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"Who knows, some day I will win too." — Dorothy Fields

Tin Pan Alley, Broadway and Hollywood may have been boys’ clubs, but that didn’t stop some bold, brilliant women from breaking through. Led by Dorothy Fields, lyricists and composers like Betty Comden, Carolyn Leigh and Mary Rodgers crafted astonishing songs and shows: “The Way You Look Tonight,” "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," "Witchcraft," On the TownOnce Upon a Mattress and more. Salute this sisterhood with Fields biographer and Lyrics & Lyricists artistic director Deborah Grace Winer.

Deborah Grace Winer, artistic director, writer & host
John Oddo, music director
Mark Waldrop, stage director

Marilyn Maye, vocals
Kenita Miller, vocals
Nancy Opel, vocals
Margo Seibert, vocals
Emily Skinner, vocals

Aaron Heick, reeds
Scott Harrell, trumpet
Jay Leonhart, bass
James Saporito, drums

Special thanks to Julie Crosby, artistic advisor


Subscribe and Save! This event can be purchased as part of the following subscription: Lyrics & Lyricists — Series Subscription 2017. Learn about the benefits of subscribing.


The Sunday performance at 2 pm is supported by Producers Circle member The Henry Nias Foundation, courtesy of Dr. Stanley Edelman z”l. Learn more about the 92Y Producers Circle.

92Y Lyrics & Lyricists receives support from Gilda and Henry z”l Block; The Hite Foundation, Inc.; The Harold W. and Ida L. Goldstein Lecture Fund through the Estate of Sanford Goldstein; The Edythe Kenner Foundation; The Frederick Loewe Foundation; and The Henry Nias Foundation, courtesy of Dr. Stanley Edelman z”l.

Meet the Artists

(Click the names below to expand info.)

Deborah Grace Winer

Now in her ninth season as Lyrics & Lyricists series artistic director, Deborah Grace Winer is an author and playwright who has written extensively about the American Songbook. She has led seven previous Lyrics & Lyricists shows: New York: Songs of the City (2015); Jerome Kern Coast to Coast; The Crowd’s at El Morocco, about the heyday of the New York nightclubs; Fred and Ginger in So Many Words; I’ve Got Your Number, a celebration of Carolyn Leigh; The Last Girl Singer, a tribute to Deborah’s friend Rosemary Clooney; and Dorothy’s Side of the Street, the Dorothy Fields Centennial salute. In November 2009, with her mentor Robert Kimball, Deborah was co-artistic director of I Remember You, the Johnny Mercer Centennial Tribute Concert.

Deborah is the author of On the Sunny Side of the Street: The Life and Lyrics of Dorothy Fields (Schirmer Books), recently reissued on Amazon as an ebook, and The Night and the Music: Rosemary Clooney, Barbara Cook and Julie Wilson Inside the World of Cabaret (Schirmer). She is co-author of Sing Out, Louise!: 150 Broadway Musical Stars Remember 50 Years (Schirmer); and I Remember Too Much: 89 Opera Stars Speak Candidly of Their Work, Their Lives and Their Colleagues (William Morrow). She also authored three companion coffee-table books included in each of three box-sets of the complete early recordings of Rosemary Clooney (Bear Family).

Deborah’s articles on music have appeared in The New York Times and Town and Country, among other publications. She was featured on PBS’s special, Jimmy Van Heusen: Swingin’ with Frank & Bing; on the PBS American Masters special, Yours for a Song: The Women of Tin Pan Alley, and on A&E’s Biography episode on Rosemary Clooney. She has also appeared on NPR’s Fresh Air and Morning Edition.

Her musical revue, Sing for Your Shakespeare (created with Wayne Barker and Mark Lamos and based on a Lyrics & Lyricists concert), premiered at the Westport Country Playhouse, directed by Lamos. Her plays include An Evening with Shane Snow; The Last Girl Singer; Little Shows; The Real Tabasco (a Eugene O’Neill Theater Center finalist); and Buzz; and they have been variously developed at Lincoln Center Theater, Primary Stages, the Lark, the Women’s Project, the Westport Country Playhouse and The Actors Studio, among other theaters.

Deborah has written benefit shows for such venues as New York City Center and Town Hall. Among her favorites are Fans!: The Sally Rand Centennial Celebration and Gotta Dance: A Dance Tribute to Hollywood, during which she wrote for, among others, Cyd Charisse, Esther Williams and Mary Tyler Moore. Deborah is a native of Manhattan and a graduate of Swarthmore College.

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John Oddo

After starting as a pianist, arranger and composer for Woody Herman and his Thundering Herd, John Oddo met Rosemary Clooney in 1983 and served as her music director, pianist and arranger for more than 18 years. His credits include 20 of her recordings, as well as countless live and televised performances.

John has been music director for all of Deborah Grace Winer’s Lyrics & Lyricists shows — this is his ninth for the series, having worked with James Naughton last season on The Battle of the Airwaves.

He was pianist for the recent NBC Tony Bennett 90th Birthday special which aired in December, 2016, in which he worked with KD Lang, Michael Buble and Rufus Wainwright. As an arranger, he writes frequently for the Boston Pops. He works with Tony Danza as music director, for his shows at the Cafe Carlyle and Feinstein’s 54 Below, and he recently accompanied Seth MacFarlane on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert and The Today Show.

He has been a longtime collaborator with Michael Feinstein as both music director and arranger, and he received a Drama Desk Award nomination for his orchestrations for Feinstein and Dame Edna Everage’s 2010 Broadway show, All About Me. He was music director, arranger and conductor for Feinstein’s two PBS shows at the Rainbow Room, as well as for PBS’s Live from Lincoln Center — James Naughton: The Songs of Randy Newman.

John has been music director/arranger/pianist for such other artists as Christine Ebersole, James Naughton, Melissa Errico, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Barbara Cook, Cheyenne Jackson, Maureen McGovern, David Hyde Pierce and Linda Ronstadt. Some recent recording projects include arrangements written for Tom Wopat and John Schneider’s Christmas CD, Home for Christmas; Steve Tyrell’s It’s Magic: The Songs of Sammy Cahn; and Debby Boone’s Swing This.

Other projects have included the music for PBS/Showtime’s Our Town, directed by James Naughton and starring Paul Newman; and for the NBC special, Scott Hamilton & Friends. John has performed at the White House for four of the last five presidents.

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Mark Waldrop

Mark Waldrop has directed and/or written ten Lyrics & Lyricists productions, most recently the 2015 show, New York: Songs of the City.  He was also artistic director and host for the 2012 show celebrating Nöel Coward and Cole Porter. On Broadway he directed and provided special material for Bea Arthur on Broadway: Just Between Friends, which earned a Tony Award nomination for unique theatrical event. He similarly directed and wrote material for Bette Midler on her Divine Miss Millennium tour; and he has directed cabaret and concert performances for Faith Prince, Sutton Foster, Brooke Shields, Rebecca Luker, John Lloyd Young and Edward Hibbert, among many others.

Off-Broadway, Mark’s directorial credits include the New York City Center Encores! production of Ziegfeld Follies of 1936 as well as the shows Not That Jewish (currently at New World Stages,) NEWSical (currently at Theater Row,) Pete‘n’Keely, Till Divorce Do Us Part, Inventing Avi, My Deah, Game Show, and Listen to My Heart. He was director, book writer and lyricist for the now-legendary Howard Crabtree’s When Pigs Fly, and he co-devised the revue, Hot ‘n’ Cole. Regionally, Mark has helmed productions at leading venues such as Paper Mill Playhouse, The Muny at St. Louis and Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre.

In 1995 Mark received the prestigious Edward Kleban Award for lyricists. He wrote the lyrics and script for Radio City Music Hall’s 75th Anniversary Christmas Spectacular and lyrics for several TheaterWorks scores. As an actor, Mark was in the original Broadway casts of Evita, La Cage aux Folles and The Grand Tour. He can be heard on the sound tracks of Disney’s Aladdin, Pocahontas and Mulan, and on the cast recording of Hey, Love.

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Marilyn Maye

Marilyn Maye is a highly praised singer, actress, director, arranger, educator, a Grammy-nominated recording artist — and a national treasure. One of our greatest living Songbook singers, as well as a celebrated jazz-cabaret star, she is the recipient of multiple lifetime achievement awards, including the Legend Award from the Society for the Preservation of the American Songbook.

Ms. Maye holds the record for the most appearances by a singer on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson — 76 in all. Her theatrical roles include Can Can, Follies, Mame and many productions of Hello, Dolly!. She has performed symphonic concerts with the Florida Symphony, the Philly Pops, the Phoenix Symphony, the Kansas City Symphony, the Omaha Symphony, and the Pasadena Symphony, conducted by Michael Feinstein. Her appearances with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall for tributes to Stephen Sondheim and Frank Loesser received show-stopping applause and rave reviews.

Ms. Maye has recorded seven albums, 34 singles and eight CDs on the RCA label. In the past 11 years she has performed more than 200 engagements in New York, including sold-out appearances at the Metropolitan Room, Birdland, Feinstein’s at Loews Regency Hotel, Dizzy’s Coca Cola at Lincoln Center, Town Hall, as well as 92Y. In April, she will celebrate her birthday with eight performances at Feinstein’s 54 Below.

“She has more voice and stamina than most singers half her age. Her voice is full and rich and perfectly in tune, and she displays a voluptuous enjoyment of singing. She is a symbol of resilience and entertainment,” wrote Steven Holden in The New York Times.

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Kenita Miller

Kenita Miller made her Broadway debut in The Color Purple as the stand by for Celie, then returned to star in the original Broadway production. She has appeared in Broadway and off-Broadway productions including The Wild Party, Lord Tom (Eliza), Saturday Night and Propaganda!, in the role of Agent X, for which she won an Outstanding Individual Performance Award at the 2014 New York Musical Theatre Festival. She received a Drama Desk nomination and an Audelco Award for her portrayal of Zora Neale Hurston in Langston in Harlem, and a Drama Desk Award for her role in Working. Other theatrical appearances include Xanadu (Erato/Kira Cover), The Color Purple (Celie), Avenue Q and Dessa Rose (Dessa). Her film and television appearances include performances on Sesame Street, The Blacklist, Shades of Blue, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Hostages and Odd Mom Out.

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Nancy Opel

A singer, actress and teacher, Nancy Opel was born in Prairie Village, Kansas, and trained at Juillliard. She made her Broadway debut as a “Person of Argentina” in the original 1979 production of Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice’s Evita, and in the later run was the replacement for the leading role. In 1985, she originated the roles of Betty and Frieda in Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George. After appearance as the replacement for Hope Harcourt in the 1987 revival of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes, Ms. Opel played Eleanor in Teddy & Alice, a musical that drew upon the relationship between Teddy Roosevelt and his daughter as well as on the music of John Philip Sousa.

Ms. Opel was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for her performance as Penelope Pennywise in Urinetown. Other Broadway appearances include Triumph of Love, Fiddler on the Roof, Memphis and Cinderella. She performed the roles of Mazeppa and Miss Cratchitt in the Encores! staged concert of Gypsy in 2007.  That same year, she played the title character in the first national tour of The Drowsy Chaperone. She was nominated for the 2015 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical for Honeymoon in Vegas, in which she played the ghost of the lead character’s mother.

Ms. Opel’s television credits include the Law & Order franchise, Flight of the Conchords, and other shows.

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Margo Seibert

Margo Seibert currently stars as Jane in Circle in the Square’s Broadway production of In Transit. Previously she won critical acclaim for her performance as Adrian in the Broadway musical Rocky, a role she created and for which she was nominated for a Drama League Award. She starred off-Broadway as Tamar in Marisa Michelson and Josh Cohen's acclaimed Tamar and River, for which she was nominated for a 2014 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical. In 2015, Margo starred in Rattlestick Playwrights Theater’s The Undeniable Sound of Right Now. She has developed work at The Public, MTC, Playwrights Horizons, NAMT, The O’Neill Center and New Dramatists, and has originated roles in pieces for award-winning writers including David Byrne, Ahrens & Flaherty, Goldrich & Heisler, Adam Gwon and others. Aside from her extensive work in theatre, Margo has appeared on CBS’ Elementary and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.

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Emily Skinner

Emily Skinner has established herself as one of Broadway’s most engaging and versatile performers. Most recently, she appeared as the Witch in Into the Woods at Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars, and as Phyllis in Follies at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, garnering rave reviews for both performances. Ms. Skinner originated a role of Hal Prince’s new musical, Prince of Broadway, in Japan. This show is slated to come in New York in the fall 2017 Broadway season. Her Broadway appearances include Mrs. Wilksonson in Billy Elliot, for which she received a Broadway World Award, and was nominated for a Tony and received a Drama League Award for her performance as Daisy Hilton in Side Show. Her other original Broadway credits include Jekyll & Hyde, James Joyce’s The Dead (opposite Christopher Walken), The Full Monty, Dinner at Eight (Outer Critics Circle nomination), as well as the Actors Fund productions of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and Dreamgirls.

Ms. Skinner has performed many times at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops, and also appeared there in the New York debut of Richard Thomas’ infamous Jerry Springer The Opera (with Harvey Keitel).

Her many CD recordings include cast albums and audio books, as well as 20th Century Fox’s animated feature Anastasia, Raw at Town Hall, The Stephen Sondheim Album, multiple Broadway By the Year Live at Town Hall recordings, and her self-titled solo CD.

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Aaron Heick

Originally from Seattle, Aaron Heick was a member of the Late Show with David Letterman orchestra. He is currently a member of K. J. Denhert’s band and has been a longtime member of Adam Holsman’s band, Brave New World. Aaron was featured as a soloist with Sting, playing both live at Carnegie Hall and on his album, Symphonicities. Among other career highlights, Aaron toured and recorded with Chaka Kahn through most of the 1990s and played on Barbra Streisand’s 2006 US and ’07 European tours. He has played and recorded with dozens of artists, including Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin, Carly Simon, Bette Midler and Michael Feinstein. His first solo recording is Daylight & Darkness. His website is

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Jay Leonhart

Bass player and vocalist Jay Leonhart attended the Peabody Conservatory as a child; he became a jazz musician while at the Berklee College of Music. Among Mr. Leonhart’s many associations have been Barbara Carroll, Marian McPartland, Phil Woods, Gerry Mulligan, Lee Konitz and pianist Mike Renzi. He has been named most valuable bassist in the recording industry three times by the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences. In the 1980s, Mr. Lonhart became known as a lyricist when he began leading his own recording sessions and his songs started to be recorded by other singers. As a leader, Mr. Leonhart has recorded 15 albums for DMP, Sunnyside, Nesak and DRG. He has created a one-man show of his own songs entitled The Bass Lesson. His website is

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James Saporito

James Saporito has enjoyed a flourishing career as a freelance drummer/percussionist in New York City. He has played on more than 60 major motion picture soundtracks and 150 records with artists such as Marilyn Horne, Gladys Knight, Billy Joel, Barbara Cook, Tony Bennett and Celine Dion. His extensive Broadway resume includes the original La Cage aux Folles, The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public, Sunset Boulevard, Jekyll & Hyde, Jumpers, Little Women and The Wedding Singer. James is principal percussion of the New York Pops Orchestra and associate principle percussion of the New York City Ballet Orchestra. He is also a member of the Westchester Philharmonic and the American Composers Orchestra, and he often performs with the New York Philharmonic. Mr. Saporito lives in New Jersey with his wife, the Pulitzer Prizewinning composer, Melinda Wagner.

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Scott Harrell

Trumpeter Scott Harrell has performed with jazz artists Maria Schneider, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and the Dizzy Gillespie alumni band and with contemporary groups Fountains of Wayne and They Might Be Giants. His Broadway performances include Aladdin, Sister Act, Motown, Newsies, Spiderman, Cats, The Producers, Jersey Boys, Hair, Chicago, Curtains, Young Frankenstein, Elf, A Chorus Line, In the Heights, Billy Elliot, West Side Story and Memphis. Harrell is originally from Houston and is a graduate of the University of North Texas School of Music.

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