The Lied Center for Performing Arts brings many types of shows to its main stage, but one of the mainstay attractions of the Lied Center’s success is Broadway musicals. On Sept. 11, the Lied Center will celebrate all things Broadway with “Broadway at the Lied.”
“Broadway at the Lied” began eight years ago and is a biennial, completely free event. Each iteration has celebrated the works of different composers and lyricists, bringing them to the Lied Center for a night of creative insight and cabaret-style performing. Past guest artists have included Steven Lutvak, composer of “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” and Jason Michael Webb, who wrote the music for “Choir Boy.”
This year, the featured artists are composer Scott Frankel and lyricist Michael Korie, Tony and Drama Desk award-nominated duo who collaborated on recent Broadway productions of “War Paint” and “Grey Gardens.” Alisa Belflower, an associate producer in development at the Lied Center and an area head for music theatre studies at Glenn Korff School of Music, said she will introduce Frankel and Korie to the audience and ask them questions about their creative process and respective careers.
“It’s so rare for people to get to know a composer [or lyricist],” Belflower said. “Even if they love a song, they may not know who created it. At this show, they can get to know the two men behind [the] music that’s been celebrated nationally. They’ll hear what it was like for [Frankel and Korie] to be the invisible forces behind some of the most popular Broadway shows.”
“Broadway at the Lied” is part of the New Musical Theatre Workshop, a partnership between the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and the Lied Center’s Grow a Show program. The workshop helps aspiring creators develop their musical theater works in the hopes of turning them into full-scale productions.
There are two other biennial ASCAP workshops held in New York City and Los Angeles. Eight years ago, Belflower said the Midwest ASCAP workshop, previously held in Chicago, needed a new home — which Lincoln quickly became. Belflower has been the resident director of each workshop show ever since.
In addition to the works of Frankel and Korie, songs from the Lied Center’s 2019-2020 Broadway Series will be performed, including “Showstoppers” from “The Phantom of the Opera,” “An American in Paris” and “White Christmas.” Most of the night’s entertainment will be performed by University of Nebraska-Lincoln students and local talent.
Belflower said both the concert and the overall workshop present exciting opportunities for the UNL students involved, allowing them to rehearse and develop their talents alongside some of the best in the musical theater industry.
“We have such wonderfully talented students who are cast in the show,” she said. “It’s so exciting for them to sing and work on stage with award-winning writers and composers. It also really highlights the level of talent that comes out of our community. All the professionals I’ve talked to [who] come to Lincoln have all been thrilled beyond measure.”
From iconic show tunes to an intimate discussion with two of the brightest minds in the musical theater world, Belflower said “Broadway at the Lied” will provide a night attendees won’t forget.
“You won’t be going home feeling like you’ve seen these musicals, but you’ll hear the music from the composer’s [and lyricist’s] point of view,” she said. “You’ll get a fresh enjoyment of these songs, and when you see these shows eventually, the songs will mean that much more to you.”
“Broadway at the Lied” will be on Sept. 11, at 7:30 p.m. on the Lied Center main stage. Although tickets are free, they still need to be reserved in advance on the Lied Center website.