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A Goyishe Christmas To You!

December 14, 2020
Steven Blier, pianist/arranger and host

Candle in My Window by Howard Levitsky/Marc Miller

Alex Mansoori

Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Frank Loesser

Lauren Worsham & Joshua Jeremiah

In a Yiddish translation by Binyumen Schaechter

Donna Breitzer & Joshua Breitzer

The P.C. Update, lyrics by Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski

Rebecca Jo Loeb & Alex Mansoori

Can I interest you in Hanukkah? by David Javerbaum/Adam Schlesinger

Joshua Breitzer & Alex Mansoori

Winter Wonderland by Felix Bernard/Dick Smith

Joshua Jeremiah & Alex Mansoori

Silver Bells by Jay Livingston/Ray Evans

Rebecca Jo Loeb

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Johnny Marks

Yiddish arr. by Kugelplex/Joshua Breitzer

Joshua Breitzer & Alan R. Kay, clarinet

What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? by Frank Loesser

Lauren Worsham & Alan R. Kay, clarinet

Santa Zaydee by Joan Javits/Phil and Tony Springer/R. J. Loeb

Rebecca Jo Loeb

Don’t Let Gramma Cook Christmas Dinner by Roy Zimmerman

Lauren Worsham & Joshua Breitzer

The Christmas Song (“Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”)
by Mel Tormé/Tormé & Wells; new lyrics by Adam Gopnik

Donna Breitzer & Rebecca Jo Loeb

My Simple Christmas Wish by David Friedman

Alex Mansoori

White Christmas by Irving Berlin

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree by Johnny Marks

The Ensemble

_________________

Notes on the Program
by Steven Blier

Unless you abscond to a Tibetan mountain on December 24, there is no way to avoid dealing with Christmas in our culture. For observant Christians it means midnight mass; for the less devout a day spent with kids, model trains, and mulled cider. And for Jews, Christmas plays beautifully into our penchant for confusion and guilt.  Do you gather with friends and overeat? Is it all right to have a tree in your house—as long as you call it a Hanukkah bush? Can one safely exchange gifts without feeling that Yehovah will reach down and smite you with a Mighty Hand? 

In recent years American Jews have invented their own December 25 traditions, the most prevalent of which involves a meal at a Chinese restaurant followed by a trip to the movies. This is our one chance to eat pork without guilt—if you make sure not to ask what’s in the dumplings, you get a free pass on trayf (good for one day only). And tonight, we get another delicious free pass: the pleasure of pigging out on Christmas songs cooked up by a starry roster of Jewish composers. 

Until 2010, NYFOS had never done a Christmas show and (truth be told) neither had I. The musical joys of the season have been always been a little foreign to me. Several decades ago I was asked by a good friend to man the 88s at his holiday party and play the seasonal carols. I was happy to oblige but I’d had a few drinks and my take on them was on the raucous side. Apparently my Jerry Lee Lewis-inspired interpretations rubbed a lot of the guests the wrong way. I was asked to hand the keyboard over to a more sedate pianist. Having been reprimanded, I renounced Christmas carols once again. 

How, then, did tonight’s program come about?

In 1989, a year after NYFOS first started, Michael Barrett came up with the title. We were making our first recording (our Grammy-Award winner Arias and Barcarolles) and we were thinking about future recording projects. All of a sudden Michael said, “Hey, we ought to make a Christmas album and call it A Goyishe Christmas to You!” (For those of you who need a translation—“goyishe” is the Yiddish word for “gentile.”) It became a joke that we rolled out at cocktail parties, always to great effect. 

Flash forward 21 years. I am at my home-away-from-home, Henry’s Restaurant (now closed but never forgotten), batting around ideas for the cabaret series I used to do there several times a year. Henry Rinehart (the eponymous restaurateur-owner) said, “What are you thinking about for December?” I blurted out, “Well, we always talked about doing A Goyishe Christmas to You!” Henry’s eyes lit up. “Christmas songs by Jewish writers! We’re doing it!” Henry’s will be done: A Goyishe Christmas filled his restaurant to capacity, and the show brought down the house. It became an institution at its very first outing. 

Michael created the title; Henry fleshed out the concept. But it fell to me to make the actual program. When I began do some research, I found out to my joy that many of the standard Yuletide songs were in fact composed by Jewish musicians—not just “White Christmas,” the famously Gentile creation of Irving Berlin (Israel Baline, born in Russia) but “Winter Wonderland,” “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire,” “Silver Bells,” and many others.  Of the 25 most popular Yuletide classics, 12 are by Jews. It’s easy to see why: many, if not most, of the Great American Songbook composers were Jewish, and it made good commercial sense for them to contribute to the Yuletide airplay. Our culture loves its holiday songs, and that is precisely what these men wrote: celebrations of the season, hymns to snowy landscapes, the aroma of roasting chestnuts, and the evocative sound of Salvation Army bells on city streets. More than anything, tonight’s songs are about the warmth of family and the sweetness of being at home for the winter solstice. They are especially poignant in the Covid Era, after being hunkered down in our homes for so long. 

Some of the composers need no introduction. Irving Berlin (“God Bless America”) and Frank Loesser (Guys and Dolls) are among the most famous musicians our country has produced.  Mel Tormé, “The Velvet Fog,” was a revered jazz singer and also the composer of over 250 songs. 

“Silver Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Santa Baby,” and “Winter Wonderland” are in another category: classic songs written by composers whose names you might not recognize. Jay Livingston (1915-2001), who wrote “Silver Bells,” doesn’t sound like a Jewish composer, but he Anglicized his moniker—he was born Jacob Levinson. He formed a partnership with Ray Evans (yet another Member of the Tribe with an Anglo-Irish name) and together they created a string of hit songs including “Que será será,” “Tammy,” and “Mona Lisa.” While in Hollywood, Evans and Livingston also wrote two songs that would continue to detonate forever in the ears of baby boomers: the theme music to Bonanza and Mr. Ed (“A horse is a horse, of course, of course…”).

If the name Felix Bernard doesn’t ring a bell with you, don’t chastise yourself. Bernard (1897-1944), born Bernhardt, was a Brooklynite who had a busy career that started in vaudeville (where he supplied specialty material for Sophie Tucker and Al Jolson) and continued into the big band era when he had his own orchestra. He wrote many songs, but his only other big hit was “Dardanella,” the first song to sell over a million recordings. Guy Lombardo launched Bernard’s “Winter Wonderland” in 1934, and it assumed classic status after World War II when the Andrews Sisters and Perry Como included it in their holiday offerings.

If you want to feel guilty about not knowing Johnny Marks (1909-1985), I’ll allow it. He was a one-man Yuletide factory whose holiday songs include “The Most Wonderful Day of the Year,” “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” 

“Rudolph” was originally an idea dreamed up by his brother-in-law Robert May, who worked for Montgomery Ward. In 1939, May wrote a poem about Santa’s ninth reindeer—one with a schnoz that functioned as a headlight. Fancy cards bearing the poem became a popular Christmas give-away item at the store. Marks eventually turned his brother-in-law’s story into a song, and he was able to persuade Gene Autry to record it. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” swept the charts in 1949 and instantly entered the Christmas canon. 

“Santa Baby” has now been recorded by everyone from Madonna to RuPaul—Michael Bublé even butched it up as “Santa Buddy” with a few changes to the lyrics. I was lucky enough to hear this song for the first time in a live performer by its original interpreter, Eartha Kitt. It was a benefit show at a church, and at age 70 Eartha Kitt could still out-vamp anyone on the planet. The sheet music lists three creators: lyricist Joan Javits (the niece of Jacob Javits), composer Philip Springer (who wrote the music), and his brother Tony Springer (who lent his name to facilitate connections at the all-important licensing agency BMI). There was a fourth, uncredited writer: Fred Ebb, who would go on to be the legendary songwriting partner of John Kander (Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman). 

Rebecca Jo Loeb and I both thought the song was in need of an update, and she volunteered to write a new lyric for this show from a more Jewish point of view. I was charmed by the idea and bowled over by the result—“Santa Zaydee,” a song of ecumenical seduction. 

Urban Jews are traditionally the class clowns, so it stands to reason that they have written some of the best Yuletide comedy numbers. We’ve sprinkled a few of them among the classics tonight to put a bit of spice in the holiday cheer. “Don’t Let Gramma Cook Christmas Dinner” is by folksinger Roy Zimmerman, a San Francisco-based, left-wing satirist in the tradition of Tom Lehrer and Phil Ochs. His slogan is “Funny Songs about Ignorance, War, and Greed,” but tonight he focuses his laser wit on the family battles that crop up like clockwork every December. 

Josh Breitzer introduced me to “Can I Interest You in Hanukkah?,” a duet originally created for Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart. It was clearly perfect for our show, but there seemed to be no way to get sheet music for it. Using my music dictation skills (a kind of diatonic stenography), I took down the melody and lyrics from the YouTube video. We made the duet our own. 

The lyrics are by David Jaberbaum, whose contributions to Stewart’s Daily Show won him 11 Emmys (his two other Emmys came from songs he wrote for the Tony Awards). His frequent collaborator was composer Adam Schlesinger, another award-winning artist (Emmy, Grammy, ASCAP). He was probably best known as the principal composer and executive music director for the TV series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, a brilliantly loony approach to televised music-theater. Sadly, we lost this gifted musician in April—Schlesinger was one of the early casualties of the pandemic. 

I was introduced to “My Simple Christmas Wish” by its first interpreter, Helden-belteuse Alix Korey. She offered it at a 2003 NYFOS summer benefit, a concert that marked our very first appearance at Merkin Hall. “It’ll bring down the house,” she said matter-of-factly, “it always does.” Alix was right, and the song has now gone on to be a standard item not just in my repertoire but that of numerous cabaret performers, each of whom has tweaked the lyric as needed. Composer/lyricist David Friedman has had an illustrious career as Broadway conductor, Hollywood vocal arranger, and record producer. Diana Ross, Barry Manilow, and Nancy LaMott are among the many stars who have championed and recorded his music. While sweetness and sincerity are the hallmarks of most of his work, “My Simple Christmas Wish” seems to be Friedman’s rudest lyric—and therefore my favorite among all of his songs. 

New York-based composer Howard Levitzky sent me “Candle in My Window” by email about five weeks before our second season of Goyishe Christmas in 2011. As you can imagine, I receive a fair amount of artist submissions and all too often they reveal a certain misunderstanding of NYFOS’s philosophy and taste. The title of this piece didn’t seem promising, but I dutifully clicked on the PDF attachment…and within 30 seconds I realized that Howard had sent me the perfect opening song for A Goyishe Christmas to You!. “Candle in My Window” was written in 2001 for a BMI workshop. Marc Miller’s lyric perfectly captures the angsty joy so many of us feel as Christmas approaches, and Howard Levitsky wraps the gift with charm and perfect timing.  

I didn’t hear songs like “Winter Wonderland” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” with any frequency when I was growing up, much less the more religious carols. We didn’t have a single Christmas LP at home. When I was a kid my parents seemed resolute about not making Christmas a special day. This was compounded by the fact that we also didn’t eat Chinese food, so we lacked even that alternative tradition. While other families ripped open presents or gorged on chop suey, my mom and dad breezed through the day as if they had split a Xanax. My brother and I were expected to combine industriousness with wholesome leisure activities. Whining about not getting a bicycle (or a blue Royal Selectric typewriter, which is what I truly craved) was considered a major lapse of etiquette. After all, I’d already received my Hanukkah gelt. 

My first prolonged encounter with many of the famous carols came when I bought Joan Sutherland’s Christmas album in 1965. Her always-cloudy diction was at its absolute mushiest at those sessions, and her version of “The Holly and the Ivy” sounds more like “Thaw Holla Ootha Oo-vey,” which is how I sing it after a few drinks.  I am still not clear as to whether she sings “O Holy Night” in English or French. 

But I have one beautiful memory of Christmas music at home. I must have been about five years old. My mother, brother, and I had taken stencils and decorated our window with white snowflakes, which seemed like a miracle to me. My grandparents had just shipped their old Mason and Hamlin piano down to us, and my mother sat down on the bench in between my brother and me. She got out the Fireside Book of Folksongs and opened it to “Silent Night,” which she proceeded to play, hesitantly. She probably hadn’t touched the piano since she was a girl, and it took every bit of her concentration to get through the song. I had issues with “Silent Night” because I thought the lyric was “Round young virgin,” and though I didn’t know what a virgin was, it sounded a bit louche to me. Still, I begged her for another song and I think she may have stumbled through “O Tannenbaum.” The whole event seemed shrouded in secrecy, and I got the sense we should not share it with my father. 

It was the only time I ever heard my mother play the piano. But clearly she felt that magical holiday spirit. Tonight I feel as if I am continuing my mom’s fragile serenade from all those years ago. In the words of our first song, “Bless the Christians and Jews—the other guys too!”

May your days be merry and bright, and filled with song. 

_________________

About the Artists

STEVEN BLIER is the Artistic Director of the New York Festival of Song (NYFOS), which he co-founded in 1988 with Michael Barrett. Since the Festival’s inception, he has programmed, performed, translated and annotated more than 140 vocal recitals with repertoire spanning the entire range of American song, art song from Schubert to Szymanowski, and popular song from early vaudeville to Lennon-McCartney. NYFOS has also made in-depth explorations of music from Spain, Latin America, Scandinavia and Russia. New York Magazine gave NYFOS its award for Best Classical Programming, while Opera News proclaimed Blier “the coolest dude in town” and in December 2014, Musical America included him as one of 30 top industry professionals in their feature article, “Profiles in Courage.”

Mr. Blier enjoys an eminent career as an accompanist and vocal coach. His recital partners have included Renée Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, Samuel Ramey, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Susan Graham, Jessye Norman, and José van Dam, in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to La Scala. He is also on the faculty of The Juilliard School and has been active in encouraging young recitalists at summer programs, including the Wolf Trap Opera Company, the Steans Institute at Ravinia, Santa Fe Opera, and the San Francisco Opera Center. Many of his former students, including Stephanie Blythe, Joseph Kaiser, Sasha Cooke, Paul Appleby, Dina Kuznetsova, Corinne Winters, Julia Bullock, and Kate Lindsey, have gone on to be valued recital colleagues and sought-after stars on the opera and concert stage.

In keeping the traditions of American music alive, he has brought back to the stage many of the rarely heard songs of George Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Kurt Weill and Cole Porter. He has also played ragtime, blues and stride piano evenings with John Musto. A champion of American art song, he has premiered works of John Corigliano, Paul Moravec, Ned Rorem, William Bolcom, Mark Adamo, John Musto, Richard Danielpour, Tobias Picker, Robert Beaser, Lowell Liebermann, Harold Meltzer, and Lee Hoiby, many of which were commissioned by NYFOS.

Mr. Blier’s extensive discography includes the premiere recording of Leonard Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles (Koch International), which won a Grammy Award; Spanish Love Songs (Bridge Records), recorded live at the Caramoor International Music Festival with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Joseph Kaiser, and Michael Barrett; the world premiere recording of Bastianello (John Musto) and Lucrezia (William Bolcom), a double bill of one-act comic operas set to librettos by Mark Campbell; and Quiet Please, an album of jazz standards with vocalist Darius de Haas. His latest release is Canción amorosa, a CD of Spanish songs with soprano Corinne Winters.

His writings on opera have been featured in Opera News and the Yale Review. A native New Yorker, he received a Bachelor’s Degree with Honors in English Literature at Yale University, where he studied piano with Alexander Farkas. He completed his musical studies in New York with Martin Isepp and Paul Jacobs.

Mezzo-soprano DONNA BREITZER enjoys a varied schedule of solo and ensemble performances in NYC and beyond. Equally versatile in early music, contemporary works, art song, opera, and sacred music, Donna is an in-demand performer in both small and large ensemble settings. Recent performance highlights include appearances with the American Classical Orchestra, New York Virtuoso Singers, the Bard Festival Chorale, the American Symphony Orchestra, Berkshire Bach Society, and The Metropolitan Opera, where she has been a member of the Extra Chorus since 2014. Originally from Saratoga, CA, Donna is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the New England Conservatory of Music, and has enjoyed teaching private voice lessons for more than 20 years. She is also the Executive Director of Five Boroughs Music Festival, a chamber music presenting organization in NYC, which she co-founded in 2007. Donna lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, Cantor Josh Breitzer, and their sons Jonah and Gideon.

JOSHUA BREITZER is cantor and music director of Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, adjunct professor at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and a vice president of the American Conference of Cantors. He has appeared with NYFOS in the annual “A Goyishe Christmas to You!” program since its inception, and has coached several of NYFOS’s Emerging Artists on Jewish repertoire. 

Considered one of his generation’s leading talents, Cantor Breitzer has performed at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Merkin Concert Hall. The Jewish Daily Forward named Cantor Breitzer one of the best new Jewish music voices in its first-ever “Soundtrack of Our Spirit” series, and his singing is featured throughout the PBS documentary “The Four Sons And All Their Sons: A Passover Tale.” 

A mid-Michigan native, Cantor Breitzer attended Interlochen Arts Camp and holds voice degrees from the University of Michigan and the New England Conservatory. He makes a home in Park Slope, Brooklyn with his wife Donna and their sons Jonah and Gideon.

ALAN R. KAY is Principal Clarinetist and a former Artistic Director of Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and serves as Principal Clarinet with New York’s Riverside Symphony and Little Orchestra Society.  Mr. Kay’s honors include the Classical Recording Foundation Samuel Sanders Award, the C.D. Jackson Award at Tanglewood, a Presidential Scholars Teacher Award, and the 1989 Young Concert Artists Award with the sextet Hexagon featured in the prizewinning film, Debut. A founding member of the Windscape Quintet, he is a regular guest in chamber music venues throughout the world, including the Yellow Barn, Orlando (Holland), Bowdoin, and Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society Festivals, and the Cape May Music Festival, where he curated a concert series for 25 years. Mr. Kay taught at the Summer Music Academy in Leipzig, Germany in 2004 and teaches at the Manhattan School of Music, The Juilliard School and Stony Brook University, where he also serves as Executive Director of the Stony Brook University Orchestra. A virtuoso of wind repertoire, Mr. Kay has recorded with Hexagon, Windscape and the Sylvan Winds. His transcriptions for wind quintet are available from Trevco Music Publishing and International Opus.  Mr. Kay’s recent CD, Max Reger: Music for Clarinet and Piano, on Bridge Records with pianist Jon Klibonoff, won the Classical Recording Foundation’s Samuel Sanders Chamber Music Award. He has also recently recorded Perry Goldstein’s Quintet with the “M” Prize-winning Calidore String Quartet and reductions for chamber ensemble of Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder and Das Lied von der Erde, and Max Reger’s Romantic Suite in The Netherlands with Gruppo Montebello, Henk Guittart conducting. He has served on the juries of international chamber music competitions in Trapani, Italy and Rolduc, Holland, Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Concert Artist Guild Auditions, and the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition.

Baritone JOSHUA JEREMIAH is thrilled to be back making music with Steve and the whole NYFOS family. Before the 2019-20 season came to an abrupt halt he performed Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors with On Site Opera, Lionel in The Maid of Orleans with New Orleans Opera, and made his house debut with Houston Grand Opera as Rigoletto.

Highlights from the previous season include his debut with Minnesota Opera as Horstmayer in Silent NightRigoletto with the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera, Scarpia in Tosca with the Reading Symphony, Father in Chunky in Heat with Experiments in Opera, and Dancaïro in Carmen with both Annapolis Opera and the Bar Harbor Music Festival.

Notable performances in recent seasons include: Silvio in Pagliacci with New Orleans Opera, The Man in Persona in his Los Angeles Opera debut, his On Site Opera debut as Aaron Greenspan in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star, When Adonis Callswith Asheville Lyric Opera, Mata Hari with the PROTOTYPE Festival, Gianni Schicchi and Macbeth with the Opera Company of Middlebury, the title role in Rigoletto and Lassiter in the world-première of Riders of the Purple Sage with Arizona Opera, and Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Hawaii Opera Theatre.

REBECCA JO LOEB began her 2019/20 season at the Teatro Municipal Sao Paolo reprising her role as Lumee in the Pulitzer Prize winning opera
p r i s m which was also released on Decca Gold and various roles in a concert version of Weill’s Der Silversee and Blitzstein’s No for an Answer. She then debuted with the Oldenburgische Staatsballet singing as the soloist in VANITAS by Sciarrino. Engagements cancelled included p r i s m at the Kennedy Center, Bach St. John’s Passion with the Florida Orchestra, Garderobiere/Gymnasiast in Lulu with the Cleveland Orchestra and The Metropolitan Opera, and The Dutchess in Weill’s The Firebrand of Florence at Tanglewood. Future seasons include debuts at the Spoleto Festival and Opera Philadelphia in world premieres and directing Die Fledermaus in Berlin.

Last season, Rebecca debuted with Los Angeles Opera and The Prototype Festival, a return to the Deutsche Oper Berlin for Schönberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with Donald Runnicles conducting, Mercedes in Carmen, Zweite Dame in Die Zauberflöte and New York Festival of Song to reprise Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles on tour. Ms. Loeb spent five seasons in the ensembles of the Deutsche Oper Berlin and Hamburgische Staatsoper, in which her performances included Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Siebel in Faust, Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel, Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus. Other engagements included Flora in La traviata at The Metropolitan Opera; Oper Köln as The Fox in The Cunning Little Vixen; Dutch National Opera and Teatro Municipal de Santiago as Eine Theater Garderoberie/Gymnasiast/ein Groom in Lulu; Festival d’Aix-en-Provence as the Second Angel and Marie in the world premiere of Benjamin’s Written on Skin; and Theater Freiburg as Susan in Weill’s Love Life.

In concert Rebecca has performed with the Hamburg Ballet in Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s St. John Passion and with the CPE Bach Chor as soloist in Bach’s St. Mark Passion and The Jenny and Johnny Project at both the Kurt Weill Festival in Dessau and the Brecht Festival in Augsburg. She joined James Conlon in a concert performance of Mahagonny Songspiel at the Ravinia Festival and sang Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream with the New York City Ballet, Bach’s Mass in B minor at Carnegie Hall, and made her Alice Tully Hall debut singing Bolcom’s acclaimed Cabaret Songs.

Called “Outstanding” and “Hilarious” by critics, character tenor ALEX MANSOORI has been hailed as “solid and convincing” and “smartly characterized” by The New York Times. In recent seasons, Mr. Mansoori made his Dallas Opera debut as Bardolfo in Falstaff, and returned to Opera Orlando for the Four Servants in Les contes d’Hoffmann. In the summer of 2018, Mr. Mansoori made his debut at The Tanglewood Festival in multiple roles in Bernstein’s Candide, directed by Alison Moritz and featuring the Brooklyn-based orchestra The Knights. Other favorite credits include Nika Magadoff in The Consul at Seattle Opera, Pirelli in Sweeney Todd at Palm Beach Dramaworks, and Monostatos in Peter Brook’s Une flûte enchantée at Theatres des Bouffes du Nord in Paris. Mr. Mansoori has a long relationship with the New York Festival of Song, most recently appearing in Weill’s Der Silbersee and Blitzstein’s No for an Answer. He has also appeared with NYFOS for tributes to Harold Prince, Cole Porter, and Johnny Mercer.

LAUREN WORSHAM is a Tony-nominated actress and singer. She was nominated for a Tony and won Drama Desk and Theatre World awards for the role of ‘Phoebe’ in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (2014 Tony winner for Best Musical). Recently she recurred on multiple episodes of The CW’s Valor. She was seen in New York City Center’s gala production of Sunday in the Park with George and the Encores! productions of Call Me Madam and Big River. Other favorite roles include ‘Lisa’ in Dog Days at Montclair Peak Performances, Fort Worth Opera and LA Opera for director Robert Woodruff; ‘Flora’ in Turn of the Screw at New York City Opera for Sam Buntrock; ‘Amy’ in Where’s Charley? at Encores! for John Doyle; ‘Cunegonde’ in New York City Opera’s Candide, and ‘Olive’ in the first national tour of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Lauren performs frequently in concert at Carnegie Hall, 54 Below, Joe’s Pub, Caramoor, Merkin Hall, Oregon Bach Festival, Galapagos Art Space and New York City Opera’s VOX. Lauren placed second in the Kurt Weill Foundation’s Lotte Lenya competition. She’s co-founder and executive director of the downtown opera company, The Coterie, and is a founding member of the band, Sky-Pony. More at laurenworsham.com.

_________________

Acknowledgments

Thank you to everyone who made this program possible

Donna Breitzer
Cantor Joshua Breitzer
Joshua Jeremiah
Alan R. Kay
Rebecca Jo Loeb
Alex Mansoori
Lauren Worsham

and 

Steven Blier, pianist and host

Jonathan Estabrooks, video production

The NYFOS administration
Steven Blier, Artistic Director
Michael Barrett, Associate Artistic Director
Charles McKay, Managing Director
Claire Molloy, Deputy Director

NYFOS’s Board of Directors
Richard A. Rosen, Chairman
Robert D. Krinsky, Treasurer
Philip K. Howard
Philip Kalikman
Karen Koch
Judith Goetz Sanger
Peter Thall

and, especially, our NYFOS@Home series supporters

Happy Holidays from everyone at NYFOS!

New York Festival of Song • One Penn Plaza • #6108 • New York, NY 10119 • 646-230-8380 • info@nyfos.org