92Y's Lyrics and Lyricists series continues April 23-25 with You Send Me: The Songs and Soul of Sam Cook, conceived and written by Darius de Haas (Rent, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel).
Joining de Haas on stage are Crystal Monee Hall, Alex Joseph Grayson, and Avery Smith. Kenneth L. Roberson directs with musical direction and arrangements by Henry Hey, who will be featured on keyboards. Musicians also include Ravi Best on trumpet, Sherrod Barnes on guitar, Darius Christian on trombone, George Farmer on bass, Patience Higgins on saxophone, and Jason Thomas on drums.
The three concerts delve into the world of Sam Cooke, including his gospel roots and triumphant 1964 engagement at the Copacabana, his classics of romance (“You Send Me,” “Wonderful World,” “For Sentimental Reasons”), anthem of revolution (“A Change Is Gonna Come”), and work as a trailblazing entrepreneur and civil rights activist.
“It’s amazing that Sam Cooke is as relevant today as he was in the late '50s-'60s,” de Haas says. “And his music was part of an interesting evolution of change in music tastes, from an older generation who loved Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, and Billie Holiday—his idols—and a younger generation who loved Little Richard and Elvis Presley. ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ hits deeper than ever before and has become one of our great musical anthems. His legacy, particularly through that song, is ultimately a portrayal of one Black man's effort to encapsulate an American experience of trial, discrimination, and struggle—but through it all he still lands on the deep faith that we can and we will do better.”
Matt Kunkel and Stephanie Alvarado Prugh produce.
The 50th anniversary Lyrics & Lyricists season will also feature Ted Sperling's Isn't It Bliss? Sondheim on Love June 18-20.