Actor Scott Wichmann is teaming up once again with musical director Ryan Corbitt to present People of the (Great American Song) Book, at the Weinstein JCC on Tuesday, October 10, at 7 p.m.
When the JCC approached Wichmann about doing an evening of songs, he immediately thought of the music of Jewish composers. “I wanted to show how the foundation of American popular music was laid by them,” he says. “I wanted to talk about the composers and what the songs mean in a cultural context.”
Wichmann will cover everyone from George Gershwin to Irving Berlin; from Harold Arlen to Jerome Kern.
“I think these artists help to frame what it meant to be an American in the 20th century,” Wichmann says. “They spoke to the yearning of the American heart.”
One song popular at sporting events, for instance, was penned by the Jewish son of Polish immigrants. Wichmann is keeping mum as to the title of the song until the show, so you’ll have to pick up tickets. “There are some amazing facts deeply embedded in American culture,” he says.
Highlighting certain songs during the 90-minute show has been a daunting task because of the prolific amount of music produced.
“There are so many wonderful songs. The challenge was what to leave out,” he says.
He has always admired the “wonderfully intrinsic humanity” of many performers and writers of the Jewish faith. “I find it endearing,” he says. “I am fortunate to celebrate these authors.”
The music is timeless, he adds. “These songs will last forever.”
Get details and purchase tickets for the show at WeinsteinJCC.org.