Jazz at Lincoln Center and Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis proudly announce the organization’s 35th season of concerts featuring JALC’s customary mix of American-premiere commissions and exclusive collaborations by iconic guest artists from across the globe, as well as celebrations of milestones and major figures in jazz and its related genres.
Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2022-23 season illuminates jazz as a global language and the music’s power to bridge divides and coalesce distinct communities. Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 35th season runs from September 30, 2022 to June 10, 2023 in Rose Theater, The Appel Room, and Dizzy’s Club – all at Frederick P. Rose Hall, the home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, located at Broadway at 60th Street in New York, NY. In addition to 22 unique live concerts throughout Frederick P. Rose Hall and more than 350 nights of music in Dizzy’s Club, the organization will offer webcast performances, in-person and virtual education programs, and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis tour dates worldwide.
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis – an ensemble of 15 virtuosos, composers, arrangers, educators, and unique soloists performing an unprecedented variety of styles that span jazz’s entire documented history – will demonstrate its virtuosic performances throughout the season, on tour across the country, and abroad. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis presents several of these cross-cultural investigations. Mideast Meditations showcases new compositions by Marsalis and Naseer Shamma, the eminent Iraqi oud virtuoso-composer-educator. On The Shanghai Suite Marsalis refracts the scales and melodies of Shanghai into songs that sing the dialect of swing. Joined by iconic Cuba-born clarinetist-saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera, the JLCO interprets commissioned pieces by mid-career maestros Elio Villafranca and Edmar Castañeda that explore Afro-Caribbean and Pan-American streams of expression. And, joined by master tenor saxophonist-flutist Lew Tabackin, the JLCO celebrates Japanese-American composer-pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi’s magisterial legacy.
Lodestar Cuban pianist-composer Chucho Valdés celebrates his 81st birthday with a recent masterwork for big band and voices. Brazilian 10-string mandolin wizard Hamilton de Holanda and South African pianist-composer Nduduzo Makhathini commingle their cultural DNA to explore the diaspora of musical language from Africa to the Americas through the slave trade from colonization until the present day. Grammy nominated Carlos Henriquez, bassist of the JLCO, leads a celebration of the respective centennial birthdays of Mambo Kings Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez with a hand-picked big band.
Also on tap are international encounters on a smaller scale. Iconic Brazilian singer-guitarist Rosa Passos blends her magic with NEA Jazz Masters Ron Carter and Kenny Barron. French guitarist Stéphane Wrembel, a Django Reinhardt specialist, will interpret Reinhardt’s singular canon with French-Guadeloupean songstress Cyrille Aimée, mandolin master Sam Bush, pianist Sean Mason, and others. An unparalleled, multi-generational cohort of jazz singers –Dianne Reeves, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling, Johnny O’Neal, Mary Stallings, Samara Joy, and Lucy Yeghiazaryan – grace Jazz at Lincoln Center’s various stages. Education
Jazz at Lincoln Center serves the largest jazz education program network in the world, and its initiatives are based on the organization’s 35-year history of education in jazz performance and appreciation. These programs reach all populations, from infants to seniors, and advance JALC’s belief that jazz education is for all – regardless of experience. The goal of each program is for participants to learn the communal history of jazz in a sociopolitical context, receive guidance on better communication of personal objectives while maintaining balance in a group, and gain awareness of the mission of jazz musicians today – building on the aspirational foundation laid down by earlier generations.
With the lodestar composer, pianist, and orchestra leader Duke Ellington as a foundational guide, Jazz at Lincoln Center continues to produce an extensive range of educational and advocacy programs for all ages. The organization’s signature education program, the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival (EE), takes place May 11-13, 2023. For the 28th year, the program spreads the message of Duke Ellington’s music, leadership, and collective orientation, providing high school ensembles with free transcriptions of original Duke Ellington recordings – accompanied by rehearsal guides, teaching notes, original recordings, professional instruction, and more – to over 7,000 schools and independent bands in 55 countries. Regional festivals return as in-person programs in 20 locations, including five festivals in Australia, as charts and resources continue to be made available to schools worldwide. This year’s music includes the first-ever publication of four works by Afro-Cuban-New York jazz and salsa pioneer Machito from his legendary Kenya album, made available to schools for the first time. For the second year, Jazz at Lincoln Center presents its popular Journey Through Jazz education concerts for adults hosted by the JLCO, presented in The Appel Room and digitally captured for wider distribution. The first concert focuses on what attributes of America’s indigenous art form make it so compatible with other forms of music, empowering anyone who fully engages with it. The second concert, Jazz Chronicles: Old and New, is devoted to the stories that propagate and perpetuate the oral tradition of jazz, linking contemporary practitioners to past masters.
Other highlights of the 2022-23 Education season include:
– Swing University, which offers jazz appreciation classes on a wide variety of topics, takes place online as summer, fall, winter, and spring terms in order to serve a global jazz community.
– For the first time since early 2020, WeBop, an interactive program for families with children ages eight months to five years old, will return as in-person classes beginning in October of 2022. A number of online classes will still be available.
– The family-oriented Jazz for Young People concerts celebrate two important centennials – Who is Charles Mingus? held live and in-person in Rose Theater (October 22, 2022) and Who is Thad Jones? (March 25, 2023).
– Let Freedom Swing, in-school educational concert programs focused on history, civics, and social justice will be held as in-person concerts in schools in New York City, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and London (UK).
– 3rd Annual Jack Rudin Jazz Championship invitational for collegiate bands takes place as an in-person event at Jazz at Lincoln Center (January 14-15, 2023).
– The award-winning Middle School and High School Jazz Academiesreturn with in-person classes and performances.
– Free virtual program, A Closer Listen, which features jazz experts and enthusiasts holding in-depth discussions on jazz works, continues to run online.
– Blue Engine Publishing continues with more music from the library of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with compositions and arrangements by JLCO members and Wynton Marsalis.
Throughout the summer of 2022, Jazz at Lincoln Center will build upon its successful outdoor concert initiatives from the summer of 2021 and continue to create collaborative concert events through September with organizations throughout New York City and environs beyond, with MoCA Westport, Caramoor, Times Square Alliance, Bryant Park, SummerStage, Lincoln Center, and more.
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, which, Marsalis has observed, “might be the most flexible and all-encompassing ensemble in the history of our music,” tours its vast repertoire – revisiting symphonic works from Marsalis’ distinguished corpus, presenting new cross-cultural commissions, and delving into JALC’s vast book of modern jazz arrangements – extensively throughout the 2022-23 season.
The orchestra will collaborate with various organizations in the United States and abroad to perform Marsalis’ large-scale works and engage in residency activities.
On three separate occasions during the 2022-23 season, JLCO performs Marsalis’ epic jazz-gospel suite All Rise (1999), scored for the 15-piece JLCO, symphonic orchestra, and choir, in which Marsalis unites disparate elements, Stravinsky to gospel, into a cohesive work without a trace of self-consciousness. On September 8, 2022, the JLCO collaborates with the Los Angeles Philharmonic – which first performed what the Los Angeles Timescalled an “inspirational jazz symphony with a mission” on September 15, 2001, four days after the tragic events of 9/11 – at the Hollywood Bowl. The following month, JLCO presents successive All Rise residencies at the University of Michigan (October 10-16, 2022) and at Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa (October 18- 22, 2022).
Directly following the University of Iowa residency, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis visits Mexico for concerts in Guadalajara, Cervantino, and Mexico City (October 25-29, 2022), before a five-concert tour in Texas (October 30-November 5, 2022).
Also on the Fall 2022 touring schedule are two performances in Minneapolis (September 23-24, 2022) with the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra of Swing Symphony (2010), Marsalis’ epic musical meditation on American ideals, originally commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
From November 27-December 10, 2022, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, under the music direction of Victor Goines, tours its annual Big Band Holidays program with special guests Dianne Reeves and Samara Joy.
From January 24-February 10, 2023, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis tours the United States with the transformative Iraqi oud virtuoso Naseer Shamma, following their American premiere performances at New York’s Rose Theater. The venues include a residency with Symphony Center Presents in Chicago (January 26-27, 2023) and concerts in Omaha, Nebraska; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Madison, Wisconsin.
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis completes the 2022-2023 season with a month-long European tour in June, including performances of The Jungle (composed in 2016), Marsalis’ grand evocation of New York City, with the Luxembourg Philharmonie (June 6-9, 2023) and with Orchestre de Paris (June 10-14, 2023) in Paris. From Paris, JLCO will crisscross the continent, with concerts every night through July 9, 2023. Featuring today’s rising jazz stars under the music direction of trumpeter Riley Mulherkar and curated by Jazz at Lincoln Center, JALC Presents “Songs We Love” Tour through IMG, tours 45 cities in early 2023.
Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club is open to full capacity. The world-renowned club, one of the three main performance venues situated in Frederick P. Rose Hall, produces world-class jazz performances nightly, often reflecting and augmenting the programming in Rose Theater and The Appel Room.
Throughout the opening months of the 2022-23 season, performances include Wycliffe Gordon’s annual Thanksgiving run; a return engagement by the crackling Ulysses Owens Big Band; the Sean Jones Quartet; Marilyn Maye; Omar Sosa and the Americanos Quartet; Catherine Russell; Sullivan Fortner; Rufus Reid Quintet; Matthew Shipp; Renee Rosnes; and Buster Williams.
The cabaret-oriented Songbook Sundays series continues in September and November. Dizzy’s iconic Tuesday-Saturday evening Late Night Series, featuring some of the most talented emerging artists in jazz, relaunches at the end of September.
Single tickets go on sale August 9, 2022.
The Glorious Corner
CHRIS CARTER — (Via Maz Digital) Chris Carter was 7 years old when his mother bought him Rubber Soul, the Beatles’ sixth studio album, at a ShopRite market in Wayne, New Jersey. Fifty-seven years later, he’s the ultimate Beatles expert as host for 22 years of Breakfast With the Beatles, a radio show carried each weekday on SiriusXM’s Beatles channel and Sundays on Los Angeles’ KLOS-FM. The show is celebrating its 40th anniversary, at the same time that music fans are marking the 60th anniversary of Beatlemania.
We talked with Carter about his unique position: He’s a musician too. Carter played bass in alternative rock band Dramarama in the 1980’s and 90’s. “I loved Paul’s bass playing, but I got into wanting to play the bass from listening to Grand Funk Railroad, Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper records. That really hooked me in.”He was in the right place when he got the job. Carter follows original host Deirdre O’Donoghue, who died in 2001.
The job offer call came just before he went to a Ringo Starr concert. “I knew once I got the job, I would be there ’til I died. This is one of those long-term things and I’m not going anywhere. “Prep keeps it fresh. “I have to handpick 60 Beatles songs a day, or solo Beatles songs, and have them pertain to that day—say, an anniversary or ‘today in Beatles history.’ There’s always something in Beatles history.” On Wednesdays, he spins a wheel to develop a topic for the show, such as “fifth Beatles” or “violins.” “I have to instantly put a set of songs together that matches that category.”
And news events also play a role. When Robbie Robertson of The Band passed recently, Carter made sure to note that by discussing and playing Ringo Starr’s “Sunshine Life for Me (Sail Away Raymond),” on which Robertson and other members of The Band played. “It never gets old. If they handed me a playlist, like they do for so many DJs, and said ‘Chris, play them,’ I would have no passion for that.” He was in the right place when he got the job.
Carter loves to provide tidbits about the songs he plays, so that listeners can experience them with fresh ears. “You’re dealing with 50- to 60-year-old music. If it’s not served up properly, you know, how many times can you hear ‘Hey Jude’? But if you put it in context, like this song was No. 1 for nine weeks. It was the first single over seven minutes long. And it was the first release on their own label. Most Beatles fans, they think they know a lot about the Beatles, but when you give them some information they might not know, then they’ll come back to you and listen again.” He broadcasts in front of a crowd. The satellite radio shows are put together in Carter’s home studio. But many of the shows for L.A. radio are broadcast live from one of three area venues. “I find it fun because in radio you never see your audience. Typically, you’re sitting in a room by yourself with a microphone. You could have maybe millions of people listening, but you don’t know who they are.
“The Beatles are fans. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have each called into the show for interviews, but Carter doesn’t have his head in the clouds about it. “They’ve got to sell a solo record. You’re on the radio. They need you for publicity. They know you’re there for them. Even though they’re the gods of the world, they still need you to sell their records.”SHORT TAKES — (Via Deadline) The meteoric political rise of George Santos and the web of fabulist tales it was built on are getting a movie treatment. HBO Films has optioned the rights to Mark Chiusano’s new book The Fabulist: The Lying, Hustling, Grifting, Stealing, and Very American Legend of George Santos, which was published on November 28, 2023. My only comment is, why? If this ever gets made, it will not be a hit. Exploitative? Definitely and not needed at all …
I’ve watched the two episodes of Hulu’s Fargo so far this season and though somehow intriguing, but didn’t I just see this show on Netflix – Who Is Erin Carter? Fargo’s creator Noah Hawley must have been transfixed by Carter. Odd for sure …
Also, just for the record, why was there so much Russian-dialogue in episode 4 of Apple TV+’s For All Mankind without any sub-titles? Clearly this show has suffered some major budget-cuts, but that was a huge error for sure. Ronald D. Moore’s creation started out brilliantly, but has become something like a space-age soap-opera. Sad for sure.
This show was among my favorites … I loved Chuck Lorre’s Big Bang Theory, so I was anxious to see his Bookie on MAX. Sebastian Maniscalco – who I don’t really get at all – left me somewhat underwhelmed. The show’s about a bookie – funny? Somehow it wasn’t. Even a cameo by Charlie Sheen w/o tiger blood was a letdown.
Very disappointed … Joe Cocker-scribe Mark Bego speaks to Zach Martin Wednesday for his NEWHD outpost …
HAPPY BDAY Randy Newman and RIP one of the most adventurous, creative and intriguing women I’ve ever known, Mica Ertegun.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Kent and Laura Denmark; Steve Leeds; Ira Robbins; Richard Branciforte; Eppy; Barry Fisch; Frank Patz; Bobby Bank; Roger Clark; Edmond O’ Brien; Jonathan Clyde; Richard Johnson; James Edstrom; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Kent Kotal; Bob Kaus; and BELLA!
Music News: Julie Benko, Karen Mason, Debbie Wileman, Klea Blackhurst, Jim Caruso, Billy Stritch, KT Sullivan, Jeff Harnar, Stacy Sullivan and Todd Murray
CLUB44 RECORDS has released “The Man with the Bag” – the festive and swinging new single from breakout Broadway star Julie Benko. Her full debut holiday EP Christmas with You has also just been released. After skyrocketing to fame as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl on Broadway last season, Julie has returned to the New York stage in Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s wonderful musical Harmony. “The Man with the Bag” is arranged by Jason Yeager. The EP Christmas with You is produced by Julie Benko and Jason Yeager, with arrangements by Jason Yeager.
Birdland Jazz Club will present the return of Broadway, recording and concert star Karen Mason for her annual holiday show “Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!” on Monday, December 11 at 7:00 PM. With Karen’s unique interpretations of holiday classics old and new, the holidays will never be the same. Sassy, brassy, and tinged with confessional monologs, this show includes a slinky arrangement of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” a heartfelt “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” and more.
Debbie Wileman, the singing sensation who captured world-wide attention during the global pandemic with her uncanny recreation of Judy Garland’s legendary voice, as she makes her return to Carnegie Hall on Sunday, December 10, 2023 as the star of “Judy Garland” We Need a Little Christmas.”
Debbie will be joined by special guests, including the legendary Tony Award-winning Broadway icon Chita Rivera and Academy Award winner Margaret O’Brien, the iconic film, radio, television and stage actress and one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema, with more guests to be announced. (subject to change)
Debbie will be accompanied by a live orchestra, conducted by award-winning musical director and arranger Steve Orich. She will take to the stage to perform Judy’s signature Christmas songs as well as newly arranged holiday hits that Judy may have performed if she were with us today.
Birdland Jazz Club will present the 14th Annual “A Swinging Birdland Christmas” – starring vocalists Klea Blackhurst, Jim Caruso, and Billy Stritch – for five performances from Thursday, December 21to Monday, December 25 at 5:30 PM. The December 22 show will be available as a special livestream, with tickets available HERE. This wildly successful extravaganza has been celebrating the holidays at this historic music room since 2010. In the tradition of beloved seasonal specials, the trio of singers will perform swinging arrangements of “The Christmas Waltz,” Kay Thompson’s “Holiday Season,” “Sleigh Ride,” “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm,” “Snow,” and “It Happened in Sun Valley,” among other favorites. The show will also include a musical tribute to Birdland regular Freddy Cole, who was also a holiday tradition. The vocalists will be joined by Steve Doyle on bass and Daniel Glass on drums.
54 Below, Broadway’s Supper Club, presents four award-winning New York cabaret favorites KT Sullivan, Jeff Harnar, Stacy Sullivan and Todd Murray with Music Director jazz virtuoso Jon Weber in the New York debut of We Love The Winter Weather Songs of the Holidays on Tuesday December 5th at 7pm, in-person and with a livestream option.
The show is an eclectic and entertaining holiday songbook including songwriters Irving Berlin, Jule Styne, Sammy Cahn, Carol Hall, Peter Yarrow, Mel Torme and David Friedman. The seasonal spotlight shines musically on traditional favorites as well as surprises including “Grandma,” Elvis, Peggy Lee and a “Short Attention Span Theater” retelling of the film White Christmas with the quartet donning the roles of Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Vera Ellen and Danny Kaye. This show had its debut at The Brownville Concert Hall in Brownville, Nebraska. This quintet of talent will send you out believing “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”
Adrienne Haan Celebrates Irving Berlin and Christmas at the Triad
This Christmas take a big scoop of classic Irving Berlin songs, have them sung by the ever sparkling Adrienne Haan, sprinkle in the voice of her musical director, Richard Danley and you have a festive feast for your ears. I have seen a number of Ms Haan’s shows at the Triad and each one includes something that makes it a step above a typical cabaret show. The first time I saw her there was an actual tuba on stage; the second a number of costume changes, other shows had duets with guest stars or choreography; this time hearing the singing voice of her long-time accompanist and musical director, Mr Danley. The two have bantered in the past but in this show Richard shows his vocal and comedic side with songs like I Paid My Income Tax Today and How About a Cheer for the Navy.
Of course Adrienne blew her audience away with her renditions of There’s No Business Like Show Business and Blue Skies; but, hearing the usually silent man behind the piano was a surprise to me like Teller taking the stage from Penn and his baritone was as shocking as hearing the bumbling Gomer Pyle turn into the rich voiced singer, Jim Nabors. The two of them created a wonderful celebration of Mr Berlin’s musical catalogue with a combination of solos and duets.
Entering the theater, as the holiday season begins, and a show title of White Christmas at the Triad Theater, one would expect to hear 90 minutes of Christmas songs; but, read the second line on the program and you realize that it is really a celebration of the man who wrote one of the most recognizable holiday songs of all time, White Christmas. Not only will we hear the music of Mr Berlin but we will get some insight into his life as Adreinne celebrates his 130 year anniversary of his arrival in the United States. From Europe to Broadway to Hollywood; in military songs, love songs or holiday classics the trio of Haan, Danley and Berlin take us on a historical journey of a life well lead.
Opening the show in a festive seasonal outfit ready for a New Years Eve celebration with “ice” dangling from her ears and around her wrist Adriene introduces us to some well-known Berlin tunes Alexander’s Ragtime Band and Let Me Sing and I’m Happy. One of the treats of her shows is that she does a lot of research into the music she sings and she has done her homework telling us about the life of Israel Beillin, immigrant from Imperial Russia, the country now known as Belarus. He only spoke Yiddish when he landed on Ellis Island so Ms Haan sings Ofyn Pripetchik in his native tongue and then follows with Berlin’s Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor – a tribute to that wonderful Statue in NY harbor. She finishes this section of the show with Marie from Sunny Italy which gives her the opportunity to show her strong vocal ability with a long strong belt of a song.
Berlin came to America in 1893 at the age of 5 which means he was drafted into the army during World War 1, where he wrote the famous anthem Oh How I Hate to Get up in the Morning and which Ms Haan sang in military uniform. A number of tunes that Berlin wrote for both World Wars followed as the two singers alternated songs and Adrienne gave us some more tidbits about the composer. The song I Paid My Income Tax Today sung by Mr Danley is actually owned by the IRS. (I wonder is THEY have to pay tax on the royalties they earn when it is sung.)
Ms Haan is a proud Luxembourger and as life imitates art, or vice versa, Mr Berlin’s Broadway and film musical, Call Me Madam is based on the life of Perle Mesta who was the Ambassador to Luxembourg from 1949-1953. Haan again showed she’s the singer with the zinger when she sang The Hostess with the Mostes’ on the Ball from that show as well as the tribute to the fictitious country in that show Lichtenburg. As far as art leading to reality it is interesting to note that Mr Berlin’s home, 17 Beekman Place, was purchased by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in 1990 a year after Berlin’s death.
Berlin wrote over 1,500 songs in his 60 years of composing so to highlight all of the numbers Haan sings is too long a list; but, the jaunty I’ve Got the Sun in the Morning, They Say that Falling in Love is Wonderful, Cheek to Cheek and Blue Skies show her range of interpreting music. The love song Always was a particularly important song to Berlin and Haan did it justice as this song was written to Berlin’s wife, Ellin Mackay, on their wedding day.
Of all the show tunes, patriotic anthems, and love songs performed in this show I have to give a special shout out to the Haan/Danley duet of You’re Just in Love. I have seen it sung by a number of Broadway stars, Merman, Stritch, Donald O’Connor and Larry Blyden, (and for the newer generation, Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana) in the past; but I’ve never seen the male singer play the piano at the same time. WOW!
It is the holiday season, remember, so Ms Haan’s third costume change is a beautiful red gown that fits the time and she finished the evening with the traditional songs of the Yuletide spirit, including Happy Holiday, I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm and of course White Christmas.
This is not a traditional Christmas carol singing show but Ms Haan never is one to follow the norm. This was a wonderful tribute to Mr Berlin with added surprises featuring the excellent wit and talents of both Adrienne and her musical director and accompanist of 22 years, the unsung (until this show) singer Mr Richard Danley.
A second show is at the Triad on Tuesday, December 5 at 7PM. It will get you smiling and into the holiday spirit.
Essential Voices USA, Judith Clurman and Christmas Joy
Essential Voices USA, Judith Clurman, Music Director and Conductor, announces the release of Christmas Joy,a new collection of holiday music that was all recently commissioned by Essential Voices USA. The centerpiece of the recording is “Christmas Joy,” a through-composed work, scored for chorus and string quartet. The arrangement and text adaptation are by Josh Clayton and Judith Clurman. The carols heard are Silent Night; Hark! The Herald Angels Sing; Angels We Have Heard on High; O Come, O Come, Emmanuel; O Come, All Ye Faithful; and Joy to the World. The two other pieces are “Illumination” by Pierre Jalbert (music) and William Schermerhorn (lyrics) and “The Snow” by Bill Cutter (music) and Lewis Carroll (lyrics). The recording on Albany (Troy 1955) can be streamed on all platforms. The recording was produced and engineered by Silas Brown, who was assisted by Doron Schacter and Michael Schwartz. The recording can be streamed on all major platforms. The published scores will be available in 2024.
Members of Essential Voices USA: Phillip Cheah, Paul D’Arcy, Olivia Sue Green, Chloe Holgate, Heather Jones, Linda Jones, Helen Karloski, Enrico Lagasca, Elizabeth Lang, Steven Moore, Neil Netherly, Nicholas Prior, Gregory Purnhagen, Elisa Singer Strom, Jason Weisinger with Apprentice members – joining on Christmas Jo y- Michael Douris, Roberson Keffer, Marie Schwab, and Norman Schwab; The Essential StringsSuliman Tekali and Yu-Chie Wang violins; Caeli Smith viola; and Coleman Itzkoff cello.
I Illumination 3:13
II The Snow 2:06III Christmas Joy 13:48
STREAMING LINK on all platforms
The premiere performances Judith Clurman will conduct her Essential Voices USA in A Concert and Family Carol Sing-Along on December 16, 2023 at St. Malachy’s – The Actors’ Chapel (239 West 49 Street), New York City, at 7:30PM. The chorus will be joined by The Essential Strings (Suliman Tekalli & Rita Wang violins, Caeli Smith viola, Aaron Wolffcello), Organist Stephen Fraser, and David Chase and Paula Leggett Chase, who will read beloved Christmas poetry. The event is part of EVUSA’S The Community Project, a program which provides concerts and sing-alongs and is free of charge to the NYC community.
The evening will include the World Premieres of the three new works that are featured in the ensemble’s recent holiday recording “Christmas Joy” (Albany Records): “Christmas Joy” – arranged, with text adaptation by Josh Clayton and Judith Clurman; “Illumination” – by Pierre Jalbert (music) and William Schermerhorn (lyrics);and “The Snow” – by Bill Cutter (music) and Lewis Carroll (lyrics). The poems that will be read include “The Night Before Christmas” (Clement Clarke Moore), “little tree” (E.E.Cummings), and “Love Came Down at Christmas” (Christina Rossetti). Organist Stephen Fraser will play an organ fantasy on the beloved carol “O Holy Night,” and the audience will sing-along with EVUSA on traditional carols, with newly arranged accompaniments for string quartet by Bill Cutter.
Here We Are Or The Search For The Meaning of Life
Let me just state that I love the Stephen Sondheim/David Ives musical/play Here We Are. It’s as if the genius, known as Sondheim was trying to resolve his life. The first act is cynical and the characters are hypocritical, while the second act is about coming to with grips with life’s choices and surrendering to the inevitable.
The music is like playing Sondheim jeopardy. His motif’s from other shows are blended into new songs that make you want to have a pen and paper to play the game. I can’t wait until the CD comes out. I’ve been told that it is being recorded in January.
The show is highly surreal, with life’s journeyIn question. Think “The Outer Limits” or “The Twilight Zone,” very Rod Serling.
Based on two Luis Buñuel films “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” (1972) and “The Exterminating Angel” (1962). Act one has Leo Brink (Bobby Cannavale) a entitled tycoon whose opinion is the only one that matters, his wife Marianne (Rachel Bay Jones) who lives for beauty and is a bit on the vaped side, their friends Paul Zimmer (Jeremy Shamos), a plastic surgeon celebrating his 1,000th nose job, his wife, Claudia (Amber Gray), an agent who lives for the celebrity of it all, Raffael Santello Di Santicci (Steven Pasquale), an ambassador from Moranda who lives for the number of notches on his belt and Fritz (Micaela Diamond), Marianne’s younger sister, who wants a revolution, while also wanting to live the good life, searching for brunch. It turns out Leo, Paul and Raffael run a drug cartel. As the day goes down the hill Marianne keeps asking Leo to “buy this perfect day for her.”
Act two is a little more dark. While they finally find food, the consequences of their choices keeps them trapped in purgatory. Enter a colonel (Francois Battiste) whose parents were killed for $26.15, a soldier (Jin Ha) who has feelings for Fritz due to his dreams and a bishop (David Hyde Pierce) who wants another job, has a shoe fettish, and plays piano, until there is no more music. This act is very reminiscent of Steambath. I love the homage to “The World According to Garp” and the bear.
Playing butlers and maids and assorted restaurateur’sare the incredible Tracie Bennett and Denis O’Hare. Kudos has to go out to the wigs by Robert Pickens and Katie Gell and the neon various establishments. white box set and costumes by David Zinn.
Joe Mantello’s staging is exquisite, allowing for each of these brilliantly talented performers to take center stage. This is true ensemble acting and I hope when the Drama Desk is giving out awards this wins.
Where many have criticized the lack of music in the second act, it makes perfect sense. The music stops. The concept very much reminds me of Davids Cromer’s Our Town, when Emily dies and suddenly things are in color and have smells. It makes complete sense that once you are trapped the music would die.
Natasha Katz’s lighting really helps the shinny set take shape, Tom Gibbons’s sound makes the inner world come to life and Sam Pinkleton’s choreography is just enough to make this move seamlessly.
Alexander Gemignani, and Jonathan Tunick, make Sondheim’s music an art and I for one appreciate the subtlety and musicality. Many may not know that Sondheim was a game master and in this it is like he won the final game of “putting it together”.
Here We Are, is intelligent, witty with so much to say and if you ponder the meaning of life you to will walk away extremely fulfilled.
Here We Are, The Shed, 545 West 30th through January 21st
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