Sunday, November 01, 2009

Broadway Close Up: John Kander

If you are interested in musical theatre and you are unaware of the yearly Broadway Close Up series at Merken Concert Hall at the Kaufman Center, I strongly urge you to check it out. The series honors the past, present, and future of musical theatre, including evenings devoted to particular lyricists and/or composers. The structure of these evenings combines interviews with the honoree(s), who remain(s) on stage throughout, and performances of his, her, or their songs. Last Monday's show honoring John Kander (and by definition Fred Ebb) featured David Hyde Pierce, Marin Mazzie, Chita Rivera, Debra Monk, Karen Ziemba, Heidi Blickenstaff, Jason Daniely, and David Margulies. Nearly all of Kander & Ebb's musicals were represented, including the upcoming The Scottsboro Boys and the I-hope-someday-upcoming The Visit. Highlights included Rivera (may she live and perform forever!) singing "All That Jazz" and a song from The Visit, Mazzie singing "Ring Them Bells" (with her husband Daniely ringing them bells), Rivera and Monk singing "Class," and Debra Monk singing "Everybody's Girl." Gerard Alessandrini of Forbidden Broadway will be honored December 7. Broadway Up Close also features a yearly Bound for Broadway evening, which introduces upcoming musicals and works in progress. The evening is emceed by the charming and funny Liz Callaway; past years have included Next to Normal, Avenue Q, and Musical of Musicals: The Musical. This year's event is November 16.

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