“You must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss.” — Herman Hupfeld

They’re standards we all know and love: “As Time Goes By,” “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” “The Nearness of You.” But who wrote their famous words? Ever hear of … Herman Hupfeld? Leo Robin? Ned Washington? Join artistic director Rob Fisher, who arranged the music for Broadway’s An American in Paris, and celebrated Fiddler on the Roof lyricist Sheldon Harnick in their latest Lyrics & Lyricists collaboration as they salute the unsung wordsmiths behind some of the world’s greatest songs.

Rob Fisher, artistic director & piano
Sheldon Harnick, writer & host
Scott Faris, stage director
John Bell, associate music director

Aaron C. Finley, vocals
Judy Kuhn, vocals
Elizabeth Stanley, vocals
Sal Viviano, vocals

Lawrence Feldman, reeds
Jim Hershman, guitar
Dick Sarpola, bass
John Redsecker, drums

 

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The Sunday performance at 2 pm is supported by Producers Circle member The Henry Nias Foundation, courtesy of Dr. Stanley Edelman z”l. The Sunday performance at 7 pm is supported by Producers Circle member The Hite Foundation. 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.

Bios

(Click the names below to expand info.)

Rob Fisher, artistic director & piano

One of Lyrics & Lyricists’ most popular and creative guest artistic directors, Rob Fisher is making his eleventh appearance on the series and his eighth collaboration with Sheldon Harnick. He made his series debut as a pianist in 1983 in a Tin Pan Alley program. His recent shows include a 2010 survey of satiric comedy songs, narrated by Sheldon; a 2012 celebration of vocal groups; a 2013 show on W. S. Gilbert’s influence on Broadway, written and hosted by Sheldon; and 50th anniversary celebration of Fiddler on the Roof, written and hosted by Sheldon.

Rob’s recent Broadway credits include musical score adapter and supervisor of An American in Paris, which was the most awarded show in 2015, is now on tour in the US, and opened this spring in London to rapturous reviews.

Rob’s other Broadway credits include music consultant for Living on Love, starring Renée Fleming, music supervisor for 2011’s Anything Goes and 2009’s Hair, both of which won Tony Awards for Best Revival. He was also musical director of Chicago, Wonderful Town and The Apple Tree, all of which began as Encores! productions.

Rob was music director and conductor of the Tony Award-winning New York City Center Encores! series from its inception in 1994 through 2005, and returns from time to time as guest music director, most recently for Lady, Be Good!.

As a conductor, Rob has led the New York Philharmonic in My Fair Lady, Carousel (Emmy nomination) and Garrison Keillor at 70 — all featuring star-studded casts. He conducted the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in recent concert performances of both Guys and Dolls and The Sound of Music at Carnegie Hall. He has been guest conductor for orchestras across the country including Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Boston, 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, performing 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, including the Grammy Award-winning Chicago cast album.

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Sheldon Harnick, writer & host

Lyricist Sheldon Harnick has been a welcome and beloved presence at 92nd Street Y since 1971 when he was a guest in the first season of Lyrics & Lyricists. A graduate of Northwestern University, Sheldon came to New York in the early 1950s and wrote for such revues as New Faces of ’52 and The Littlest Revue. In the mid ’50s, Broadway star Jack Cassidy introduced him to composer Jerry Bock, and in 1958 they created their first show, The Body Beautiful.

The team wrote six more Broadway musicals, led by two of the most acclaimed productions of the 1960s: Fiorello, which won the Pulitzer Prize and three Tony Awards, and Fiddler on the Roof, which won nine Tonys and held the record for longest-running Broadway musical until Grease in 1980. Three other Harnick-Bock shows received Tony nominations: She Loves Me, The Apple Tree and The Rothschilds. They also contributed to the musicals Baker Street and Her First Roman; the Bill Baird marionette musical Man in the Moon; the play Never Too Late; and the TV musical, The Canterville Ghost.

After 1970 Sheldon collaborated with many other distinguished composers. He worked with Mary Rodgers on Pinocchio, Richard Rodgers on Rex, Michel Legrand on The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Joe Raposo on both A Wonderful Life and the cantata Sutter’s Gold, and Norton Juster and Arnold Black on The Phantom Tollbooth. He wrote additional lyrics to 1979’s The Madwoman of Central Park West and 1994’s Tony-nominated Cyrano.

In 2014, the York Theatre devoted its entire “Musicals in Mufti” season to the works of Sheldon Harnick. It included three revivals: an early Off-Broadway show, Smiling, the Boy Fell Dead; Harnick and Bock’s second collaboration, Tenderloin; and a 1984 parable on democracy, Dragons, with Sheldon providing both music and lyrics. The season also featured the world premiere of his Molière-inspired Malpractice Makes Perfect and a new musical revue, A World to Win. In May 2014 Harbinger Records released Sheldon Harnick: Hidden Treasures, 1949–2013 on its Songwriters Showcase Series. Sheldon is a longtime member of the Dramatists Guild and the Songwriters Guild; in addition to numerous awards, together with Jerry Bock he is recipient of the Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

In 1974 Sheldon wrote the song “William’s Doll” with Mary Rogers for Marlo Thomas’ recording of Free to Be ... You and Me. His film and television credits include the themes for The Heartbreak Kid and Blame it on Rio, both written with Cy Coleman. Sheldon has provided English-language librettos for operas and oratorios, including Bizet’s Carmen, Lehár’s The Merry Widow, and works by Stravinsky, Ravel, Mozart, Bach and Verdi. In 2012 he and his wife, photographer Margery Gray Harnick, collaborated on a book of photographs and poems, The Outdoor Museum (not your usual images of New York).

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Scott Faris, stage director

Scott Faris directed William Shatner’s one-man Broadway show, Shatner’s World: We Just Live in It. He has directed more than 20 productions of Chicago, Light Falls at the World Science Festival (starring Brian Greene, the renown theoretical physicist) and the national tours of Sweet Charity and South Pacific. He made his Lyrics & Lyricists debut in 2012 as director of Rob Fisher’s celebration of vocal groups, and directed last year’s 90th birthday tribute to Bucky Pizzarelli as well as Billy Stritch’s Witchcraft: The Jazz Magic of Cy Coleman.

Beyond theater, Mr. Faris is a successful director of grand spectacles and concerts. His acclaimed arena spectacular, Walking with Dinosaurs, had record-breaking runs at both New York’s Madison Square Garden and London’s O2 Arena. In Las Vegas he directed Bette Midler’s The Showgirl Must Go On at Caesars Palace, Véronic — Voices at Bally’s Casino and EFX! starring Michael Crawford at the MGM Grand, and he was part of the original team that created Siegfried & Roy at the Mirage Hotel. He has also worked as a directing consultant for Cirque du Soleil. His website is scottfarisdirector.com.

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John Bell, associate music director

John Bell was most recently the associate conductor of Fiddler on the Roof at the Broadway Theatre. His other Broadway conducting credits include On the Town and An American in Paris. At the Irish Repertory Theatre, John has been the music director/supervisor for Finian’s Rainbow, Donnybrook, New Girl in Town, Meet Me in St. Louis, Transport, A Child’s Christmas in Wales and their gala concerts of The Spectacular Songs of Lerner and Lowe, A Celebration of Yeats and Finian’s Rainbow. At City Center Encores! his credits include The New Yorkers, Cabin in the Sky, Do I Hear a Waltz, Zorba, Lady Be Good and Irma La Douce (associate music director). Other credits include Sondheim’s Marry Me A Little (Keen Company), Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Tomorrow Morning, Harold & Maude, The Body Beautiful, Plain & Fancy and Knickerbocker Holiday (York Theatre Company). John has worked with the New York Pops, Pittsburgh CLO and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He holds a BFA in musical theatre from Ithaca College and an MA in piano from CUNY, and has studied at the Manhattan School of Music.

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Aaron C. Finley, vocals

Aaron C. Finley returns to Lyrics & Lyricists, having made his debut in the 2016 salute, Songs from the Road to Broadway. Born and raised in Montana, his career has spanned from coast to coast as a professional actor and singer. Educated at Pacific Lutheran University in Seattle, he quickly became a top-tier talent in the Pacific Northwest, appearing in productions of Jesus Christ Superstar (Jesus/Judas), Rent (Roger), Fiddler on the Roof (Perchik), Hairspray (Link Larkin), It Shoulda Been You (Greg Madison) and The Gypsy King (Drago). Among his other regional roles, Aaron originated the role of Billy in the new musical Diner, based on the Barry Levinson film, with music and lyrics by Sheryl Crow and direction by Kathleen Marshall.

Aaron made his Broadway debut in 2013, starring as Drew Boley in Rock of Ages. In 2015, he took over the role of leading man Brian Howard in It Shoulda Been You, directed by David Hyde Pierce. Among his other work in New York, he participated in a lab production of George Takei’s musical, Allegiance and in the fall of 2016, Aaron took over the role of Charlie Price in Kinky Boots. Recently, he has been performing a pops symphony concert celebrating the music of the 1980s across North America.

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Judy Kuhn, vocals

Four time TONY Award nominee Judy Kuhn recently starred as Golde in the critically acclaimed revival of Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway. In 2015 Judy starred as Helen Bechdel in the Tony Award winning production of Fun Home (Tony & Drama League Award Nominations); a role which she created in the original Off-Bway production at the Public Theater (2014 Lucille Lortel Award). Other Broadway credits include The Roundabout's 1993 revival of She Loves Me (Tony Award Nomination), Chess (Tony & Drama Desk Award Nominations) and Les Miserables (Tony & Drama Desk Award Nominations), Rags, Two Shakespearean Actors, King David and The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Recent regional appearances include Kander & Ebb’s The Visit at The Williamstown Theater Festival, Passion at the Classic Stage Co. (Drama League Award nomination) and The Cradle Will Rock in the inaugural season of Encores! Off-Center.

Judy sang the title role in Disney's Pocahontas as well as the in the sequel Pocahontas II: Journey To A New World. Other film and television appearances include: Enchanted, Elementary, Hope & Faith, Law & Order, All My Children, My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies, The Kennedy Center Honors, The Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Concert, In Performance At The White House.

Judy has performed on concert stages around the world and can be heard on numerous original cast recordings as well as her solo albums: Rodgers, Rodgers & Guettel; All This Happiness; Serious Playground: The Songs of Laura Nyro and Just In Time: Judy Kuhn Sings Jule Styne.

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Elizabeth Stanley, vocals

Elizabeth Stanley was last seen starring as Francesca in the first national tour of Jason Robert Brown’s The Bridges of Madison County (dir. by Bartlett Sher), and before that as the man-crazed anthropologist, Claire De Loone, in the Broadway revival of On the Town (Drama Desk Nomination). Other roles originated on Broadway: Dyanne in Million Dollar Quartet, Allison in Cry-Baby and April in the Tony Award-winning revival of Company. First National Tour: Kira in Xanadu. Off-Broadway: Gussie in the New York City Center Encores! production of Merrily We Roll Along (PS Classics cast album), and The Nurse in Hello, Again (Transport Theatre Group, Drama League Award — Best Ensemble). TV: The Get Down, The Affair, Black Box, Made in Jersey, Fringe, The Chappelle Show and PBS Great Performances — Company. Regionally, she has performed with Sundance Theatre Festival, Sacramento Music Circus, Pittsburgh CLO, Barrington Stage Co., Philadelphia Theatre Co., Rep. of St. Louis, O’Neill, La Jolla Playhouse, Pioneer Theatre Co. and Cincinnati Playhouse. Graduate of Indiana University. Her website is ElizabethStanley.net.

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Sal Viviano, vocals

Sal Viviano made his Broadway debut in The Three Musketeers and has since appeared in Romance/Romance, City of Angels, Falsettos, The Life, The Full Monty and as Billy Flynn in Chicago. Off-Broadway he co-starred in Closer Than Ever (Broadway World Award – Best Actor) and has originated leading roles in The Big Time; Golf, the Musical (Backstage Award – Best Actor); Beau Jest; Cather County; Weird Romance; Catch Me if I Fall; Broadway Jukebox; and Hamlet, the Opera.

On tour, he’s starred in Evita, Anything Goes, The Pirates of Penzance, Hair and Sunday in the Park with George (Helen Hayes Award nomination). He has appeared in many regional theaters nationwide.

On film, Sal starred in John Fasano’s cult classics Black Roses and The Jitters. He has also appeared and recorded songs for Legally Blonde 2, Spike of Bensonhurst and Life with Mikey. TV appearances include Law and Order, The Cosby Mysteries, Search for Tomorrow, Ryan’s Hope and All My Children.

Mr. Viviano has sung well over 300 Pops Concerts with nearly 200 Symphony Orchestras around the World, at such iconic venues as Carnegie Hall, The Waldorf Astoria’s Starlight Roof and Ballroom, London Palladium, The Kennedy Center, The Hollywood Bowl and, by presidential invitation, the White House.

He has made more than 70 recordings: most recently, Perfectly Frank – A Century of Sinatra. His website is Salviviano.com.

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Lawrence Feldman, reeds

Lawrence Feldman has recorded, performed and toured with some of the greatest musicians and entertainers since the mid-1970s. The lead alto of the Bob Mintzer Big Band from its inception, he was also a member of the Saturday Night Live Band and the National Jazz Ensemble. He has worked with many of the great jazz and pop singers — from Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand and Rosemary Clooney to Barbara Cook, Audra McDonald, Linda Ronstadt, Liza Minnelli, Patti LuPone, Steely Dan, Michael Franks and Rod Stewart. Classical appearances include the New York Philharmonic, Concordia, the New Jersey Symphony, American Ballet Theater, among others. One of the first-call New York studio musicians, he has played on literally hundreds of jingles, movie score soundtracks and record dates in addition to playing the first reed book on more than 20 Broadway musicals.

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Jim Hershman, guitar

Guitarist Jim Hershman has performed with Lee Konitz, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Steve Swallow, Jon Hendricks, the LA Philharmonic, Billy Porter, Patti Lupone, Kristin Chenoweth and many others. His CDs as leaders include Partners in Crime, with Bill Cunliffe on Hammond B-3 organ and Jeff Hamilton on drums; Small Talk, with bassist Eric von Essen; and 342 with Lee Konitz, Scott Colley and Kenny Wollesen. Jim has lent his talents to many Broadway shows and recordings, and has toured all over the world. In 2010 he performed in a salute to Broadway at the White House.

Jim plays guitars by Roger Borys, Greg Brandt and Taylor. He uses D'Addario strings exclusively.

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Dick Sarpola, bass

Bass player Dick Sarpola has played in more than a dozen Broadway shows, including Aladdin and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. He toured internationally with Liza Minnelli for more than ten years and has performed and recorded with major popular stars such as Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Michael Feinstein, Barbara Cook and Rebecca Luker; and such jazz notables as Sir George Shearing, Mel Tormé, Peggy Lee, and the Village Vanguard and Woody Herman orchestras. In the studio, Dick can be heard on the soundtracks of almost 100 major films.

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John Redsecker, drums

Drummer John Redsecker has worked with Rob Fisher with a variety of artists including Patti Lupone, Kristen Chenoweth and Kelli O'Hara. He has played for many Broadway productions including Barnum, Anything Goes, Marilyn, Mayor, Song and Dance, My Favorite Year, Meet Me in St. Louis, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and is currently playing in Disney’s Aladdin.

He has performed and recorded with such artists as Peter Allen, Liz & Ann Hampton Callaway, Cab Calloway, Barbara Cook, Cissy Houston, Leslie Gore, Jane Krakowski, Nancy LaMott, Kathie Lee, Maureen McGovern, Mandy Patinkin, Chita Rivera, Ann Reinking and Dawn Upshaw.

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