Legendary recording artist Melissa Manchester coming to Woodland

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Legendary recording artist Melissa Manchester coming to Woodland

Posted on: May 15th, 2014 by tommyj

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Courtesy Grammy winning singer Melissa Manchester will be performing at the Woodland Opera House in late June.

The Woodland Opera House announced that legendary Grammy Award-winning recording artist Melissa Manchester in concert on Friday, June 27, at 7:30 p.m.

The concert, A "Musical" Evening, featuring singer-songwriter Melissa Manchester, Vatrena King, and performers from the Woodland Opera House is a benefit and fundraiser for a new musical, "Zuccotti Park," with music by Vatrena King, and book and lyrics by Catherine Hurd. The concert will not only preview songs from Melissa Manchester’s new album, but will also preview songs from King and Hurd’s new musical, and the Woodland Opera House 2014-2015 Season.

Both King and Hurd are locally based artists, and "Zuccotti Park" is their first collaboration. The musical examines the human side of the economic system in America: the CEO of a large corporation, a homeless veteran, a family buying their first home, a student who can’t find a job, etc. The play takes place when Cooper, a soldier on leave from Afghanistan, stumbles upon an Occupy Protest in New York City. He falls for one of the protesters, but their radically different world views keep them at odds.

Headlining the June 27 benefit concert is Manchester whose career has spanned several decades. After graduating from New York’s High School of the Performing Arts, Manchester enrolled in a songwriting class at NYU that was taught by Paul Simon. She then landed a staff writing job at Chappell Music and performed as a solo singer/pianist in the Greenwich Village club scene. There, she met Barry Manilow, who introduced her to Bette Midler, and Manchester became one of the founding members of Midler’s backup group, the Harlettes.

A solo career followed, with more than 200 recorded songs spanning 19 albums and various film and television soundtracks, multiple Grammy nominations and the 1982 Grammy Award for Best Female Vocalist, Oscar nominations for her movie themes, and recordings of her compositions by such noted artists as Barbra Streisand, Dusty Springfield, Alison Krauss, Roberta Flack, Johnny Mathis, Kathy Mattea, Peabo Bryson, Cleo Laine and Barbara Cook, among others. Manchester has composed for numerous films, including "Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure" and "Dirty Girl." She collaborated with Kenny Loggins to co-write his 1978 hit duet with Stevie Nicks, "Whenever I Call You Friend."

As an actress, Manchester was a series regular in the TV hit "Blossom," and performed with Midler in the film "For the Boys." She co-wrote the stage musical "I Sent a Letter to My Love," co-starred with Kelsey Grammer in Stephen Sondheim’s "Sweeney Todd," and starred in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s "Song and Dance."

Opening for the June 27 concert will be "Zuccotti Park" composer King. King graduated from Berklee College with a degree in music production and engineering. She worked at A&M Studios and performed as a side member in a local band until the members of the rock group U2 encouraged her to go solo.

For 10 years King sang at various Los Angeles hot spots as a solo artist and with popular L.A.-based a cappella recording groups Vocal Nation and Wahoo Do-Re, each made up of six of L.A.’s 1st-call session singers. King also traveled extensively as a background vocalist for Manchester. And for five years, King enjoyed a co-starring role as an "Ikette" on the hit TV show "Ally McBeal," recording and performing the show’s staple musical numbers alongside singer-songwriter Vonda Shepard; Jane Krakowski; fellow "kettles" Renee Goldsberry and Sy Smith, and a host of guest stars.

Tickets for Melissa Manchester, "A Musical Evening" are available at www.woodlandoperahouse.org or 666-9617. Reserved seats are $50, $40 and $30.

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