America’s Fourth Largest City & Her “Bridges” To American Popular Song
In the 1945 MGM film IT HAPPENED IN BROOKLYN, Hoboken interloper Frank Sinatra plays a GI just home from WWII. When he looks up and sings, “What a lovely view from/Heaven looks at you from the Brooklyn Bridge,” he is telling the world, with absolute certainty, that anyone not born and bred in Brooklyn is really from Nowhere Important. Brooklyn is often called a major city masquerading as a borough. Actually, it´s a State of Mind: Ebbetts Field and the Dodgers, cheese cake, Canarsie, Coney Island, hot dogs, the Esplanade, Prospect Park, the Bridge.
As America´s fourth largest city, it has produced some of America´s most distinguished citizens, among them great ballplayers, renowned intellectuals, celebrated politicians, writers, social crusaders, opera singers, and, not incidental to the topic at hand, songwriters, singers, actors, comedians.
THE BROOKLN CONNECTION is a Lecture-in-Song touching upon the numerous references to Brooklyn in song intermingled with tributes to those native sons and daughters who have played prominent roles in popular musical entertainment over the last century: Mae West, Jimmy Durante, Lena Horne, Betty Comden, Arthur Schwartz, Danny Kaye, Alan Bergman, Barbra Streisand, Mickey Rooney, Harry Warren, George Gershwin…
“We´ll go to Coney and eat baloney on a roll…”
“When it´s nesting time in Flatbush, we will take a little flat…”
“If you´ve been a rover, journey´s end lies over the Brooklyn Bridge…”
That fabled sprawl across the East River known as Brooklyn has always been a rich source of color and talent unlike almost anything else in our popular culture; and if you have any doubts, THE BROOKLYN CONNECTION [and anyone from Brooklyn] will be only too happy to set you straight on the matter.
If you would like to engage Fred Miller for one of his Lectures-in-Song, please contact him directly at any time. For a full listing of all Lectures, click here.
Fred Miller’s Lectures-In-Song comprise a series of solo programs, each an historical, anecdotal and musical profile of some great personality or important aspect of American Popular Song. These Lectures are delivered by singer/pianist/narrator Miller at the piano, and each reflects his lifetime passion and appreciation for great music. He studied classical piano in his hometown of Albuquerque from ages 7-15 but early on gave up any notion of music as a profession. At that time, Fred assumed a musical career was either one devoted to the rigid discipline of classical music or being a freewheeling rock star, and he accurately decided he had no aptitude for either. However, at age 22, upon hearing Ella Fitzgerald sing Cole Porter, he found his calling and life’s mission.
Through the Seventies and Eighties, Miller studied and absorbed in minute detail the life and times and songs of nearly all the great American composers and lyricists who thrived during Broadway & Hollywood’s Golden Age between the two World Wars. In 1987, he founded Silver Dollar Productions in order to produce operettas, dramas, musicals and small cabarets. Silver Dollar Productions required ensemble casts, props, costumes and, most significantly, the challenges of publicity and selling tickets, and for a dozen busy years, the company presented an unbroken string of varied and highly lauded performances.
In 1999, Miller was simultaneously underwritten by both his local Hunterdon County Library and the Art Alliance of Philadelphia to present a series of six solo Lectures-In-Song, each devoted to one of the premiere Broadway/Hollywood songwriters: George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers, Jerome Kern, and Harold Arlen.
In presenting history, biography and psychology while sitting at a piano singing the superlative songs of his heroes, Miller has found a single performing medium that utilizes most of his intellectual and musical passions.The list of Lectures-In-Song that began with six in 1999 is now more than seventy(and growing!), a joyful tribute to the boundlessly rich field of American Popular Song.