include opera star Harolyn Blackwell (Broadway's most recent Candide), cabaret singer Ann Hampton Callaway, cabaret star Michael Feinstein, composer Adam Guettel (Rodgers' grandson), cabaret star Mary Cleere Haran, actor Howard McGillin (Anything Goes), Mark Murphy, actress Faith Prince (Little Me, Guys and Dolls), San Francisco cabaret singer Wesla Whitfield. The song list includes:
Overture South Pacific
"If I Loved You" (McGillin)
"Out of My Dreams" (Blackwell)
"My Funny Valentine" (Callaway)
"Isn't It Romantic?" (Feinstein)
"Manhattan" (Haran & Bennett)
"This Can't Be Love" (Murphy & Renzi)
"This Funny World" & "He Was Too Good to Me" (Whitfield & Greensill)
"Glad to Be Unhappy" (Guettel)
"With a Song in My Heart" (Callaway)
"The Gentleman is a Dope" (Whitfield & Greensill)
"What's the Use of Wondrin'?" (Blackwell & Stern)
"My Romance" (Feinstein)
"I Cain't Say No" & "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair" (Prince)
"Over and Over Again" (Feinstein, Haran & Bennett)
"Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'" (McGillin)
"Falling in Love With Love" (Blackwell)
"The Surrey With the Fringe on Top" (Murphy & Renzi)
"Everything I've Got Belongs to You" (Whitfield & Feinstein)
"Nobody's Heart" & "The Sweetest Sound" (Blackwell & McGillin)
"Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" (Callaway, Haran & Prince)
"I Like to Recognize the Tune" (Whitfield & Greensill)
"Shall We Dance?" (Company)
A symposium, "The World of Richard Rodgers," will accompany the Rodgers concerts 10 AM-noon Mar. 6 at the Kaplan Penthouse, 165 W. 65th St. 10th Floor at Lincoln Center.
Designers for "Lincoln Center's American Songbook" are Natasha Katz (lighting) and Allen Moyer (set designer) and Scott Stauffer (sound designer). The series musical director is Tony Monte. Series producer is Ira Weitzman.
Tickets run $45-$55. For information, call (212) 721- 6500.
The "American Songbook" series began Feb. 5-6 with I've Gotta Right to Sing the Blues, a celebration of Harold Arlen's work.
The announcement of the new concert series prompted vigorous box office activity from fans of show tunes and the American popular song. The series, which includes related symposia, quickly sold out. For subsequent shows, the series will draw on the above artists, plus a pool including Margaret Whiting, Mandy Patinkin, Linda Ronstadt, John Pizzarelli (Dream), Rosemary Clooney, Vic Damone and others.
"Songbook" continues in fall 1999 and spring 2000 with four additional programs.
-- By Kenneth Jones