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Black Tie International:
Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project
FOUNDATION SONGWRITERS PROJECT
SET FOR JUNE 18-23, 2012
University Hosts Incubator for Emerging Songwriters
The Johnny Mercer Foundation and the American Music
Theatre Project at Northwestern University will once
again produce a weeklong songwriting intensive for
emerging songwriters and writing teams,
18-30 led by award-winning master teachers Andrew Lippa,
Craig Carnelia and Lari White.
celebrates the legacy of legendary songwriter
Johnny Mercer who was a dedicated mentor to young
singers and songwriters throughout his career. The
Johnny Mercer Foundation�s mission is devoted to
preserving and celebrating the work of Mercer and other
great American songwriters, and to introducing their
music to a new generation of listeners through
innovative educational programs.
Now in its seventh
year, the Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project
hosts the nation's most promising songwriters across all
genres including musical theatre, pop, country, Latin,
rock, and contemporary pop. Over 90 applicants from
every genre applied for one of 16 spots in the
prestigious program which has mentored artists like
Latin Grammy-winner Obed Bermudez and
singer/actress Jennifer Pena and been a catalyst
to the careers of Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, Michael
Koomin & Chris Dimond, Adam Gwon, Carrie Manolakos
and Morgan Karr.
The 2012 program will
be led by returning master teachers Andrew Lippa
(THE ADDAMS FAMILY, BIG FISH), Craig Carnelia
(SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS), and three-time Grammy winner
Lari White (GREEN-EYED SOUL).
Master teachers in
previous years have included Amanda McBroom (THE
ROSE), Lin-Manuel Miranda (IN THE HEIGHTS), and
David Zippel (CITY OF ANGELS) and John
Bucchino (A CATERED AFFAIR).
generosity of the Johnny Mercer Foundation, the program
is free-of-charge to selected songwriters who are housed
on Northwestern University�s campus and provided with a
stipend for travel and meals.
will be announced in mid-May. For more information
THE JOHNNY MERCER
FOUNDATION SONGWRITERS PROGRAM
is known primarily for his work as a songwriter in the
theatre, having had four shows produced on Broadway.
Working with composer Marvin Hamlisch, he wrote the
lyrics for SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS, with book by John
Guare, and IMAGINARY FRIENDS with Nora Ephron. Hamlisch
and Carnelia received Drama Desk and Tony Award
nominations for their score for SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS,
and Carnelia received a Drama Desk nomination for his
lyrics in IMAGINARY FRIENDS. As both composer and
lyricist, he wrote the score for the Broadway musical IS
THERE LIFE AFTER HIGH SCHOOL? and contributed four songs
to Studs Terkel�s WORKING, for which he received his
first Tony nomination. Other honors include the Johnny
Mercer Award as �Emerging American Songwriter,� the
first annual Gilman and Gonzalez-Falla Musical Theater
Award and the prestigious Kleban Award. Carnelia also
serves as a mentor to young writers through the ASCAP
Musical Theatre Workshop, the Dramatists Guild Musical
Theatre Fellowship and the Eugene O�Neill Musical
Tony-nominated music and lyrics for the Broadway
production of THE ADDAMS FAMILY starring Nathan Lane and
Bebe Neuwirth. Mr. Lippa wrote the music for the
Broadway production of Aaron Sorkin�s THE FARNSWORTH
INVENTION, the new musical ASPHALT BEACH, THE WILD
PARTY, A LITTLE PRINCESS, JOHN & JENN, and three new
songs and all of the arrangements for the Broadway
revival of YOU�RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN. Mr. Lippa
is proud to have been music director for Kristen
Chenoweth since 1999 for many of her concerts. Awards
include a Tony and Grammy Award nominations, the Gilman
and Gonzalez-Falla Theater Foundation Award, ASCAP�s
Richard Rodgers/New Horizons Award, the Drama Desk, and
the Outer Critics Circle Award. Memberships include
ASCAP, Actors Equity Association and the American
Federation of Musicians. Mr. Lippa is a graduate of the
University of Michigan and he serves on the council for
the Dramatists Guild. Next up is the new musical BIG
FISH currently in development.
Lari White made her critically acclaimed Broadway
debut in the spring of 2006 in RING OF FIRE, setting off
a chain reaction of appearances that shows no sign of
stopping. She received rave reviews for her performance
in the Marilyn and Alan Bergman Tribute with Michael
Feinstein at Carnegie Hall and returned to perform for
the Bergmans in their Lincoln Center tribute. Broadway
By The Year audiences have enjoyed her in the Jerome
Kern Tribute and Broadway Originals, as well as The
Broadway Musicals of 1928 and The Broadway Musicals of
1978. She recently debuted with a weeklong run at the
Algonquin Oak Room, Manhattan�s legendary supper club
that has served as a launching pad for talented
musicians, including Harry Connick, Jr., Michael
Feinstein, Diana Krall, Peter Cincotti and others. As a
recording artist, White has earned three Grammy Awards
for Best Southern Gospel and a Gold Album. She made
music history as the first female producer of a male
superstar by producing Toby Keith�s platinum album,
�White Trash with Money.� Her last studio album, the
R&B-flavored �Green Eyed Soul�, was hailed by the London
Times as �the best soul album this year.� Her film
credits include CAST AWAY with Tom Hanks and the
Lifetime Television Movie, NO REGRETS, with Kate Jackson
and Janine Turner.
Four-time Oscar-winning lyricist, composer and singer
Johnny Mercer was born in Savannah, Georgia in 1909. He
had hit songs with Bing Crosby in the late 1930s, with
Jo Stafford ("Candy') and on his own, especially
"Accentuate the Positive." On the radio he sang with
Benny Goodman and had his own shows, including "Johnny
Mercer's Music Shop."
Greatly admired in
the music industry both personally and for his
intelligent, optimistic lyrics, he wrote or co-wrote
over 1,100 songs, including "Blues in the Night," "That
Old Black Magic," "One For My Baby, "Come Rain or Come
Shine" (all with Harold Arlen); "Lazy Bones" and
"Skylark" with Hoagy Carmichael; "I'm a Old Cowhand," "I
Remember You," "P.S. I Love You," "Jeepers Creepers,"
"You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby," "When a Woman
Loves a Man," "Too Marvelous for Words," and "Fools Rush
In." He won Academy Awards for "The Atchison, Topeka and
The Santa Fe" (1946, with Harry Warren), "In the Cool,
Cool, Cool of the Evening" (1951, with Hoagy
Carmichael), "Moon River' (1961, with Henry Mancini) and
"Days of Wine an Roses" (1962, with Mancini). As
president and co-founder of Capitol Records, Mercer was
instrumental in the early recording careers of such
musicians as Peggy Lee and Nat King Cole. He died in Los
Angeles in 1976.
On top of that:
He wrote songs for 90 motion pictures.
He won four Academy Awards and was nominated 19 times.
He wrote six Broadway shows, including ST. LOUIS WOMAN
and LI�L ABNER.
He was a top radio personality and recording artist.
He was the founder and president of Capitol Records.
He discovered and nurtured the talent of artists like
Margaret Whiting, Jo Stafford, Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra,
and Nat King Cole.
He created the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
So entrenched is his
music in the popular culture, it is often said that one
cannot go throughout a day without hearing one of
Mercer�s tunes on the radio, TV, film, internet, in a
restaurant, store, elevator � such is the pervasiveness
of his prolific career.
About the American
Music Theatre Project.
The American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) at
Northwestern University brings together the nation�s
leading artists in music theatre to work in
collaboration with Northwestern�s faculty and students.
AMTP�s goal is to nourish and invigorate American music
theatre by developing and producing new musicals by
music theatre�s leading artists; increasing
opportunities for education and training with
Northwestern�s theatre, music theatre and dance
programs; and creating new connections between the
professional and academic communities. To learn more
about AMTP, visit
Arts & Theater