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Lisa Chaves, Dolores Claiborne

New York City Opera production of Dolores Claiborne, composed by Tobias Picker. Lisa Chavez (seated center), Jessica Tyler Wright (standing right). Photo by Sarah Shatz.

This is a bit of a stretch I must say. What I mean, is that today, I’ll be giving myself a good and thrilling stretch of my theatrical viewing muscles on a rainy Sunday afternoon courtesy of the New York City Opera. I rarely venture to the opera, to be honest, not because I don’t like it particularly, but because I’m not sure it sits in my ears as well as how musical theater can infect my soul. But I was curious, you see; an opera, based on the Stephen King novel, with a beloved movie version of the tale starring the powerful Kathy Bates sitting in our collective memories, definitely tweaked my interest. So what would it be like to see the opera, Dolores Claiborne, with a libretto by J.D. McClatchy and composed by Tobias Picker, both of whom are well regarded within the opera community?  I have been craving as of late for an emotionally moving musical experience, and I haven’t seen anything like that in months. The last one, might have been when I revisited the glorious Come From Away over Labor Day weekend with my visiting UK friend, Jason, and I cried as I knew I would. I also know, looking forward, that I’ll be getting my fix next weekend when I see the incredible The Band’s Visit make it’s Broadway debut, and I can’t wait. Having seen this beautifully moving piece of musical theater when it was at the Atlantic Theater last season (winning the 2017 Obie Award for Musical Theatre, three Drama Desk Awards, two Outer Critics Circle Awards, two Lucille Lortel Awards, and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle award for Best Musical), I will be so ready to be swept away by seductive voice of Katrina Lenk and the smell of Jasmine floating in the air. But at this moment in time, the craving is strong and I am in need. The musical theater season on Broadway and beyond has yet to really start gathering musical steam, but I do see it approaching. Until than, I am going to venture out of my comfort zone, and try some alternatives.  This coming week, I’ll be seeing some ballet (The Red Shoes at New York City Center) and today, I am seeing the World Premiere of the chamber adaptation of the opera (arranged by Mr. Picker, City Opera‘s Composer in Residence), Dolores Claiborne in the very intimate theater A at 59E59 Theaters.

Lisa Chaves, Dolores Claiborne

Thomas Hall, Lisa Chavez. Photo by Sarah Shatz

For those of us (the very few) that don’t know the tale of Dolores Claiborne, the Stephen King novel that focused on the strained relationship between a mother and her daughter on a remote island in Maine both in 1962 and three decades later. Dolores, the stern and hard-working mother has been accused of murdering the wealthy elderly woman, Vera Donovan, whom she has looked after for over forty years.  She was found standing over the dead woman’s body, and because of the town’s suspicion of Dolores and the questionable death of her abusive drunk of a husband years earlier, the police are determined this time to place blame on Dolores. Thirty years prior, Dolores with the encouragement from Vera, and the help of an eclipse, carried out an act of maternal protection, mostly for the sake of her young daughter, Selena, who has never been able to forgive her for. The angry and traumatized Selena, now a big city reporter (in the opera, she becomes a lawyer), returns to the remote island in Maine, a place she has tried to escape from, to defend her mother against the charges regarding Vera, and help get her released. But this relationship is so strained and damaged that even this act of compassion and bonding might not be able to repair the deep-seated wounds from the past.
Jessica Tyler Wright, Lisa Chaves, Dolores Claiborne

Jessica Tyler Wright, Lisa Chavez. Photo by Sarah Shatz

The cast is exceptional, at least as far as I can tell as I am no where near an opera aficionado. Against what first appears to be a bland and generic set, the projected creations by set and projection designer John Farrell, along with lighting designer Susan Roth create a visual feast as backdrop. Each landscape creates mood and environment so well, we are transported easily to each location. The only moment the stage felt trapped within its small boundaries is during the pivotal chase under the eclipsed sun, but the size of the theater beyond that one moment never felt a hinderance.  Without the use of mics, these truly gifted opera professionals fill this intimate space with a sound unlike any found in musical theater.  I’m not saying it’s better (or worse) than the beauty of a well trained and nuanced Ben Platt or Rachel Bay Jones who break my heart easily and often in the magnificent Dear Evan Hansen, but the operatic sound that these singers can produce is spell bounding.

Thomas Hall, Lisa Chaves, Dolores Claiborne

Lisa Chavez, Thomas Hall. Photo by Sarah Shatz

Lisa Chavez makes a magnificent and imposing Dolores Claiborne, in the perfect way she is both viciously maternal and cold while also being pained and heart-broken.  She quickly pushes any memory of Kathy Bates aside while not obliterating her.  Both Lianne Gennaco as Selena and Jessica Tyler Wright as Vera Donovan rule the stage with their incredibly beauty vocal abilities. Wright’s Vera, especially during Act One, Scene Four, when she sings about how “husbands die every day, Dolores…and leave their wives their money” is exhilarating to witness and perfectly enacted. Gennaco’s voice is heavenly but her acting, especially in the final scene with her mother, seems a bit stiff.
Jessica Tyler Wright, Lisa Chaves, Dolores Claiborne

Lisa Chavez, Jessica Tyler Wright. Photo by Sarah Shatz

In the one area where this operatic casting beats the movie hands down, is with Thomas Hall cast as husband, Joe St. George. His drunken demeanor is definitely more frightening and volatile (along with that majestic voice) than the unrealistic mis-casting of David Strathairn (Oscar nominated for “Good Night, and Good Luck“). The man is an incredible actor, but as the abusive and violent husband to Kathy Bates’ Dolores, one never truly believes that he could ever win any physical battle against Bates.  But Hall fills that role completely, feeling both out of control and frighteningly volatile at a drop of an ego-bruising hat. Although stronger and more detailed work needs to be done with the fight choreography (Joe Isenberg) overall and the blocking during the final moments of Joe’s life, the danger of this man is evident and powerful.
 Dolores Claiborne
It’s quite the dense and complicated plot, and in the novel and film version, themes of sexual assault, incest, and abuse and the melodramatic concepts of the idealized maternal figure and a true feminist heroine who sacrifices the needs of her own for others are fully played out and realized. And they can be found here in the operatic version as well, most dramatically orchestrated by conductor Pacien Mazzagatti and director Michael Capasso, although the pivotal moment of repressed realization of sexual abuse at the hands of her father by the grown Selena, now a lawyer, is not a part of the plot that brings the mother and daughter closer together in the end.  This opera doesn’t utilize the repression of the sexual assault but makes Selena consciously aware of the incest acted upon by her father. This adds a level of complication to the anger and hate she holds strongly against her mother.  One wonders why the grudge is so strong.  The libretto is sometimes a tad obvious and simplistic in its story-telling and usage of slang and swearing, not drawing us into the internal thinking of these characters enough to emotional captivate. But there is a darkness and an aloneness that permeates this chamber adaptation, for all the female characters. As Vera likes to say, “sometimes being a bitch is a woman’s best friend” but it certainly doesn’t bring these woman any comfort or warmth in the end. As the program notes state, “Dolores Claiborne – who has done everything a mother and a woman can to keep three lives together – is left alone”. Unforgiven and abandoned by her daughter, with no one left by her side, this true feminist is truly on her own.
Overall, Dolores Claiborne, although not having the satisfying ending that the film and the novel had, the story remains compelling and completely engrossing.  The operatic style of singing is thrilling to the ear but sadly, kept me at an arms length.  That might just be my musical theater ear asking for something less showy and more deeply realistic, but if that ear was trained through experience to hear the emotionality within the impressive operatic style of singing, I can imagine a shift in the way my heart might respond.  The crowd roared their approval and I joined them in their appreciate of all that talent I had just witnessed.  I’m not sure I have realigned myself or stepped closer to becoming an opera fan, but I am a fan of Dolores Claiborne, the opera.  Now I wonder how I will do at Matthew Bourne’s magical new adaptation of the legendary The Red Shoes at New York City Center this coming week. I hope I’m as pleasantly surprised as I was here at 59E59 Theaters.
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My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to


The Mayor of Motivation interviews Ramon Hervey, Manager & Publicist to the Famous



Ramon Hervey has earned global recognition as a highly regarded entertainment manager, brand consultant & publicist who has represented Richard Pryor, Bette Midler, Paul McCartney, the Bee Gees, Muhammad Ali, Caitlyn Jenner, Quincy Jones, Vanessa Williams, The Commodores with Lionel Richie, the Jacksons with Michael Jackson and a whole lot more A Listers. He is the author of the book…The Fame Game: An Insider’s Playbook for Earning Your 15 minutes.

After having invested 4 decades in playing the fame game, Ramon and I sat down to talk on The Motivation Show podcast.

Ramon, why do you call fame a “game” and why did you choose that word for your book title?    “Fame is unpredictable, just as are the results in a game.   Everyone has failures.  You hope to win, but it is not guaranteed. Only .0065% of over 7 billion people in the world are famous.  There are a lot of successful people in the world that never become famous.  Fame and success don’t come with a warranty.”

What does Ramon feel about luck playing a role in success and fame?  “I think there is a certain amount of luck in what I do.  A lot of it is timing.  Timing is a form of luck.”  One example Ramon gives is when Starbucks started to introduce music in it’s cafes.  The first one was Ray Charles, who died shortly thereafter, which skyrocketed sales of his music.   That sales surge is what Ramon attributed to luck.

The pursuit of fame…is it mostly a positive goal?   “Most people don’t know what fame is til they already become famous.  A lot of stars change their mind about what they thought fame was going to be.  A lot of people don’t like all the baggage that comes with being famous. The lack of privacy.  In my time on the planet, it has definitely changed dramatically over the past ten years.”   Ramon points to Social Media and it’s impact on more people having an opportunity to become famous in different ways than were available previously.

Why did Richard Pryor, at the height of his fame, attempt suicide & what was the famous incident which almost killed him that he later confessed to as a suicide attempt? “I managed all of Richard’s missteps.  He was probably the #1 black entertainer in the world at that time.  It’s not my fame. It’s their fame. I think Richard always felt guilty about his fame.  He didn’t think he could live up to the level of fame that he achieved. That created an albatross around his neck.  It made him rely on more substances to sedate him and calm himself.  He reached the point that he did not want to become that person anymore.  For the longest time he said that he didn’t (try to commit suicide), he said it was an accident. Richard always found a way to market his vulnerability.  All of his comedy focused on all of his missteps.  He had shot all four tires on his Mercedes and told his wife during a fight that you are not going to leave in that car.  He put that into his comedy.  He did it the exact opposite way of what we would advise which would be to put the incidences behind you. I don’t know anyone else that was as successful as him in marketing all of the things he did wrong.”

When asking Ramon about what type of confident personality one has to have to become famous he says, “I do believe you have to have a big ego and a certain amount of self confidence to be successful.  Every famous person I met took a different path to get it and they all loss some level of fame at some point.”

Can you give us an example of someone you managed very well?   “I am very proud of my relationship with Bette Midler.  She helped to blossom my career.    I was never her manager, but I was her publicist.  I did work in a management capacity…she didn’t have a manager.  I have a great appreciation and fondness for her.  Also, working with my ex-wife Vanessa Williams on her crisis management.  I did not know her at the time she was embroiled in the Miss America controversy.  She resigned here title and I am glad she did.  We got married and had three kids together and I managed her career.   It took ten years for her to get her life back after she resigned from the Miss America pageant where she was just called Vanessa Williams without alluding to any prior controversy.”

In discussing his earlier years, Ramon shares two musical giants that helped shape his career.  “In my book, I try to enlighten people about the trajectory of my own fame.  My first client I got to work with was Paul McCartney.  My initial task was to put together a press kit. That shaped my next 4 or 5 years when I got an opportunity to work with Quincy Jones who is the first client I brought to Rogers & Cowan who I was working with at the time.  He was someone I treasured to be in his presence because he had so many great stories and so much great insight.”

Ramon muses in his book about fame, that the more you get, the harder it is to manage.  I asked him if there are any other examples like that. “Probably the worst case scenario was Rick James.  He had a very troubled childhood.  For him, fame meant he put himself above people.  He created a lot of bad blood.  The way that he treated people. A lot of people did not want him to win.   He always had a great fan base, but I think his fame was toxic for him.  He self-destructed.    He was obsessed with fame and all the hoopla and perks.  He loved being the king of everything.  He was very demanding.  He did not know how to manage his fame.”

In closing, I ask Ramon, what he is most proud of.  “I am proud of my reputation.  I have never been sued. I’ve always approached business with a great deal of integrity.  I’ve always worked really hard.  I’ve always tried to be honest with my clients.  Authentic and transparent. I think that is much better than being a yes man.”

So when I think of fame, I think of getting the best table in the best restaurants.  I think about people idolizing me.  I also think about people interrupting my conversation and my meal for photos and autographs.   Do I really want that…or do I just want a nice, quiet, peaceful meal.  Hmmm…some food for thought.  How about you?  Do you want to be part of the Fame Game?

You can listen to Eli’s podcast The Motivation Show on any podcast listening app or use this Spotify link:    To contact Eli or to have him speak at your event, email

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The Glorious Corner



G.H. Harding

LASSO’S MOM CITY — I believe that the best ever episode of Ted Lasso was dropped this week, entitled Mom City. It started off innocently enough with Ted leaving for work and walking right past his mother! He realized it and turned back to her. Turns out she had been in London for a week and was just now seeing Ted.

Ted introduced her to just about everyone and she immediately bonded with the team as well as Leslie and Rebecca. As Ted watched he realized that good-time feeling she generated (and he did too) with everyone held back a devastating fact: that Ted’s dad committed suicide.
They eventually resolved their issues, but Ted’s mom said she was there for a far more specific reason; that his son Henry was missing him. It immediately set up perhaps the last-ever episode of the show next week.
Elsewhere, Jaime dealt with his own family issues. Re-connecting with his mother and step-father. Keeley and Roy joined him and found themselves at one point alone in Jaime’s childhood room and at one point spied posters of themselves from years back. It was, quite possibly, the funniest moment ever in the series.

Harry Nilsson

Also, Harry Nilsson’s “Puppy Song” was a key musical moment in the EP. Harry, we love you!

All resolved, the show ended abruptly as Ted was going to tell Rebecca some news.
Many have said that in this third season, the show had lost it’s way a bit. In this episode, it was all pulled together quite beautifully. All I can say is, what a great show. It will be missed for sure.

Joel Diamond

SHORT TAKES — The #1 iTunes song currently is Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got To Do with It.” Much deserved … Producer Joel Diamond used to live at 220 Central Park South in NYC. His building was torn down and re-built. It is now part of what they call Billionaire’s Road. WSJ-reporter Katherine Clarke’s new book is about just that.. Via Random House, Billionaire’s Row is out on June 13 …

Sasha Prendes

We dropped the name of new Latino-artist Sasha Prendes last time; we just saw a teaser clip for her new video “Shake This.” Check it out here: … Micky Dolenz headlined at this week’s Abbey Road On The River and delivered his usual high-octane performance.

James Burton

He leaves for England this week for the James Burton & Friends/One Night Only event June 4 at London’s Palladium … Terry Jastrow interviewed by Brad Balfour for his podcast this week …

Finally caught A Man Called Otto starring Tom Hanks and enjoyed it immensely. Hanks did a movie, with Steven Spielberg in 2004 called The Terminal, which was fantastic. This movie reminded me of that; a tremendously nuanced performance by Hanks as a peculiar man who found trouble with almost everyone and everything after the death of wife. He describes his life and wife in one great line: My life was in black and white and she was the color. Based on the film A Man Called Ove and with a sensational screenplay by David Magee and directed by Marc Forster, I just loved it …

Whoopi Goldberg

ENDQUOTE: Via Deadline: The View’s Whoopi Goldberg Claims ‘American Idol’ Led To The Downfall of Society. Ouch! Check it out here: … Happy Bday Buddy Blanch and Bobby Shaw!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Jodi Ritzen; Rich Dart; Daryl Easlea; Ali Hawthorne; Adrianba Kaegi; Wayne Avers; John Billings; Jane Blunkell; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Chris Gilman; Zach Martin; Anthony Noto; Anthony Pomes; Rhonda Shore; Howard Bloom; Robert Funaro; Michael Jensen; Bob Merlis; Roy Trakin; Evan Evanston; and CHIP!
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Memorial Day Playlist



As you lay out by the pool, the beach, Central Park or on the sidelines of a parade, T2C offers you music to celebrate and get you in the mood.




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Events in June



Gay Pride, Bryant Park Picnic Performances, Movie Nights, Lincoln Center Summer for the City (Midsummer Night Swing), Juneteenth, New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks, Tribeca Film Festival, Free Outdoor Concerts, Museum Mile Festival, the Puerto Rican Day Parade and that’s just the beginning!

Until September 29 every summer in Times Square, NYC, TSQ LIVE showcases hundreds of artists, performers and cultural producers and this summer 80 free events hosting over a dozen incredible New York-based institutions and collectives, including Pioneer Works, NEW INC, Children’s Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Ailey Extension, New York Live Arts, OTA Entertainment, Soul Summit, Rash Bar, and Elsewhere.

6/1: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park New York City Opera: La Bohème

6/2: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park Jazzmobile: The Steven Oquendo Latin Jazz Orchestra

6/2: Billy Joel @ MSG

6/3-4: Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit atUniversity Place, starting at East 13th Street and continuing south along the east side of Washington Square Park to West 3rd Street.

6/7 until September: Little Island  Tony and Grammy Award winners in The Glade, late night djs, drag bingo, and dance parties in The Play Ground, weekly artmaking activities for all ages and Teen Night every Friday.

6/7 – 18: Tribeca Film Festival will take place movie theatres, rooftops and various venues throughout NYC, such as the new Pier 57, Beacon Theatre, the Angelika. The premiere of Let the Canary Sing with a performance by Cyndi Lauper or The Closing Gala: A Bronx Tale, followed by a conversation with director and star Robert De Niro, producer Jane Rosenthal, and writer and co-star Chazz Palminteri.

6/8 – 8/6: Shakespeare in the Park Hamlet 

6/8: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park Contemporary Dance: Robin Dunn, The Lite

6/9: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park Contemporary Dance: Dance Heginbotham, Jennifer Muller/The Works

6/9 – 11: @ Citi Field Governors Ball Music Festival – The contemporary music festival for music lovers by music lovers. With 60+ artists of all genres across 4 stages, there is something for everyone, including delicious restaurants, food trucks and menus.

6/9 – 18: River to River Festival The festival takes place in a variety of public venues that canvas all of Downtown New York – from Chambers Street down to the southern tip of Manhattan and across the island from river to river.

6/11: National Puerto Rican Day Parade Fifth Avenue, 44th to 79th Street

6/12: Bryant Park Movie Nights  Almost Famous (2000)

6:13: Museum Mile Festival on Fifth Avenue from 84th Street to 109th Street: The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Neue Galerie New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; The Jewish Museum; Museum of the City of New York; El Museo del Barrio; and The Africa Center.

6/14 – August: Dancing Under the Stars (formerly Midsummer Night Swing), free outdoor movies, dancing, singing, readings, celebrations, flamingos, disco ball, poetry, Mozart, concerts, crafts, Juneteenth and much more!

6/15: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park Contemporary Dance: Terk Lewis + Kayla Farrish

6/16: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park Contemporary Dance: Soles of Duende + Josh Johnson

6/17-25: Gay Pride The Rally, The March & Pride Island. The 2023 theme is “Strength in Solidarity” and Christina Aguilera is headlining NYC Pride Island on Sunday, June 25th at Brooklyn Army Terminal. The festivities begin with Family Night and the Rally and culminate with PrideFest & The March. Other events include Pride Island and the annual Dance on the Pier, following the parade wrapping up Pride Week in a grand fireworks display.

6/16 – 18: Juneteenth is a celebration of June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas, which declared the ending of slavery in the USA. The three day Juneteenth in NYC festival kicks off Friday with a virtual summit, Friday night is the Celebration of Black Kings, Saturday is Festival Community Day and the festival culminates Sunday with a Parade, Fashion Show, Food trucks Field Day and more. Monday, June 19th, is a national holiday, with government, banks and post offices closed. More Info: Junteenth NY

There are dozens more Juneteenth celebrations throughout all 5 Boroughs, including BBQs, the NYC Parks Department, Seneca Village, Broadway, Lincoln Center, concerts, shows, theater and more.

6/17: The Coney Island Mermaid Parade is the nation’s largest art parade where 3,000+ participants dress in hand-made costumes.

6/ 19: Bryant Park Movie Nights Amistad (1997)

6/23: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park Emerging Music Festival: Psymon Spine, THUS LOVE, Katy Kirby

6/24: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park Emerging Music Festival: Ky Vöss, Seramic, Miss Grit, Dead Tooth

6/26: Bryant Park Movie Nights Mean Girls (2004)

6/30: Picnic Performances @ Bryant Park Jalopy Theatre: Michael Daves Quartet ft. Tony Trishka, Yacouba Sissoko, Terrell King

6/30: Intrepid Museum Summer Movie SeriesPirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl




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Tovah Feldshuh Joins The American Popular Song Society In Celebration of Marilyn Maye



Tovah Feldshuh – the Tony and Emmy-nominated actress currently starring on Broadway in Funny Girl – will join their “Second Annual Benefit Evening” to honor the legendary Marilyn Maye on Monday, June 12 at 6:00 PM at Theater 555 (555 West 42nd Street). A reception will follow at The Green Room 42 (570 Tenth Avenue at 42nd Street, on the 4th Floor of Yotel). Maye is being honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award as she continues to celebrate her 95th Birthday. The event will feature performances by Karen Akers, Klea Blackhurst, Jim Brochu, Charles Busch, Liz Callaway, Len Cariou, Melissa Errico, Debbie Gravitte, Julie Halston, Jeff Harnar, Karen Mason, Susie Mosher, Sidney Myer, Christine Pedi, Lee Roy Reams, Jamie de Roy, Catherine Russell, Gabrielle Stravelli, Sandy Stewart with Bill Charlap, Stacy Sullivan, Mark William, and another surprise. The event will be hosted by Michael Lavine, who also serves as music director. For tickets, please visit

The organization also proudly announces the new Educational Workshop giving kids a fun, hands-on learning experience about the music that’s been America’s gift to the world since the turn of the last century. The series will begin with All About Songwriting, headed by APSS Board member, esteemed songwriter Tom Toce who, along with some of today’s best new songwriters, will give kids a window into what it takes to create a song like a Max Martin, Taylor Swift, Billy Eilish, to name a few. 

The American Popular Song Society was established in 1980 as The New York Sheet Music Society It began with a small but dedicated group of collectors, who, through the courtesy of the late Sammy Cahn, president of the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, met at One Times Square to exchange sheet music and stories about songwriters, singers, and songs. Now a thriving non-profit corporation, the Society has over 400 members spread across the nation. From the start, NYSMS meetings were lively affairs, and they continue to be. Celebrity drop-ins quickly became one of the Society’s attractions. Many of America’s great songwriters have discussed their careers, their collaborators, and their work methods. To hear them perform their hits and tell the stories behind the songs is spellbinding. These exciting programs are preserved on videotape in the archives.

United in a commitment to American popular song, the members represent every aspect of the music business: writing songs, publishing, promoting, and performing them and preserving both the song sheets and the history that goes with them. The Society is proud to count among their members authorities on film and show music, ragtime, ethnic songs, nineteenth century and World War I songs; and just about any category you can name. From a mere handful of collectors at the start, the organization has swelled its ranks to an enthusiastic and ever-growing membership from all over the continent.

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