PLAYBILL PLAYLIST: Jason Robert Brown, Nick Blaemire and Charlie Rosen's Big Band Pick Favorite Show Tune Classics
By Michael Gioia
Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown, Nick Blaemire and Zak Resnick are among the performers who are set for the 54 Below return of Charlie Rosen's Broadway Big Band. In anticipation of the May 24 concert, Brown, Blaemire, Resnick and Rosen pick their favorite classic show tunes as part of Playbill.com's Playbill Playlist series.
The 11 PM concert, co-produced and directed by Max Friedman, will feature guest vocalists Blaemire (Godspell, Dogfight), Tony winner Brown (Parade, The Last Five Years), Ariana DeBose (Motown, Bring It On), F. Michael Haynie (Wicked, Dogfight), Resnick (Mamma Mia!) and the band's resident vocalist, Monet Julia Sabel.
Here's how the evening is billed: "Join Broadway bandleader Charlie Rosen (One Man, Two Guvnors) for an evening that puts both modern and classic showtunes on display, sung by the best and brightest of Broadway's young generation of leading performers, in the timeless tradition of Big Band. A full sized Jazz orchestra composed of 17 musicians play Rosen's re-imagined arrangements of an eclectic mix of tunes from Broadway's past, present, and beyond!"
In anticipation of the concert, Playbill.com asked a few members of the Big Band lineup to pick their favorite classic show tunes and tell us why they made the list.
Charlie Rosen's Broadway Big Band made its sold-out 54 Below debut in March. Click here to watch performances from the evening, which included Tony-nominated Cinderella stars Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana, among others.
Rosen composed the score for the Roundabout Theater Company's Cyrano de Bergerac and served as musical director and bassist for the onstage band in One Man, Two Guvnors on Broadway. His other Broadway credits include Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and 13. His debut EP, "Monet Sabel & The Charlie Rosen Big Band," is now available on iTunes.
54 Below is located at 254 W. 54th Street. Tickets are $20-$30 plus a $25 food/beverage minimum. Visit 54Below.com.
Nick Blaemire: "Love is Here to Stay" ("The Goldwyn Follies," George and Ira Gershwin) Masters of the lush and romantic, as much as they were the complicated and clever, the Gershwin boys are the kings of the show tune. Hard to pick one favorite, but this one always sticks out.
Nick Blaemire: "My Funny Valentine" (Babes in Arms, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart) Haunting, gorgeous and can withstand the thousands of ways it's been interpreted without losing its integrity and heart.
Nick Blaemire: "The Best is Yet to Come" (Cy Coleman) Since we're doing a Big Band concert, I would be remiss to leave out Cy Coleman. Again, hard to choose just one, but in terms of "classic" Cy Coleman, this one is emblematic of being incredibly awesome.
Nick Blaemire: "Out of This World" ("Out of This World," Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer) Harold Arlen writes the coolest harmonizations under his already great melodies, and this one has been swimming around in my ears ever since the first time I heard it. Rarely done, but so damn good!
Nick Blaemire: "Finishing the Hat" (Sunday in the Park with George, Stephen Sondheim) It's just that it's my favorite song in all the land, and any musical theatre song list feels incomplete without Sondheim. And, besides the song being perfect, getting to listen to an artist sing about being an artist is the best.
Jason Robert Brown: "Lonely Town" (On The Town, Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden and Adolph Green) There's just so much music in there; I advise every actor to learn to sing a Bernstein song without the words.
Jason Robert Brown: "I Believe In You" (How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, Frank Loesser) Loesser was just the best. No one was wittier or smarter, and the music is so hip.
Jason Robert Brown: "Now You Know" (Merrily We Roll Along, Stephen Sondheim) My favorite Sondheim score, and the swingin'-est tune of the lot.
Jason Robert Brown: "The Party's Over" (Bells Are Ringing, Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green) Ah, this is the good stuff. Not just a great tune, but the lyrics are murder.
Jason Robert Brown: "The Other Side Of The Tracks" (Little Me, Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh) You get to that "off and runnin'" part, and it's like the song is on fire.
Zak Resnick: "Something's Coming" (West Side Story, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim) This song has always meant so much to me. But I especially fell in love with it when I heard Sammy Davis Jr.'s version. I love when a song can really lend itself to more than one genre of music.
Zak Resnick: "Never, Never Land" (Peter Pan, Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green) Obsessed with Peter Pan. The lyrics are always so soothing to me. They bring me back to my childhood.
Charlie Rosen: "What More Do I Need?" (Saturday Night, Stephen Sondheim) Because, even though some times some of the practical details of New York City can grind on you, it still continues to surprise me in amazing ways through the people in it.
Charlie Rosen: The symphonic dances from West Side Story (Leonard Bernstein) This score for me was a huge milestone for my musical growth in its harmonic complexity, yet accessibility of melody and text.
Charlie Rosen: Anything by Cole Porter Cole Porter is a master of marrying lyrics to appropriate chord changes. Cole Porter is a bad ass.
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