"Cool." "Sultry." "Refined." These are just a few of the adjectives used to describe the former Norma Deloris Egstrom, whose six-decade-long career encompassed jazz, popular music and success as a singer, songwriter, composer and actress.
On February 23, 24 and 25 Lyrics & Lyricists tours Miss Peggy Lee's hip musical landscape with guest artistic director Billy Stritch and vocalists Barbara Fasano, La Tanya Hall and Gabrielle Stravelli. Cabaret legend Marilyn Maye, who frequently includes Peggy Lee classics in her shows, joins the show as a special guest.
L&L shows are Saturday at 8 pm, Sunday at 2 and 7 pm, and Monday at 2 and 7:30 pm. Individual tickets begin at $52 with a 35 & Under ticket price of $25.
"I've been intrigued with Peggy Lee since first seeing her on TV shows like Carol Burnett, Merv Griffin and Johnny Carson in the early 70s" comments Stritch. "She had such an original look and singing style but it wasn't until a few years later that I became aware of her incredible work as a songwriter. So Peggy seems like a perfect subject for the Lyrics & Lyricists series and I'm excited to be presenting an evening of her compositions and hit songs with the help of some of the greatest singers I know!"
Norma Deloris Egstrom was born in North Dakota in 1920.Her name was changed to Peggy Lee by a local radio station program director when she was a teenager, and at age 19 Peggy Lee joined the Benny Goodman band and hit the national scene. Under contract to Capitol Records, her hit songs ran the gamut from "It's a Good Day" to "Is That All There Is?," for which Lee won her sole competitive Grammy. Two of her greatest successes though came during a brief stay at Decca: the album Black Coffee and her signature song "Fever." As a lyricist, Lee wrote dozens of songs with jazz and pop legends like Harold Arlen, Cy Coleman, Quincy Jones and Marian McPartland. She was a lyricist and performer for Disney's Lady and the Tramp, writing (with composer Sonny Burke) the classic favorites "He's a Tramp" and "The Siamese Cat Song." She worked with Duke Ellington to create "I'm Gonna Go Fishin'," using his theme from the film Anatomy of a Murder. Also an actress, Miss Lee sang in Stage Door Canteen and the 1980 remake of The Jazz Singer, and she received an Academy Award nomination for Pete Kelly's Blues.
Billy Stritch is one of the premier singer-pianists on the New York and national jazz and cabaret scene. He has appeared in many Lyrics & Lyricists shows, including the 2011 tour of New York nightclubs, the 2010 Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers songbook and the 2009 tribute to Mel Tormé, which he conceived and hosted. Billy's most recent Broadway credit was as musical supervisor and pianist for the Tony Award-winning musical event Liza's at the Palace, for which he also reconceived the vocal arrangements of the legendary Kay Thompson and The Williams Brothers. In 2001 he also originated the role of Oscar the rehearsal pianist in the Broadway revival of 42nd Street, which ran for 488 performances. In addition to his 22-year collaboration with Liza Minnelli, Billy also accompanies and arranges for Linda Lavin, KLea Blackhurst and Marilyn Maye, who is also featured in tonight's show. He is featured on numerous albums including Linda Lavin's Possibilities, Sunday In New York with Christine Ebersole, Dreaming of a Song-The Music of Hoagy Carmichael with KLea Blackhurst, and his latest solo release, Billy Stritch Sings Mel Tormé. His awards and honors include BMI Song of the Year; a Grammy Award nomination for "Does He Love You," recorded by Reba McEntire; four Backstage Bistro awards and six MAC Awards. During the months of March, June, September and December of this year, Billy will be performing on Sunday evenings with Jim Caruso at Bemelman's Bar at the legendary Carlyle Hotel.