Encores! Archives Project

Event

A video series on social media celebrating your favorites from City Center musicals

Overview

Overview

Welcome to the Encores! Archives Project! We want to make sure you still get your musical theater fix even if our theater is temporarily closed.

To enjoy daily highlights from our musical theater vault—Encores!, Encores! Off-Center, and Gala productions—follow us on social media @NYCityCenter (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube).

Each week’s selections will center around a different theme; a composer or writing team, a particular era, or a performer. With over 80 Broadway shows and over a dozen from Off-Broadway there’s a wealth of riches to choose from and star performances to revisit.

No matter how long we are practicing social distancing, Encores! Archives Project is your musical theater ticket during these trying times and we hope it brings a smile to your day.

This project is made possible by a generous donation to the Actors Fund.

Major support for the 2019-2020 Encores! season was provided by the Stacey and Eric Mindich Fund for Musical Theater. Season Sponsors included Roz and Jerry Meyer, The Shubert Foundation and the Stephanie and Fred Shuman Fund for Encores!. Additional support was provided by Margot and John Ernst, Marta Heflin Foundation, The Frederick Loewe Foundation, The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Inc., The SHS Foundation, Leo Shull Foundation for the Arts and The Ted Snowdon Foundation.

We’re working behind the scenes to bring you an exciting 2020-2021 season, and we hope you will consider making a gift of any size to help sustain City Center as a theater for all New Yorkers during these challenging times.

Support Us Now

 

Staff Picks

Staff Picks

Encores! is one of the many reasons we love coming to work at City Center. Come meet some of our musical-loving staff and hear their all-time favorite show tunes in a special two-week run of Encores! Archives Staff Picks.

Videos

Songs That Bring Down the House

Songs That Bring Down the House

The saying “bring down the house” can be traced to the 18th-century, a term used to describe the unbridled approval of an audience, the roar of the crowd that shakes a theater to its rafters.

The Greek word “katharsis” means cleansing: it gives us a release—we are the characters, the characters are us—through a sudden awareness, a critical decision, a revelation. Sometimes it’s the sheer joy of the moment that brings us to our feet. And for one fleeting moment we ascend as well, gathered together for one night in the dark, brought together and listening, laughing, crying, as one.

For a special two-week run, we will revisit some of these showstopping songs and the performances that brought us to our feet.

Jeanine Tesori (Encores! Off-Center Creative Advisor) and Anne Kauffman (Encores! Off-Center Artistic Director)

Videos

Score Restoration

Score Restoration

There’s nothing like the sound of a classic golden age Broadway orchestra: the soaring trumpets, lush strings, and swinging saxophones. The enduring commitment at Encores! to present shows with their original orchestration, brought to life by the 30-piece Encores! Orchestra, is one of the hallmarks of our series.

Often there is a considerable amount of work that goes into restoring a show’s original orchestrations. We gather as much original material as we can and compare with the licensed orchestra parts which often have been simplified or modified. Restoring these shows requires some real musical detective work.

There have been shows in our history where very little original material existed; full scores and entire orchestrations were lost. This week we will look at some of the more ambitious score restorations we have taken on.

These jobs could not have been completed without the dedicated efforts of Josh Clayton, the Encores! assistant music director, who for many years has been the secret weapon of the series. My predecessor and founding Encores! Music Director Rob Fisher set the standard for how to approach this work with detailed authenticity. And we must give special thanks to those who have funded these restorations, particularly City Center Board member Joe Steinberg through the Joseph S. and Diane H. Steinberg Charitable Trust.

The shows featured this week represent our unique contributions to the preservation of great music written for the stage.

Rob Berman, Encores! Music Director

Videos

Jack Viertel’s Pick for the Week: Harold Arlen on Broadway

Jack Viertel’s Pick for the Week: Harold Arlen on Broadway

Back in 1990, in his historic survey, American Popular Song, Alec Wilder went way out on a limb and confessed that he preferred Harold Arlen’s music to George Gershwin’s. The comparison, whatever one thinks of it, wasn’t inapt. Both men were deeply influenced by African-American song traditions, jazz, and experimentalism. Arlen’s theater songs have as much or more in common with Duke Ellington as they do with Richard Rodgers or Cole Porter, and while Gershwin has remained eternally the more popular, here at Encores! we’ve done everything possible to make sure Arlen’s endlessly seductive and inventive music is heard.

He did not have a sterling career on Broadway. Standards like “Over the Rainbow,” “Blues in the Night,” and “The Man That Got Away” were written for Hollywood. But he did write a great number of great songs for musicals that were, by and large, not as great as their scores. This week, we feature Arlen on Broadway.

Jack Viertel, Encores! Artistic Director (2000 – 2020)

Videos

Somewhere... Songs of Yearning for Another Place

Somewhere... Songs of Yearning for Another Place

As I sit in my new “office” (a corner of my bedroom) I am looking out onto the newly-emptied streets of Manhattan, counting blessings but also cans of beans. I haven’t been able to quite, I don’t know, take this all in. I have often joked to my friends that I haven’t had a true feeling since 1989, perhaps the result of getting slightly hard-boiled by a life in music, the constancy of parenting, of trying to plan for the future but aspiring to live in the moment. Trying to be of service in a country that underserves so many.

So, when I approached this offering for the City Center community, I was surprised to finally find some tears rolling down my cheeks listening to Kate Baldwin sing “How Are Things in Glocca Morra?” I have never really thought about Finian’s Rainbow, nor that song, as applying to me, and certainly not as a much-needed release this weekend. But listening to Kate’s voice, that celestial voice, I was able to hear this, and all these songs in a new way. In anything found, there is something lost, and in loss, there are things we find. This week’s songs all have this in common; a yearning to be in another place or time, new feelings of nostalgia, and the acceptance that life, like theater, is a transient and beautiful affair.

Jeanine Tesori, Encores! Off-Center Creative Advisor (and Artistic Director, 2013-2016)

Videos

Love Songs

Love Songs

Let’s face it: most Broadway musicals are about romance, which means love songs—lots of love songs. Why? Because that’s what life is so often about, and those feelings are easier to sing than to say. And, frankly, it’s easier to let someone else sing them. You might even say that’s why musicals were born. This week, we feature songs of love, some of them shared between lovers, some of them shared with one solitary character who just can’t live without telling the audience all about what’s inside. And as audience members, we are eternally grateful for the wisdom, vulnerability, and passion that these lovers speak on our behalf. You might even say we couldn’t do it without them.

Jack Viertel, Encores! Artistic Director (2000 – 2020)

Videos

New York

New York

Nothing says “Broadway Musical” like the city of New York. One theater pro once said, “No matter where a musical is set, or in what era, it’s really about New York, tonight.” And while that may be true, it’s the musicals that really are about New York that say it best.

Since its inception, Encores! has done 16 shows set in the Big Apple, and the city has been portrayed in every way imaginable from glamorous Manhattan penthouses to working class Brooklyn pawnshops, and all stops in between.

Great people live here, as do villains and thieves, hippies, heiresses, and political grifters, and a remarkable number of them keep falling in love. This week we give you a taste of the City in its infinite variety.

Jack Viertel, Encores! Artistic Director (2000 – 2020)

Videos

Rodgers and Hart

Rodgers and Hart

No songwriting team captured the 1930s like Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. It was the Great Depression, and audiences were yearning for escape (not unlike our current circumstances). At the same time, they knew that the world wasn’t really all sweetness-and-light, and Hart, the most personal of lyricists, was able to provide rollicking comic ingenuity and genuine heartbreak at the same time, which made him the lyric poet of the era—at least where musical theater was concerned. Rodgers, prior to his musical transformation in later years when he joined forces with Oscar Hammerstein II, was Hart’s ideal partner, providing swing, energy, pep, and sudden turns into melancholy exactly as required. Encores! has encountered their work on six different Broadway shows, and been continually astonished at the breadth, variety, and freshness of their scores

— Jack Viertel, Encores! Artistic Director (2000 – 2020)

Videos

Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim

“When Encores! first started, one of the things we agreed upon was that we wouldn’t do Sondheim’s shows. Well...we’ve done nine of them. What made us such fools in the first place? We thought we needed to only do the unjustly “neglected” works. Sondheim is many things—genius, innovator, experimenter, restless pursuer of new forms, melodist, and lyricist supreme. But one thing he is not is neglected. Still, we came to our senses eventually, because the work is simply too great to ignore. Too much fun, too heart-breaking, too clear-eyed in its expression of everything from romantic love to national identity. It’s the full expression of what musical theater can be and the man has done it all. So we did Sondheim. A lot of Sondheim.”

— Jack Viertel, Encores! Artistic Director (2000 – 2020)

Videos