Welcome to the Schimmel Center Blog!

The Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts Blog Schimmel Center seeks to enrich and engage our audiences by bringing world-class talent to Lower Manhattan. Our programming features internationally-acclaimed talent in the areas of music, dance, film, cabaret and lecture.

05 November 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Béla Fleck announced as The Knight’s special guest!

The exuberant and contemporary chamber orchestra, The Knights, is coming to the Schimmel on Wednesday, January 28, for an exciting concert performance. Joining them will be 15 time Grammy award winner, Béla Fleck. Mr. Fleck is known world over as the world’s premier banjo player. Mr. Fleck sold out two years ago with our Banjo Summit, so be sure to book your tickets today!

The one and only, Béla Fleck!

The one and only, Béla Fleck!

The Knights with special guest star, Béla Fleck; Wednesday, January 28 at 7:30pm; Ticket Prices$59 | $49 | $39; call (212) 346-1715 or visit https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/938584 for tickets.


28 October 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Grease is still the word! : Inside Sing-a-long-a Grease

This Saturday, November 1, the Schimmel staff will be putting on our leather jackets, rocking out the poodle skirts and applying copious amounts of grease into our hair. We are hoping that you will be joining us, because this time, it is all our turn to become a part of the 1978 movie musical phenomenon, Grease. The folks at Sing-a-long-a, producers of the famous Sound of Music Sing-a-long, have created a special, one of a kind event for fans of the classic film. Fans are encouraged to dress up, dance the hand jive and even sing along to the movies’ rock and roll score. There is even a special, “magic moments fun pack,” free of charge, chock full of interactive props to engage one through the entire film. Word has it, there will be a special guest at the screening to judge the costume contest! In honor of this weekend’s exciting event, I have compiled a list of 10 exciting trivia facts that even hard core Grease fans may not know. Here they are ( in no particular order.)

Olivia Newton John and John Travolta in "Grease" (1978)

Olivia Newton John and John Travolta in “Grease” (1978)

1) “May the Grease be with you!”

Word has it that Star Wars’ very own Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher was in original consideration to play the part of Betty Rizzo. There are few worse things you could have done than pass up that role, Ms. Fisher. At least, you will always have Luke and Hans by your side.

2) “Sit on it, Zuko!”

Everyone associates Henry Winkler as the Fonze from Happy Days and for good reason. The decade’s most popular greaser almost took the role of Danny Zuko but changed his mind, deciding he didn’t want to be type cast.

3) “Look at Me, I’m Nostradomus!”

In the original stage play, Rizzo’s song, “Look at me, I’m Sandra Dee,” featured a lyric about 50’s star Sal Mineo. Because of his gruesome, Hollywood murder a year before, the studio asked that the lyric be changed to reflect another star of the period, Elvis Presley. It turns out that they filmed the scene in which the song was sung on August 16, 1977, the very day that the king of Rock and Roll passed away.

4) “Sandra Dee goes down under.”

In the original stage musical, the character of Sandy was an all American girl next door named “Sandy Dumbrowski.” In order to keep with Olivia Newton John’s background, and explain that accent, Sandy became “Sandy Olsen,” an exchange student from Australia.

5) “Not everyone loves Lucy”

Apparently, Lucille Ball’s daughter Lucy Arnez was in final consideration for the role of Betty Rizzo. She was dropped in favor of Stockard Channing after her famous red headed mother made a call to the producers, allegedly saying, “I used to own that studio; my daughter’s not doing a screen test!” (Ball actually owned the studio Desilu which was bought by Paramount).

6) “Rockin’ High”

The name “Rydell High School,” is a reference to 1950’s/60’s teen idol, Bobby Rydell, who famously sung the hit song, “Swingin’ School.”

7) “Cola Classic”

Lead producer, Allan Carr had made a product-placement deal with Coca-Cola© competitor Pepsi©, before filming began. After Carr saw the footage of the “Frosty Palace,” scene prominently featuring Coca-Cola© products and trademarks, he ordered director Randal Kleiser to either reshoot the scene with Pepsi products or remove the Coca-Cola© logos from the scene. Because reshoots were deemed too expensive and time-consuming, optical mattes were used to cover up or blur out the Coca-Cola©, references in post-production. The ‘blurring’ covered up trademarked menu signage and a large wall poster, but a red cooler with the logo could not be sufficiently altered so was left unchanged.

8) “Zip It!”

Due to a zipper breaking, Olivia Newton-John had to be sewn into the trousers she wears in the last sequence (the carnival at Rydell).

9) “Toxic Avenger”

In the scene where the cast are near the bridge after the car race, the water on the ground was stagnant and dangerous. Some cast members became ill from filming as the setting was a derelict place full of dirt and rubbish.

10) “Stoop a little lower!”

Jeff Conaway, as Kenicke, (6′ 1½” (1.87 m)) had to walk slightly stooped so that John Travolta, as Danny, (6′ 2″ (1.88 m)) would appear taller.


See You at the Schimmel!

Michael Scott-Torbet

Schimmel Center Blogger


Sin-a-long-a Grease; Saturday, November 1st at 7:30pm;$20;  call our box office at (212) 346-1715 or visit https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/938663



23 October 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Where’s Hitch? : Inside “The Lodger” and the Alfred Hitchcock Cameo

This Sunday, October 26, Ben Model will return to introduce our audiences to another classic silent film. This weekend’s masterpiece is a story of true suspense and horror, just in time for Halloween. Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lodger, is the story of a landlady who takes in a new tenant, who may or may not, be the mad man who has been stalking and murdering young blondes at night. While, The Lodger certainly was not the first feature directed by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock, it is often regarded as the director’s first thriller and the film that introduced audiences to his iconic style. The film displays all of his most famous elements from his anti-hero to his icy blondes to expert mixing of humor and suspense. It was even ranked the number 15 best Hitchcock film of all time (out of 52 films) by Timeout Magazine.

Original lobby card for "The Lodger" (1927)

Original lobby card for “The Lodger” (1927)

The Lodger is also the first film to use another one of Hitchcock’s signature elements, the director’s cameo. As most fans of Hitchcock’s films know, the famous director can be found in just about all of his movies, usually somewhere in the first act, so as not to take away from the film’s suspense. The famous signature came about in this film, quite by accident. The 26-year old director realized that he didn’t have enough extras in one of his scenes. Rather than hire more and add to the costly budget of the film, Hitchcock stepped into the role himself. Hitchcock can be found in the film twice; once, sitting at a desk with his back to the camera and again, later in the film, as part of an angry mob.

Hitchcock’s cameos would become all the more clever and humorous throughout the years. In some films, the director had to become quite clever about how to add himself in. In Lifeboat (1944), the film was set entirely on a lifeboat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Hitchcock certainly couldn’t float by in the water. Instead, he placed his likeness on a weight-loss advertisement on a newspaper being read by one of the passengers. In Rope (1948), the action never leaves the apartment of its two anti-heroes, Hitchcock had a neon sign made of his profile to be hung on one of the buildings just outside the window. The cameos ran the gamut from humorously conspicuous to annoyingly discreet, but they remain constant fun for the devoted Hitchcock aficionado. Below, I have posted a youtube video (compiled by someone else) of all the Hitchcock cameos in his movies. Enjoy, then book your tickets for this Sunday’s screening of The Lodger, and see the movie that started it all, complete with accompaniment by Ben Model.

See you at the Schimmel!

Michael Scott-Torbet

Schimmel Blogger

ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S “THE LODGER: A STORY OF THE LONDON FOG”; Live piano accompaniment by Ben Model; Starring Ivor Novello, with June TrippMalcolm Keen and Marie Ault; Directed by Alfred Hitchcock; Released February 1927 by Gainsborough Pictures; Sunday, October 26th at 2:00pm; Ticket Prices
Adults $12 | Students $8; Call (212)346-1715 or visit web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/938389 

22 October 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Okee Dokee Brothers bring the Appalachian Train to Big Apple!

We are very excited to have  the Grammy Award winning, children’s songwriting duo, The Okee Dokee Brothers with us this Saturday, October 25. The duo will be performing songs from their latest album, “Adventure Songs.” the following bio can be found on their website:

Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing: the Okee Dokee Brothers

Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing: the Okee Dokee Brothers

As childhood friends growing up in Denver Colorado, Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing were always exploring the outdoors. Whether it was rafting down their neighborhood creek or discovering hiking trails through the Rocky Mountains, Joe and Justin were born adventurers. Now, as the GRAMMY® Award-winning Okee Dokee Brothers, they have put this passion for the outdoors at the heart of their Americana Folk music.

Joe and Justin record and perform family music with a goal to inspire children and their parents to get outside and experience nature. They believe this can motivate kids to gain a greater respect for the natural world, their communities and themselves.

The three-time Parents’ Choice Award winners have garnered praise from the likes of NPR’s All Things Considered and USA Today, and have been called “two of family music’s best songwriters”. Their nationwide fan base is drawn to their witty lyrics, strong musicianship and unique folk style. By appealing to the musical needs of the entire family and recognizing that kids deserve quality music, The Okee Dokee Brothers are working full-time to advance the family music genre.

Be sure to watch the video to preview the excitement that you and your children are in store for!

See You at the Schimmel!

Michael Scott-Torbet

Schimmel Blogger

The Okee Dokee Brothers: Advententure Songs; Saturday, October 25th at 2:00pm; Ticket Prices
Adults $25 | Kids $10; Call (212) 346-1715 or visit https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/938382

17 October 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Hey, Look (Him) Over!: An inside look at the show-stopping composer, Cy Coleman

On Saturday, October 18, Fred Barton, his 13-piece orchestra and star studded cast of Broadway performers will be back to celebrate yet another show-stopping composer. On this occasion our audience will be treated to the jazzy, big-band melodies of Cy Coleman.  Coleman was known to Broadway audiences as one of the last, truly great composers of big-band style musicals. Let’s take a further look into the life and career of this extraordinary composer.

Cy Coleman

Cy Coleman

A native New Yorker, Coleman was born June 14, 1929 as Seymour Kaufman to Eastern European Jewish parents. By the time he was six years old, it was evident that Seymour was a child prodigy at playing the piano. Between the ages of six and nine, the young musician was being booked in venues such as Steinway Hall, Town Hall and even Carnegie Hall. In his late teens, he had become a very much in-demand club performer, by the name of Cy Coleman, along with his jazz trio, the Cy Coleman trio. After enjoying recording success with his trio, Coleman looked towards a career in writing popular music. He partnered with lyricist, Carolyn Leigh and produced standards such as, “Witchcraft,” “The Best Is Yet to Come,” and “I’m Gonna Laugh You Out of My Life,” among others. It was also during this time, that Coleman would score the “Playboy” theme music, forever becoming associated with the famous periodical’s television productions.

In 1962, Leigh and Coleman were approached to write the score for a new Broadway musical that would become a vehicle for star, Lucille Ball. A mild success, Wild Cat closed early due to the illness of its star. However, it did produce the hit song, “Hey, Look Me Over,” which was later recycled into the fighting song for LSU, “Hey, Fighting Tigers.” The success of the show’s score prompted producers to approach the team to write a musical based on the Patrick Dennis novel, Little Me.  With Little Me, Coleman and Leigh were able to introduce two new standards to the American songbook, “Real Live Girl” and “I’ve Got Your Number.”

Although highly successful, Coleman’s collaboration with Leigh was often described as, “turmoil.” In 1964, he began to look for new writing partners. While at a party, Coleman met Dorothy Fields and she was more than flattered when she was asked to collaborate with him. The two started work on a musical version of the Fellini film Nights of Cabiria. The contemporary score proved to be one of his biggest hits, Sweet Charity. With the help of Tony-winning choreography by Bob Fosse, the song, “Big Spender,” became a break out hit along with classics like, “If My Friends Could See Me Now,” and “I’m a Brass Band.” The show’s massive success  loomed like a shadow over the duo’s partnership, however. Fields only wrote two more shows with Coleman before her death in 1974, a failed bio-musical about Eleanor Roosevelt and Seesaw, which would go on to mild success in the hands of Tommy Tune.

After the death of Fields, Coleman jumped around to different partners. He joined with Michael Stewart, who had found success with shows such as Bye, Bye Birdie and Hello Dolly to create a much less loved musical, I love My Wife. He then joined fabled lyricists Betty Comden and Adolph Green to collaborate on the hit, On the Twentieth Century for which he won the Tony award for best original score. Coleman went on through the 1980’s and early 90’s finding success with shows such as Barnum, The Will Rogers Follies (Tony winner for best score) and The Life, although, he may be best remembered for his score to the hit 1989 musical, City of Angels, based on 1940’s film noir. The score signaled a return to his jazz roots and was a huge commercial success that won him another two Tony awards for best score and musical.

On top of his four Tony wins, Coleman was nominated nineteen times over his career. He also took home three Emmy awards as well as, two Grammy awards. He is also known for his scores to films such as, Father Goose, The Art of Love, Garbo Talks, Power, and Family Business. On November 18, 2004, Coleman died of cardiac arrest at the age of 75. Besides leaving behind an incredible music legacy, he was survived by his wife Shelby Coleman and their daughter, Lily Cye Coleman. Coleman’s music has been recorded by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Liza Minnelli and Lena Horne. This fall, a new revival of On the Twentieth Century will play the Roundabout, starring Kristin Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher. Coleman will always be remembered for his incredible show-stopping style. Be sure to come out this Saturday and help us honor the memory of this legendary composer.

See you at the Schimmel

Michael Scott-Torbet


Cy  Coleman at the Piano

Cy Coleman at the Piano












American Showstoppers: An Evening of CyColeman; Featuring the Fred Barton Orchestra; Saturday, October 18th at 7:30pm; Ticket Prices $49 | $39 | $29; Host, Producer, Arranger:  Fred Barton (Cy Coleman’s CITY OF ANGELS, THE WILL ROGERS FOLLIES, and LAWYERS, LOVERS & LUNATICS); Director-Choreographer:  Scott Thompson (ONE FOR MY BABY workshop); StarringKevin Earley (DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY, THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, LES MISERABLES), Deidre Goodwin (CHICAGO – Broadway and film – A CHORUS LINE, NINE), Sam Harris (Cy Coleman’s THE LIFE – Tony nomination, GREASE – Drama Desk nomination, THE PRODUCERS), Tari Kelly (ANYTHING GOES, THE BOY FROM OZ, SHOW BOAT), Damon Kirsche (ONE FOR MY BABY workshop, Encores’ ZIEGFELD FOLLIES OF 1936, Encores’ STRIKE UP THE BAND, Encores’ ON A CLEAR DAY), Karen Murphy (A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, 9 TO 5, 42ND STREET, ALL SHOOK UP, TITANIC), Lindsay Roginski (CHICAGO, ONE FOR MY BABY workshop), Leslie Stevens (LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, VICTOR VICTORIA, BIG), Terri White (Cy Coleman’s BARNUM, Cy Coleman’s WELCOME TO THE CLUB, FOLLIES, CHICAGO, FINIAN’S RAINBOW); Featuring Hannah DeFlumeri, AJ Hunsucker, Jesse Luttrell and THE SCOTT THOMPSON DANCERS: Beau Hutchings, Barrett Davis, Nic Thompson, Jeff Legace, Eric Rivas, Bobby Mira and Evan Campbell

Call (212) 346-1715 or visit https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/938512 for tickets