She was a favorite singer of George Gershwin and Cole Porter; her sophisticated singing style influenced the most iconic recording artists of the 20th century, from Peggy Lee to Barbara Streisand; she performed with the hottest jazz musicians of the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, including Bunny Berigan, Eddie Condon, and Fats Waller; she pioneered the concept of the "songbook" in the late 1930s, with albums devoted to the music of the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart, and Harold Arlen. With her remarkable talent and astounding beauty, Lee Wiley seemed destined for stardom - yet she virtually disappeared at the height of her popularity in the 1950s.
Award-winning performers Lois Walden, Barry Kleinbort, and Paul Greenwood reveal the largely untold story of this acclaimed, notoriously enigmatic American singer while celebrating her enduring musical legacy. Why Lee?: A Musical Scrapbook about Lee Wiley features songs from Wiley's repertoire, anecdotes and dramatic scenarios about her life (both on stage and off), and personal reminiscences from Walden, Kleinbort, and Greenwood.
Kleinbort directs; Greenwood serves as musical director and pianist.