Acclaimed composer Andrew Lippa will host (and perform in!) the National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s spotlight concert at 54 Below on February 11. In addition to numbers by Lippa, this one-night-only offering will include works by songwriting teams Sara Cooper & Zachary Redler (The Memory Show) and Alan Zachary & Michael Weiner (First Date). The evening will feature performances by Kerry Butler, Jason Danieley, Julia Murney, Jill Abramovitz, Etai Ben Shlomo, Kevin Earley and Bryce Ryness. Below, Lippa reveals fantasy duet partners, the song he and his husband can’t help but dance to and more.
What record/album was your favorite growing up?
My older sister had a 45 of "Gimme Dat Ding," an English pop song one-hit wonder by The Pipkins. I loved it!
What concert most influenced you as a performer?
I was a Shark in the men’s ensemble’s rendition of "Quintet" from West Side Story when I was in ninth grade. It was that moment in my early life when I realized how much I loved performing and how comfortable I felt on stage. And I was half-convinced I was born into a Hispanic family but abducted by my English/Jewish parents. (I later became fully convinced...)
What is your go-to audition song?
Years ago, it was (sad to say) "I Met a Girl." Now, I’d sing Kooman and Dimond’s "Lost in the Waves." Or one of my own! Cross-promotion is a good idea.
What song are you most excited to perform in your show?
The opener, "Marshall Levin." I wrote it for Stephen Sondheim’s 80th birthday, and it’s been a favorite of mine since.
What musical theater track is the most played on your iPod?
Well…it’s not musical theater, but Carrie Manolakos’ recording of Radiohead’s "Creep" is getting a lot of play right now.
If you could invite any performer on stage for a duet at 54 Below, who would it be?
Easy: Alanis Morissette. But the real question is: What would we sing?!? (“An Old-Fashioned Wedding?” “A Little Priest?” A duet of "You Oughta Know?”)
What musical theater performer from the past do you wish you could collaborate with?
I’d be happy hearing Robert Goulet sing anything. And to sing with him? Wow.
What album was the soundtrack to your 20s?
Oh, so embarrassing, but it was Closer Than Ever. I went through a bad breakup when I was 25, and boy did some of those songs hit home for my 25-year-old soul!
What’s your favorite love song?
Heavens! Impossible. Probably "How Deep Is the Ocean” or "You and I" by Stevie Wonder, not Lady Gaga.
What song makes you feel sexy?
Wagner’s "The Ride of the Valkyries.”
What is your favorite workout track?
Recently, anything by the Canadian band Marianas Trench. They are incredible.
What’s the best hidden gem in on your iPod?
"Ich Zing" by Yiddish theatre star Seymour Rexite.
Favorite break-up song?
"And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going."
What song most makes you smile?
Jason Mraz’s "You F#$%in’ Did It"
When this song plays, I can’t help but dance:
My husband and I always dance to Michael Bublé’s "Save the Last Dance for Me.” Never fails.
Don’t Miss Andrew Lippa and more in The NAMT Songwriter Spotlight at 54 Below on February 11. Click below to get a preview of Lippa performing “Marshall Levin.”