The Town Hall celebrated its 90th Anniversary with a gala benefit celebration and concert on May 2 with an all-star cast. Marvin Leffler, the President, thanked those who attended and talked about the rich cultural history of this worthy institution sometimes known as “The People’s Hall.” The building was erected by the firm of McKim, Mead and White under the auspices of The League for Political Education to educate women, who had just won the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th amendment. Since then, thousands of events have graced this stage.
Scott Siegel who produces many fine programs at The Town Hall, including the Broadway By The Year Series, hosted the evening. Tovah Feldshuh opened the show with a “Town Hall Medley” that she had put together. Tony nominated Emily Skinner sang, “Sleepy Man” and then the prolific songwriter Jason Robert Brown sang a song from his show Parade. Jason had a bad cold and apologized to the audience for his voice, and then performed a terrific song from his new musical, Honeymoon in Vegas. One of the highlights of the evening was John and Bucky Pizzarelli, father and son playing the guitar together on the stage. No one can tell a story like John and the two are virtuoso musicians.
A surprise guest was Norm Lewis who is now in London playing Javert in Les Miserables who sang “Bring Him Home” from that show and “I’d Rather Be Sailing.” Liz Callaway always hits a home run – her clear and beautiful voice echoed through the hall with a wonderful medley of “Didn’t We/MacArthur Park”. With Alex Rybeck at the piano, she sang, “You There in The Back Row” and then a comic parody of Sondheim’s “Another Hundred People.”
Jeffry Denman and Noah Racey are both incredible dancer/choreographers in their own right, but together they make sparks. They danced and sang “Necessity” and brought the house down with their smooth moves. The concert ended with Tovah singing “Never Never Land” from Peter Pan and the remarkable cast came on stage to take their well-deserved bows. May The Town Hall continue to showcase fine young talent and feature world-class performances in cabaret, dance, music, opera and theater and host legendary artistic, cultural and political figures for the next 90 years!
By: Linda Amiel Burns
Photos: Jonathan Slaff