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Tony Winner Zippel Here for Johnny Mercer Celebration

May 9, 2006 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) at Northwestern University, in association with the Johnny Mercer Foundation, has announced that Tony Award-winning and Academy Award-nominated lyricist David Zippel will serve as one of the “master teachers” for “The Power of the American Popular Song” festival that will be held on the Evanston campus Aug. 7 through 12.

With a career spanning the worlds of Broadway, Hollywood and popular music, Zippel is one of the most sought-after lyric writers working today. He made his Broadway debut in 1989 with “City of Angels” (music by Cy Coleman, book by Larry Gelbart), for which he received the Tony Award. With eight-time Oscar winning composer Alan Menken, Zippel wrote the songs for Disney's feature film “Hercules.” Pop singer Michael Bolton recorded “Go the Distance” from that score, which was a No. 1 record and nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. Most recently, Zippel was represented on Broadway as the lyricist for Andrew Lloyd Webber's “The Woman In White.”

Zippel's current projects include: “Princesses,” his own adaptation of the classic children's novel “A Little Princess”; “Buzz!”, a musical extravaganza about the life of Busby Berkeley; “Pamela's First Musical,” based on Wendy Wasserstein's children's book; “N,” the story of Emperor Napoleon and his Josephine and “Lysistrata: Sex And The City State.”

In addition to Zippel, “The Power of the American Popular Song” summer festival will feature some of America's most prominent songwriters including Alan Bergman (“The Way We Were”), John Bucchino (“Grateful”) and Amanda McBroom (“The Rose”). These artists will serve as guest faculty for a weeklong educational program of master classes and workshops for a highly selective group of young composers. In addition, the guest artists will present musical performances featuring their own work throughout the week that will be open to the public.

Emerging songwriters or writing teams, aged 18 to 30, are encouraged to apply for this program. Because of the support of the Johnny Mercer Foundation there is no fee for the workshop, though all participants must cover their own travel expenses. The workshop will accept approximately

16 writers/writing teams. Applicants will be required to submit three songs for adjudication. For an application form and more information visit the AMTP Web site at <www.amtp.northwestern.edu> or call (847) 467-0333. Applications will be accepted through May 12.

One of America's most influential and prolific songwriters, Johnny Mercer (1909-1976) wrote some of the most enduring standards of the 20th century, including “Accentuate The Positive,” “You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby,” “I Remember You,” “Come Rain Or Come Shine,” “One For My Baby,” “Hooray For Hollywood” and “Moon River.”

Mercer wrote songs for 90 motion pictures, won four Academy Awards, wrote six Broadway shows, including “St. Louis Woman” and “ Li'l Abner.” He also discovered and nurtured artists Margaret Whiting, Jo Stafford, Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole.

The American Music Theatre Project is a new initiative at Northwestern University dedicated to the development of new musicals and the creation of educational opportunities in the field of musical theatre.

The Johnny Mercer Foundation is dedicated to the preservation of the American Popular Song and continuing the tradition of Johnny Mercer's lifetime of artistry and generosity. For more information on the foundation visit <www.johnnymercerfoundation.com>.

Topics: Campus Life