American Songbook at NJPAC (Season 3)

Air date: 04/17/2016

Emmy-Nominated Series American Songbook at NJPAC Premieres Third Season on THIRTEEN and WLIW21 Beginning Sunday, April 17 at 1 p.m.

Six-part series featuring musical performances by the best of Broadway and cabaret recorded for public television at New Jersey’s foremost performing arts center

Ted Chapin hosts series for third season

WNET and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) announced that the third season of the award-winning American Songbook at NJPAC series will be broadcast on New York public television stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21 beginning Sunday, April 17, 2016 (check local listings). These performances offer viewers a unique opportunity to see some of today’s top Broadway and cabaret performers interpret the songs that form the bedrock of our American standards canon.

The six-part series, taped before a live audience at NJPAC‘s intimate 500 seat Victoria Theater this fall, boasts a star-studded lineup filled with top-tier entertainers: cabaret great Marilyn Maye, Wicked composer and legendary Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz & Friends, Beautiful’s Tony-award winner Jessie Mueller and Tony nominee Jarrod Spector, jazz royalty Catherine Russell, cabaret veterans KT Sullivan & Jeff Harnar, and Sirius XM Broadway host/pianist Seth Rudetsky & two-time Tony Award-winner Christine Ebersole.

American Songbook at NJPAC will debut Sunday, April 17th at 1 p.m. on THIRTEEN and 3:30.p.m. that day on WLIW21, and will continue to air on each of the following Sundays; a full schedule follows below. The series previously aired on NJTV, New Jersey’s public television network this winter.

Performances are coupled with Q&A sessions conducted by host and theater insider, Ted Chapin, president and executive director of Rodgers & Hammerstein: An Imagen Company.

“WNET and public television are 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, WNET’s Vice-President of Subsidiary Stations and 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.”

“NJPAC recently embarked on a campaign to enhance its broadcast capabilities and expand its outreach by joining forces such as this one with NJTV to take performances from our stage and sharing them with a wider, national audience,” explained David Rodriguez, Executive Vice President & Executive Producer at NJPAC.

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, along with John Schreiber and David Rodriguez; Will Friedwald, is writer and producer; David Stern is director and Annette Jolles is Associate Director.

The series, which launched in 2013, received accolades in its first two seasons.  Most recently, the series was 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.

Sneak-peek clips of this season and previous episodes and 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 NJPAC, including One-on-One at NJPAC with Steve Adubato, BET’s Black Girls Rock, HBO’s special Ghetto Klown with John Leguizamo, and NBC’s America’s Got Talent.

Major support for the American Songbook at NJPAC television series is provided by Ellen and James S. Marcus and The Thomas and Agnes Carvel Foundation. Additional funding has been provided through the generous support of The Joan and Allen Bildner Family Fund, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation and the David S. Steiner and Sylvia Steiner Charitable Trust.

 

EPISODE DESCRIPTIONS

 

Stephen Schwartz and Friends

Sunday, 4/17 at 1pm on THIRTEEN; 3:30pm on WLIW21

The award-winning composer and special guests perform selections from his catalog of stage and screen favorites like “Magic to Do” from Pippin; “When You Believe” from the DreamWorks’ animated feature, The Prince of Egypt; “Day By Day” from Godspell and several selections from the Broadway hit Wicked, including “Defying Gravity.” He is joined on stage by award-winning vocalists Scott Coulter, Debbie Gravitte, Kelli Rabke and Michael McCorry Rose.

Stephen Schwartz has won many major awards, including three Oscars, three Grammys, four Drama Desk Awards, one Golden Globe Award, and the Richard Rodgers Award for Excellence in Musical Theater. He has received six Tony Award nominations, for WickedPippin, and Godspell, Rags, and Working. In 2015, he was awarded the Isabelle Stevenson Award for his commitment to serving artists and fostering new talent.

 

Catherine Russell

Sunday, 4/24 at 1pm on THIRTEEN; 3:30pm on WLIW21

Russell carries on her family legacy of great jazz interpretation of works like George and Ira Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm”; Sidney Clare and Jay Gorney’s “You’re My Thrill”; Lillian Green’s “Romance in the Dark”; Johnny Otis’ “Aged & Mellow” and Irving Berlin’s “Harlem on My Mind.”

Catherine Russell has gained a place among the most in-demand background singers, working with such luminaries as Paul Simon,David Bowie Jackson Browne, Cyndi Lauper, and 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. 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.”

 

Marilyn Maye

Sunday, 5/1 at 1pm on THIRTEEN; 3:30pm on WLIW21

Maye shows off her status as living cabaret legend with a lively assortment of classic songs of past and present, including Harold Arlen and E.Y Harburg’s “Over The Rainbow”; Jerry Herman’s “It’s Today”; Steve Allen’s “This Could Be The Start Of Something Big”; Lerner And Loewe’s “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Your Face” plus an assortment of medleys of favorites.

Marilyn Maye appeared a record-setting 76 times on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson! She was a constant presence on numerous television shows ranging from The Ed Sullivan Show to The Merv Griffin Show, The Dick Cavett Show and The Mike Douglas Show. She was named an Official Jazz Legend by The American Jazz Museum. She was listed as one of the Best Performers of the Best Compositions of the 20th Century by The Arts Council of The Smithsonian Institution for her recording of Alan J. Lerner and Burton Lane’s composition, Too Late Now,” written for M-G-M’s 1951 musical, Royal Wedding.

 

Jessie Mueller and Jarrod Spector

Sunday, 5/8 at 1pm on THIRTEEN; 3:30pm on WLIW21

Mueller and Spector pair up once again to reminisce about their time together in Broadway’s Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and perform a diverse catalog of personal favorite hits from the stage and radio, from King’s “I Feel the Earth Move” and “Natural Woman” to Elton John’s “Your Song,” Steven Tyler’s “Dream On” and Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind.”

Jessie Mueller won the 2014 Tony Award (Best Actress in a Musical) for her portrayal of Carole King in the original cast of the hit Broadway musical, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Ms. Mueller, who received a Tony nomination for her performance in On A Clear Day You Can See Forever opposite Harry Connick, Jr., will star in the new Broadway musical Waitress, which begins previews in March 2016.

On Broadway, Jarrod Spector created the role of songwriter Barry Mann in the original production of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Previously, he portrayed Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys, for over 1500 performances. He was 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. Mr. Spector hails from Philadelphia and is a graduate of Princeton University.

 

Seth Rudetsky and Christine Ebersole

Sunday, 5/15 at 1pm on THIRTEEN; 3:30pm on WLIW21

The Sirius/XM Radio host and Broadway icon team up for an entertaining evening of banter and songs relating to Ms. Ebersole’s career and their mutual love of the Great White Way. Songs include Al Dubin and Harry Warren’s “Lullaby of Broadway”; Lerner and Loewe’s “Simple Joys of Maidenhood” and Stephen Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns.”

Seth Rudetsky is the afternoon host on SiriusXM radio’s On Broadway as well as the host of Seth Speaks on Sirius/SM Stars. As a pianist, Seth has played for more than a dozen Broadway shows, including Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Grease and Ragtime. He was the Artistic Producer/Music Director for five Actors Fund Concerts including Dreamgirls with Audra MacDonald and Hair with Jennifer Hudson. As an actor, he was 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.  Most recently he co-wrote and starred Off-Broadway in Disaster!, a 1970’s disaster movie musical that is scheduled to open on Broadway March 2016.

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).

 

KT Sullivan and Jeff Harnar

Sunday, 5/22 at 1pm on THIRTEEN; 3:30pm on WLIW21

These veteran cabaret stars perform an hour of all songs Sondheim that includes excerpts from almost all of his shows. Their list of Sondheim classics include “No One Is Alone” from Into the Woods, “Another Hundred People” from Company, “Every Day A Little Death” from A Little Night Music and much more.

KT Sullivan is the Artistic Director of the prestigious Mabel Mercer Foundation. She starred in the Broadway revival of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and headlined The Oak Room at The Algonquin Hotel, Carnegie Hall, The Spoleto Festival, The Chichester Festival in the U.K., The Adelaide Festival in Australia to name a few. KT has seven albums on the DRG label, including Crazy World, and Live from Rainbow and Stars: The Songs of Bart Howard, which won a Back Stage Bistro Award.

Jeff Harnar is an award-winning New York cabaret and recording artist who is known for his critically acclaimed engagement at the Algonquin Hotel’s Oak Room; Feinstein’s at The Regency; The Metropolitan Room and most recently at Birdland and Iridium. Harnar is the 2012 Winner of The Noël Coward Foundation Cabaret Award; two-time winner of the Manhattan Association of Cabaret Award (MAC) as Best Male Vocalist and three times been honored with the Back Stage Bistro Award.

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About WNET 
As New York’s flagship public media provider and the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as NatureGreat PerformancesAmerican MastersPBS NewsHour WeekendCharlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the MathOh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTSReel 13NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore App where users can stream PBS content for free.

About NJTV

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

About NJPAC

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 (1-888-466-5722) for more information.

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