Broadway Comes to 95th Street!

When I started planning my first season at Symphony Space, there were two things I knew for certain: ONE — we had to organize a large project about Broadway; TWO — the outrageously talented Joel Fram and Annette Jolles were the ideal visionaries to organize it. In recent years, Joel and Annette have produced a number of fantastic events for Symphony Space, including our Sinatra at 100 event in the fall and last year’s gala honoring Hal Prince.

I was delighted when they agreed to curate and produce our first Project B-Way/95, and they have certainly delivered — this first installment of B-way/95 looks at Broadway as only Symphony Space can. We are pulling back the curtain and giving our audience access to leading performers, composers, and directors through film screenings, discussions, music performances, and more.

Here are a couple of highlights:

On Friday April 8, composer and lyricist Andrew Lippa (Big Fish, The Addams Family, I Am Harvey Milk) hosts Young Lions of Broadway, a concert featuring up-and-coming songwriters and performers. Following the event is a free open mic in Bar Thalia hosted by Mat Eisenstein (conductor for Broadway’s Something Rotten, Newsies, The Book of Mormon).

On Monday, April 11, we have a concert called All in the Family. It’ll be a family affair as we bring the starry relatives of Broadway to our Sharp Theatre. Spouses and siblings star in this special concert, featuring the Naughtons (James, Greg, & Keira, and Kelli O’Hara), and Alanna, Claire, Heath, & Trent Saunders, among others.

Then, on Wednesday, April 13, Christine Toy Johnson hosts a discussion on race and diversity in the American musical theater which is especially topical considering the recent criticisms of the Oscars. Participants include LaChanze (The Color Purple), Alvin Hough Jr. (The Color Purple), Tara Rubin (Casting — School of Rock, Aladdin), and Jack Viertel (Senior Vice President of Jujamcyn Theaters — Book of Mormon, Something Rotten!).

And of course there’s this year’s Wall to Wall. On April 16, we’re celebrating Broadway legend Stephen Schwartz, the composer and lyricist for shows such as Wicked, Pippin, and Godspell. Featured performers include Broadway stars Tituss Burgess, Liz Callaway, Raúl Esparza, and Tovah Feldshuh (who is also reading in tonight’s Selected Shorts!), as well as composers Andrew Lippa, Matthew Sklar, and Stephen Schwartz himself.

Over the coming weeks I will be posting updates as Project B-way/95 continues to unfold. Keep checking back for more updates, and I look forward to seeing you here!

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