PLAYBILL PLAYLIST: Billy Porter, Annaleigh Ashford, Will Van Dyke and Friends Pick Songs to Deal With a Break-Up

By Michael Gioia
09 Oct 2013

Billy Porter
Billy Porter
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Will Van Dyke and Friends, a concert featuring the music of Will Van Dyke and spotlighting his new musical Writing Kevin Taylor — about breaking up and trying to get back together — will be held Oct. 14 at 54 Below. In anticipation of the evening, the cast picks their favorite break-up songs as part of Playbill.com's Playbill Playlist.

The 9:30 PM concert will feature Kinky Boots Tony Award winner Billy Porter, Tony nominee Annaleigh Ashford (Kinky Boot), Brandon Victor Dixon (Motown), Tamika Lawrence (Matilda, The Book of Mormon), Mike Wartella (Wicked), Jason Gotay (Bring It On), Randy Blair, Matt Doyle (The Book of Mormon, War Horse), Katie Gassert, Preston Sadleir (Next to Normal), David Josefsberg (The Wedding Singer), Brad Weinstock and Sally Wilfert (Assassins).

The concert promises songs written by Van Dyke in collaboration with Rick Elice and Matt Doyle, selections from the his 2010 recording "Chasing the Day: The Music of Will Van Dyke" and tunes from his newest recording "Writing Kevin Taylor."

A concept album set for digital release Oct. 15, Writing Kevin Taylor has music and lyrics by Van Dyke, with book and lyrics by Josh Halloway. Writing Kevin Taylor is described as "a three-person musical comedy about the unlikely friendships and unexpected moments that bring us together. It's a show about how much you can get out of life, when you let someone in."



"The premise of [Writing Kevin Taylor] is simple," composer Van Dyke explained to Playbill.com. "Wife leaves Writer. Writer hires Boy. Boy pretends to be Writer's estranged son to help win back Wife. Things get interesting. It's a musical comedy about the unlikely friendships and unexpected moments that bring us together. Since the inciting incident of the whole show is a break up, we thought it would be fun to share our favorite break up songs with you!"

"Writing Kevin Taylor," which will be on sale at 54 Below, features Ben Crawford, Lisa Howard and Preston Sadleir and is produced by Derik Lee and Van Dyke. "Writing Kevin Taylor" has arrangements and orchestrations by Van Dyke, with additional orchestrations by August Eriksmoen and Brian Usifer. The band features Alec Berlin (guitar), Steve Gilewsi (bass), Mason Ingram (drums), Allison Seidner (cello), Hiroko Taguchi (violin) and Van Dyke (piano).

Will Van Dyke and Friends is directed by DB Bonds and will be performed by an eight-piece band led by Van Dyke at the piano.

Van Dyke also served as musical director for the Off-Broadway revival of Rent and in the orchestra for The Addams Family. For more on the composer and his work, read Playbill.com's Contemporary Musical Theatre Songwriters You Should Know.

54 Below is located at 254 W. 54 Street. Tickets are $25 and $35 (plus a $25 food/drink minimum). For more information and tickets, call (866) 468-7619 or visit 54Below.com.

 Continued...