Lyrics & Lyricists at the 92nd Street Y features The Revolutionaries. The program showcases the songs of those who changed the course of musical theater and looks at the way their songs influenced the current crop of composers and lyricists.
George M. Cohan broke away from the reigning operetta form in the early part of the century with a quintessentially American sound that was aggressive, full of speed and supremely patriotic. Cohan's songs include classics like "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "Give my Regards to Broadway." Barry Levitt, artistic director of Lyrics &
Lyricists, calls E.Y. "Yip" Harburg one of the first songwriters to bring the social consciousness of Tin Pan Alley to musical theater with "Brother Can You Spare a Dime." Levitt says Cole Porter, Lorenz Hart, and Ira
Gershwin raised the level of sophistication of theater lyrics with songs like "It's DeLovely" from Red Hot and Blue and "Manhattan" from Garrick Gaieties. George Gershwin expressed the excitement of the jazz age in songs like "I Got Rhythm," "Fascinating Rhythm" and "Embraceable You." And the songwriting team of Howard Dietz (lyricist) and Arthur Schwartz (composer) refined the musical revue with shows like The Bandwagon, which included "Dancing in the Dark." Composer Kurt Weill and poet/lyricist Bertold Brecht, both Europeans, explored the darker side of life with Threepenny Opera, which ultimately laid the groundwork for shows like Cabaret and Sweeney Todd. The show also features the work of Irving Berlin, one of the 20th century's most successful and versatile songwriters.
Bill Boggs is the host of (and occasional performer in) The Revolutionaries.