Posted in cabaret, musical theater

Lincoln Center’s 2012 "American Songbook" Was An Inclusive Series

Taking off at the crossroads of standards, jazz, pop, Latin and hip hop, Lincoln Center’s American Songbook has transformed The Allen Room in Time Warner Center into the classiest cabaret joint in town.

Lin-Manuel Miranda performing his work-in-progress about the First Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton at The White House

Lincoln Center’s American Songbook has been a celebration of the varied best of our native music since 1998. This year’s season ended on February 12th with a special added show by Elaine Paige.

Elaine Paige, a British star and frequent Sondheim, interpreter, is an icon musical theater.
(See video by clicking here.

Ms Paige’s recent acclaim as Carlotta in Follies precedes her. (See review of Follies at

The rising Broadway great, Laura Benanti told tales and sang songs in two shows on February 11th.

On opening night, January 11th, Lin-Manuel Miranda, gave the 2012 American Songbook series a rousing kick-off with excerpts from his work in progress hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton, whose birthday was January 11 in either 1755 or 1757.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s mash-up of cultural phenomena over the centuries in the telling of his tale, The Hamilton Mixtape, provides a vibrant and entertaining history lesson. Inspired by Ron Chernow’s biography of the first US Secretary of the Treasury, LMM started his work on this musical in 2002. LMM’s mash-up of cultural phenomena over the centuries in the telling of his tale provides a vibrant and entertaining history lesson. Lin-Manuel Miranda did not single handedly welcome rap and hip-hop into American Songbook. For his evening at American Songbook, he brought along a strong supporting cast that included Mandy Gonzalez, Christopher Jackson, and Jon Rua, all familiar from “In The Heights.” Gavin Creel. the very talented Broadway vet, was one of the highlights in his role as the petulant King George. Rebecca Naomi Jones sang a beautiful love song from, “Helpless,” while James Monroe Iglehart joined LMM in the cathartic and energetic “My Shot.”
(See video of LMM performing the piece at the White House at from here.

Michael Cerveris, a Broadway star and Tony recipient for Sondheim’s “Assassins,” brought his extremely rarified country roots to the venue in an evening entitled “An Idea of South” on 21 Jan. Featuring some Guthrie, some traditional Americana, a Samuel Barber song set to James Agee’s “Knoxville: Summer of 1915,” as well as rollicking New Orleans stylings, it was evident that MC has traveled this country road before. The small stage filled with supporting talent including Jonathan Batiste, and singer-songwriter Paul Sanchez. For “Another Suitcase” from “Evita” MC who is set to join Ricky Martin in the revival on Broadway, was joined by Laura Cantrell, whose voice is reminiscent of the late Patsy Kline.MC’s ease on stage, and circling among the tables before the show, made for a fine down-home performance.

Was “Hello Gorgeous! Leslie Kritzer Sings Julie Styne,” this funny lady’s audition for a Broadway run? Producers recently backed off an anticipated revival of the 1964 Broadway hit “Funny Girl.” Lauren Ambrose was set to for the lead, but the backers felt that, despite plenty of theater cred, she lacked name recognition. When the production was cancelled, LK, who played Fanny Bryce at the Paper Mill Playhouse, reportedly threw her hat in the ring. LK sang three songs from “Funny Girl” in her American Songbook debut on 3 Feb. LK’s comic and vocal talents were on ample display. She even did an excellent impersonation of Liza.

Visit to learn more about Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series so you’ll be ready for next year.


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