New York City Center, which is currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, is posting daily highlights from former Encores! and gala productions.
This week's offerings, curated by Encores! Music Director Rob Berman, spotlight the series' unique contributions to the preservation of great music written for the stage.
Below, watch Yvette Cason sing "It's a Woman's Prerogative" from the 1998 City Center Encores! production of Harold Arlen's St. Louis Woman, which also featured Vanessa Williams, Charles S. Dutton, and Chuck Cooper.
Says Berman, "There’s nothing like the sound of a classic Golden Age Broadway orchestra: the soaring trumpets, lush strings, and swinging saxophones. The enduring commitment at Encores! to present shows with their original orchestration, brought to life by the 30-piece Encores! Orchestra, is one of the hallmarks of our series. Often there is a considerable amount of work that goes into restoring a show’s original orchestrations. We gather as much original material as we can and compare with the licensed orchestra parts which often have been simplified or modified. Restoring these shows requires some real musical detective work.
"There have been shows in our history where very little original material existed; full scores and entire orchestrations were lost. This week we will look at some of the more ambitious score restorations we have taken on.
"These jobs could not have been completed without the dedicated efforts of Josh Clayton, the Encores! assistant music director, who for many years has been the secret weapon of the series. My predecessor and founding Encores! Music Director Rob Fisher set the standard for how to approach this work with detailed authenticity. And we must give special thanks to those who have funded these restorations, particularly City Center Board member Joe Steinberg through the Joseph S. and Diane H. Steinberg Charitable Trust."
The famed Manhattan venue launched the series March 22, Stephen Sondheim's 90th birthday, with a week of videos from Sondheim musicals. Click here to watch all of the previously released performances.