Over the Moon: The Broadway Lullaby Project is both a timeless benefit effort and a uniquely compelling, multimedia experience. The ambitious project — which incorporates a 2-CD, 26-song set; a lavishly-illustrated hardcover book of 17 songs from the album; a corresponding e-book encompassing the entire collection; and a documentary film and web series — gathers many of contemporary musical theatre’s greatest composers and vocalists, as well as illustrators, all of whom have donated their talent to deliver an emotionally affecting set of new lullabies, some written specifically for this project.
This collection puts a fresh spin on the classic lullaby form, creating a warmly expressive song cycle that will touch listeners of all ages, while raising funds for respected breast cancer charities, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Young Survival Coalition. The book features 17 songs from the album, with the lyrics illustrated by some of America’s most esteemed theatrical designers and children’s book illustrators, each offering a memorable visual interpretation of a song from the CD bound in the book. The e-book includes illustrations for all 26 songs.
Over the Moon: The Broadway Lullaby Project’s roster of world-class vocalists features some of Broadway’s most respected and popular performers and friends, including Anastasia Barzee, Stephanie Bast, Michael Cerveris, Walter Charles, Victoria Clark, Jed Cohen, Janet Dacal, Kate Dawson, Raul Esparza, Sutton Foster, Keegan, Tillie and Zi Glucksman, Marva Hicks, Dana Ivey, Brian d’Arcy James, Nikki M. James, Marc Kudisch, Judy Kuhn, Rebecca Luker, Luke Kolbe Mannikus, Audra McDonald, Donna Murphy, Christiane Noll, Kelli O’Hara, Laura Osnes, Anika Noni Rose, Caesar Samayoa, Will Swenson, and Vanessa Williams.
The stellar assortment of singers is matched by the original contributions of such esteemed composers and lyricists as Scott Alan, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Wayne Barker, Sean Barry, Susan Birkenhead, Jeff Blumenkrantz, Jeff Bowen, the late Sammy Cahn, Joshua H. Cohen, Michael Friedman, Jenny Giering, Zina Goldrich, Ricky Ian Gordon, Adam Gwon, Marcy Heisler, Nona Hendryx, Marva Hicks, Rupert Holmes, Timothy Huang, Christopher Jackson, Tom Kitt, Henry Krieger, Tony Kushner, Michael John LaChiusa, Dan Lipton, Robert Lopez, Marisa Michelson, Charles Randolph-Wright, David Rossmer, Bill Russell, Sandy Rustin, Jill Santoriello, Stephen Schwartz, John Patrick Shanley, David Shire, Lucy Simon, Stephen Sondheim, Charles Strouse, Sara Wordsworth, BD Wong, and Maury Yeston.
Grammy-nominated record producer Matt Pierson assembled an illustrious group of musicians for the recording, including famed pianists Fred Hersch and Brad Mehldau, acclaimed guitarist Larry Campbell, renowned multi-instrumentalist Gil Goldstein, celebrated cellist Dave Eggar, and other notable instrumentalists such as Scott Colley, Taylor Eigsti, James Genus, Kevin Hays, Aaron Heick, Bashiri Johnson, Julian Lage, Harish Raghavan, Jody Redhage, Peter Sachon, Tony Scherr, and Kathleen Tagg.
Meanwhile, the project’s book component also features a distinctive cover illustration by fabled cartoonist/playwright Jules Feiffer, along with a foreword written by stage and screen legend Julie Andrews and her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton. Among the award-winning illustrators lending their talents are Selina Alko, Lynne Avril, Paulette Bogan, Beowulf Boritt, Lauren Castillo, R. Gregory Christie, Seymour Chwast, Jane Dyer, Richard Egielski, Daniel Glucksman, Julia Gran, Ying-Hwa Hu, Genevieve LeRoy-Walton, Betsy Lewin, Anna Louizos, Victor Mays, Emily Arnold McCully, Wendell Minor, Barry Moser, Jon J Muth, Sean Qualls, Peter H. Reynolds, Marc Simont, Javaka Steptoe, Melissa Sweet, Cornelius Van Wright, Neil Waldman, Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, Tony Walton, Gary Zamchick, and Paul O. Zelinsky.
The project has been documented in the form of a short film and web series that tells the story of The Broadway Lullaby Project from conception to completion. Through interviews and rare behind-the-scenes footage, Peabody and Emmy Award-winning documentarian Barbara Rick and Out of The Blue Films, Inc. chronicle the inspiration, rehearsals, recording sessions, and artistic processes of many of Broadway’s brightest stars, world-renowned jazz musicians, and our most-loved illustrators — all united to combat breast cancer through the comfort and beauty of music and art.
Over the Moon: The Broadway Lullaby Project is the product of the passion and dedication of the album’s co-producers, Kate Dawson and Jodi Glucksman, both veterans of New York’s theatrical community.
It was Dawson, a versatile singer, actor, and writer with extensive theater experience, as well as an acclaimed one-woman show to her credit, who initiated the project. When she became pregnant, Dawson’s thoughts turned to her cousin, Jill, who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2006 at the age of 45, leaving behind a husband and two young children. Dawson pondered a way to honor Jill, and resolved to create an album of lullabies to benefit breast cancer charities.
Dawson spoke to many friends about the idea, including Glucksman, a respected dramaturg and educator who has been profoundly affected by breast cancer. When she was 14, she lost her grandmother to the disease. Her mother and mother-in-law are both survivors, as are multiple cousins and friends, and her sister-in-law is a breast cancer surgeon. Moved by the project’s philanthropic and creative goals, she signed on as co-producer.
“It’s nearly impossible to think of anyone who hasn’t been affected by this disease,” Glucksman observes. “Nearly everyone we contacted has been touched by it. So the concept really resonated with people, and seeing how people responded propelled us to get more ambitious and expand the scope of the project.”
“Many of the songs were written specifically for this collection,” Dawson says. “But a lot of the composers already had lullabies that they’d written but never had an outlet for them. It was like there were all these wonderful gems out there waiting to be discovered. When you start with an idea, you have no way of knowing how people are going to respond. But, from the beginning, people really were moved and excited about this project, and so many people were very generous with their talent.”
“It occurred to me that this amazing story of the generosity of so many is one that should be shared, Glucksman recalls. “I thought it would make a great documentary, and Barbara Rick seemed to be a great fit. What I didn’t know at the time was that Barbara’s husband, cameraman Jim Anderson, lost his sister to breast cancer.”
The idea for a children’s book of illustrated lyrics seemed a natural companion to a collection of lullabies. That’s when Barbara Aronica-Buck, a lifelong friend of Glucksman, got involved.” Aronica-Buck is an award-winning book designer with more than three decades of experience; she is also a cancer survivor. Aronica-Buck, in turn, enlisted veteran publishing executive David Wilk, who signed on to publish the book. Together they created a dream list of illustrators and set about requesting contributions from them.
The Broadway Lullaby Project moved to another level when Glucksman and Dawson decided that noted jazz producer Matt Pierson was the right person to oversee the recording process. “In addition to providing a chance to work with such an exciting array of distinctive vocalists, it was a chance to be involved in an important cause,” Pierson states. “My mother is a breast cancer survivor, so this was a wonderful opportunity to show my support.”
Pierson insisted that the album maintain a consistent mood and sound. “Since this is a lullaby recording, it was a primary goal to present something that was very cohesive and focused,” he says. “Even though there are 26 different vocalists performing selections by 26 different songwriters or songwriting teams, we needed to create something that would play consistently, setting a sleepytime mood for the kids while holding the interest of the parents. For this reason, we worked in a small, intimate setting, mostly with just piano and/or guitar, with some bass and percussion added in spots.”
Pierson worked closely with the singers to maintain the album’s relaxed feel. “Since these were musical-theatre artists singing lullabies, I really wanted to encourage them to sing with more subtlety and intimacy than they may be used to,” he explains. “I wanted them to find themselves in these songs, to find a place where they felt they were singing these songs personally, as if to a child.”
The resulting album marks a historic convergence of inspired music and an inspiring cause, making The Broadway Lullaby Project a one-of-a-kind classic that will speak eloquently to listeners of all ages.
“We wanted to create something that would be soothing for children but also engaging for adults,” Dawson observes. “These lullabies are about the love between parents and children, and it’s a unique way of expressing that love. So we hope that it will be something that families can enjoy together.”
Glucksman concludes: “My mother is the creator of the Roz and Les Goldstein Unsung Hero Award presented annually at The Breast Cancer Research Foundation spring benefit. In a way, my involvement in this project is my Unsung Hero Award for my mother, who is the most extraordinary woman I know.”
Public Interest Projects (PIP) serves as the fiscal sponsor for the Broadway Lullaby Project. Public Interest Projects is a 501(c)(3) public charity with a 25 year history of providing fiscal sponsorship for projects working toward a society that ensures justice, dignity and opportunity for all people.