Why do our audiences love the New York Festival of Song? Could it be their meticulous research into repertoire, or their joie de vivre in concert? Or maybe it's their decidedly non-stuffy approach to musical themes. This season, NYFOS returns to the Center with a bold new program, Manning the Canon: Songs of Gay Life, that explores the quintessential moments of a gay man's experience. The concert's five musical chapters evoke gay life in contemporary America through works by Porter, Bernstein, Blitzstein and more, interspersed with two intermezzos featuring canonic composers of the past. Some songs are explicitly about gay life, while others were not intended to be "gay songs." But as NYFOS founder Steven Blier says, "What I have discovered, or rediscovered, is that a great song speaks to everyone, whispering its secrets to all listeners."