Winter Rhythms 2014 Rock at Urban Stages
By: Ellis Nassour
If you’re looking for a reasonably-priced evening or afternoon of show tunes, jazz, and evenings of cabaret, if not by a roaring fireplace at least inside, don’t miss Urban Stages’ Winter Rhythms 2014, selected as a Time Out Critic’s Pick, through December 14 at its theatre (259 West 30th Street, just east of Eighth Avenue). Shows are at 7 P.M., except where noted.
This is its sixth series of musical evenings. It benefits the group’s outreach program, which brings over 300 free "arts in education" presentations to libraries and schools throughout Manhattan’s five boroughs. Frances Hill is Urban Stages founding artistic director. The series is presented in association with Bistro and MAC Award winner producer/director/lyricist and director of musical programming Peter Napolitano.
Programming highlights include Tony winner Len Cariou, Rita Gardner (The Fantasticks) and 54 Below’s Phil Geoffrey Bond in an evening of excerpts from one-person plays and musicals on December 8; MAC Award winner Adam B. Shapiro (HBO’s The Normal Heart) in Nothing Normal on December 10; Barry’s Jazz Jam featuring the Barry Levitt Trio with guest vocalists that include Hilary Kole and Michele Bautier on December 10 at 9 P.M.; Broadway by Guitar with arrangements of classic and contemporary show tunes by jazz guitarist/recording artist Sean Harkness with guests including Karen Akers, Karen Oberlin and Janice Hall on December 11.
The series continues with an evening of MAC Award-winning songs hosted by lyricist Tom Toce with Julie Gold, singers, and songwriters on December 12; The Lovers, The Dreamers, and Jim, a celebration of the life and works of Jim Henson in honor of the 45th birthday of Sesame Street with Shapiro, Tony nominee Stephanie D’Abruzzo (Avenue Q), and special guests on December 13 at 3 P.M.; and A Salute to Singer/Songwriters of the Seventies, hosted by Stephen Hanks with guests that include Natalie Douglas and Carole J. Bufford.
Winter Rhythms hosts a December 12 cabaret/jazz open mic, hosted by Joe Bachana and Jenna Esposito and featuring the Metrojam Jazz Quartet. Sign up starts at 9 P.M., show is at 9:30. Admission is $10. Singers are requested to bring three copies of their music.
The series closes December 14 with From All of Us to All of You: Seasonal Songs and Disney, Too!, the traditional closing concert which mixes holiday standards with songs from Disney movies. Drama Desk winner Jim Brochu hosts, with Matthew Martin Ward musical directing. The large roster of headliners includes Clint Holmes, Karen Mason, Doreen Montalvo, and Lennie Watts.
Tickets are $25 per show, except for open mic and closing night. There’s a three show (except opening, closing, and open mic) package for $60. The series finale is $40 and includes champagne reception with the artists. Purchase at www.smarttix.com or by calling (212) 868-4444. For complete schedule with detailed information, pricing, and showtimes, visit qwww.urbanstages.org