Urban Stages (Frances Hill, Founding Artistic Director, Peter Napolitano, Producer/Director of Musical Theatre) proudly announces the line-up for this year’s Award Winning series, Winter Rhythms 2016, which will begin Thursday, December 1 and will feature some of New York’s best musical performances through Sunday, December 11, 2016 at Urban Stages Theatre.
Winter Rhythms 2016 marks the eighth year that Urban Stages has brought noted musical artists to its stage during the holiday period. The mission of Winter Rhythms is to bring the talents of known and unknown singers, musicians, lyricists and composers to the attention of the New York theater community while performing at Urban Stages Theater. Winner of the 2016 Bistro Award for Outstanding Series and the 2015 Ruth Kurtzman Benefit Series MAC Award, Winter Rhythms benefits Urban Stages’ acclaimed Outreach Program, which brings over 200 free “arts in education” presentations to libraries and schools throughout the five boroughs. This year’s benefit series will present a record-breaking 23 shows, many of them created especially for Winter Rhythms, all of them with sound design by Douglas Mills and lighting design by Deborah Constantine. Krystle Henninger is Production Manager. The entire series is produced and programmed for the sixth consecutive year by award-winning producer/writer/director Peter Napolitano.
Highlights of the twenty-three-show schedule includes the opening night with cabaret and musical theatre star KT Sullivan in Cabaret Noel: Come the Wild, Wild, Weather, an all Noel Coward program, with a champagne reception following the performance ($50); Tony nominee Karen Akers returns to one of her first loves, the French Chanson, in Vive La Chanson!, celebrating the melodic charms and heartfelt emotions of music made famous by Piaf, Aznavour and more. The Ghostess with the Mostest – A Tribute to Marni Nixon with Tony winner Donna McKechnie, Anita Gillette, Stephen Cole, Sarah Rice, and Janice Hall; a double bill of Rita Gardner in Much More: A Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt Songbook and Jeff Harnar Sings Cole Porter; A Night at the Bistros: Award-winning Songwriters and Singers; The World According to Kurt Weill; a concert presentation of the musical comedy The Lady in Penthouse B starring Klea Blackhurst; Will Friedwald presents Gordon Jenkins’s Manhattan Tower: A 70th Anniversary Celebration with Carole J. Bufford, Lianne Marie Dobbs, Gabrielle Stravelli and Bill Boggs as narrator; Tom Toce presents A Bull Dog Christmas Carol: A Night With the Ghosts of Yale Musical Theatre’s Past, Present and Future, Stephen Hanks presents New York Cabaret’s Greatest Hits with Mark Nadler, Karen Oberlin, Julie Reyburn, etc.; and Drama Desk Award winner Jim Brochu in his new solo show, Merman and Me.
Winter Rhythms will close on December 11th at 7pm with From All of Us To All of You: Seasonal Songs and Disney, Too! This has become the traditional holiday closing concert and a favorite of audiences, mixing holiday standards with songs from Disney movies. Hosted by Adam B. Shapiro with Tony winner Trezana Beverley, cabaret legend Steve Ross, Jim Brochu, Dawn Derow, Eve Eaton, Kathleen France, Rob Langeder, Stacie Perlman-Langeder, Beverly Leslie Sills, Rev. Yolanda and many more to be announced!
Tickets are $30 per show (Opening night tickets at $50 include a champagne reception) and may be purchased by visiting urbanstages.org or by calling (866) 811-4111. For complete schedule information, visit urbanstages.org.
Winter Rhythms 2016 Schedule
Thursday, December 1
KT Sullivan in Cabaret Noel: Come the Wild, Wild Weather
One of cabaret and musical theatre’s brightest lights salutes the master of wit and melody in an all Noel Coward program with musical direction by Dennis Buck. Special opening night ticket price: $50 includes champagne reception.
Friday, December 2
The Arrangement Experience: The Corner of Rock and Broadway
Where Classic Rock meets Classic Musical Theater. Rodgers and Hammerstein to Sondheim and Pink Floyd to Guns N’ Roses merge at the corner of Rock and Broadway! With eye opening fresh arrangements of music that you know and love, you will hear these classic songs in a whole new way! With Staci Block, Natasha Castillo, Dawn Derow, Eve Eaton, Helen Glassman, Wendy Kaufman, John Koprowski, Phyllis Mollen, Wendy Russell, Fritz Stewart, Jeremy Sussman and Deborah Zecher. Musical Direction by Michael Holland and Andrew David Sotomayor. Directed by Lennie Watts. All Arrangements by Michael Holland, Andrew David Sotomayor, Lennie Watts and The Cast.
ZaZa Peaks and her Holiday Balls… um Bells or A Holiday Drag Spectacular!
Joseph Macchia, producer of NYC’s Next Top Drag Queen Competition and Tom Gamblin, host of Metrostar Talent Challenge, join forces to produce an all live – singing drag extravaganza with the some of NYC’s top drag performers! Hosted by ZaZa Peaks with Vicky Boofont, Cathy Dresden, Delilah Pipes, Ruby Powers, Nomi SAS, Gina Tonic . Musical Director Tracy Stark.
Saturday, December 3, 2016
3PM The Ghostess with the Mostest – A Tribute to Marni Nixon
What do the singing voices of Deborah Kerr in The King and I, Natalie Wood in West Side Story and Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady have in common? Marni Nixon! Stephen Cole, co-author of Marni’s memoirs, I Could Have Sung All Night, will host a tribute with Marni’s friends and co-stars and rare video clips of Marni Nixon herself. Join in celebrating the life of Marni Nixon as the “ghostess” materializes one more time in song and story. With Stephen Cole, Donna McKechnie, Anita Gillette, Sarah Rice, Janice Hall and more TBA.
New York Cabaret’s Greatest Hits
Launched in August 2015 at the Metropolitan Room, New York Cabaret’s Greatest Hits (Created and Produced by Stephen Hanks; Associate Producer Fr. Jeffrey Hamblin, MD) has become one of the city’s most popular monthly cabaret events. The series features celebrated cabaret performers reprising their Award-winning and critically acclaimed shows of the past. This show presents highlights from many of the 16 outstanding productions. With Mark Nadler, Julie Reyburn, Meg Flather, Karen Oberlin, Jim Brochu & Steve Schachlin, Barbara Porteus, Maureen Taylor, Susan Winter, Jenna Esposito and Adam B. Shapiro. Musical Director: Mark Janas. Hosted by Stephen Hanks.
Krystle Henninger and The Screw Ups
Krystle Henninger is a New York based singer/songwriter. She released her first full-length album Long Road Home last September and her first EP Swallowed Up In Blue in 2013. Krystle has performed around New York with various members of The Screw Ups. The Screw Ups consists of Kat Swanson, Nick Shea, Devin Dunne Cannon, Jason Hazell, and special guests TBA. Music available on iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, and other media platforms. www.krystlehenninger.com.
Sunday, December 4, 2016
The Vintage Advantage
A very special gathering of cabaret artists, all with the “vintage advantage.” Yes, they are all happily singers “of a certain age.” Included will be such well-known, award-winning and nominated singers as Billie Roe, Ann Dawson, Charlotte Patton, Sally Darling, Gary Crawford, Andrea Wolff and Helena Grenot, joined by talented “newcomers” to the wonderful world of cabaret, including Andrea Axelrod, Susan Jeffries, Bill Krakauer, Marcia Roney, Bill Dyzel and Cathy Taylor. Musical Directors are Barry Levitt and Matthew Martin Ward. Hosted and Produced by Bob Diamond.
Susan Winter and Barry Kleinbort in Minor Miracles
In their very first team outing, Susan Winter and Barry Kleinbort, two old friends of the Semitic persuasion (who also happen to be award-winning cabaret mavens) combine to explores the developments in popular music that sprang from the minor key traditions of Eastern European Jews. The evening contains delectable entries from Jewish writers as diverse as George Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Kurt Weill, Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, Carole King, Randy Newman, and Billy Joel. Musical support is offered by the versatile and very gentile Paul Greenwood. “Minor Miracles” is a loving valentine to writers who made a mark on the art of popular song without forsaking the sounds of their rich ancestry.
Monday, December 5, 2016
Jim Brochu in Merman and Me
Drama Desk Winner Jim Brochu’s life changed when he was thirteen years old and he met Ethel Merman. A brief encounter with the Queen of Broadway turned into a friendship, one that lasted until the end of her life. In this delightful and heartfelt new show, “Merman and Me,” Jim tells the story of her life and her music through rare videos as well as the great standards of Porter, Berlin and Gershwin that Merman introduced to the American Songbook. Musical Director: Mark Janas.
Blake Zolfo in The Monster at the End of This Show
In a heartfelt evening of story and song paralleling the misadventures of Sesame Street’s Grover, Blake Zolfo finds out what happens when life’s answers can no longer be found in a book, Directed by Andy Gale. Musical Director: Mark Janas.
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
The World According to Kurt Weill
In shows like Threepenny Opera, One Touch of Venus and Lost in the Stars, composer Kurt Weill (1900-50) used song to comment, ironically yet passionately, on Weimar Germany, the rise of Hitler, the Great Depression, South African apartheid, and the American Dream. But Weill’s music also tells us much about how we live today. The World According to Kurt Weill brings him back where he belongs: the 21st century. With Janice Hall, Minda Larsen and Adam B. Shapiro. Musical Director: Eric Sedgwick. Director: Peter Napolitano. Writer and producer: William V. Madison.
A Night at the Bistros: Bistro Award-winning Songwriters and Singers
For 32 years, the Bistro Awards have recognized excellence in cabaret, jazz and comedy. Join us in a celebration of the some of the songwriters who have received the award and hear their work performed by a stellar line-up of singers drawn from past Bistro winners. It will be an evening of great songs sung by great singers, of old favorites and new discoveries. Sherry Eaker produces. Gerry Geddes directs.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Karen Akers in Vive La Chanson!
Join one of Broadway and cabaret’s finest singers as she returns to one of her first loves, the French Chanson. Ms. Akers will celebrate the melodic charms and heartfelt emotions of music made famous by Piaf, Aznavour and more, while mixing in some American songs with the same passionate excitement. Musical Director: Alex Rybeck.
A Double Bill of Rita Gardner in Much More: A Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt Songbook and Jeff Harner Sings Cole Porter
Rita Gardner presents a preview of her new one-woman show celebrating the songwriting team of Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt (Celebration, 110 In The Shade, I Do! I Do!). From her unique vantage point as the original Girl in their record-breaking classic The Fantasticks, Rita’s songbook draws from their hits, their rarities, their trunk songs, woven together with her personal anecdotes and insights. Directed by Jeff Harnar.
Jeff Harnar presents highlights from his Cole Porter songbook, including standards, surprises and signature Porter patter songs from such scores as “Red Hot and Blue,” “High Society,” “Anything Goes,” “Can Can” and more. Harnar is a multiple MAC, Bistro and Broadway World Cabaret award winner. “Harnar and Porter are a perfect fit.” The New York Times. Directed by Sara Louise Lazarus. Musical Director Alex Rybeck arranged and accompanies both shows on this special double bill.
Thursday, December 8, 2016
Gretchen and Andrew’s Original Idea
Award winning artists Gretchen Reinhagen and Andrew David Sotomayor present an evening of original music. They’ll feature songs they’ve each written, as well as music written by their friends. Every song in the program will written by someone in the New York Cabaret community, and/or someone with whom they share a personal connection.
Will Friedwald’s Clip Joint presents Gordon Jenkins’s “Manhattan Tower”: a 70th Anniversary celebration
In 1946, a composer and conductor named Gordon Jenkins invented the modern “concept” album with MANHATTAN TOWER, an original work for orchestra, narrator, and solo singers that became the spiritual grandfather of such classics as SGT PEPPER, PET SOUNDS, and TOMMY. Tonight, we celebrate this classic work (the subject of a recent article in The Wall Street Journal by our host and producer Will Friedwald) with an all-star cast including Carole J. Bufford, Lianne Marie Dobbs, Gabrielle Stravelli and Bill Boggs as narrator, and rare, vintage videos.
Friday, December 9, 2016
The Lady in Penthouse B: A Musical in Concert
A “true life tale told in a musical comedy way” about a talented, frustrated performer working as an assistant to the high-powered, high maintenance gossip columnist, Lady Susan, a/k/a The Lady in Penthouse B. Book and Lyrics by Peter Napolitano. Music by Matthew Martin Ward. With Klea Blackhurst, Erin Cronican, Tom Gamblin, Brian Charles Rooney and Adam B. Shapiro. Musical Director: Matthew Russell. Directed by Robert Bartley.
So Far: The Music of Bill Zeffiro
Bill Zeffiro returns to Urban Stages for an evening focusing primarily on his musical theater work including selections from The Road To Ruin, Houdini Among The Spirits and a lengthy (but not too long!) excerpt from his forthcoming musical Mommie Deadest (any similarity between this piece and a similarly titled book and film is purely intentional). Bill will be joined by Janice Hall, Marissa Mulder and a glittering group of singers from the theatre and cabaret community TBA.
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Lauren White in Out of the Past: Jazz and Noir
Lauren White is more than a hip singer with a smoky, soulful voice; she’s also a cinema buff with a deep affinity for Film Noir. In her latest show, she performs songs from her critically acclaimed CD “Out of the Past: Jazz and Noir.” Her jazzy takes on tunes from iconic movies from the 1940s and 50s are sultry, sly, and haunting, and the show is enhanced by clips from some of these films. Musical Director: Barry Levitt.
A Bulldog Christmas Carol: A Night With The Ghosts of Yale Musical Theatre’s Past, Present and Future
Megan Loughran directs and leads a cast of recent graduates in celebrating Yale songwriters: Past, Present, and Future. The Past might include Cole Porter and Mitch Leigh, the Present: Maury Yeston and some others, and the Future, well, the Future looks bright indeed. Musical director Alex Ratner and producer Tom Toce recently teamed with Meg to win the Harvard-Yale Cantata II at 54 Below. That show was a competition (Yale won, 32-31); this one’s a celebration!
Beth and Ritt’s Holiday Survival Kit
Award-winning songwriters Beth Falcone and Ritt Henn perform original and originally-arranged tunes to see you safely through the season. Beth’s “catchy melodies and smart lyrics” (Variety) and Ritt’s “funkier Cole Porter” songs (LA Weekly) soar with her “fiery piano playing” (Chicago Sun Times) and his “cool cat” bass (Time Out NY). With special guests Julie Reyburn, Paul Libman, Connor Coughlin, and more, it’s high quality duct tape and organic beef jerky for the soul!
Sunday, December 11, 2016
Tom Toce presents Circles: Cabaret Duo Song Cycle/ Acoustic Songwriters Circle
In the first half of this show, Peter Lerangis and Kim Oler team up to present a program of songs celebrating the Circle of Life. In the second half, singer-songwriters Tina Devaron, Jo Kroger, and Tom Toce will perform their original songs in an acoustic Songwriters’ Circle. A highly entertaining afternoon produced and directed by Tom Toce.
From All of Us to All of You: Seasonal Songs and Disney, Too.
In keeping with tradition, Winter Rhythms will close with the crowd favorite, FROM ALL OF US TO ALL OF YOU: SEASONAL SONGS AND DISNEY TOO! Inspired by the 1958 Walt Disney TV Special, audience members will be in a festive mood hearing songs for the holidays and songs from Disney movies. Hosted by MAC Award Winner, Adam B. Shapiro, the show will feature an exciting lineup of some of the most talented stars of theatre and cabaret including Trezana Beverley, Steve Ross, Jim Brochu, Dawn Derow, Eve Eaton, Kathleen France, Rob Langeder, Stacie Perlman-Langeder, Beverly Leslie Sills, Rev. Yolanda and many more. It will be holiday magic meets the mouse and bring Winter Rhythms 2016 to a truly joyful conclusion.
*Artists, programming and schedule subject to change
Urban Stages (Producer) is an award-winning, not-for-profit, Off-Broadway Theatre Company founded in 1984 by current Artistic Director Frances Hill. For over 30 years, Urban Stages has produced dozens of world, American and NYC premieres including Pulitzer Prize Finalist Bulrusher (2007) by Eisa Davis. We have been honored with awards, nominations and recognition from the Drama Desk, Obie Awards, Audelco, Outer Critics Circle and much more. For instance, our world premiere of the musical Langston In Harlem by Walter Marks (music and book) and Kent Gash (book and direction) garnered a Drama Desk Nomination, a Joe A. Calloway award and 4 Audelco awards including Best Musical Production of 2010. More recently, Trezana Beverly’s Mabel Madness (2016) is nominated for an Audelco Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, Unseamly by Oren Safdie (2015) was a NY Times Critics Pick, Jim Brochu Character Man (2014) was nominated for a Drama Desk and an Outer Critics Circle award for Best Solo performance and Honky (2013) by Greg Kalleres saw a regional run at San Diego Rep and was televised nationally on PBS in late 2015. After production, most plays move on to larger venues. Men On The Verge Of A Hispanic Breakdown by Guillermo Reyes and Minor Demons by Bruce Graham both moved to commercial theatres. Chili Queen, a play by newscaster Jim Lehrer, transferred to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. (1989). My Occasion Of Sin (2012) by Monica Bauer won critical acclaim when it moved to Detroit Rep. Bill Bowers has toured the United States and the world with his two Urban Stages premieres blending mime and theatre – Beyond Words (2012) and Under A Montana Moon (2002)! Some Urban Stages premieres have even been developed into film and television projects such as Scar by Murray Mednick, Conversations With The Goddesses by Agapi Stassinopoulos, and Cotton Mary by Alexandra Viets. In addition to plays and musicals, annually we hold a music festival – Winter Rhythms – that features famous and up-and-coming Cabaret, musicians, lyricists and other music artists. In 2016, Winter Rhythms was honored with the Bistro Award for Outstanding Series, and in 2015, it received the Ruth Kurtzman Benefit Series MAC Award from the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs.
Peter Napolitano (Urban Stages Director of Musical Theatre; Producer, Winter Rhythms) has received two Bistro Awards for Director and Outstanding Series; and four MAC Awards for Director, Songwriter, and Producer (twice) for his recent work in virtually every major NY cabaret venue. In musical theatre, he was lyricist of Tropicana, book and direction by the legendary George Abbott, produced by Musical Theatre Works; and lyricist/librettist of The Lady in Penthouse B, music by Matthew Ward, produced “Mufti Style” by the York Theatre, starring Nancy Dussault, included in this year’s Winter Rhythms in a newly revised version He is currently developing musicals with composers Mark Janas and Barry Levitt, while also writing special material for some of NY’s outstanding cabaret and theatre artists. Associated with Urban Stages for six seasons, he has co-directed and written songs (with Mr. Levitt) for Mabel Madness, produced Musical Legends, My Occasion of Sin, Character Man and five seasons of Winter Rhythms and directed numerous staged readings and concerts. A guest lecturer for Manhattan School of Music, other highlights of his varied career include studying with Spalding Gray, Charles Ludlam and Anne Bogart at NYU’s Experimental Theatre Wing, working with the ground-breaking Off-Broadway Ridiculous Theatrical Co. and The Glines; directing the early work of Charles Busch; contributing editor of The Blockbuster Guide to Movies on Video (Dell); and author of a Modern Love essay for The New York Times.
Frances Hill (Founding Artistic Director) began her theatrical career in California as an actress. Since 1983, Ms. Hill has overseen more than 600 staged readings/workshops and 90 productions of new works for the stage. She has directed over 30 workshops and productions. Her favorite directing credits include: Gino DiIorio’s Apostasy, Roma Greth’s Our Summer Days, Jim Lehrer’s Chili Queen, (directed at Urban Stages and Kennedy Center), John Picardi’s Seven Rabbits on a Pole and The Sweepers (directed at Urban Stages and Capital Rep); Comfort Women by Chugmi Kim (Urban Stages 2004), 27 Rue De Fleurs and My Occasion of Sin. Two of her plays have been produced, Our Bench and Life Lines. Under the guidance of Ms. Hill, Playwrights’ Preview Productions/Urban Stages have moved two plays into commercial Off-Broadway successes. Minor Demons opened the new Century Center Theater and Men on the Verge of His-Panic Breakdown won an Outer Critic’s Circle Award while playing to capacity audiences at the 47th Street Theater. Urban Stages’ African American Poets as Playwrights won eight Audelco Nominations and Coyote On a Fence received two Drama Desk nominations and a Pilgrim’s Project Award. Eisa Davis’s Bulrusher was one of three nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. 2010 production of Langston in Harlem won several drama desk nominations, a John Calloway award, and several Audelco nominations including a win for best music production of the year (2010), along with several other awards.