Jonathan Groff to Sing Bobby Darin for Songbook Series
A revamped Lyrics & Lyricists series at the 92nd Street Y has drawn Mr. Groff, a two-time Tony nominee, for five performances next January.
Splish, splash: Jonathan Groff has agreed to sing the songs of Bobby Darin for five performances to kick off a revamped Lyrics & Lyricists series at the 92nd Street Y.
The series, a staple for musical-theater aficionados since it was established in 1970, has a new and well-known (in the theater industry) leader: Theodore S. Chapin, the president and chief creative officer of Rodgers and Hammerstein.
Mr. Chapin, seeking to start his tenure as the Lyrics & Lyricists producer with a bit of excitement, recruited Mr. Groff to kick off the series, which explores the American songbook, in January. Mr. Groff, a two-time Tony nominee (for “Hamilton” and “Spring Awakening”) who has been working on TV (“Glee,” “Looking” and “Mindhunter”), will perform songs associated with Darin, a popular singer, actor and activist who died in 1973 at the age of 37.
The series will continue with a look at the lyricists who wrote for the music of Leonard Bernstein, and then with Lynn Ahrens, who wrote the lyrics for “Anastasia,” now on Broadway, and “Once on This Island,” which is to be revived this fall; Irving Berlin, whose songs were used as the basis for last season’s “Holiday Inn”; and Frank Loesser, who wrote the lyrics for “Guys and Dolls” and “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”
In addition to overseeing the Rodgers and Hammerstein organization (which will be represented on Broadway next season with a starry revival of “Carousel”), Mr. Chapin is a co-founder of the Encores! series at City Center and served as chairman of the American Theater Wing.
“I want to look both forward and back,” Mr. Chapin said. He also said he aspires to lure more avid theatergoers to the series, even though it is on the Upper East Side, which to some Manhattanites might seem far from Times Square.
“One of my goals is to get the people who go to Broadway to understand that New York has crosstown buses,” he said.