NEWARK, N.J., Sept. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NJTV, New Jersey's public television network, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) announced a talent-rich line-up for season three of the award-winning American Songbook at NJPAC series. Performances will be taped before a live audience in NJPAC's Victoria Theater on Sunday, October 25 and Monday, October 26 for broadcast on NJTV, WLIW and THIRTEEN next year. Tickets for both shows are now on sale.
The multi-part music series will feature performances of American Songbook classics and more by stars of stage, screen and radio. Jessie Mueller and Jarrod Spector from the original cast of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, cabaret great Marilyn Maye, Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz and friends, jazz royal Catherine Russell, SiriusXM Broadway host and entertainer Seth Rudetsky with special guest Christine Ebersole, and award-winning Manhattan cabaret and recording artists KT Sullivan and Jeff Harnar will appear.
Performances will be followed by a Q&A session conducted by Ted Chapin, president and executive director of Rodgers & Hammerstein: An Imagen Company.
Tickets are now on sale for each of the American Songbook at NJPAC sessions, ranging in price from $39-$49. Tickets are available by phone at 1-888-466-5722, online www.njpac.org, and at NJPAC's box office at 1 Center Street in Downtown Newark.
"NJTV is dedicated to making the arts accessible to everyone, delivering exciting live performances such as these directly into local living rooms and classrooms," said John Servidio, General Manager of NJTV. "This series assures a front-row seat for everyone to enjoy and appreciate this timeless musical genre."
"American Songbook at NJPAC is the gold standard for artful and inspiring performances of classic popular song by our finest interpreters," said John Schreiber, President and CEO of NJPAC. "NJPAC couldn't be prouder to be the home of original television that is both entertaining and historically important."
American Songbook at NJPAC is a production of New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Public Media NJ, Inc. John Servidio is the Executive in Charge of Production; Mike Kostel is the series executive producer; David Stern is director and Annette Jolles is Associate Director.
The series, which launched in 2013, has received accolades in its first two seasons. Most recently, the series has been nominated for a 2015 Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Award. Its first season was awarded a New York State Broadcasters Association award for Outstanding Locally Produced Television Program.
Previous episodes can be viewed online at http://www.njtvonline.org/programs/american-songbook-at-njpac/
The American Songbook at NJPAC series follows on the success of several other television events from the Arts Center, including One-on-One at NJPAC with Steve Adubato, BET's Black Girls Rock, the HBO Special Ghetto Klown with John Leguizamo, and NBC'sAmerica's Got Talent.
The "American Song" series at NJPAC is presented, in part, through the generosity of the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation and the David S. Steiner and Sylvia Steiner Charitable Trust.
BIOGRAPHIES OF THE ARTISTS FEATURED IN SEASON THREE OF AMERICAN SONGBOOK AT NJPAC:
Christine Ebersole received virtually every Off-Broadway award and her second Tony Award for Leading Actress in a Musical for Grey Gardens. Other memorable performances include her Tony Award-winning performance in the revival of 42nd Street, Steel Magnolias, On the Twentieth Century, Oklahoma, Camelot, Dinner at Eight, The Best Man, and Blithe Spirit. Film credits include The Wolf of Wall Street, The Big Wedding, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Black Sheep, Richie Rich, Tootsie and Amadeus. Ms. Ebersole was a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live ('81-'82). Other television credits include Sullivan and Son, Royal Pains, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, American Horror Story: Coven, Ugly Betty, Boston Legal, and Will and Grace.
The award-winning Marilyn Maye appeared 76 times on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson – the record for a singer. She is a highly praised singer, actress, director, arranger, educator and a musical treasure. Marilyn began her professional singing career at the age of 15 and has been committed her entire life to the art of song and performance. During her eleven-year engagement at the Colony in Kansas City, she was "discovered" by Steve Allen who was the first to present her various times to a national television audience. The Steve Allen performances led her to an RCA recording contract and appearances in prestigious New York clubs such as The Copacabana, The Living Room and The Rainbow Grill. She was a constant presence on numerous television shows including The Ed Sullivan Show, The Hollywood Palace, The Merv Griffin Show, The Joey Bishop Show, The Dick Cavett Show, The Mike Douglas Show and others. Perhaps the simplest Marilyn Maye accolade came after one of her show-stopping appearances on The Tonight Show when turning to his audience of millions, Johnny Carson said, "And that, young singers, is the way it's done."
When The Arts Council of The Smithsonian Institution included her RCA recording of "Too Late Now" in their significant album of the 110 Best American Compositions of the Twentieth Century, her place in popular music history was assured. Ms. Maye's 64 engagements in the last nine years in New York include sold-out multiple-nights at the Metropolitan Room, Birdland, five two-week runs at Feinstein's at The Loews Regency Hotel, New York's Town Hall, the 92nd Street Y Theater and 54 Below. Maye's starring roles in theater include Mame, Hello, Dolly, Follies and Can Can. Her recorded album "Marilyn Maye Sings All Of Hello, Dolly," with liner notes by composer Jerry Herman, has been released as one of her six current CDs along with "Rapport," "The Singing Side of Life," "Maye Sings Ray (Charles)," "Super Singer," "A Tribute to Johnny Carson."
JESSIE MUELLER & JARROD SPECTOR
2014 Tony Award Winner-Best Actress in a Musical Jessie Mueller and 2014 Tony Nominee for Best Featured Actor in a Musical Jarrod Spector from the Tony-nominated hit Broadway Musical, "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical" come together in concert to perform solos and duets and share stories from their careers.
Ms. Mueller, who portrayed Carole King in the original cast of the hit Broadway musical, makes her concert debut in this evening, offering some of her favorite songs and numbers from her recent musical theater career, including starring roles in Nice Work If You Can Get It opposite Matthew Broderick and her Tony nominated performance in On A Clear Day You Can See Forever opposite Harry Connick, Jr..
Mr. Spector, who portrayed iconic songwriter Barry Mann in the original Beautiful musical cast, has created two solo concert shows which he has been touring in between his iconic roles on Broadway. Previously, he portrayed Frankie Valli in the Tony Award-Winning Best Musical, Jersey Boys, for over 1500 performances. His latest solo concert, A Little Help From My Friends, has sold out New York's premier nightclub 54 Below 12 times this year and has gone on to sell out concert halls throughout the U.S.. He was also a contestant on the original Star Search as a child and made his Broadway debut at the age of 9 in the original Broadway production of Les Miserables.
Seth Rudetsky, the afternoon Broadway host on SiriusXM radio, has worked as the music director, pianist or conductor for some of Broadway's biggest stars: Patti LuPone, Betty Buckley, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Megan Mullally, Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Matthew Broderick, Christine Ebersole, Megan Hilty and many more. He spent many years as a pianist on Broadway playing such shows as Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Grease and Ragtime and currently divides his time between being the afternoon Broadway host and the host of "Seth Speaks" on Sirius/XM radio and touring around North America doing his show Deconstructing Broadway. He was the Artistic Producer/Music Director for five Actors Fund Concerts including Dreamgirls with Audra MacDonald (recorded on Nonesuch Records) and Hair with Jennifer Hudson (recorded Ghostlight Records, Grammy Nomination).
As an actor, he played Sheldon (wearing a devastating unitard) in The Ritz on Broadway with Rosie Perez and starred opposite Sutton Foster in a one-night concert of They're Playing Our Song for the Actors Fund. On TV, he's been seen on All My Children, Law and Order: C.I, and played himself on Cash Cab, MTV'S Made, Legally Blonde, the Search for the Next Elle Woods and the Emmy-Award-winning Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List on Bravo. Last year he was featured on Smash and Bunheads. As a comic, he won the title "Funniest Gay Male in NY" at Stand-Up NY, had a long-running show at Caroline's Comedy Club and spent two years as a comedy writer on The Rosie O'Donnell Show (three Emmy nominations). His first book was "The Q Guide to Broadway" followed by "Broadway Nights". "Broadway Nights" was also released as an audio book on Audible.com featuring himself, Jonathan Groff, Richard Kind and Kristin Chenoweth. Next came "My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan" which was published by Random House label and the sequel, "The Rise and Fall of a Theater Geek" came out last June to much acclaim. The "Awesome/Awful" audible.com book stars himself, Megan Hilty, Josh Gad and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. He also is a columnist each week for Playbill.com, writing about his onstage and backstage life, and he's turned those columns into the book series called "Seth's Broadway Diary". Volume one came out last year and volume two is about to be released. His website, SethRudetsky.com features talk shows with Broadway stars and exclusive concerts with Patti LuPone, Megan Mullally and Sutton Foster. Recently, he co-wrote and starred Off-Broadway in Disaster!, a 1970's disaster movie musical that was put on Entertainment Weekly's "Must List" by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and is aiming for Broadway this season.
Catherine Russell has gained a place among the most in-demand background singers, working with stars from Paul Simon to David Bowie to Jackson Browne to Cyndi Lauper to Rosanne Cash. She launched her solo career less than a decade ago with the stunning "Cat", showing her powers and personality across an array of jazz and blues, plus a sly reinvention of the Grateful Dead's "New Speedway Boogie." The album prompted esteemed critic Nat Hentoff to declare that after hearing countless "purported rising jazz singers ... it's a delight to hear the real thing in Catherine Russell."
Stephen Schwartz was born in New York City and studied piano and composition at the Juilliard School of Music while in high school and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a B.F.A. in Drama. Upon coming back to live in New York City, he went to work as a producer for RCA Records, but shortly thereafter began to work in the Broadway theatre. His first major credit was the title song for the play (and movie) Butterflies Are Free. In 1971, he wrote the music and new lyrics for Godspell, for which he won several awards, including two Grammys. This was followed by the English texts in collaboration with Leonard Bernstein for Bernstein's MASS, which opened the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The following year, he wrote the music and lyrics for PIPPIN, and two years later, The Magic Show. At one point, Godspell, Pippin and The Magic Show were all running on Broadway simultaneously. He next wrote the music and lyrics for The Baker's Wife, followed by a musical version of Studs Terkel's Working, to which he contributed four songs and which he also adapted and directed, winning the Drama Desk Award as best director. He also co-directed the television production, which was presented as part of the PBS "American Playhouse" series. Next came songs for a one-act musical for children, Captain Louie, and a children's book, The Perfect Peach. He then wrote music for three of the songs in the Off-Broadway revue, Personals, lyrics to Charles Strouse's music for Rags, and music and lyrics for Children of Eden.
He then began working in film, collaborating with composer Alan Menken on the scores for the Disney animated features Pocahontas, for which he received two Academy Awards and another Grammy, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He also provided songs for DreamWorks' first animated feature, The Prince of Egypt, for which he won another Academy Award for the song "When You Believe." He most recently collaborated with Alan Menken on the songs for Disney's Enchanted. Mr. Schwartz provided music and lyrics for the original television musical, Geppetto, seen on The Wonderful World of Disney and recently adapted for the stage as My Son Pinocchio. He has released two CDs on which he sings new songs, entitled Reluctant Pilgrim and Uncharted Territory. Mr. Schwartz's most recent musical, Wicked, opened in the fall of 2003 and is currently running on Broadway and in several other productions around the United States and the world. In 2008, Wicked reached its 1900th performance on Broadway, making Mr. Schwartz the only songwriter in Broadway history ever to have three shows run more than 1900 performances. His first opera, Séance on a Wet Afternoon, premiered at Opera Santa Barbara in the fall of 2009 and was recently produced by New York City Opera. Mr. Schwartz has recently been given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. A book about his career, "Defying Gravity," has recently been released by Applause Books.
KT SULLIVAN & JEFF HARNAR
KT Sullivan & Jeff Harnar, both award-winning Manhattan cabaret and recording artists, will present highlights from their two critically-acclaimed Sondheim revues which were presented at both The Laurie Beechman Theatre in New York City and The Crazy Coqs on London's West End. "Sex Role Reversals in Sondheim" is how The New York Times described this gender-bending approach to the incomparable music and lyrics of Stephen Sondheim. Expect to hear music from Sondheim's most memorable scores, Company, A Little Night Music, Follies, Into The Woods, Sweeney Todd. Sunday in The Park with George, and Merrily We Roll Along among others, including such standards as "Send in The Clowns," "Old Friend," "The Ladies Who Lunch," "Broadway Baby," "Being Alive," "Another Hundred People," "I'm Still Here" in a startling new context. Directed by Broadway legend Sondra Lee with the jazz-influenced arrangements of Musical Director Jon Weber and his trio.
NJTV, New Jersey's public television network, brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to all 21 counties in New Jersey and its tri-state neighbors. NJTV presents acclaimed PBS series such as Nature, American Masters, Charlie Rose, and BBC World News America and children's programs with diverse local programs including American Songbook at NJPAC, On the Record with Michael Aron, Driving Jersey, NJDocs, Due Process,One-on-One with Steve Adubato, Classroom Close-Up NJ and State of the Arts. The network's flagship news broadcast, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams, features stories from across the Garden State utilizing the Agnes Varis NJTV Studio in Newark, its Trenton Statehouse studio and remote cameras at university content bureaus as well as media partners. The NJTV website offers online programs and free digital resources for educators. NJTV is comprised of WNJN, WNJS, WNJB, and WNJT, which collectively broadcast throughout NJ. NJTV is operated under an agreement with the state of New Jersey by Public Media NJ, Inc. (PMNJ), a non-profit affiliate of WNET, parent company of award-winning New York public television stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21. Network sponsorships and partnerships are available
New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is among the largest performing arts centers in the United States and is the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey – where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the state's and the world's best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted more than 9 million visitors (including over 1.5 million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents. Visit njpac.org or call 1-888-GO-NJPAC for more information.