Selected Song List
Program is subject to change.
ACT I, From the Savoy
(lyrics by W. S. Gilbert; music by Sir Arthur Sullivan)
From H.M.S. Pinafore (1878)
WHEN I WAS A LAD
From Iolanthe (1882)
NONE SHALL PART US FROM EACH OTHER
From The Mikado (1885)
A WANDERING MINSTREL, I
BRIGHTLY DAWNS OUR WEDDING DAY
From The Pirates of Penzance (1879)
WHEN FREDERIC WAS A LITTLE LAD
From Yeoman of the Guard (1888)
OH! A PRIVATE BUFFOON IS A LIGHT-HEARTED LOON
ACT II, From Broadway
From Finian’s Rainbow (1947)
WHEN THE IDLE POOR BECOME THE IDLE RICH
Lyrics by E.Y. “Yip” Harburg; music by Burton Lane
From Fiorello! (1959)
LITTLE TIN BOX
Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick; music by Jerry Bock
From Gay Divorce (1932)
MR. AND MRS. FITCH
Lyrics & music by Cole Porter
From Lady in the Dark (1941)
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin; music by Kurt Weill
From Operette (1938)
THE STATELY HOMES OF ENGLAND
Lyrics & music by Noël Coward
From Pacific Overtures (1976)
PLEASE HELLO! (excerpts)
Lyrics & music by Stephen Sondheim
(Click the names below to expand info.)
By Rob Fisher
This program is the confluence of several ideas that have been developing over the years I’ve been making programs for Lyrics & Lyricists. First and foremost, when the opportunity arose to collaborate with Sheldon Harnick on another program, I jumped at the chance, no matter the topic we would ultimately choose.
During the preparation for every program I’ve put together with Sheldon, and probably every program I’ve created for Lyrics & Lyricists, there has been a discussion about the influence of W. S. Gilbert, even if only to recognize a similarity to a Gilbert & Sullivan song. Additionally, many of the great lyricists who have been celebrated here on the series have acknowledged their debt to Gilbert, or at least the influence his work had on theirs.
Finally, I have wanted to develop the use of choral music into a program because the gathering of folks all having the same thought is a very engaging way to hear a lyric. And the ability of a group of people to comment on the thoughts of a character in a play or musical goes back to the choruses of the great Greek dramas.
In his lyrics, W. S. Gilbert tends to pinpoint the foibles of us mere mortals. Whether it is using wit to exaggerate the inconsistencies of our customs and language, or satire to skewer our darker impulses and corruption, Gilbert took lyric writing to a new level. As Alan J. Lerner said, Gilbert raised it “from a serviceable craft to a legitimate popular art form.” Johnny Mercer said, “We all come from Gilbert.”
I’ve long admired the songs of George and Ira Gershwin, and Sheldon and I have remarked on Ira’s veneration of Gilbert whenever we have featured his lyrics on the series. Looking back at the program of satiric songs from 2010 (featuring those of Tom Lehrer), we noted nearly everything we performed owed a debt to Gilbert. Although we could have repeated that program in its entirety under a different title, we chose to offer up a new selection, as there is so much great material flowing from this one source.
To say that W. S. Gilbert was the original source of all these ideas is misleading and a simplification because the theater had been using satire and farce, and opera had been creating absurdly comic situations long before Gilbert came along. What we will examine is how Gilbert gathered all these ideas together in such a strong, clear voice that it set flowing a powerful tide of new ways to write musical theater and songs that are still being felt today.
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On W. S. Gilbert
William Schwenck Gilbert
William Schwenck Gilbert was born in London on November 18, 1836. He passed the bar and served in the militia as a reserve officer, but he made a name for himself as a humorist, caricaturist and writer. By 1870, W. S. Gilbert was the pre-eminent dramatist of his day, and in 1874, impresario Richard D'Oyly Carte united Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan for the one-act operetta, Trial by Jury. It was a smash success, and for the next 21 years, Gilbert and Sullivan produced a dozen full-length operettas, led by The Mikado, HMS Pinafore and The Pirates of Penzance. Lines from Gilbert’s librettos have become part of the English lexicon: “What never? Well, hardly ever;” “a source of innocent merriment;” “the model of a modern major general” and more.
Gilbert died in 1911, but his legacy, especially the art of puncturing pomposity and pretention, has lived on through the English language’s greatest lyricists. Noël Coward’s “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” can stand with Gilbert’s best patter songs for its manic rhymes, arch commentary and death-defying speed. Sheldon Harnick’s “A Little Tin Box” from Fiorello! is no more than two degrees separated from “I’ve Got a Little List” from The Mikado. “Adelaide's Lament” (“A person can develop a cold”) in Loesser’s Guys and Dolls evokes as much sympathy—and as many laughs—as the police sergeant’s lament (“A policeman’s lot is not a happy one”) in Pirates of Penzance. Gilbert’s influence will continue as long as Miss Otis regrets.
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Rob Fisher returns to Lyrics & Lyricists for the ninth time, after delighting audiences last March with “In Perfect Harmony: Celebrating the Vocal Group.” He made his series debut as pianist in 1983 in a Tin Pan Alley program, and he was artistic director for the 2004 show on Ira Gershwin, the 2005-07 shows with Sheldon Harnick, the 2008 tribute to Fred Ebb and the 2010 survey of satiric comedy songs.
Rob is a recognized authority on American music of all kinds. He was music director for the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of Anything Goes, and he regularly creates evenings for the American Songbook series at Lincoln Center. He was music director and conductor of the Tony Award-winning Encores! series at New York’s City Center from its inception in 1994 through 2005. The Broadway hits Chicago, Wonderful Town and Apple Tree began at Encores!, and Rob has made numerous recordings for the series, including the Grammy Award-winning Chicago cast album. He remains supervising music director of companies of Chicago around the world.
This past October, Rob led the New York Philharmonic in “Garrison Keillor at 70,” a salute to the legendary humorist; for four seasons, Rob was music director for Keillor’s American Radio Company and remains a frequent guest on “A Prairie Home Companion.” Last April, he led the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and an all-star cast in a gala concert performance of The Sound of Music at Carnegie Hall. In 2007, he conducted a critically acclaimed revival of My Fair Lady with the New York Philharmonic. That same year, Rob was music director of the Central Park production of Hair, and he was music supervisor for its 2008 return and 2009 move to Broadway, where it won the Tony Award for Best Revival. He was the music director for the New York premiere of Sondheim’s Saturday Night at the Second Stage Theatre in February 2000.
Rob has been a guest of virtually every major US orchestra as conductor or pianist, performing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue or Concerto in F major. Among them are the Philadelphia and Cleveland orchestras, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the San Francisco, Pittsburgh and National symphonies. He enjoyed a long relationship with the New York Pops, sharing concerts with the late Skitch Henderson.
Rob’s performances have been televised on many occasions. He was featured twice on the PBS series “In Performance at the White House” for President and Mrs. Clinton in the East Room. He conducted an Emmy Award winning concert performance of Sweeney Todd with Patti LuPone, George Hearn and the San Francisco Symphony, which was broadcast on PBS and is available on DVD. His discography includes more than two dozen recordings..
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Lyricist Sheldon Harnick has been a welcome presence at Lyrics & Lyricists ever since he was the series’ third guest of its first season in 1971, following E. Y. “Yip” Harburg and the team of Betty Comden & Adolph Green; he last appeared as host of “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park: The Art of the Satiric Comedy Song” in 2010. Together with composer Jerry Bock, Sheldon produced a steady stream of musicals from 1958-1970, including Fiorello, which won the Pulitzer Prize and three Tony Awards, and Fiddler on the Roof, which won nine Tonys, as well as She Loves Me, The Apple Tree and The Rothschilds, all of which earned Tony nominations. Sheldon has also collaborated with Mary Rodgers, Richard Rodgers, Michel Legrand and most recently Norton Juster and Arnold Black in a musical adaptation of The Phantom Tollbooth. He further wrote additional lyrics to the 1994 Tony-nominated musical Cyrano.
Sheldon has provided English-language librettos for operas and oratorios, including works by Stravinsky, Ravel, Mozart, Bach, Bizet and Verdi. His film and television credits include the themes for The Heartbreak Kid and Blame it on Rio, both written with Cy Coleman. Among his many honors, Sheldon, along with Jerry Bock, received the Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is a longtime member of the Dramatists Guild and the Songwriters Guild.
Last year, Beaufort Books published the art book The Outdoor Museum (not your usual images of New York), featuring 110 photographs by Margery Gray Harnick and 11 related poems by her husband Sheldon, plus a CD featuring Sheldon reading his verses. The forward is by Mike Nichols, who directed The Apple Tree. For more information, visit beaufortbooks.com.
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Ian Axness is a music director, coach and collaborative pianist who pursues an eclectic mix of performing arts projects, from improv to opera to musical theater. He is currently music director of the sketch comedy troupe Political Subversities (founded by Tony nominee Elizabeth Swados) and two new musicals with the playwright center New Dramatists. Among his recent credits, Ian was assistant music supervisor for last summer’s Shakespeare in the Park’s production of As You Like It, featuring original bluegrass music composed by Steve Martin, and pianist for New York City Opera Education’s 2011/12 production of Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha. He has also been rehearsal pianist and keyboardist for Pocket Opera of New York’s production of Handel’s Xerxes, music director for Broadway Workshop’s “Zombie Junior Prom” and Disney’s “The Little Mermaid, Jr.” and on the sound staff of Irondale’s presentation of Strike Anywhere’s interdisciplinary performance of Same River.
Ian previously worked with Rob Fisher in Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series presentation of “Night and Day: Rob Fisher Celebrates Cole Porter with David Hyde Pierce and Victoria Clark,” and he will assist Mr. Fisher on Carousel with the New York Philharmonic later this season. Ian is a recent graduate of Oberlin College, where he was music director and orchestrator for numerous productions, including Kander & Ebb’s Flora, the Red Menace. He now teaches and coaches at the NYU Playwrights Horizons Theater School, serves as accompanist for NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study and is Head of Music at Camp Pemigewassett in New Hampshire. His website is ianaxness.com.
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Jason Danieley was most recently seen as George in Sunday in the Park With George, directed by Gary Griffin at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. He has been seen on Broadway in Next to Normal, co-starring his wife Marin Mazzie; Curtains, garnering him an Outer Critics Circle nomination, The Full Monty (which he also performed at London’s West End), and Candide, which earned him a Theatre World Award and a Drama Desk Award nomination. Jason also had leading roles in New York City Center Encores! productions of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Strike Up the Band.
Off-Broadway, Jason has appeared in Dream True, The Trojan Women: A Love Story and Floyd Collins. His regional theater credits include Some Lovers; The Highest Yellow, earning him a Helen Hayes Award; Beauty; Brigadoon and 110 in the Shade. The last two also both co-starred his wife, and he received a Garland Award for the latter.
As a concert artist, Jason has had lead roles in Carnegie Hall performances of The Mikado, Carousel and South Pacific, broadcast on PBS’ “Great Performances,” and in April 2013, he will star in Song of Norway. He has performed with most of the nation’s leading orchestras and is a frequent guest artist of The Boston Pops, having toured extensively and appeared on several of their PBS broadcasts. Special theatrical concerts with Marin include Opposite You, He Said/She Said as well as numerous orchestral concerts. Their next special concert in February 2013, Ring Them Bells, celebrates the music of Kander and Ebb and is part of Lincoln Center’s American Songbook Series. Jason also leads a rural jazz band, The Frontier Heroes. His website is jasondanieley.com.
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Jenn Gambatese starred on Broadway as Jane in Tarzan and Natalie in All Shook Up, which earned her an Outer Critics Circle nomination for outstanding actress in a musical. She can be heard on the original cast albums of both shows, as well as Hairspray, where she created the role of Brenda and later played Penny Pingleton. She was also seen on Broadway in Is He Dead?, A Year with Frog and Toad, and Footloose and in the New York City Center Encores! production of Stairway to Heaven. Among her other New York credits are The School for Lies with the Classic Stage Company, Reefer Madness with Variety Arts and Iron Curtain with the Prospect Theater Company.
This May, Jenn will make her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut as Ado Annie in Oklahoma, directed by Gary Griffin. She was honored twice by the Connecticut Critics Circle: with an outstanding actress in a musical award for Annie Get Your Gun at the Goodspeed Theatre and a similar nomination for We Have Always Lived in the Castle at Yale Repertory Theatre. Her other regional theater credits include Carousel, also at Goodspeed Theatre, and Lips Together, Teeth Apart at the Westport Country Playhouse.
Jenn also performs as a concert artist in venues across the country, and as a writer, she has collaborated with composer Paul Fujimoto. Originally from the Cleveland area, Jenn has a bachelor’s degree from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University with a double major in drama and sociology. She often gives master classes in high schools and universities, and her website is jenngambatese.com.
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David Garrison, best known as Steve Rhoades on television’s “Married with Children,” most recently starred as Hannibal Lecter in the Off-Broadway hit Silence! The Musical. His Broadway credits include Wicked, earning him a Carbonell Award, A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, garnering him a Tony nomination, Titanic, Torch Song Trilogy, The Pirates of Penzance, Bells Are Ringing and A History of the American Film. Off-Broadway, David co-starred in the 30th anniversary revival of I Do! I Do!, for which he received a Drama Desk nomination, and he was featured in Middletown, New Jerusalem, Geniuses, The Torch-Bearers, It’s Only a Play and By The Way Meet Vera Stark.
David received a Helen Hayes Award for his work in Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along at Arena Stage, and he has starred in Die Fledermaus at the Santa Fe Opera, Tom Stoppard’s Travesties at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and Randy Newman’s Faust at both the La Jolla and Goodman Theatres. His many television credits include guest performances on “The Good Wife,” “Law and Order,” “The West Wing,” “The Practice,” “NYPD Blue,” “Without a Trace,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Judging Amy,” “Murphy Brown,” “Murder She Wrote,” “Ed,” “L.A. Law,” Tom Clancy’s “Op Center,: and the PBS “Great Performances” presentations of On the Town with the London Symphony, and Ira Gershwin at 100: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall.
David has often appeared in the Lyrics and Lyricists series as a performer, writer, host and director. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Boston University’s School of Theatre Arts, and is a recipient of its Distinguished Alumni Award. His website is davidgarrison.com.
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Mary Testa's numerous Broadway appearances include On the Town and 42nd Street, both of which earned her Tony Award nominations. She was featured in Xanadu, earning her a Drama Desk Award nomination, the 2009 revival of Guys and Dolls, Chicago, Marie Christine and others. She also appeared in the New York City Center Encores! production of Ziegfeld Follies of 1936.
Mary garnered a 2012 Drama Desk Award in honor of her three decades of outstanding work, including her performance in Michael John LaChiusa’s Queen of the Mist, for which she received Lucille Lortel and Drama League nominations. She received Obie Awards for From Above and On the Town, and she received Drama Desk nominations for See What I Wanna See (also a Drama League nomination), First Lady Suite and String of Pearls. Her many other Off-Broadway shows include Charles Busch’s latest play, Judith of Bethulia, as well as Tricks the Devil Taught Me. Love, Loss, and What I Wore and Measure for Measure.
Mary has recorded several original cast albums including the recently released Queen of the Mist. She has sung with many of leading orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony and the Boston and Philly Pops.
Mary’s film credits include the upcoming Franny and Tio Papi, plus Eat, Pray, Love; The Bounty Hunter and Four Single Fathers. On television, she recently guest-starred on CBS' “Two Broke Girls” and was a recurring character on "Whoopi." She has also-guest starred on “White Collar," "Nurse Jackie," “Electric Company," "Sex and the City," “Law and Order" and many others.
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Gaining a national and international reputation in opera, baritone Ross Benoliel won praise for singing Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia this past summer with the New Jersey State Opera. His other engagements have included La Boheme with the Lyrique en Mer festival in Brittany, France, and with the Hong Kong Opera, and Candide in Munich, Vienna and Bremen. He has also appeared with the New York City Opera, Glimmerglass Opera and Tulsa Opera, among others. Ross is a two-time semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions New England Region, and he was a prize winner in the prestigious Liederkranz Foundation vocal competition.
As a concert artist, Ross sings the baritone solos for such choral masterworks as Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, Faure’s Requiem and Haydn’s Creation. He has appeared with the New York Philharmonic and at Carnegie Hall, where he made his recital debut in 2007. Ross is the founder and artistic director of My Opera House which brings opera singers into people’s homes for private concerts (myoperahouse.com), and his own website is rossbenoliel.com.
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Christine DiGiallonardo is a New York–based vocalist whose performances range from early-music chamber ensembles to jazz and rock bands. She made her Lyrics & Lyricists debut last March with her sisters, Daniela and Nadia, as the DiGiallonardo Sisters in Rob Fisher’s “In Perfect Harmony: Celebrating the Vocal Group,” performing tight three part harmonies ranging from the Boswell to the Pointer sisters. Christine’s theater credits include Gentlemen Prefer Blondes for New York City Center Encores! and Two Gentlemen of Verona for Shakespeare in the Park.
Christine participated in concert performances of The Sound of Music with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall and My Fair Lady with the New York Philharmonic, both conducted by Rob Fisher. She has been featured numerous times on “A Prairie Home Companion,” and this past October, she appeared with the New York Philharmonic in the tribute concert “Garrison Keillor at 70.” A graduate of Vassar College with a degree in music, Christine has spent the past six years working full-time as a jingle singer and can be heard on many commercials, including spots for Aquafresh, Mr. Clean, Playtex and Febreze.
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Also making his 92Y and Lyrics & Lyricists is tenor Michael Marcotte. Michael has appeared in several New York City Center Encores! productions, including Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Bells Are Ringing, Anyone Can Whistle, Music in the Air and its 20th Anniversary Gala. He made his New York City Opera debut in Stephen Schwartz’ Séance on a Wet Afternoon, and he was in the world premiere of David Little and Royce Vavrek’s critically acclaimed new opera Dog Days at Montclair State University.
Regionally, Michael played Daniel in the west coast premiere of Schwartz’ Snapshots at TheatreWorks, Tony in West Side Story at the El Paso Opera Company and Henrik in A Little Night Music at the Seaside Music Theater in Daytona Beach. He has appeared in productions of A Christmas Carol at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and the Cohoes Music Hall in upstate New York. Michael has also participated in New York workshops with the Irish Repertory Theatre, the York Theatre Company and Harry Connick, Jr. His website is michaelmarcotteonline.com.
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Making both her 92Y and Lyrics & Lyricists debut is Lindsay O’Neil, a classically trained soprano whose work encompasses musical theatre, opera and operetta. Lindsay just made her Broadway debut in the ensemble and as the Mother understudy in A Christmas Story, The Musical. Her other New York theatrical credits include Gentlemen Prefer Blondes for New York City Center Encores!, and Babes In Toyland with the Little Orchestra Society at Avery Fisher Hall. Beyond New York, Lindsay was in the cast of the 2009/10 national tour of Cats.
Lindsay’s regional theater credits include Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, Marian in The Music Man, Laurey in Oklahoma, the title role of The Cabaret Girl, plus Sunset Boulevard and Sweeney Todd. Operatically, Lindsay was Musetta in La Boheme at the Martha Cardona Theatre and Martha in Liederkranz Opera Theatre's production of Martha. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in voice from the Eastman School of Music and Manhattan School of Music respectively, and she was a member of the 2009 Young Artists program with Chautauqua Opera.
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