Lincoln Center’s acclaimed series American Songbook has returned to the Allen Room for its fourteenth season celebrating the diversity of American popular song. For 16 nights the series is exploring the best of the golden age of musical standards through to today’s most dynamic songwriting.
The series kicked off last night, January 11, with a concert by Lin-Manuel Miranda. In 2008 Miranda's hit Broadway musical, In The Heights swept the Tony Awards. The music was a fusion of his signature Latin, hip-hop and classic Broadway styles, and last night Miranda performed a sneak preview of new songs from an anticipated work-in-progress: The Hamilton Mixtape, a hip-hop song cycle about the life and death of Alexander Hamilton. Miranda first performed part of The Hamilton Mixtape for President Obama at the White House. This one-night-only performance was scheduled for Hamilton’s 255th birthday.
The evening opened with a surprise appearance by his In The Heights co-star, Mandy Gonzalez, for a remix of Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' Gotham anthem, "Empire State of Mind". Click below for their performance!
Click here for concert photos!
Miranda was also joined onstage throughout the evening by Utkarsh Ambudkar, Gavin Creel, James Monroe Iglehart, Christopher Jackson, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Moeisha Mcgill, Jon Rua, and Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan. In The Heights collaborator Alex Lacamoire was featured on keyboard and provided arrangements and music direction. Additional musicians included Cian McCarthy on keyboard, Michael Aarons on guitar, Matt Rubano on bass, Sean McDaniel on drums, and Tim Keiper on percussion. In the Heights director Thomas Kail helmed the evening.
The American Songbook series continues with:
Thursday, January 12, 2012, 8:30 pm Chris Thile & Michael Daves
Mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile (of the groups Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers) and guitar maven Michael Daves form an impassioned collaboration in their Grammy-nominated new recording, Sleep with One Eye Open, playing songs made famous by legendary bluegrass artists from years past. Together they bring “small-town music with New York City intensity” (NPR) to bluegrass standards played with punk rock abandon. But while acknowledging history they exuberantly defy tradition. Their take-no-prisoners bluegrass will be on dazzling display in The Allen Room.
Friday, January 13, 2012, 8:30 pm JD Souther
The songs of JD Souther are on the personal soundtrack of virtually every American over the age of 30. Souther wrote many of the hits by the Eagles – The Best of My Love, New Kid in Town, Heartache Tonight, to name a few – as well as Linda Ronstadt’s Prisoner in Disguise and Faithless Lover, for example, as a key songwriter for the golden era of California rock in the 1970s. What Souther is doing now is taking his best compositions, in stripped-down arrangements, and singing to recapture the moment and emotion of their creation.
Saturday, January 14, 2012, 8:30 pm William Finn: Songs of Innocence and Experience
William Finn’s enormously popular Broadway musicals – Falsettos and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee – along with his numerous works Off Broadway including A New Brain, Elegies, and Romance in Hard Times mine his life experiences of being gay and Jewish to usually hilarious, often tender effect. His newest project is a Broadway-bound musical of the movie Little Miss Sunshine. Finn will be joined by favorite vocalists and they’ll bring to The Allen Room a song cycle inspired by the poetry of William Blake focusing on family, belonging, love, loss, and healing – the stuff of the great American Songbook.
Since it was launched in 1998, American Songbook has been dedicated to celebrating the extraordinary achievements of the popular American songwriter from the turn of the 20th century to the present day. Spanning all styles and genres from Tin Pan Alley and Broadway to the eclecticism of today’s songwriters working in pop, cabaret, rock, folk and country, American Songbook traces the history and charts the course of the American song from its past and current forms to its future direction.
Tickets can be purchased online at Lincoln Center’s website at www.AmericanSongbook.org, via CenterCharge at 212-721-6500, at the Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall Box Office, or at the Frederick P. Rose Hall Box Office.