A duo possessing supreme musical talent and extraordinary versatility that you will be hearing a lot about, The Jimmy and Larry Show features Jimmy Roberts, famed composer of the second-longest running Off Broadway musical in theater history, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” and Lawrence Craig, a veteran of jazz, classical, opera, Broadway and modern music performances who is rapidly gaining recognition as America’s versatile baritone. Together they offer an eclectic blend of sublimely executed music for the voice and solo piano.
Roberts is a composer for the musical theater
as well as a pianist and entertainer. His musical scores include: I Love
You, You're Perfect, Now Change (1996) and The Thing About Men (2003), both with
book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro. "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change,"
nominated for Best Musical by both the Outer Critics Circle and the Drama
Desk, became the second-longest running Off Broadway musical in theater history
(6,000 performances), and was translated into numerous languages, including
Chinese, Korean, Spanish, German, French, Catalan, Hebrew, Czech and Hungarian.
"The Thing About Men" was voted Best Musical of the 2003/2004 season, by
the New York Outer Critics Circle. His children's musical, "The Velveteen
Rabbit" (1986, book and lyrics by James Still), toured the United States
for a decade, and he contributed individual songs to two other Off Broadway
revues, "A . . . My Name is Still Alice" and "Pets!" (lyrics by June Siegel).
He also composed "The Truth About Light" (2007), with British playwright/lyricist,
Warner Brown, which has not yet been produced.
Among his compositions are two commissioned works: "The Heart of the Matter" (2008), with words by poet Dana Gioia, performed at the Guggenheim Museum, New York; and "I Sing, I Pray" (2007), written for Cantor Roslyn Barak, Congregation Emanu-El, San Francisco. Mr. Roberts also created and performed special piano arrangements for the Grand Piano Marathon at Merkin Concert Hall (2008), and gave a lecture/demonstration at the Newark School of the Arts for the Leonard Bernstein 90th birthday celebration.
As a pianist and performer, Jimmy Roberts devises programs that blend classical and popular music (including Gershwin and Broadway), comedy and song. He has appeared at Merkin Concert Hall, the Time Warner Center, the 92nd Street Y, Steinway Hall and the “Music at Meyer” series in San Francisco. He was guest artist at the Newark School of the Arts in New Jersey, the Cab Calloway School of the Arts, in Wilmington, Delaware, and St. Francis College (Brooklyn). In the summer of 2010, he will be guest artist at the inaugural season of the Buck Hill/Skytop Music Festival in Pennsylvania.
He is a 1977 graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with the noted pianist, Constance Keene. The original cast recordings for his shows were recorded on the following record labels: "I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change" (Varese-Sarabande Records); "The Thing About Men" (DRG Records). Both shows are administered by The Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization.
Lawrence Craig has
earned a reputation for his “Fine baritone” (New York Times) and “virtuosic
talent” (Zürich Tages-Anzeiger) in Europe and the Americas in opera,
concert, and recital. A student of the late internationally acclaimed bass-baritone,
William Warfield, Mr. Craig is a graduate of the Florida Grand Opera and
Chautauqua Opera Young Artist Programs. As winner of the Bel
Canto International Opera Competition, he studied and performed with artistic
staff of the famed Teatro Alla Scala. Mr. Craig has appeared in a number
of roles, but most notably as Harlequin in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos,
Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen, Guglielmo in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte,
Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff, Dapertutto in Offenbach’s Les Contes
d’Hoffmann, Sharpless in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, and Papageno
in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte.
Most recently, not only was Mr. Craig triumphant in his directorial debut for the Albanian National Opera’s season opener, Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, he also appeared in the cast as Sportin’ Life. This performance marked the premiere of Gershwin’s music in the country of Albania. He also appeared with L’opéra de Toulon as Henry Davis in Street Scene, Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess with the Virginia Opera and in jewel box presentation with the Buck Hill-Skytop Music Festival. He also made his Broadway debut in Baz Luhrmann’s La Bohème on Broadway as well as appearing in the American premiere of Kurt Weill’s Die Bürgschaft with the Spoleto Festival USA (recorded for EMI Classics), Latvian National Opera as Escamillo in a concert version of Bizet’s Carmen, Fresno Grand Opera as Jake in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Other contemporary American opera appearances include Ain’s The Outcast, Argento’s Postcard from Morocco, Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, León’s The Scourge of Hyacinths, Menotti’s The Medium and Amahl and the Night Visitors, Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts and as Cristobal in Sierra’s opera for the Broadway Theater Terra Incognita.A wonderful highlight of the season was the opportunity to sing as part of the concert to honor President Barak Obama’s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize and as Sportin’ Life for the 75th Anniversary Concert to honor Porgy and Bess. Recent concert appearances include opera and jazz concerts for the Maputo International Music Festival of Mozambique, Cabaret Concerts with famed Off Broadway composer Jimmy Roberts for the Buck Hill-Skytop Music Festival, Iago in Verdi's Othello with the Music Division of Martin University, Music Sharing from New York in Hiroshima, Kobe and Yannai, Japan, Elijah with the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day tributes with the Louisville Symphony Orchestra and guest appearance for the city of Cincinnati, Ohio, Symphonic Orchestra of Chile for Copland’s Old American Songs, the George Enescu Bucharest Philharmonic and the Athens, Greece State Orchestra in Orff’s Carmina Burana, Symphonic Orchestra of Argentina in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Dayton Philharmonic for Dett’s The Ordering of Moses, Finland’s Kainuu International Jazz and Musica Borealis Festivals for Sarmanto’s jazz lieder cycle North Country Suite, Cincinnati Pops as Walker in Gershwin’s Blue Monday and as Sportin’ Life in excerpts from Porgy and Bess (recorded for Telarc International), Austrian Broadcasting Corporation singing “Old Man River” for the motion picture Musik am Mississippi, Finland’s Savonlinna International Opera Festival for the jazz oratorio Perfect Harmony (record & video for Finlandia Records), and with the Philharmonics of Birmingham, Alabama; Mendoza, Argentina; Santiago and Concepcion, Chile; Bogotá, Colombia; Koszalin, Poland; El Paso, Texas; and İstanbul, Turkey in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (soprano/baritone concert).