The Liz Swados Project Elizabeth Swados

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  • 1We Are Not Strangers02:37
  • 2Every Now and Then03:10
  • 3Oh, King Daddy02:59
  • 4The Red Queen02:24
  • 5In This My Green World02:53
  • 6Take Me to Paris02:22
  • 7Souf02:50
  • 8You Gave Me Love03:41
  • 9You Do Not Have to Be Good02:09
  • 10Song of a Child Prostitute02:25
  • 11The Dance03:50
  • 12Salvador01:53
  • 13Isadora02:53
  • 14Lonesome of the Road03:20
  • 15War Gets Old03:02
  • 16A Change Shall Come03:20
  • 17Bird Lament02:43
  • 18Amen01:42
  • 19Things I Didn't Know I Loved (Live)03:06
  • Total Runtime53:19

Info for The Liz Swados Project

The Liz Swados Project – a newly-recorded tribute album to the visionary artist – features an epic tribe of diverse performers, composers and lyricists, who have been influenced and inspired by Elizabeth Swados as a performer, composer, lyricist, teacher, and trailblazer. The all-star cast of luminaries from Broadway, downtown and beyond, including vocalists Starr Busby, Sophia Anne Caruso, Damon Daunno, Amber Gray, Stephanie Hsu, Jo Lampert, Alicia Olatuja, Ashley Pérez Flanagan, Grace McLean, and Ali Stroker, in addition to songwriter/performers The Bengsons, Heather Christian, Michael R. Jackson, Taylor Mac, Dave Malloy, Shaina Taub, and the late Michael Friedman, among others. The album – featuring the world premiere recordings of 14 songs – is produced by Lauren Fitzgerald, Kris Kukul and Matt Stine, with Kurt Deutsch and Roz Lichter serving as executive producers. Kris Kukul, Ms. Swados’s longtime music director, provides orchestrations and arrangements.

The Liz Swados Project celebrates the Swados legacy with songs from 10 of her works for the stage sung by some of the most influential performers and composers in theater today. In the words of the late Michael Friedman, who studied under Swados, "Liz is in the DNA of my work." You can hear her influence in the work of this new generation of theatrical music makers, all of whom honor her with their recordings of her songs.

Each artist performs a selection in their unique style, ranging from Vaudeville-tinged chamber pop, contemporary blues, and haunting art songs, to raw indie rock, spare classical ballads and sweeping middle Eastern-inspired choral pieces.

Works are featured from her landmark Broadway hit Runaways (1978), about the lives of children who run away from home and live on city streets, including a performance by Sophia Anne Caruso, who appeared in the show at New York City Center’s Encores! Off-Center series in 2016. Selections also come from Swados’ little-known masterpiece The Beautiful Lady (1984), a deeply felt meditation on the triumph and catastrophe of the Russian avant-garde; Alice in Concert, her 1981 Public Theater production which updates Alice in Wonderland, originally featuring Meryl Streep and Debbie Allen; Nightclub Cantata, the revue which became a downtown sensation in 1977, and other pieces throughout the decades. Swados herself is represented on the album, performing her composition "Bird Lament," echoing the natural world with guitar and colorful vocal sounds. Her work was featured on a 2017 concert evening for Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series; Michael Friedman’s live performance of "Things I Didn’t Know I Loved" from that special show provides the fitting closing track for the album.

Swados, praised by The New York Times for her "unique style of socially engaged musical theater," introduced new forms to the genre – world, folk, rap and experimental music – and wrote of topics not usually seen in musical theater: racism, murder and mental illness. She defied "downtown" categorization, with her work performed at La MaMa ETC, The Public Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Carnegie Hall and Broadway, as well as cabarets, rock clubs, churches and synagogues around the U.S. and Europe. Swados is the only person to have been nominated for five Tony Awards in one season, for Best Musical, Direction, Score, Book, and Choreography. As Hilton Als wrote in her obituary in The New Yorker, "(Swados) was born talented and she stayed talented, her eyes always wide with the expectation that something amazing was about to happen—and if it didn’t, she’d make it herself."

"I just remember Elizabeth as a person with an inexhaustible creative energy. The voice that emerged – unique, female, eternally young and tied to childhood – has not been duplicated in the theater." (Meryl Streep)

Kris Kukul, conductor, keyboards
Cody Owen Stine, keyboards
Conrad Korsch, bass
Alec Berlin, guitar
Shannon Ford, drums
Joshua Mark Samuels, percussion
Dan Block, woodwind
Tony Kadleck, trumpet
Brian Pareschi, trumpet
John Murchison, Qanun
Adda Kridler, violin
Entcho Todorov, violin
Katie Kresek, violin
Alon Bisk, cello
The Liz Swados Project Choir
Preston Martin, choir manager

Elizabeth Swados
has been acclaimed as a leading creator of works for younger actors since her Broadway hit, "Runaways." She began her professional career as a composer at La MaMa, where she worked with Peter Brook and Andrei Serban and won her first Obie at age 21 for setting "Medea" to ethnic music. Her memorable La MaMa productions include "Fragments of a Greek Trilogy" with Serban, "Crow" with Robbie Anton and the opera-oratorio "Jerusalem." In 1996, she directed a pair of her own musicals, "Doonesbury Flashbacks," based on Garry Trudeau's comic strip, and "The Emperor's New Clothes" based loosely on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, at La MaMa. Last season, she brought another young company to La MaMa for a post-election political satire and contributed to the score of Ellen Stewart's "Seven Against Thebes," a dance-opera adaptation of the classic play by Aeschylus, which was performed by the Great Jones Repertory.

Swados has been writing music, theater and books professionally for almost 30 years. She has been nominated for Tony , Drama Desk, Ace and Emmy Awards and has won several Obies, Outer Critics Circle Awards, a PEN Citation, and an Anne Frank National Foundation for Jewish Culture award. Her Broadway credits also include "Doonesbury." Her Off-Broadway credits also include, among others, "Alice in Wonderland" (with Meryl Streep), "Dispatches," "The Haggadah", "Jerusalem," "Rap Music Ronnie" (with Gary Trudeau), and "Missionaries."

Beside La MaMa, her works have been seen at The Public Theater, Manhattan Theater Club, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center Institute, Mark Taper Forum, and many other Off- and Off-off Broadway houses. She has published three novels, and two nonfiction books and her works have been optioned by Milos Forman and Marion Brando. Currently she is adapting her children's book, "Dreamtective," for Disney. Ms. Swados is currently creating a new musical piece called "The Three Gods" and her newest novel, "Flamboyant," just came out in paperback, published by Picador. She has taught at New York University and has conducted workshops at many colleges across the country and in forums in France, Israel, parts of Africa, Brazil, as well as regional theaters in the U.S. Her CD, "The Bible Women," went in the NASA Space Shuttle as a choice of music for Astronaut Alan Hoffman.

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