Concerts for City Greens, the award-winning free outdoor concert series, will present five concerts throughout the summer beginning Wednesday May 30. Produced and hosted by Raissa Katona Bennett, the fifth annual edition of the summer series will showcase the songs of eight songwriters who are the semifinalists in the first Concerts for City Greens Songwriting Contest.
Throughout the summer, the eight semifinalist songs, all of which celebrate the different roles green spaces play in the lives of New Yorkers, will be performed -- two per concert -- by prominent guest artists from the worlds of Broadway, jazz, cabaret and classical music. The concerts take place at the South Park of Tudor City Greens Park (between 41st & 42nd Streets, and 1st & 2nd Avenues) on the following Wednesdays at 6:30pm: May 30, June 20, August 1, September 12 and October 3.
A mix of up-and-coming and veteran songwriters, the eight songwriters include the two-time Grammy nominee Larry Kerchner; prominent indy Judy Kellersberger; rising musical theatre writer and actor Will Reynolds, and the award-winning, Houston-based singer-songwriter Kristine Mills. Among the newcomers are the songwriting duo of Benjamin Bonnema and AriAnna Rose, who graduate from NYU’s Tisch Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program in May; the Brooklyn-based songwriting collective Inland Traveler (consisting of Katie Locke, Lucas Madrazo and Gerald Edward), and a music educator from Georgia,Lauren McCall. Veteran tunesmith Charles Bloom, whose songs have been performed and recorded by LuPone, Patinkin, Ebersole and Marcovicci among others, penned a song with a Los Angeles-based playwright, Karl Gadjusek, in their first collaboration.
The contest’s blue-ribbon jury consists of rock ‘n roll legend Neil Sedaka; the Golden Globe-winning singer-songwriter Amanda McBroom; the multi-platinum singer, songwriter and pianist Ann Hampton Callaway; the Tony-nominated composer Michael John LaChiusa; quadruple-platinum songwriter and Today Show regular David Friedman, and the two-time Emmy Award-winning MTV Networks executive Matthew Parillo.
The contest’s top three songs, chosen after the summer through a combination of online and jury voting, will be performed at a special concert at Feinstein's at the Loews Regency, in the fall or winter of 2012. (TBA)
The award-winning Concerts for City Greens (formerly The Concerts for Tudor City Greens) strives to increase and diversify audiences for live music in New York while linking with other community groups and organizations to promote effective stewardship of New York’s privately owned public green spaces. Each of the previous four seasons, all hosted by the Broadway actress and singer Raissa Katona Bennett, have taken place at Tudor City Greens, one of a select number of privately maintained public spaces in New York City.
“As part of our broader mission, we look forward to bringing live music to other settings in New York while remaining based in Tudor City,” says Bennett. (The rain dates for this summer’s concerts are the following days, all at 6:30pm.) For more information visit www.raissakatonabennett.com