CARNEGIE HALL PRESENTS

Performance Wednesday, February 23, 2011 | 7:30 PM

Standard Time with Michael Feinstein

HAPPY WITH THE BLUES: THE MUSIC OF HAROLD ARLEN

Zankel Hall
This unparalleled interpreter of the American Songbook returns to our stage on the heels of his appearance last October with Cheyenne Jackson. He’s remarkable in any situation, but at Carnegie Hall this Grammy nominee truly shines.

Performers

  • Michael Feinstein, Artistic Director

    With Special Guests:
    Catherine Russell
    Tom Wopat
    Sol Yaged

    With Pianists:
    Tedd Firth
    Mark Shane

Program

    Program is approximately 1 hour, 30 minutes, and will be performed without intermission.

Bios

  • Michael Feinstein

    Michael Feinstein-the multiplatinum-selling, five-time Grammy-nominated entertainer-is one of the premier interpreters of American popular song. He can be heard on The Sinatra Project, his 2009 Concord Records release that celebrates the music of "Ol' Blue Eyes," and seen in the PBS series Michael Feinstein's American Songbook, now available on DVD.

    If that weren't enough, Feinstein serves as Artistic Director of the Center for the Performing Arts-a $170 million, three-theater venue in Carmel, Indiana-that opened last January. The theater is home to an annual international Great American Songbook festival, diverse live programming, and a museum for Feinstein's rare memorabilia and manuscripts.

    Feinstein has written the score for the new stage musical The Gold Room, and he is working with MGM to turn The Thomas Crown Affair into a Broadway musical. He also is designing a new piano for Steinway called "The First Ladies," inspired by the White House piano.

    Feinstein started playing piano by ear when he was five. As a teenager, he played at weddings and parties in Columbus, Ohio. After graduating from high school, he worked in local piano lounges, moving to Los Angeles when he was 20. Through the widow of legendary concert pianist-actor Oscar Levant, he was introduced to Ira Gershwin in July 1977. He became his assistant for six years, giving Feinstein access to numerous unpublished Gershwin songs that he has since performed and recorded.

    More than simply a performer, Feinstein is nationally recognized for his commitment to celebrating America's popular song and preserving its legacy for the next generation. He serves on the Library of Congress's National Recording Preservation Board, ensuring the survival, conservation, and increased public availability of America's sound-recording heritage.


    Catherine Russell

    Catherine Russell is a New Yorker, born into musical royalty. Her father, the late Luis Russell, was a native of Panama who moved to New Orleans and then to New York City, becoming a pioneering pianist-composer-bandleader, and Louis Armstrong's longtime musical director. Her mother, Carline Ray-an outstanding bassist and vocalist-has performed with Mary Lou Williams and International Sweethearts of Rhythm.

    Russell is in demand as a backing singer and multi-instrumentalist, having performed and recorded with Steely Dan, Levon Helm, David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Michael Feinstein, Carrie Smith, and Rosanne Cash.

    Russell's second album on the World Village label, Sentimental Streak, was released in 2008 to universal acclaim, hitting the Billboard and iTunes jazz charts, and JazzWeek and Living Blues radio charts. She has been a guest on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and NPR's Fresh Air. Russell has also won the prestigious German Record Critics' Award and was named 2008's "Artist Deserving More Attention" by Living Blues magazine.

    Russell's third album, Inside This Heart of Mine, is a personal selection of gems from the 1920s through today. Deepening the approach of her previous recordings-an off-the-beaten-path song selection, sparkling acoustic swing, and a stunning vocal approach-Inside This Heart of Mine has secured Russell's ranks among the greatest interpreters and performers of American popular song.


    Tom Wopat

    It's a rare performer who can star on a classic television action series that's become part of American pop-culture, win top-billing on Broadway marquees in award-winning hit musicals, record solo albums that feature country chart-makers, and play the leading man in a hit situation comedy. That rare performer is Tom Wopat.

    Wopat first came to public attention in the late-1970s as the freewheeling Luke Duke on the TV series The Dukes of Hazzard. In 1977, he made his Broadway debut in Cy Coleman's I Love My Wife. Wopat went on to perform in the Tony Award-winning City of Angels and Guys and Dolls. He received a Tony nomination for creating the role of Frank Butler in the Broadway revival of Annie Get Your Gun, opposite Bernadette Peters. In 2008, Wopat returned to Broadway as Tom Hurley in A Catered Affair with Faith Prince and Harvey Fierstein.

    Though Wopat had never done a sitcom before, he seized the opportunity when Chuck Lorre offered him a leading role in Cybill. Other credits include a recurring role on Home Improvement, the critically acclaimed NBC movie Just My Imagination, and most recently HBO's Taking Chance alongside Kevin Bacon.

    Wopat has also become a successful recording artist with many albums to his credit, including A Little Bit Closer, Don't Look Back, Learning to Love, and The Still of the Night. In 2005, he released Dissertation on the State of Bliss-featuring the music of Harold Arlen-and his most recent offering, Consider it Swung.


    Sol Yaged

    Sol Yaged is an American jazz clarinetist. Born in Brooklyn, Yaged began playing clarinet at the age of 12 after hearing Benny Goodman's broadcasts for Nabisco in 1935. He studied under a New York Philharmonic clarinetist, but turned down a classical career to play jazz in New York City nightclubs, including Jimmy Ryan's and the Swing Club.

    Since serving in the Army for three years during World War II, Yaged has played clarinet continuously with such musicians as Phil Napoleon, Coleman Hawkins, Red Allen, and Jack Teagarden. Beginning in the 1960s, Yaged began working primarily as an ensemble leader in New York City's jazz scene. In the 1990s, he worked in Felix Endico's swing band. Yaged served as a consultant on Benny Goodman's musical style for the 1956 film The Benny Goodman Story. In the mid-1990s, Yaged regularly performed with bandleader Jack Vartan.


    Michael A. Kerker

    Michael A. Kerker has been Director of Musical Theatre for ASCAP since 1990. In addition to coordinating ASCAP's Musical Theatre Workshop in New York (led by composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz), he works with Disney Theatricals to produce the ASCAP / Disney Musical Theatre Workshop in Los Angeles (also led by Stephen Schwartz). Together with Michael Feinstein, Kerker produces a regular series of concerts at Carnegie Hall that highlights the catalogue of both legendary and contemporary songwriters.

    Kerker is also producing a regular series of interview programs titled Broadway: Up Close and Personal for the Kennedy Center. His on-stage conversations with some of the nation's most prominent songwriters have included Jerry Herman, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Charles Strouse, Sheldon Harnick, and Stephen Schwartz.

    Kerker produces an annual songwriter's cabaret as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival. He also produced the ASCAP Foundation Jerry Herman Legacy Program-a series of seminars, master classes, and concerts that feature the legendary composer-lyricist. The program has been presented nationwide in such cities as Chicago, San Francisco, Savannah, Miami, and Pittsburgh.

    Kerker is proud to be a member of the boards of the American Theatre Wing, the Johnny Mercer Foundation, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.


    Scott Coulter

    For his work in cabaret, Scott Coulter has received four MAC Awards, four Bistro Awards, and two Nightlife Awards. His self-titled debut CD won the 2003 MAC Award for Outstanding Recording and was chosen as the best recording of the year by TheatreMania and Cabaret Scenes magazine. Coulter toured the US as Jinx in Forever Plaid and was in the world premiere of Floyd Collins, directed by Tina Landau. He has appeared at New York City's Town Hall in numerous editions of the popular Broadway by the Year series and can be heard on the Bayview recordings of those performances.

    Since 1997, Coulter has performed around the country with award-winning songwriting duo Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich. He also tours the world with Oscar- and Grammy-winning composer Stephen Schwartz, along with Liz Callaway and Debbie Gravitte, in the revue Stephen Schwartz and Friends. Coulter has taught master classes from California to Latvia and is creator of his own vocal-coaching series called Songbook. As a director, his credits include many shows for Town Hall and the Berkshire Theatre Festival.

    Coulter is co-founder and owner of Spot-On Entertainment and is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music.
    More Info

Audio

“Shall We Join The Ladies?” (Barer and Ross)
Michael Feinstein
Warner Elektra

DeWitt Stern Logo 112x17
Sponsored by DeWitt Stern Group, Inc.
Produced for Carnegie Hall by Michael A. Kerker and Scott Coulter.
This performance is part of Standard Time with Michael Feinstein.