Keen Company Awards Its First Commission of a New Musical to Adam Gwon(Ordinary Days, Scotland, PA)
Keen Company is proud to announce its first musical commission: a new musical by Adam Gwon (Ordinary Days, Scotland, PA). Keen presented Gwon’s Ordinary Days in Fall of 2018 to great acclaim, including a nomination for the 2019 Drama League Award for Outstanding Revival of a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway).
“I am so grateful to the NEA and The Ted & Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund for their support in helping Keen commission and develop a new musical by Adam Gwon. When I assumed the Artistic Director position, it was my dream to commission a new intimate musical. Smaller musicals that speak honestly and poetically are rare to find, yet they are in high demand for companies around the country. Ever since I met Adam Gwon, and subsequently produced and directed his musical Ordinary Days, it became clear that he would be the perfect fit for Keen’s first ever musical commission. His heartfelt writing and skillful drawing of complex relationships, coupled with his emotional searing melodies, beautifully examine today’s world. Thanks to the NEA’s and The Shen’s support, we look forward to working with Adam closely over the next few years to bring more of his work to fruition,” said Keen Company Artistic Director Jonathan Silverstein.
Partial support for this commission comes from a Grant for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects like this one from Keen Company that help support the community’s creative economy,” said NEA Acting Chair Ann Eilers. “Keen Company in NYC is among the arts organizations nationwide that are using the arts as a source of strength, a path to well-being, and providing access and opportunity for people to connect and find joy through the arts.”
Additional support for the commission has been provided by The Ted & Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund, which concentrates its musical theater grants on providing funding support for the works of exceptionally gifted and highly original musical theater composers. The Foundation’s mission is to encourage originality, innovation and high artistic aspiration in the musical composition component of musical theater, and its grants are made to selected not-for-profit organizations to support original commissions, theatrical productions and, in certain circumstances, cast recordings of the works of composers who have the potential to advance the art form. Currently, the Foundation’s grants are focused almost exclusively on its commissioning programs and on major New York productions of works by its commissioned composers. The Foundation’s Musical Theater Composers Initiative concentrates its funding support on the works of a select group of exceptionally gifted musical theater composers whose writing is distinguished by originality, innovation and an advanced harmonic sensibility. To date, that group of composers has remained relatively small and consists primarily of Stephen Sondheim and, among the next generation of composers, Michael John LaChiusa, Ricky Ian Gordon, Adam Guettel, Gabriel Kahane, Marisa Michelson, Jeanine Tesori and Joseph Thalken. Since 2002 the Foundation has committed grants to not-for-profit organizations to commission 20 new musicals, primarily through Signature Theatre (Arlington, VA) and the Public Theater (NY); and to provide major funding for more than 35 productions of works by Stephen Sondheim, more than 75 productions of works by commissioned and other contemporary composers, and more than 20 cast recordings.
Adam Gwon is a musical theater writer named one of “50 to Watch” by The Dramatist magazine and hailed “a promising newcomer to our talent-hungry musical theater” whose songs are “funny, urbane, with a sweetness that doesn’t cloy” by The New York Times. His musicals have been produced on six continents, in more than half a dozen languages. Off-Broadway: Scotland, PA (Roundabout Theatre, Drama Desk Award nomination, New York Times Critic’s Pick), Ordinary Days (Roundabout Theatre; Keen Company, Drama League Award nomination – Best Revival), Old Jews Telling Jokes (Westside Theatre, New York Times Critic’s Pick); Regional: String (Village Theatre),Cake Off (Signature Theatre, Helen Hayes Award nomination; Bucks County Playhouse), Cloudlands (South Coast Repertory), The Boy Detective Fails (Signature Theatre), Bernice Bobs Her Hair (Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma); West End: Ordinary Days (Trafalgar Studios). Other projects include The Waves in Quarantine (a film collaboration with Lisa Peterson and Raúl Esparza), songs as a staff writer on the hit webseries Submissions Only, and for Stephen Schwartz and John Tartaglia’s The Secret Silk on Princess Cruise Lines. Adam is the proud recipient of the Kleban Award, the Fred Ebb Award, the Richard Rodgers Award, the Frederick Loewe Award, the Second Stage Theatre Donna Perret Rosen Award, the Weston Playhouse New Musical Award, the ASCAP Harold Adamson Award, and the MAC John Wallowitch Award, as well as commissions from Roundabout Theatre Company, Playwrights Horizons, Signature Theatre, South Coast Repertory, the Kimmel Center, and Broadway Across America. His songs have been heard at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and more, performed by such luminaries as Audra McDonald, Kelli O’Hara, and Brian d’Arcy James. Recordings of Adam’s work include the cast album of Ordinary Days (Ghostlight Records), Audra McDonald’s “Go Back Home” (Nonesuch), “Artists in Residence” (Broadway Records), “The Essential Liz Callaway” (Working Girl Records), Tracy Lynn Olivera’s “Because,” and “Over the Moon: The Broadway Lullaby Project” (Entertainment One). Adam has been a fellow at MacDowell, Hermitage Artist Retreat, the O’Neill Music Theater Conference, and the Dramatists Guild, is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and is a member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild. He served on the Tony Awards Nominating Committee from 2015-2018, and currently sits on the Board at Roundabout Theatre Company and Primary Stages.
Cabaret, Talks and Concerts For April
Spring, makes us gather as much sun as possible, but it also brings rain and it’s time to hop inside and catch your favorite performer. Here are our picks for April.
92 Street Y: 1395 Lexington Ave. 4/11: Apple TV+’s The Last Thing He Told Me: Jennifer Garner and Laura Dave; 4/19: Al Pacino in Conversation with David Rubenstein (In-Person); 4/30: Celebrating Balanchine: A Screening, Book Reading, Conversation and Performance with Director Connie Hochman, Heather Watts, Jennifer Homans, Tiler Peck, Unity Phelan, and Calvin Royal III Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of George Balanchine’s Death (In-Person)
Birdland Jazz: 315 West 44 St. Every Monday at 9:30pm Jim Caruso’s Cast Party; Every Tuesday at 8:30pm The Lineup with Susie Mosher; Every Saturday at 7pm Eric Comstock with Sean Smith (Bass) & special guest Barbara Fasano (Voice); 4/1: Eliane Elias; 4/3: Susie Mosher & John Boswell in CASHINO; 4/17: Anita Gillette & Penny Fuller: “Sin Twisters: The Next Frontier”; 4/17: Sean McDermott & Cassidy Place; 4/21 – 22: Tony DeSare; 4/24: Karen Akers and 4/25 – 29: John Pizzarelli Album Release
Cafe Carlyle: 35 E 76th St. 4/1: John Lloyd Young; 4/3: Seth Rudetsky; 4/5 -15; Alan Cumming and Ari Shapiro; 18- 19 Christine Andreas; 4/20-21; John Brancy and Peter Dugan; 4/22; Richard Tognetti, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra and 4/25-29 Candace Bushnell.
Carnegie Hall: 881 7th Ave at 57th St.
Chelsea Table + Stage: Hilton Fashion District Hotel, 152 W 26th St. 4/14: Marieann Meringolo and 4/17: The Skivvies.
Don’t Tell Mama: 343 W. 46 St. 4/ 21: Tanya Moberly and 4/28: Ricky Ritzel’s Broadway!
Dizzys Club Coca Cola: Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th Street. 4/21 -22: Monterey Jazz Festival On Tour
The DJango: 2 Avenue of the Americas. 4/9: Gabrielle Stravelli
54 Below: 254 West 54 St. 4/1: Jennifer Simard: Can I Get Your Number?; 4/1: Bianca Marroquín; 4/4: LIVESTREAM | The Tom Kitt Band; 4/7, 11, 15: Linda Eder; 4/12-14: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar: All For You; 4/21-22: LIVESTREAM | Seth Sikes & Nicolas King with Billy Stritch and 4/29: Darius de Haas: Maisel and More!
The Green Room 42: 570 10th Ave. 4/2: Melissa Errico; 4/13, 15: Sharon McKnight and 4/23: Reeve Carney
Sony Hall: 235 W. 46th St. 1/15:
The Town Hall: 123 West 43rd Street. 4/23: Mariza
Storm Large Brings The Sexual Heat Along With Powerhouse Vocals To 54 Below
Doris Day’s “Que Sera, Que Sera, takes on a hint of sexual subversive overtone as flower child Storm Large makes her way through the audience at 54 Below handing out possies.
If you do not know who Storm Large is, she is a musician, actor, playwright and author, who shot to national prominence in 2006 as a finalist on the CBS show Rock Star: Supernova. Large currently performs nationally with her own band, and tours internationally with the Portland-based band Pink Martini. Large also appeared on America’s Got Talent on June 14, 2021, performing a cover of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” which is when I became obsessed.
Large is raw, real, human, and oh so female, and her new show has her explaining her life and how she empathize with all of us during being locked down. Her take on Jay Livingston and Ray Evans “Crazy Train” took on a deeper and more profound epiphany.
Lauper’s and Large’s ode to self-gratification, brought back the 80’s “She Bop“. Large talks between the numbers and we learn how Ms. Large dealt with not performing, in Prince’s “Nothing Compares To You“.
You will never think of Grease’s “Hopelessly Devoted to You” in the same way again after the “Carrie: version Storm maps out. You definitely get a glimpse of the demons that she battles or rather plays with.
Connecting so strongly to lyric and having a range that is unbelievable, Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Shovels & Rope’s “After The Storm” and The Kinks “Strangers” told of heartbreak, longing, loss as Storm played the drums and ukulele. She is multi-talented and it is mind boggling how she is not more nationally and internationally beloved.
A lot of the audience knew Storm’s “8 Mile Wide” from her hit one-woman show Crazy Enough. This song is a female empowerment ode of being who she is and she does not apologize. Despite the song being about her anatomy, this was her father’s favorite song. She sang it to him before he died.
The Hollies “Air That I Breathe” and a song by Storm and her amazing musical director James Beaton, “Angels in The Gas Station” were dedicated to her father. Beaton is also who does Storm’s arrangements including the fabulous “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”, that sadly she did not grace us with,
Playing in her band are musicians that are all stellar in the own rights with Matt Brown on Bass, Scott Weddle on Guitar and Greg Uklund on Drums.
You can catch Storm Large: Loving Storm, tonight at 54 Below and I highly recommend you do. If you have never experienced this super nova you will be glad you did.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: New York Pops and Marvelous Marilyn Maye
“The astonishing Marilyn Maye sings with the magnificent New York Pops led by Maestro Steve Reineke this Friday evening, March 24th at Carnegie Hall. They are remarkable talents and remarkable people.
Cabaret legend Marilyn Maye takes the stage with The New York Pops for a program of standards and musical theater classics that make clear why she’s been celebrated as one of America’s greatest jazz singers for more than 50 years. Hear favorites by composers who include Porter, Lerner and Loewe, Loesser, and Sondheim, as well as Maye’s special version of “Too Late Now,” which was selected by the Smithsonian Institution for its permanent collection of 20th-century recordings.
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