Over the last six years the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts has explored the songbooks of Sondheim, Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hammerstein and contemporary composers. This weekend they open the vault and explore the songwriters of the 1970s. This decade gave us singer-songwriters James Taylor, Paul Simon, Carol King, Elton John and Billy Joel to name just a few who have stood the test of time. But did you know that many of these artists have since lent their talents to the Broadway world? Elton John counts The Lion King, Billy Elliot & Aida among his Broadway contributions. Billy Joel’s song catalog was turned into a musical by choreographer Twyla Tharp in the 2000s. James Taylor contributed the song “Traffic Jam” to the musical Working. And Carol King’s life story is currently playing on Broadway in Beautiful: The Carol King Musical.
Woven throughout some of the biggest hits of the 70s by these artists are songs from Broadway’s biggest hits its newest composers during this decade. Including songs from Pippin, A Chorus Line, Working and Company. The 70s ushered in the careers of Broadway mainstays Stephen Schwartz, Stephen Sondheim and Marvin Hamlisch.
As with all Broadway Songbooks over the year, the amazingly talented cast is comprised of all local actors and is led by Ordway VP of Programming & Producing Artistic Director and the evening’s host James A. Rocco. Rounding out the evening’s talented cast is Dieter Bierbrauer, Caroline Innerbichler, Kersten Rodau, Randy Schmeling and Erin Schwab.
I’m the first to admit I’m a huge theater nerd. I don’t just love going to see shows, I also enjoy learning all about the inter workings of putting a show together and how the story came to life. As I’ve attended various Broadway Songbooks over the last few years, I’ve learned so much about some of my favorite shows that I might never have known otherwise. A lot of this is attributed to the magnificent James A. Rocco and his mass knowledge of Broadway and the theatre world. He and his writing partner Jeffrey P. Scott, have written a beautiful series of Broadway Songbooks that just keep getting better.
For more information on the Broadway Songbook series or to purchase tickets, visit the Ordway’s website.