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Entries in American Songbook (3)

Monday
Mar132017

Call Answered: Nancy Opel: "Urinetown", 92Y Lyrics & Lyricists' "Baby, Dream Your Dream: Dorothy Fields and The Women of the American Songbook"

Nancy Opel"Who rules the world? Girls!" Throughout history, or should I say, herstory, we have had many strong female songwriters. Most of my iTunes consists of songs written and performed by woman. When I saw the 92Y was going to be showcasing the music of Dorothy Fields and other women lyricists' of the American Songbook as part of their Lyrics & Lyricists' series, I couldn't wait to see who would be part of this concert. Then I saw the cast list (Marilyn Maye, Kenita Miller, Nancy Opel, Margo Seibert and Emily Skinner) and was like, "This is going to be one heck of a concert."

I loved Nancy Opel in her Tony-nominated turn in Broadway's Urinetown. She really brought the laugh in laughter to that role. I have gone on to enjoy her in Memphis, Cinderella, and Honeymoon in Vegas. My favorite Nancy Opel moment was just this past February when I got to briefly interview her during Billy Mitchell's Villain: DeBlanks at The Laurie Beechman Theatre. We had a great time together, so it's super exciting to get to do a more in depth interview with her now for the 92Y's latest Lyrics & Lyricists' concert series entitled Baby, Dream Your Dream: Dorothy Fields and The Women of the American Songbook.

Led by Dorothy Fields, Baby, Dream Your Dream will also include such pioneers as Betty Comden, Carolyn Leigh and Mary Rodgers whose work earned them an indelible place in the American Songbook alongside their more visible peers like Berlin, the Gershwins and Cy Coleman. Their timeless classics range from "The Way You Look Tonight," and "I Can't Give You Anything but Love," to "Witchcraft," On the Town and Once Upon a Mattress.

Baby, Dream Your Dream will take place at 92Y (1395 Lexington Avenue, 92nd Street & Lexington Ave.) from March 18-20! Click here for tickets! 

For more on Nancy be sure to visit http://www.nancyopel.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

For more on 92Y visit http://www.92y.org and follow them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

1. This March you are you are starring in the 92Y Lyrics & Lyricists' Baby, Dream Your Dream: Dorothy Fields and The Women of the American Songbook along with Marilyn Maye, Kenita Miller, Margo Seibert, and Emily Skinner. What are you looking forward to most about this upcoming concert? I love doing an all female show, especially with this sensational collection of gals. I’ve been a fan of Marilyn Maye’s for many many years (I snuck into the Kansas City Playboy Club when I was a kid to see her show there). I’ve worked very happily with Ms. Skinner and I look forward to this go round. Kenita I don’t know well, but we’ve done a bit of work together and I really admire her talent. I just saw Margo in IN TRANSIT and she’s great. PLUS, I have worked several times with our director, Mark Waldrop, and we always have a good time.

2. What do you think will excite 92Y audiences about this show? Well, it’s great, and I mean GREAT material - it’s an interesting grouping of points of view since it’s not a concert featuring one writer’s lyrics.

3. How did these female composers influence you? If you have been in show business for 15 minutes, you’ve sung one of these women’s lyrics, just runs the gamut on well known and significant.

4. Of the songs you are performing, which one did you jump up and down over that you are getting to sing? I am both thrilled and terrified to do "If You Hadn’t But You Did."

5. This concert is sort of a coming home for you in that songs from one of the show's featured is On The Town, which you starred in as "Madame Dilly" at Barrington Stage. Whether or not you are performing one of the songs from On The Town in Lyrics & Lyricists, how do you feel you relate to that music now as opposed to when you were starring in the show? I loved ON THE TOWN and since I sang very little when in the cast, I got a chance to enjoy and admire it back then. It’s an amazing show then and now.

Nancy Opel as "Bea Singer" in "Honeymoon in Vegas"6. Since this installment of Lyrics & Lyricists is called Baby, Dream Your Dream, what is one dream you just had to pinch yourself over that came true? What is one dream you still hope manifests for you? I’ve had a bunch of pinching moments, haha. I guess a couple of obvious ones are first Broadway show (Evita), first Sondheim show (Sunday in the Park), and Tony nomination. What do I still hope for? Well, I guess, continuing to do relevant and exciting work is all I really hope for now.

7. One of the songs being performed is "The Way You Look Tonight." Growing up, how did you feel about "The Way You Look Tonight" and now that you are an adult how has that view changed? Genius tune with equally genius lyrics. I thought so the first time I hear Fred Astaire sing them, I still do. I think the thing I understand now is that that kind of perfect pairing of music to lyrics is a pretty rare combination. It’s one of the most romantic songs in the world, especially because of all the specificity, like "and that laugh that wrinkles your nose - touches my foolish heart."

8. Another song on the show's list is "Witchcraft." If you could conjure up a spell, what you kind of spell would you cast? Give everybody great free healthcare. Bibbity-bobbity-boo!

Nancy Opel as "Penelope Pennywise" in "Urinetown"9. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? I am trying to improve my health every day, too! My commitment is to cook more for myself, and to cook healthy food- mostly vegetarian and vegan for the planet!

10. Since we met during Billy Mitchell's "Villain: DeBlanks," I want to revisit the question I had asked you that evening because I loved your answer and I want more people to hear it. You're big number in Broadway's Urinetown was "The Privilege to Pee". Was there a time during the show or rehearsal or since then that you laughed so much you peed? I can't believe that you would ask a woman of certain age, whose been pregnant, and had children, if there was time she has peed.

Nancy OpelMore on Nancy:

A singer, actress and teacher, Nancy Opel was born in Prairie Village, Kansas, and trained at Juillliard. She made her Broadway debut as a "Person of Argentina" in the original 1979 production of Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice’s Evita, and in the later run was the replacement for the leading role. In 1985, she originated the roles of "Betty" and "Frieda" in Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George. After appearance as the replacement for "Hope Harcourt" in the 1987 revival of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes, Nancy played "Eleanor" in Teddy & Alice, a musical that drew upon the relationship between Teddy Roosevelt and his daughter as well as on the music of John Philip Sousa.

Nancy was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for her performance as "Penelope Pennywise" in Urinetown. Other Broadway appearances include Triumph of Love, Fiddler on the Roof, Memphis and Cinderella. She performed the roles of "Mazeppa" and "Miss Cratchitt" in the Encores! staged concert of Gypsy in 2007. That same year, she played the title character in the first national tour of The Drowsy Chaperone. She was nominated for the 2015 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical for Honeymoon in Vegas, in which she played the ghost of the lead character’s mother.

Nancy's television credits include the Law & Order franchise, Flight of the Conchords, and other shows.

Friday
Jan082016

Call Redialed: Will and Anthony Nunziata: Showstoppers! at The Highline Ballroom

It's been almost two years since "Call Me Adam" chatted with recording artists' Will and Anthony Nunziata. As they prepare to debut their new concert Showstoppers! at the Highline Ballroom on Monday, January 18 at 8pm, now seemed like the perfect time to catch up with these talented guys! 

Will & Anthony’s Showstoppers! concert delivers an innovative take on the greatest songs ever written for Pop Music, 60’s Hits, American Songbook, Motown, Italy and Broadway. A 90-minute tour-de-force concert that transcends generations. With their soaring tenor voices and acting & improv comedy chops, Will & Anthony sing fresh arrangements of classic and contemporary songs including "You’re All I Need to Get By," "Feeling Good," "O Sole Mio," "The Impossible Dream," "Unchained Melody," "Someone Like You," "God Only Knows," "What Kind of Fool Am I," and "The Prayer." The Highline Ballroom is located at 431 West 16th Street (between 9th & 10th Avenue) Click here for tickets!

For more on Will and Anthony be sure to visit http://willandanthony.com and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! 

Anthony and Will Nunziata1. On January 18, you are debuting your new concert Showstoppers! at The Highline Ballroom. In this show, you are performing some of the greatest songs ever written for Pop Music, 60’s Hits, American Songbook, Motown, Italy and Broadway. What made now the right time to premiere this show?

Will: W​e are always striving to give our audiences the best.​ For the past year we've been developing brand new arrangements with our musical director and arranger Tedd Firth. In our concert Showstoppers!, he'll be leading a 7-piece band in the 400-seat Highline Ballroom. New arrangements of songs from Billy Joel to The Bee Gees to Motown...

Anthony: ...to the Beach Boys to Adele and of course Broadway and Classic Standards. This will be the show the country will see in all our upcoming performing arts center and symphony pops orchestra concerts​.

2. Why did you choose The Highline Ballroom to debut this show?

Anthony: When we tour the country we are primarily performing in concert halls. So we thought why not bring ​a​ "larger feel" to NYC and after ​​looking at the Highline Ballroom, we knew we found a special place....we're setting up the room so it feels like a Vegas showroom....

Will: Yes! And after​ speaking with the wonderful team there,​ and consulting with our lighting and sound designer Matt Berman, we thought this would be the perfect venue for what we want our audiences to experience.

Will and Anthony Nunziata3. Of the songs you are performing, how have the artists influenced your own singing style?

Will: I think the array of songs in this show represent a lot of the songs I grew up listening to. Because they run the gamut in terms of musical sensibilities, I think audiences will enjoy the plethora of stylings in the concert.

Anthony: I try not to be too influenced with how artists sing a song in as much as I focus on the lyrics and how I connect with them. That allows me to find my own truth within these songs which in turn allows me to sing the songs, live in the songs and present my unique spin.​

4. Since this show is entitled Showstoppers!, what makes you guys a "Showstopper" that people should come see?

Will: Being truthful with everything we do. From living and "being" while singing our songs to our crowd work in between songs...

Anthony: Our goal is to make people feel, make them laugh, feel inspired in some way...and enjoy this shared experience.

Will and Anthony Nunziata performing with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Steven Reineke5. What have been some of your favorite "Showstopping" numbers either on Broadway or from a concert you've attended?

Anthony: Recently, it's Cynthia Erivo singing "I'm Here" in The Color Purple on Broadway. Cynthia is giving one of the most heartfelt and authentic performances I've ever seen on any stage. As for specific concert performers...since I was a kid I've been transfixed on performers who are actors first...Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Better Midler, Barbra Streisand...I've studied how they bring their truth to the table, and construct moving and entertaining live "experiences​."

Will: There aren't any particular numbers that come to mind, but anytime a performer is willing to sing with 100% unapologetic, raw emotion and have the ability to show the audiences their "scars" and be as vulnerable as possible - that's a "Showstopper" to me.​

6. If you could sing any "Showstopper" from a Broadway show, what song would you each like to perform?

Will: "Being Aliv​e." It's a true three-act-play of a song​.​ It's a brilliantly constructed song, both lyrically and melodically, and it scares me - which is ​probably why I like it so much.

Anthony: "Somewhere" from West Side Story. Tedd Firth has arranged a haunting/hopeful version of this song that makes me explore the depths of ​Sondheim's brilliant lyrics and Bernstein's gorgeous music. Premiering a new version of this song on the 18th of January.

Will and Anthony Nunziata7. One of the songs you are performing in this concert is "Unchained Melody." What is something in your life that you have unchained in this new year?

Will: Fear. 

Anthony: No regrets.

8. You are also performing "What Kind of Fool Am I." What's the most foolish thing you've done?

Anthony: Last week, after seeing a show, I forgot to stop by Schmackary's for a cookie. How foolish of me.

Will: You'll have to ask my therapist.​

9. In your concerts, you often play off of each other when it comes to your patter. What is the craziest unrehearsed thing that has happened to you?

Anthony: Will forgot his lyrics to the song "Everybody Says Don't", when he did I told the audience an impromptu story of Will being born with an umbilical chord around his neck and how the effects are clearly still with us today. We started the song again, he forgot the lyrics again, we started it again, he got the lyrics correct, and at the end of the applause I turned to Will and said something like, "We were all rooting for you there, brother. And we are all proud of you for getting through the entire song. Eventually. (beat) It's my solo time now and there's an oxygen tank backstage. (beat) Thank you."

Will: What Anthony just said.

10. You always speak of the importance of family. If you had a family of your own, what is one family tradition you would make sure you kept?

Will: To remind one another as often as possible that we are always there for one another, no matter what.

Anthony: For everyone to speak of something or someone they are grateful for today, and to speak of one thing they are most looking forward to the next day.​ I try my best to live in a constant state of peace and gratitude and to actively express that gratitude to those around me.

Will and Anthony NunziataMore on Will and Anthony:

Singers, actors, funny-men and advocates of arts in education - Will & Anthony sing fresh takes on timeless songs from pop standards, Broadway, and Italian music to Billy Joel, Motown, and beyond. Hailed as "a nearly impossible pairing of talent, stage presence and charisma," Will & Anthony continue to win critical and popular acclaim for their concert performances throughout the United States and around the world.

The brothers have brought their distinct take on classic songs from performing arts centers, theaters and symphony concert halls, including The Kravis Center’s Dreyfoos Hall in West Palm Beach, FL, to headlining their symphony concerts with The Cleveland Pops Orchestra, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Firelands Symphony Orchestra, and Edmonton Symphony Orchestra with New York Pops musical director and conductor Steven Reineke. From Singapore to San Francisco, Will & Anthony have created and performed tailored private concerts for countless corporate, private and Gala events all around the world. They have been featured recently on NPR, The Entertainment Weekly Sirius Radio show, The Rachael Ray Show, NBC’s The Columbus Day Parade and on ABC’s Good Morning America. In the fashion world, the brothers have modeled and been styled by Carmen Marc Valvo, Hermes U.S. and Hermes Toronto, Elie Tahari, b Michael America, and Nick Graham. Will & Anthony trained in improv comedy with the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City.

Their proudest accomplishment is the creation of their Arts in Education Outreach Initiative and Master Class Workshops where they visit schools and students providing education and inspiration in supporting the arts as a significant component of young peoples’ lives. Through their workshops, Will & Anthony provide acting and vocal technique, life lessons of building a strong work ethic and personal brand, and the confidence to never give up on your passions.

Born in Brooklyn, the brothers, along with their younger sister Annie, were raised just north of New York City in Pelham Manor, NY. Music continues to constantly play in the home of their parents, Fran & Joe. Sinatra, Ella, Sammy Davis, Jr., Streisand, Dean Martin, Pavarotti, Billy Joel, Gospel - this was the soundtrack of Will & Anthony’s childhood. Today, their musical mission is to keep "America’s classical music" feeling fresh and new.

Tuesday
Mar172015

Call Redialed: Standard Time with Michael Feinstein at Carnegie Hall: Beyond the Rainbow: Celebrating E. Y. "Yip" Harburg

Michael Feinstein, Photo Credit: Marc Bryan-Brown"Call Me Adam" catches up with multi-platinum-selling, two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award-nominated entertainer Michael Feinstein! This time around we talk about Michael's March 25th concert at Carnegie Hall, Standard Time with Michael Feinstein: Beyond the Rainbow: Celebrating E.Y. "Yip" Harburg. Click here for tickets!

For more on Michael be sure to visit http://michaelfeinstein.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. On March 25, you will be performing at Carnegie Hall. What are you looking forward to most about returning to Carnegie Hall? What is it like to perform there now? For this particular concert, we are going to be in Zankel Hall, which is part of a three-shift series I do at Carnegie Hall every season. I play Stern auditorium about every 18 months and then do this series which focuses on tributing different musical themes and subjects that are close to my heart. I think this concert saluting "Yip" Harburg will be a great one. I think everybody that plays Carnegie Hall has the feeling they have to be at the top of their game and it's a heightened experience knowing what has gone on there before. There is also a certain kind of reverence that is shared by everyone onstage and off from the crew to the staff.

In 1978, I was 22 years old and I sang two songs as part of a Gershwin concert and I remember being very excited about that. I was speaking to Lauren Bacall, who was a close friend of Ira and Leonore Gershwin and she said, "Michael, you're going to sing at Carnegie Hall" and I said, "Yes, but I don't know where I go from there." She said (in that centurion voice), "Straight down." She was right because it was a number of years until I got near the Carnegie Hall stage again, but since then, I've had the opportunity to perform there multiple times.

It's still a great thrill for me to perform at Carnegie Hall. It's like a home away from home for me. Performing at Carnegie Hall is also a bit of a full circle experience because my great uncle was the oldest member of the stage hand's union and all the stage hand's were friends with him. So, when I first performed at Carnegie Hall, all those guys knew me and some of them are still there all these years later, so it's very special for me to see them still.

2. This particular concert is celebrating lyricist E.Y. "Yip" Harburg. What made now the right time for you to celebrate his music with a concert dedicated to his music? "Yip" is somebody I knew thanks to Ira Gershwin (Ira and "Yip" were classmates in school). "Yip" is somebody who is not celebrated enough even though his songs are well known. He's in the pantheon of lyricists and recently having gotten the 3D release of The Wizard of Oz, it reminded me just how important his work is to contemporary culture. As a result of that viewing, I felt this was a good time to celebrate him again.

Michael Feinstein at Carnegie Hall3. When did you initially connect in with "Yip's" music where it made you go, one day I want to do a concert of his work? Well, certainly, like everyone, at least in America, I knew The Wizard of Oz from the time I was a kid. I really became aware of Harburg when I was in my teens and started listening to other show music. I initially met "Yip" at my first Carnegie Hall concert because "Yip" spoke that night about his friendship with the Gershwins. Then I reconnected with "Yip" when I started working for Ira Gershwin around 1978. So this concert is a very full circle moment for me.

4. Joining you on stage with be the talents of Nancy Anderson, Malcolm Gets, and Catherine Russell. What are you looking forward to most about performing with them? There all consummate artists, all great interpreters of these songs and they mine the gold from the lyrics in these songs. They are three very unique talents and different in their vocal sound, the range, the approach, and their sensibility, but they all have a deep appreciation of "Yip" Harburg's work. I think it's the perfect combination of styles for "Yip" who was a musical chameleon.

Michael FeinsteinMalcolm I met many years ago and he's going to do some comedic songs which he does very well and he's going to play the piano and accompany himself on one song. Catherine Russell is a great Jazz singer who is firmly rooted in the American Songbook, so she has more of a connection to lyrics than a lot of other jazz interpreters. Nancy, to me, is the embodiment of being able to channel the essence of the Golden Age of song interpreters by approaching the songs with what I call "deceptive simplicity" and making them sound au courant.

5. What made you want to have Tedd Firth on Piano, Sean Smith on Bass, and Mark McLean on Drums? I've worked with all of them a lot and I know they are the finest in their field and will bring great variety to the music. Tedd is doing some fresh arrangements on some of these songs. That's no small feat given some of them are so well known. It will be, what I feel, the perfect accompaniment.

6. What do you hope audiences come away with after attending this concert? A greater awareness and appreciation for the genius that is "Yip" Harbrug.

Michael Feinstein singing, Photo Credit: Zach Dobson7. For someone who is very familiar with E.Y. "Yip" Harburg, what will you bring to this concert to make it your own? My personal relationship with him and giving a sense of who he was as a man and framing the songs with anecdotes that will make them hear them in a different way.

8. What's the best advice you've ever received? When I was recording for the first time, I was with Rosemary Clooney in the studio and she said to me, "Smile honey when you sing. Even though people can't see it on a record, they can hear it."

9. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? That the key to the success in anything is being true to yourself.

10. How do you want to be remembered? I can't say that I want to be remembered in that it doesn't matter if I want to be remembered or not. I focus on putting something good in the world and I hope that I've contributed to the preservation of the music that I love.

Michael FeinsteinBONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? If I were choosing a super power for fun, it would be to fly because I have so many dreams about flying. Other than that, the best super power to have would be to lay on your hands and heal people.

12. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what ingredients would you put in it? I would call it "Michael's Mojo." It would include Vodka and fresh coconut water (and I don't mean coconut water from a can or preserved in a box), I mean pure, fresh coconut water from an actual coconut mixed with vodka. It has to be the most delicious thing I've ever tasted. It takes the edge off the tartness of the vodka and gives it a sweetness. It goes down really smooth.

Michael FeinsteinMore on Michael:

Michael Feinstein, the multi-platinum-selling, two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award-nominated entertainer dubbed "The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook," is considered one of the premier interpreters of American standards. His 200-plus shows a year have included performances at Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House and the Hollywood Bowl as well as the White House and Buckingham Palace.

More than simply a performer, Michael has received national recognition for his commitment to celebrating America’s popular song and preserving its legacy for the next generation. In 2007, he founded the Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Initiative, dedicated to celebrating the art form and preserving it through educational programs, Master Classes, and the annual High School Vocal Academy and Competition, which awards scholarships and prizes to students across the country. Michael serves on the Library of Congress’ National Recording Preservation Board, an organization dedicated to ensuring the survival, conservation and increased public availability of America’s sound recording heritage.

Most recently, Concord Records released A Michael Feinstein Christmas. Michael, accompanied by venerable GRAMMY-award winning jazz pianist Alan Broadbent (Charlie Haden, Diana Krall, Natalie Cole), puts his signature stylings on a selection of holiday standards.

Michael earned his fifth Grammy Award nomination in 2009 for The Sinatra Project, his Concord Records CD celebrating the music of "Ol' Blue Eyes." The Sinatra Project, Volume II: The Good Life was released in 2011. His Emmy nominated TV special, Michael Feinstein – The Sinatra Legacy, which was taped live at the Palladium in Carmel, IN, aired across the country in 2011. The PBS series Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook was the recipient of the ASCAP Deems-Taylor Television Broadcast Award. The series returned in 2013 for a third season, which is now available on DVD. His next primetime TV Special on PBS, Michael Feinstein at The Rainbow Room, aired on New Year’s Eve, 2014. For his nationally syndicated public radio program Song Travels, Michael interviews and performs alongside of music luminaries such as Bette Midler, Neil Sedaka, Liza Minnelli, Rickie Lee Jones, David Hyde Pierce and more.

His new book, a Los Angeles Times best-seller, The Gershwins and Me, which is combined with a new CD of Gershwin standards performed with Cyrus Chestnut at the piano, was published by Simon & Schuster in October 2012. He released the CDs The Power Of Two – collaborating with Glee and 30 Rock star Cheyenne Jackson – and Cheek To Cheek, recorded with Broadway legend Barbara Cook. He recorded We Dreamed These Days, featuring the Carmel Symphony Orchestra; Feinstein co-wrote the title song with Dr. Maya Angelou.

Michael was named Principal Pops Conductor for the Pasadena POPS in 2012 and made his conducting debut in June 2013 to celebrated critical acclaim. Under Michael’s leadership, the Pasadena POPS has quickly become the nation’s premier presenter of the Great American Songbook in the orchestral arena delivering definitive performances of rare orchestrations and classic arrangements. In June 2014, the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts announced the launch of the MICHAEL FEINSTEIN CONDUCTS THE KRAVIS CENTER POPS ORCHESTRA which sold out 3 shows.

Michael Feinstein conducting Pasadena POPSMichael serves as Artistic Director of the Palladium Center for the Performing Arts, a $170 million, three-theatre venue in Carmel, Indiana, which opened in January 2011. The theater is home to an annual international Great American Arts festival, diverse live programming and a museum for his rare memorabilia and manuscripts. Since 1999, he has served as Artistic Director in collaboration with ASCAP for the immensely popular series at Carnegie Hall, Standard Time with Michael Feinstein. Starting in 2010, he became the director of the Jazz and Popular Song Series at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center.

He has designed a new piano for Steinway called "The First Ladies," inspired by the White House piano and signed by several former First Ladies. It was first played to commemorate the Ronald Regan centennial on February 6, 2011.

In 2013 Michael released, Change Of Heart: The Songs of Andre Previn, (Concord) in collaboration with legendary composer-conductor-pianist Andre Previn, with an album celebrating Previn’s repertoire from his catalog of pop songs that have most commonly been featured in motion pictures. The album opens with "(You’ve Had) A Change of Heart." Previn’s work is highlighted with four Oscars and 11 GRAMMY Awards.

In 2005, Michael recorded Hopeless Romantics, a songbook of Harry Warren classics recorded with legendary jazz pianist George Shearing. The previous year, he completed a national tour with songwriting icon Jimmy Webb based on their album Only One Life – The Songs of Jimmy Webb. The disc was named one of "10 Best CDs of the Year" by USA Today.

In 2003, Michael received his fourth Grammy nomination for his release Michael Feinstein with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, his first recording with a symphony orchestra. The year before, Rhino/Elektra Music released The Michael Feinstein Anthology, a two-disc compilation spanning the years 1987 to 1996 and featuring old favorites and previously unreleased tracks.

His nightclub, Feinstein’s at Loews Regency, presented the top talents of pop and jazz from 1999 – 2012, including Rosemary Clooney, Glen Campbell, Barbara Cook, Diahann Carroll, Jane Krakowski, Lea Michele, Cyndi Lauper, Jason Mraz and Alan Cumming. The club was closed in December of 2012 due to a year-long complete renovation of the Regency Hotel. Michael opened his new nightclub, Feinstein’s at the Nikko in San Francisco’s Nikko Hotel in May of 2013 and Feinstein’s on Broadway will open at a new location in 2015 and also plans for a future nightclub in London.

His many other credits include scoring the original music for the film Get Bruce and performing on the hits television series Better With You, Caroline in the City, Melrose Place, Coach, Cybil, 7th Heaven and Devious Maids.

The roots of all this work began in Columbus, Ohio, where Michael started playing piano by ear as a 5-year-old. After graduating from high school, he worked in local piano bars for two years, moving to Los Angeles when he was 20. The widow of legendary concert pianist-actor Oscar Levant introduced him to Ira Gershwin in July 1977. Feinstein became Gershwin’s assistant for six years, which earned him access to numerous unpublished Gershwin songs, many of which he has since performed and recorded.

Michael Feinstein with Ira GershwinGershwin’s influence provided a solid base upon which Michael evolved into a captivating performer, composer and arranger of his own original music. He also has become an unparalleled interpreter of music legends such as Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer, Duke Ellington and Harry Warren. Feinstein has received three honorary doctorates.

Through his live performances, recordings, film and television appearances, and his songwriting (in collaboration with Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Lindy Robbins, Bob Merrill and Amanda Green), Feinstein is an all-star force in American music.