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Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project to Feature Stephen Schwartz

Northwestern University Aug. 6-7 events to spotlight Broadway stars and guest artists

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June 29, 2010 | by Judy Moore
Video produced by Matt Paolelli
EVANSTON, Ill. --- For the fifth year, the weeklong Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project returns to the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern University to celebrate America's acclaimed and emerging songwriters and singers.

Presented by The Johnny Mercer Foundation and the American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) at Northwestern University, this year's project will conclude with three special events, including the star-studded, one-night-only concert "A Celebration of Stephen Schwartz" (Aug. 7), which will honor the Tony Award-nominated composer ("Wicked," "Pippen," "Godspell") for his mentorship of young songwriters in the tradition of the legendary Johnny Mercer.

Featuring celebrated American songwriters Craig Carnelia (Tony Award-nominated lyricist for "Sweet Smell of Success"), Andrew Lippa ("The Wild Party" and "The Addams Family") and Lari White (three-time Grammy Award-winning songwriter and performer) and young songwriters from the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project, as well as Broadway star Shoshana Bean ("Wicked") and Schwartz himself, the evening will include performances from Schwartz's landmark shows.

"The American Music Theatre Project is thrilled to continue its collaboration with The Johnny Mercer Foundation on this unique songwriting intensive," said AMTP Executive Director Dominic Missimi. "We look forward to welcoming Stephen Schwartz to campus and to sharing his music and stories from his career with our audiences and with the emerging songwriters who are part of the intensive."

Additional Mercer events include the annual "Songwriters Showcase" (Aug. 6), an evening of original music by this year's young composers and lyricists, representing the worlds of pop, music theatre, hip hop, folk, Latin and country. Festival subscribers also may enjoy a complimentary private discussion, "Behind the Scenes with Stephen Schwartz" (Aug 7), hosted by AMTP Executive Director Dominic Missimi and featuring stories and songs shared by Schwartz.

Throughout his long and productive career, Johnny Mercer composed more than 1,500 songs, including the classics "Come Rain or Come Shine," "Accentuate the Positive" and "Moon River." He was dedicated to the development of young songwriters and singers. The weeklong Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project will be held on the Northwestern Evanston campus from Aug. 1 to 7 and will include master classes and workshops led by Carnelia, Lippa and White. Fifteen songwriters from around the country were accepted into this year's program.

The 2010 Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project will include:

  • Songwriters Showcase, 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 6, Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive. For the fifth year, emerging songwriters from across the country will entertain audiences in an evening of original pop, music theatre, hip hop, folk, Latin and country songs. Seating is limited to the first 300 all-inclusive subscribers and reservations are required. General admission is $10 or admission-free to all-inclusive subscribers
  • Behind the Scenes with Stephen Schwartz, 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive. This event is open only to 2010 all-inclusive subscribers who will enjoy a complimentary private discussion with Stephen Schwartz prior to "The Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project: A Celebration of Stephen Schwartz." Hosted by AMTP Executive Director Dominic Missimi, Schwartz will share stories from his successful career on Broadway and beyond and perform several songs. Reservations are required.
  • The Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project: "A Celebration of Stephen Schwartz," 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive. This star-studded evening celebrates the legacy of America's legendary songwriter Johnny Mercer. This year's concert will honor award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz ("Wicked," "Godspell," "Pippin") for his mentorship of young songwriters in the tradition of Johnny Mercer. The evening will feature performances from Schwartz's landmark shows, along with classic Mercer tunes by Broadway star Shoshana Bean ("Wicked"), Tony-nominated composer and lyricist Craig Carnelia, Grammy Award-nominated composer and lyricist Andrew Lippa and Grammy Award-winning Nashville singer and songwriter Lari White, as well as young songwriters from the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project, and Schwartz himself. Single tickets are $40 for the general public; $35 for seniors 65 and older and Northwestern faculty and staff and area educators and administrators; and $10 for full-time students.
Subscriptions and single tickets to all productions may be purchased by phone through the Theatre and Interpretation Center Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or online at http://www.tic.northwestern.edu. Single tickets to all performances range in price from $10 to $40. Subscriptions and single tickets are on sale now.

Topics: Campus Life