Sammy Cahn is a prolific lyricist who wrote countless classic songs, including for musicals and films. He explains how he hears words in melodies and shares anecdotes about his many collaborations over the years.
Vernel Bagneris is a playwright, actor, and dancer. He wrote, directed, and acts in the musical "One Mo' Time," now playing in Philadelphia. The musical is set in 1920s' New Orleans and draws heavily on the jazz from that time and place. It centers around a touring group of vaudevillians performing at the segregated Lyric Theater. Bagneris describes it as a "piece on Black theater history." He joins the show to discuss the musical, the black vaudeville circuit, black face, and the benefits of live performance.
Mercer Ellington is a trumpeter, composer, and band leader. He is also the son of jazz legend Duke Ellington. Mercer Ellington is the conductor for the musical based on Duke Ellington's work, "Sophisticated Ladies." Mercer Ellington joins the show to discuss the musical and his father.
Harry Rigby and Terry Kramer are co-producers of the burlesque musical revue "Sugar Babies." Rigby co-conceived the show with theater historian Ralph Allen, and is known as the producer who brought revivals back to Broadway. Kramer is known for producing a number of plays, including "I Love My Wife" and "Knock, Knock." Her mother was also a theater producer. "Sugar Babies" is back in Philadelphia with its original stars, film legends Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller.
William Schimmel is the accordionist for the Tango Project, and disagrees with those who malign the instrument and the dance/music. Schimmel has written a tango mass for accordion, conducted and performed in the Joseph Papp production of the "Three-Penny Opera," and composed the musical "Kill." Schimmel lives in New York and commutes to Philadelphia where he is the dean of the New Power School of Music.
Cy Coleman started his career as a jazz pianist and club owner before moving on to writing pop songs that were recorded by artists such as Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. Coleman then started composing Broadway musicals, including "Sweet Charity." Coleman now produces and owns a music publishing company.