Tom Wopat and other stars of stage and screen will appear in NJTV’s American Songbook at NJPAC this fall – photo courtesy Tom Wopat



Josh Balber, NJPAC, 973-353-8051 jbalber@njpac.org

Debra Falk, NJTV, 973-233-8862 falkd@njtvonline.org

Tom Wopat, Rebecca Luker, Valerie Simpson, Marin Mazzie & Jason Danieley, Sandy Stewart & Bill Charlap and Maude Maggart to perform before a live audience, Ted Chapin to host

Tickets now available for two performance tapings

Portion of the proceeds to benefit The Actors Fund

(May 8, 2013) Newark, NJ – NJTV, New Jersey’s public television network, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) announced the production of a new music television series, American Songbook at NJPAC, taped before a live audience at the Arts Center and airing on NJTV and WNET this fall.

The six-part series, to be taped in NJPAC’s intimate Victoria Theater on Saturday, June 15, will feature performances from eight stars of stage, screen and concert halls. Tom Wopat, Valerie Simpson, Rebecca Luker, Sandy Stewart and Bill Charlap, Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley, and Maude Maggart will each perform a 40-minute set followed by a Q&A session conducted by Ted Chapin, president and executive director of Rodgers & Hammerstein: An Imagen Company.

The series will be crafted from two live performance sessions at NJPAC in Newark, NJ. The first session, at 12pm, will feature Wopat, Simpson and Luker, while the second, at 6pm, will feature Mazzie and Danieley, Stewart and Charlap, and Maggart. The American Songbook performance series at NJPAC is presented, in part, through the generous support of the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, and will benefit The Actors Fund.

Tickets are $29 for the each of the American Songbook at NJPAC sessions, and go on sale Friday, May 10 at 10am. Tickets are available by phone at 1-888-466-5722, online www.njpac.org, and at NJPAC’s box office at 1 Center Street in Downtown Newark.

“NJTV is committed to giving the arts a broadcast home in New Jersey,” said John Servidio, General Manager of NJTV.  “Arts programming is intrinsic to the mission of public television, and we are one of the few outlets providing it in the television marketplace.  To be able to capture this performance genre with entertainers of this caliber is very exciting.  This series will serve as a model we can replicate at other forums to showcase all types of talent across the state.”

NJPAC is delighted to partner again with NJTV, this time on a special series to highlight American Song,” said John Schreiber, President and CEO of NJPAC. “This series allows us to deliver unique and compelling content beyond the four walls of the Arts Center with some of America’s premier interpreters of song.” He added, “To be able to partner with The Actors Fund makes this series even more special.”

“When John Schreiber asked me to host the conversations he conceived as part of the television shows to be produced with NJTV/WNET, I was honored,” said Ted Chapin, president and executive director of Rodgers & Hammerstein: An Imagen Company.. “The American Songbook is endlessly fascinating, and the combination of first rate and focused performances by some of our most talented singers with interviews was too alluring to pass up. I have enjoyed the moderating and interviews I have done through the years and look forward to an action-packed, gloriously musical day at NJPAC in June.”

The American Songbook at NJPAC series follows on the success of several recent television tapings and broadcasts from the Arts Center, including Conversations at NJPAC with Steve Adubato and the national broadcasts of NBC’s hit America’s Got Talent last summer. “NJPAC has proved it is a first choice venue for high-profile television productions,” said Schreiber.  “We look forward to more partnerships like these that will continue to expand broadcast opportunities.”

For the television tapings, NJPAC will donate tickets to The Actors Fund as a fundraiser for the renowned national human services organization, which helps all professionals in performing arts and entertainment.

“The Actors Fund and the American Songbook go together like peanut butter and jelly,” said Joe Benincasa, president & CEO of The Actors Fund, “and so do NJPAC and The Fund.” He continued by underscoring the fact that past and current American composers, singers and songwriters have all supported the human services mission of The Fund.

Session 1: June 15 at 12pm

Tom Wopat

Tom Wopat’s career has brought him from television in the ’70s and ’80s to high visibility Broadway roles in 1999’s Annie Get Your Gun and 2008’s A Catered Affair (he received Tony® Award nominations for both), as well as Chicago, 42nd Street, Sondheim on Sondheim and more. His new CD, I’ve Got Your Number, features Great American Songbook classics and songs by artists such as Paul Simon, Judy Collins and Bruce Springsteen. Known for his starring role in the ’80s hit television series The Dukes of Hazzard, he recently had a role in Django Unchained.

Valerie Simpson

Valerie Simpson is half of the songwriting/ performing/ producing duo Ashford and Simpson. Their award-winning collaborations began four decades ago, and she, along with her late husband Nick Ashford, have penned classic hits such as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “You’re All I Need to Get By,” “Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand,” “I’m Every Woman,” “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” “Solid” and “Your Precious Love.”

Rebecca Luker

Rebecca Luker most recently starred in the world premiere of Maury Yeston’s acclaimed Death Takes a Holiday for the Roundabout Theatre Company. Other Broadway shows include Mary Poppins (Tony® nomination), Nine, The Music Man, The Sound of Music, Show Boat (Tony® nomination), The Secret Garden, The Phantom of the Opera; and Brigadoon with City Opera. She has appeared at Carnegie Hall, the Library of Congress and the White House. Recently, Luker returned to the American Songbook Series in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s the Allen Room.

Session 2: June 15 at 6pm

Marin Mazzie & Jason Danieley

Critically-acclaimed husband and wife actors/singers Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley starred together in the 11-time Tony® nominated Broadway production of Next To Normal. Mazzie has been heard in many of the country’s major symphony halls, cabaret and concert venues, and has been seen starring in some of the most memorable musicals on the Broadway stage and London’s West End. Most recently, Mazzie co-starred in the Off-Broadway revival of Carrie. She received Tony® nominations for Kiss Me Kate, Ragtime and Passion, and has an extensive concert career that spans the country from Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl under the batons of Keith Lockhart, Michael Tilson Thomas, Marvin Hamlisch, Skitch Henderson, and Paul Gemignani. She has been seen with the New York Philharmonic in two of its PBS specials. Jason Danieley recently starred, to critical acclaim, in Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s production of Sunday in the Park with George. On Broadway, he has appeared in Candide, created the role of Aaron Fox in Curtains, originated the role of Malcolm in The Full Monty, and had leading roles in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Strike Up the Band (City Center’s Encores!). He has appeared with many of the country’s leading orchestras, including the New York, Boston, and Philly Pops, L.A. Philharmonic (at the Hollywood Bowl), New York Philharmonic, St. Louis, Grant Park and at the Ravinia Festival.

Sandy Stewart & Bill Charlap

Sandy Stewart made her professional debut as a singer when she was 10. In 1962, she had a hit with the Grammy-nominated, “My Coloring Book” and continued working with legends like Ernie Kovacs, Ed Sullivan and Perry Como before touring as a vocalist with Benny Goodman. She retired from show business at 26 to be home with her two children and two stepchildren. At the urging of her son Bill, Stewart returned to singing. One of the world’s premier jazz pianists, Bill Charlap has performed with many leading artists of our time, ranging from Phil Woods and Tony Bennett to Gerry Mulligan and Wynton Marsalis. He is known for his interpretations of American popular songs and has recorded albums featuring the music of Hoagy Carmichael, Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin. Charlap is the artistic director of New York City’s Jazz in July Festival at the 92nd Street Y. He has produced several concerts for Jazz at Lincoln Center and an evening of George Gershwin’s music at the Hollywood Bowl. In 2014, Charlap will produce and perform in a new “Jazz Songbook” series at NJPAC.

Maude Maggart

Since her cabaret debut in 2001, Maggart has performed in cabarets and theaters across the United States; notably her yearly engagement at The Algonquin Hotel, from 2003 through 2011. She has performed at the Oregon Festival of American Music, led by legendary bandleader Dick Hyman, Michael Feinstein’s concert series at Carnegie Hall, and on the national live radio broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor. In 2012, she made her debut with jazz bandleader Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks, and sang for Dr. Cornel West’s retirement celebration at Princeton University.

Visit NJTV online at njtvonline.org, Facebook and Twitter @njtvonline for more programming news and information.

Visit NJPAC online at njpac.org, Facebook and Twitter @NJPAC


About NJTV

NJTV brings quality public television programs and resources to communities throughout New Jersey and its tri-state neighbors, including acclaimed national PBS series like American MastersNatureCharlie Rose, and BBC World News America and state-focused news, arts and public affairs shows, including Reporters Roundtable with Michael AronOne-on-One with Steve Adubato, Tales of the Jersey ShoreDue Process and State of the Arts. The station’s week-nightly news broadcast, NJ Today with Mike Schneider, features stories from across the Garden State. NJTV complements its growing news staff by partnering with state-wide media and higher education institutions. The network’s website, https://www.njtvonline.org posts the latest local news, information and program schedules, and its education section offers local educators free, classroom-ready, digital resources through VITALNJ.


NJTV is comprised of WNJN, WNJS, WNJB, and WNJT, which collectively broadcast throughout NJ. Formerly New Jersey Network (NJN), NJTV is operated under an agreement with the state of New Jersey by Public Media NJ, Inc. (PMNJ), a non-profit affiliate of WNET, parent company of award-winning New York public television stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21. Station sponsorships and partnerships are available.



New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is among the largest performing arts centers in the United States and is the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey — where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day.  As New Jersey’s Town Square, NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the State’s and the world’s best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city.  Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts.  NJPAC has attracted over seven million visitors (including one million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents.  Visit www.njpac.org or call 1-888-GO-NJPAC for more information.


About The Actors Fund

The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that helps everyone- performers and those behind the scenes-who works in performing arts and entertainment, serving more than 13,500 people annually. Programs include social services and emergency financial assistance, health care and insurance counseling, housing, and employment and training services. Visit www.actorsfund.org



American Songbook at NJPAC performer Tom Wopat. Photo courtesy Tom Wopat

photo courtesy Valerie Simpson

American Songbook at NJPAC performer Valerie Simpson. Photo courtesy Valerie Simpson

Rebecca Luker - photo (credit - Laura Marie Duncan)

American Songbook at NJPAC performer Rebecca Luker. Photo credit - Laura Marie Duncan

photo courtesy Ted Chapin

American Songbook at NJPAC host Ted Chapin, president and executive director of Rodgers & Hammerstein: An Imagen Company. Photo courtesy Ted Chapin.

Marin Mazzie & Jason Danieley - photo (Mike Sharkey) chalkboard

American Songbook at NJPAC performers Marin Mazzie & Jason Danieley. Photo credit: Mike Sharkey

Bill Charlap

American Songbook performer Bill Charlap. Photo credit: Richard Termine

photo courtesy Sandy Stewart

American Songbook at NJPAC performer Sandy Stewart. Photo courtesy Sandy Stewart

photo courtesy Maude Maggert

American Songbook at NJPAC performers Maude Maggert. Photo courtesy Maude Maggert