"P.G.'s Other Profession"
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Jill performed in a concert in the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, Washington D.C. on June 20, 2001. The concert, "P.G.'s Other Profession," presented early 20th century musical theatre songs with lyrics written by British author P.G. Wodehouse before he achieved fame as an writer. He wrote the majority of the concert program selections in collaboration with Jerome Kern, but he also worked with the Gershwin brothers, Cole Porter, and Ivor Novello around that time.. The Library of Congress commissioned the New York Festival of Song (NYFOS) to arrange the concert.
The singers included sopranos Sylvia McNair and Jill Anderson, tenor Hal Cazalet , and baritone Jason Graae . Hal Cazalet, an opera singer who has performed extensively in his native England, America and Europe, is a great-grandson of Wodehouse. Hal's discovery of the forgotten Wodehouse lyrics in his family home in London inspired him to resurrect and perform the songs, many of which had not been heard since their original productions. Earlier this year, Cazalet and McNair worked with Steven Blier to record several of the songs on a CD entitled "Where the Good Songs Go," to be released in the Fall of 2001. (Watch for it on the Sylvia McNair web site and other outlets.)
Steven Blier, a founder and co-artistic director (with Michael Barrett) of NYFOS, worked with Hal C. to organize the concert. Blier arranged the music and accompanied on piano. Gregory Utzig, currently playing guitar for Miss Saigon, added guitar, mandolin and banjo. Larry Maslon, a faculty member of the graduate acting program at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, was stage director. Blier arranged the music and accompanied on piano. You can read all about Steven Blier, New York Festival of Song, and the Library of Congress concert series by following the links in this paragraph.
Photos on this page were taken after the concert. At the top, Sylvia, Hal, Jill and Jason. The second picture is Hal, Jill and stage director Larry Maslon. At right, Hal, Steven Blier, Larry and Jason.
The program received standing
ovations, both before and after the encore.
Washington Post review:
PERFORMING ARTS (washingtonpost.com)
Friday, June 22, 2001; Page C05
New York Festival of Song
"On the other side of the moon, ever so far, beyond
the last little star, there's a land, I know, where the
good songs go." As wordsmith to Jerome Kern's music,
P.G. Wodehouse was lamenting songs that "had their day,
and then we threw them away . . . for some other, newer
tune." The song is called "The Land Where the Good Songs
Go." It's a gorgeous song, a great song, a song that never
should have disappeared, but Wodehouse and Kern knew
where it was headed as they wrote it. Just about everything
else they wrote together now resides where the good
songs go, but 19 of their witty, beautifully crafted, poignantly
funny, tenderly bright songs were momentarily returned to
us Wednesday night at the Library of Congress by the New
York Festival of Song. What a bonanza!
With Steven Blier fueling the show from the piano, and Gregory
Utzig adding wry comment on guitar, mandolin and banjo,
four smashing singers -- sopranos Sylvia McNair and Jill Anderson,
tenor Hal Cazalet, baritone Jason Graae -- sang, mugged and
hoofed their way through the systemic center of classic
Broadway: songs with heart. This was the real stuff,
performed by superb musicians who love and respect it.
"You're the Top" and "Anything Goes" -- Wodehouse
collaborations with Cole Porter -- were thrown in for good
measure. This exquisitely paced production seized perfection
immediately and held it until the last beat of rapturous
applause finally ebbed away.
-- Ronald Broun
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