Feb. 18, 2013 — Working directly with one of Broadway’s best composers, Stephen Schwartz — the mastermind behind such hits as Wicked and Godspell — the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus is proud to present an entertaining and powerful production of Schwartz’s music on Friday and Saturday, April 19-20 at the 14th Street Playhouse in Midtown Atlanta. The show will also feature the debut of the AGMC Women’s Chorus Project, a new women’s ensemble. Tickets are now available online.
The year 2013 marks two milestones in the life of the beloved composer: his 65th birthday and the 10th anniversary of his most popular work — the third-highest-grossing musical in Broadway history. To celebrate the words and music of this great artist, AGMC presents No Rest for the WICKED: The Music of Stephen Schwartz — a show with musical storytelling at its best, weaving together favorite but often-unrelated musical numbers in a way that creates a unique and moving experience for AGMC audiences.
“We call it choral theatre,” said Kevin Robison, now in his sixth year as the AGMC’s artistic director. “It’s a much different style than our much-loved but more ‘stand and sing’ holiday concerts. We’ll present a tribute to this musical master through lively chorus numbers, solos and small groups, and lots of movement. The men and women of the AGMC choruses are already hard at work to present a powerful show that I can guarantee will be — in an obvious steal from one of Stephen’s best-known Wicked songs — extremely ‘popular’.”
In a career spanning more than four decades, Schwartz has made significant contributions to the “Great American Songbook” through such hit musicals as Godspell, Pippin and, most recently, Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz, the latter still shining on Broadway and in national tours as it marks its 10th anniversary.
He has also contributed lyrics for a number of successful films, including Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Enchanted, as well as music and lyrics for The Prince of Egypt. Schwartz has won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics, three Grammy Awards, three Academy Awards and has been nominated for six Tony Awards.
“Obviously, that means we’re in extremely good musical company,” Robison said. “It’s an extraordinary privilege to be working directly with Stephen and his team to gain his blessing on this tribute. He’s shared our enthusiasm for the ideas we’re implementing, making this all the more exciting for us.”
The AGMC show will feature such popular songs as “Day by Day,” “We Beseech Thee” and “Prepare Ye” from Godspell to newer hits including Wicked’s “Popular,” “For Good” and “Defying Gravity.”
Along with songs from the popular films, the show will feature a new choral work by Schwartz inspired by the It Gets Better Project, a worldwide movement to support LGBT kids and teens — indeed, each of us who is considered “different” by others — as they face intolerance and self-doubt. More than 50,000 user-created videos, submitted by everyone from Hillary Rodham Clinton to teens themselves, have been viewed over 50 million times since the project began in 2010.
No Rest for the WICKED represents the first performance of the new ensemble formed under the name AGMC Women’s Chorus Project, announced earlier this season.
“Just as the AGMC has expanded its membership over the years to include not only gay men but straight , bisexual and transgender — and women on our board, staff and non-singing Fifth Section — we believe the Women’s Chorus Project is the next logical step in our commitment to effecting positive social change through the power of music,” statedCrystal Anderson, AGMC executive director. “We are so looking forward to having them join us for part of this show…what we hope will be the first performance of a group that will grow to eventually present its own concert series.”
The Women’s Chorus held auditions in December and began rehearsals in early January with over 30 singing members. It is under the direction of Melissa T. Arasi, PhD, whose career of directing high school, university and community choruses spans more than two decades. A published author, clinician and founder of the Georgia Tech Women’s Choir, Dr. Arasi is the supervisor of performing arts: general/choral music, theatre and dance for the Cobb County School District.
Dr. Arasi reported that “This diverse group of women has really bonded well in the first rehearsals and has begun creating a truly inspiring sound. We hope for many more performances to share with Atlanta-area audiences.”
Performances for No Rest for the WICKED: The Music of Stephen Schwartz will be at 8 p.m. both Friday and Saturday, April 19 and 20, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday. All performances are at the 14th Street Playhouse, which has convenient adjacent parking.
Established in 1981 and today one of the world’s longest-running all-male choruses, the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus presents entertaining and thought-provoking performances that appeal to a diverse audience, create a positive image of the LGBTQ community, and promote equality for all persons.
The chorus is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund, the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs and The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta
The AGMC’s 32nd season is produced by Atlanta Magazine and Smirnoff Vodka; presenting sponsors are Macy’s and PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP); principal sponsors, Ameriprise Financial, Brandon D Hunt Design, Dan Lax Media, Peachtree Battle Chiropractic and St. Mark United Methodist Church; sustaining sponsors, Administrivia, Briza, Nead Werx, 866 Rooftop and Radial Café; and media sponsors The Georgia Voice and Project Q Atlanta.
A complete listing of financial supporters — and how you can support the mission of the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus — can be found on agmchorus.org. For more information on the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus, see the website or call the chorus office at (404) 320-1030.