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Join singer, songwriter and producer Julian Fleisher as he explores the role of songs in our lives with an exciting and eclectic group of guests and friends, including four-time Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Rosanne Cash, Middle Collegiate Church’s Reverend Jacqui Lewis, three-time Tony nominee and Emmy Award-winning actress, singer and activist Martha Plimpton and others.
For Fleisher, every song has a soul, a story and a spirit. In this new three-part series, Fleisher—joined by a trio of guests and pianist each week—examines songs focusing on one of these elements, with live performance examples and playlists from popular music, musical theater and more. From the songs that capture a moment in time to the ones we fall in love to and the ones that heal our hearts to those that fuel our protests and our prayers, you’ll come away with a deepened understanding of what makes songs resonate. And why they matter.
Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions via chat during the program.
Shakina Nayfack, playwright, singer, star NBC’s Connecting
Melissa Haizlip, producer and director, Mr. SOUL!
Martha Plimpton, actress, singer and activist
Terry Radigan, Grammy nominated songwriter
Lance Horne, Emmy Award winning composer and performer
Ira Glass, host, NPR’s This American Life
Martha Redbone, award winning composer, songwriter, and vocalist
Rosanne Cash, singer-songwriter
Tedd Firth, piano
Reverend Jacqui Lewis, senior minister, Middle Collegiate Church
Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie, founding spiritual leader, Lab/Shul
Tonya Pinkins, Tony Award-winning actress
Tedd Firth, piano
Programs taking place online:An access link will be emailed to you after purchase.
Programs taking place in our NYC facilities:Please read our safety guidelines before visiting our building.
Programs taking place online and in our NYC facilities:Please select which experience you wish to participate in when registering. Online participants will be emailed an access link after purchase. In-person participants should read our safety guidelines before attending the program.
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Julian Fleisher is a composer, singer, writer, producer and performer living in New York …
Julian Fleisher is a composer, singer, writer, producer and performer living in New York. Of his varied creative output, iTunes Editorial said “It’s as if Fleisher can get away with anything.” He sings in nightclubs and concert halls across the country with his Rather Big Band, is a veteran of many Lyrics and Lyricists at the 92nd Street Y and The American Songbook series at Lincoln Center. The son of legendary concert pianist, Leon Fleisher, has performed with the likes of Jennifer Holliday, Ana Gasteyer, Martha Plimpton, Bridget Everett, Molly Ringwald, Michael Feinstein, Justin Vivian Bond, Mo Rocca, Kenny Mellman and Diana Krall. Recordings he’s produced and co-written include his own Rather Big and Finally, Ana Gasteyer’s I’m Hip and Sugar & Booze, and Kiki & Herb’s Do You Hear What We Hear. He composed the music for many plays and musicals including Broadway’s The Performers, his own Please, Refrain, and John Cariani’s Almost, Maine, the most produced play in America for over a decade. His original song, “Nothing Rhymes with Christmas,” can be heard in the upcoming SONY Classics feature, Happiest Season, starring Kristen Stewart and Dan Levy. As an actor, he was seen off-Broadway as The Cat in the world premier of Stephin Merrit's adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline at MCC and as George Davis in Gabe Kahane’s February House at The Public Theater. Julian is the author of The Drag Queens of New York: An Illustrated Field Guide (Riverhead), the host of WNYC’s The Naked American Songbook and 44 Charlton (a monthly variety show taped live at WNYC’s Greene Space) As the website Culture Craver put it, “Julian Fleisher is one of New York’s treasured talents.” More at julianfleisher.com and as @JulianFlei.
Originally from Southern California, Shakina enjoys an eclectic career as a performer, director, writer, producer, and social activist …
Originally from Southern California, Shakina enjoys an eclectic career as a performer, director, writer, producer, and social activist. Most recently, Shakina played a guest starring role in the series finale of Amazon’s Transparent, a Musicale Finale on which Shakina was also a writer and producer. Her fans know for her work as Lola in Hulu’s cult-comedy series Difficult People. Shakina can also be seen on Marvel’s Jessica Jones (Netflix) and The Detour (TBS)., and heard as the voice of Hana in the Gkids remaster and English dub of the Satoshi Kon anime cult classic Tokyo Godfathers.
Shakina’s autobiographical rock musicals One Woman Show (2013), Post-Op (2015), and Manifest Pussy (2106) all premiered to sold-out houses at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater in New York City. She has performed on Broadway in 24-Hour Plays and Gypsy Of The Year, as well as Off-Broadway in M.J. Kauffman's Masculinity Max at The Public Theater, and in Manuel Versus The Statue Of Liberty (As Lady Liberty).
Shakina received international attention for crowdfunding her gender confirmation with her 2014 KickStartHer campaign as well as her 2016 “Rebel Tour” of North Carolina, where she performed in protest of the anti-trans law HB2 (“The Bathroom Bill”). Shakina is also the Founding Artistic Director of Musical Theatre Factory (MTF), a non-profit artist service organization dedicated to developing new work. Through MTF Shakina has supported the development of numerous new musicals by the next generation of Broadway composers. Before starting Musical Theatre Factory, Shakina served as Associate Producer for Barrington Stage Company.
In 2015 Shakina received a Lilly Award recognizing the remarkable contributions to the American Theatre made by women. She is also a two-time Drama League fellow, having been selected for the New Musical Directing Fellowship (2011) and the Beatrice Terry Fellowship for women playwright/directors (2017), supporting the development of her new play, Chonburi International Hotel and Butterfly Club.
Shakina roots herself as a Butoh-inspired artist trained beneath Diego Piñón, founder of Body Ritual Movement. With an MFA in Experimental Choreography and a PhD in Critical Dance Studies (both from the University of California at Riverside), Shakina has pioneered her own Butoh for the Actor method, developed through master classes at the University of California at Santa Cruz, the Chicago Cultural Center, Casa del Teatro in Mexico City, Barrington Stage Company, The Drama League, the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, and most recently as adjunct faculty at NYU Tisch Drama. Shakina has written about her work with Diego Piñón in the anthology Dancing Across Borders (University of Illinois Press, 2009) and is a featured artist in The Routledge Companion to Butoh Performance (2018). She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Community Studies and Graduate Certificate in Theatre from UC Santa Cruz.
Melissa Haizlip is an award-winning filmmaker born in Boston, and raised in the US Virgin Islands, New York and Connecticut …
Melissa Haizlip is an award-winning filmmaker born in Boston, and raised in the US Virgin Islands, New York and Connecticut, where she attended Yale University. Her work responds to pressing social issues at the intersection of racial justice, social justice, activism, and representation. Music is at the core of all of her ideas. Growing up immersed in music, Melissa studied classical piano and attended Interlochen, with dreams of becoming a concert pianist. Melissa’s passion for songwriting led her to arrange music for a cappella groups and write original songs for films. Before becoming a filmmaker, Melissa enjoyed a robust career in musical theatre, performing on Broadway and around the world. Her voice can be heard on two original Broadway cast recordings, and several albums and film soundtracks, including Tears of the Sun, conducted by Hans Zimmer. Her film Mr. SOUL! won Best Music Documentary at the 2018 International Documentary Association Awards after its world premiere at Tribeca Film Festival. Mr. SOUL! was awarded 17 jury and audience awards, and won the Critics Choice Award for Best First Documentary Feature.
Martha Plimpton is a United States Citizen, an Emmy- and Tony-nominated actress, a singer and sometimes writer based in New York …
Martha Plimpton is a United States Citizen, an Emmy- and Tony-nominated actress, a singer and sometimes writer based in New York. She has appeared in over 35 films, dozens of television programs, on stage in theaters large and small for over 30 years and she has headlined Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series twice. She has been politically active since she was a teenager, marching for women’s reproductive freedom in the 80, 90s, 00s, and now, unfortunately, the 10s. She has lobbied Congress on behalf of Planned Parenthood and has spoken out for women’s reproductive rights at campuses and rallies across the country. Martha will work to see that a woman’s right to physical self-determination becomes the standard in America for as long as it takes.
Grammy nominated songwriter Terry Radigan mixes her gritty Brooklyn girl sensibility with a deep respect for classic American roots, country and soul …
Grammy nominated songwriter Terry Radigan mixes her gritty Brooklyn girl sensibility with a deep respect for classic American roots, country and soul. She has had her songs covered by a wide variety of artists including Ashley MacIsaac, Trisha Yearwood, and Anúna. "Radigan gets inside the pathos of love like no one else. A jazz noir sound with pop sensibilities. A stunning collection of songs." (Mademoiselle)
Lance Horne is an Emmy award-winning composer, pianist, singer, and music director who has arranged for/performed with Alan Cumming …
Lance Horne is an Emmy award-winning composer, pianist, singer, and music director who has arranged for/performed with Alan Cumming, Jake Shears/Scissor Sisters, Ricki Lake, Rufus Wainwright, Pink Martini, Liza Minnelli, Kylie Minogue, the von Trapps, Ben Folds, Neil Gaiman, Kristin Chenoweth, Justin Bond, Sandra Bernhard, Amanda Palmer/Dresden Dolls, Cheyenne Jackson, Kelli O’Hara, Meow Meow, Taylor Mac, the Gatlin Brothers, Boston Pops, Seoul Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, London/SF/LA/NY Gay Men’s Chorus, Sydney Dance Company, Michael Feinstein, Carol Channing, and Sesame Street; performed for President Obama, the First Lady, and Queen Elizabeth; multiple appearances at Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, Lincoln Center, and London's West End.
Ira Glass started working in public radio in 1978, when he was 19, as an intern at NPR’s headquarters in D.C. …
Ira Glass started working in public radio in 1978, when he was 19, as an intern at NPR’s headquarters in D.C. Over the next 17 years, he worked on nearly every NPR news show and did nearly every production job they had: tape-cutter, desk assistant, newscast writer, editor, producer, reporter, and substitute host. He moved to Chicago in 1989 and put This American Life on the air in 1995.
Martha Redbone is a Native & African-American vocalist/songwriter/composer/educator …
Martha Redbone is a Native & African-American vocalist/songwriter/composer/educator. She is known for her music gumbo of folk, blues and gospel from her childhood in coal country Harlan County, Kentucky infused with the eclectic grit of pre-gentrified Brooklyn. Inheriting the powerful vocal range of her gospel-singing African American father and the resilient spirit of her mother’s Cherokee/Shawnee/Choctaw culture, Redbone broadens the boundaries of American Roots music. With songs and storytelling that share her life experience as an Afro-Indigenous woman and mother navigating in the new millennium, Redbone gives voice to issues of social justice, bridging traditions, connecting cultures, and celebrating the human spirit. Her latest album The Garden of Love- Songs of William Blake is “a brilliant collision of cultures” (New Yorker). Currently developing Talking Circles at New York Theater Workshop and Black Mountain Women with The Public Theater, Redbone is the 2020 Drama Desk Award winner for Outstanding Music in a Play and the 2020 Audelco Award winner for Outstanding Musical Composer for Original Music and Score For Colored Girls… at the Public Theater, NYC.
One of the country’s pre-eminent singer/songwriters, Rosanne Cash has released 15 albums of extraordinary songs …
One of the country’s pre-eminent singer/songwriters, Rosanne Cash has released 15 albums of extraordinary songs that have earned four GRAMMY Awards and nominations for 11 more. She is also an author whose four books include the bestselling memoir Composed, which the Chicago Tribune called “one of the best accounts of an American life you’ll likely ever read.” Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, the Oxford-American, the Nation and many more publications. In addition to continual worldwide touring, Cash has partnered in programming or served as artist in residence at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, San Francisco Jazz, the Minnesota Orchestra and The Library of Congress.
She was awarded the SAG/AFTRA Lifetime Achievement award for Sound Recordings in 2012 and received the 2014 Smithsonian Ingenuity Award in the Performing Arts. She was chosen as a Perspective Series artist at Carnegie Hall and hosted four concerts during their 2015/16 season, and she continues her association as Creative Partner through the 2017/18 season.
In 2015, she was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.
On The River and the Thread, a collaboration with husband/co-writer/producer and arranger John Leventhal, Cash evokes a kaleidoscopic examination of the geographic, emotional, musical and historic landscape of the American South. The album garnered impressive worldwide acclaim and she received 3 Grammy Awards for it in 2015.
Her latest album, She Remembers Everything, will be released on November 2nd.
The Rev. Jacqueline J. Lewis, PhD is Senior Minister at Middle Collegiate Church …
The Rev. Jacqueline J. Lewis, PhD is Senior Minister at Middle Collegiate Church, a 1,300-member multiethnic, welcoming, and inclusive congregation in New York City. She is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and earned her PhD in Religion and Society/Psychology and Religion at Drew University. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Dr. Lewis hosted Just Faith, an on-demand television program on MSNBC.com and is a frequent media commentator. Her books include The Power of Stories: A Guide for Leaders in Multi-racial, Multi-cultural Congregations, Ten Strategies for Becoming a Multiracial Congregation, and the children’s book, You Are So Wonderful! She is currently at work on a book on how to heal souls and our world.
Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie is the Founding Spiritual Leader of Lab/Shul NYC and the creator of Storahtelling, Inc …
Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie is the Founding Spiritual Leader of Lab/Shul NYC and the creator of Storahtelling, Inc. An Israeli-born Jewish educator, writer, and performance artist, he received his rabbinical ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 2016. Rabbi Amichai is a member of the Global Justice Fellowship of the American Jewish World Service, a founding member of the Jewish Emergent Network, serves on the Leadership Council of the New York Jewish Agenda, the Advisory Council of the International School for Peace – a Refugee Support Project in Greece, and is a faculty memer of the Reboot Network. Rabbi Amichai has been hailed as “an iconoclastic mystic” by Time Out New York, a “rock star” by the New York Times, a “Judaic Pied Piper” by the Denver Westword, a “maverick spiritual leader” by The Times of Israel and “one of the most interesting thinkers in the Jewish world” by the Jewish Week. In 2016 The Forward named him one of the thirty-two “Most Inspiring Rabbis” in America, and in 2017 he was top five on “The Forward 50,” their annual list of the most influential and accomplished Jews in America. In June 2017 Rabbi Amichai published the JOY Proposal, offering a new response to the reality of Intermarriage and taking on a personal position on this issue, including his resignation from the Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative Movement. Amichai is Abba to Alice, Ezra and Charlotte.
Tonya Pinkins is a Tony Award-winning actor on stage, television and film …
Tonya Pinkins is a Tony Award-winning actor on stage, television and film. Twenty years in daytime television, 9 Broadway shows, including the original Merrily We Role Along, Caroline, or Change (Tony Nominee) and Jelly’s Last Jam (Tony-winner, Best Supporting Actress). She was Ethel Peabody of Gotham and Martha on Fear the Walking Dead. This season catch her on Katy Keane, Wu Tang—American Saga and as the secretary of State on Madam Secretary. She is currently producing, directing and co-writing Truth & Reconciliation: Womyn Working It Out! In association with The Tank and a grant from LMCC. She will write, produce, direct and act in a socio-political horror film: Red Pill. Tonya is interested in the ways people veer away from truth in quests for power, connection and belonging and how that detour impacts our world.
Tedd Firth is a New York City based musical director, pianist and arranger. As musical director and accompanist he has worked with Bernadette Peters, Michael Feinstein …
Tedd Firth is a New York City based musical director, pianist and arranger. As musical director and accompanist he has worked with Bernadette Peters, Michael Feinstein, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Barbara Cook, Maureen McGovern, Marilyn Maye, Elaine Paige, Tom Wopat, Leslie Uggams, Joshua Bell, Linda Lavin, Christine Ebersole, Lucie Arnaz, Lee Ann Womack, Faith Prince, John Schneider, Betty Buckley, Karen Akers, Mary Cleere Haran, Margaret Whiting, Carol Sloane and of course, Julian Fleisher.
Among the jazz musicians he has performed or recorded with are John Pizzarelli, Houston Person, Frank Wess, Mark Whitfield, Red Holloway, Benny Golson and Joe Morello.
Recent highlights include being the musical director for the reunion of the original Broadway cast of Into The Woods at the Segerstrom Center For The Arts in Costa Mesa, CA as well as serving as musical director for Michael Feinstein’s Jazz and Popular Song concert series at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
New York appearances include Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Blue Note, Birdland, the Iridium, the Algonquin, the Cafe Carlyle and Feinstein's at the Regency. Numerous national appearances include a performance at the White House.
As an arranger and orchestrator, Tedd’s work has been performed by all major American symphony orchestras as well as Liza Minnelli. In 2013, Tedd was commissioned by the New York Pops to create new orchestrations for A Charlie Brown Christmas which has had numerous performances across the country in subsequent years.
Television appearances include The Today Show, Live From Lincoln Center and All My Children.
Harvey Granat Presents
with Harvey Granat and guest Barry Kleinbort and a performance by Karen Mason