As an annual gift to the city, Symphony Space has been presenting its signature music marathons since it opened in 1978. This year Symphony Space samples some of the greatest music from the Great White Way for Wall to Wall Broadway: A Century of Musicals, a twelve-hour celebration of the music of Broadway on May 16 from 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m., FREE.
Hosted and staged by Symphony Space Artistic Director and co-founder Isaiah Sheffer, the event will feature an array of works from Broadway-songs, overtures, dance music, even songs from kid-friendly musicals in the morning-performed by hundreds of well known and emerging artists. Some of the highlighted performers include Brian Stokes Mitchell, Tony Award Winner for Kiss Me, Kate and stage and television mainstay; Kelli O'Hara, three time Tony Award nominee for The Pajama Game, The Light in the Piazza, and South Pacific; Donna Murphy, four time Tony Award nominee and winner for Passion and The King and I; Liz Callaway, Tony Award nominee for Baby; B.D. Wong, star of stage and screen and Tony Award winner for M. Butterfly; Charlotte d'Amboise, two-time Tony Award nominee best known for her portrayal of Roxie Hart in Chicago; Julie Wilson, cabaret legend and Tony Award nominee for Legs Diamond; and Artistic Director Sheffer himself performing "Don Jose from Far Rockaway" from Wish You Were Here. Tony Award-winning musical director Paul Gemignani will conduct the orchestra for the "Broadway Classics" segment from 8:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m.
This year's event will also feature a discussion with storied producer Harold Prince, winner of 21 Tony Awards, as well as segments titled "Musicals That Inspired Me" and "Gems From Flops" hosted by noted musical theatre scholar and author Leonard Fleischer and President of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization Theodore Chapin. Additionally, Sheldon Harnick, dean of American Musical Theater Lyricists (Fiorello!, Fiddler on the Roof) will talk with Broadway's youngest composer-lyricist, Lin-Manuel Miranda (In the Heights) and perform his recent "rap." Young composers from the ASCAP and BMI Workshops will participate, previewing future Broadway numbers, while The current casts from a number of Broadway shows including West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, Mary Poppins, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Shrek and South Pacific will stop by to perform. Throughout the event, the lobby and theatre interior will be alive with large-scale reproductions of great Broadway drawings by the unique caricaturist Al Hirschfeld, courtesy of Louise Kerz-Hirschfeld.
Past Wall to Wall marathons at Symphony Space have explored the works of Stephen Sondheim (for which devoted fans lined up beginning at 1:30 a.m. on the day of performance), Beethoven, Joni Mitchell, Kurt Weill, Duke Ellington and other legendary creators. Audiences are welcome to enter and exit throughout the event.