A concert series curated by the renowned Tony Award-winning composer, lyricist, conductor, and director, Jason Robert Brown. Each unique performance will incorporate an eclectic mix of material, featuring music from throughout his acclaimed career, along with new works in development.
Special guests in past performances from this series have included Kelli O’Hara, Steve Pasquale, Norbert Leo Butz, Tom Kitt, Tony Danza, Laura Benanti, Cynthia Erivo, Tituss Burgess, Lena Hall, Ana Gasteyer, LaChanze, Shaina Taub, Megan Hilty, Eden Espinosa, Norm Lewis, Sierra Boggess, Mykal Kilgore, Betsy Wolfe, Shoshana Bean, Philippa Soo, and more! This performance features Justin Guarini.*
JASON ROBERT BROWN is the ultimate multi-hyphenate – composer, lyricist, conductor, arranger, orchestrator, director and performer – best known for his dazzling scores to several of the most renowned musicals of his generation, including The Bridges of Madison County, for which Jason received the 2014 Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Orchestrations; the seminal chamber musical The Last Five Years, now a feature film starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan; his debut song cycle Songs for a New World; and Parade, winner of the 1999 Best Score Tony. The New York Times refers to Jason as “a leading member of a new generation of composers who embody high hopes for the American musical.”
His other musicals include Honeymoon In Vegas and 13, a film version of which is currently in development. His “novel symphony” The Trumpet of the Swan has been performed by the National Symphony Orchestra and around the world. Jason conducted Parade at Avery Fisher Hall in an all-star concert performance in February, 2015, and he is in the midst of recording a followup to his solo album, Wearing Someone Else’s Clothes. His sold-out series of concerts at the Abrons Arts Center in 2012 yielded a television special and accompanying album, Jason Robert Brown In Concert With Anika Noni Rose.
Jason studied composition at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., with Samuel Adler, Christopher Rouse, and Joseph Schwantner. He lives with his wife, composer Georgia Stitt, and their daughters in New York City. Jason is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and the American Federation of Musicians Local 802 & 47. Visit him on the web at www.jasonrobertbrown.com.
Sometimes there are moments when you think that you know how the rest of your life will play out, that you can see the journey clearly marked out in front of you, and then you turn around and discover that you couldn’t have been more wrong...and that you're happier than you ever were.
In 2002, when JUSTIN GUARINI rose through the ranks of American Idol contenders to face off against Kelly Clarkson in the show’s first-ever finale, they were the stars of the entertainment industry. They were both destined for stardom, no matter the outcome, and their futures were certain. But for Guarini, that future turned out to be even bigger and brighter than he could have imagined...even if it led him in a different direction than he might have thought.
Justin has never been a stranger to the stage. He has been performing since the tender age of four, when he joined the Atlanta Boy’s Choir in his home state of Georgia. Then, after moving to Pennsylvania, Justin joined the prestigious Philadelphia Archdiocese Choir. He pursued his passion for the arts all throughout his school years, singing and starring in school stage productions, and attending both the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and the School for Film and Television in New York.
Then, in 2002, it didn’t just rain; it poured.
Shortly after auditioning and being selected for the first season of American Idol, Justin was offered a role in the Broadway production of The Lion King. It wasn’t an easy decision. Justin described The Lion King as “a dream almost come true,” but in the end he turned it down for Idol, saying “I knew I was onto something, and I wasn’t letting go.”
He was praised by Idol judge Simon Cowell, who told him “occasionally you’re very privileged when you do a competition like this to hear somebody undiscovered who has a voice like yours.” Justin took the season by storm, surpassing every other performer save Clarkson, who was eventually crowned the victor over Justin in the finale. Later, as a member of the Idol Tour, he was described by the Los Angeles Times as a “revelation,” and by the Boston Herald as “easily the best performer.”
Justin has released two albums and an EP, his first in 2003 and his second in 2005, Between 2007 and 2011 he found success as a host on shows such as Idol Wrap and Idol Tonight and, with the TV Guide Network, and then went on to host live red carpets for The Grammys, The Emmys, and The Oscars. In 2014 and 2015 he both produced and hosted “The Tonys in Times Square” with Clear Channel Spectacolor. And in 2010 he made his Broadway debut, in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. He was described by Patti LuPone as “very, very talented,” and “smart as a whip, he adapts instantly and he’s unbelievably sweet.” Since then he has become a Broadway veteran starring in musicals and plays including American Idiot, Romeo and Juliet, Wicked, Paint Your Wagon, In Transit, and has played the leading roles in regional performances of Rent, Chicago, Company, Joseph, Moonshine, Ghost Brothers Of Darkland County, Cake Off, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, and many more.
Those who might not remember him from his Idol days or haven’t seen him in Broadway shows may recognize Justin from his recurring role as "Lil’ Sweet" in nationwide Diet Dr. Pepper television and Internet Commercials.
However, Justin’s favorite roles to date are those of Husband and Father. In 2009, while working on the American Idol experience at Walt Disney World, he proposed to his now-wife, Reina Capodici. They were married in September 2009, and Justin settled into a comfortable family life with Reina and her daughter, Lola. In 2011 their family grew with the birth of Justin’s first son, William, and in 2013 Justin and Reina welcomed a second son, Asher.
These days Justin maintains a happy balance between family-man and performer. He has a strong personal belief in music education, has lobbied on Capitol Hill to stop the slashing of music education in our schools, and worked with Education Through Music LA to help fund music programs in disadvantaged schools.
It’s been a long road since Justin first stepped into the limelight in 2002 on the Idol stage, and one that was not marked out on any map. But through the years his love of music and performance has only grown, coupled with a strong dedication to family, and an unshakeable sense of both humor and fun. In 2002, no one would have argued that the young Idol talent with the signature afro had a bright future; now, Justin may no longer have the afro, but his future looks brighter than ever.
BRYONHA MARIE PARHAM can currently be seen on Broadway in Prince of Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club. Other Broadway credits include The Book of Mormon; After Midnight; The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess (Serena); Ragtime (Sarah’s Friend).
Off Broadway/NY: NY Philharmonic’s Showboat and Sweeney Todd (Beggar Woman); Ragtime @ Lincoln Center; Bull Durham. World Premier: Prince of Broadway (Tokyo Orb). Favorite regional credits include the rarely performed Bernstein’s MASS with The Philadelphia Orchestra; The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess (American Repertory Theatre); Ragtime (Kennedy Center); Civil War (NETworks); HAIR (Sacramento Music Circus); Dreamgirls (Effie White at North Shore Music Theatre, Fulton Theatre, Maine State Music Theatre); Little Shop of Horrors (Berkshire Theatre Festival); Once On This Island (Coterie Theatre), and a many more!
Television: Madame Secretary; Showboat and Sweeney Todd LIVE @ Lincoln Center for PBS (Emmy Nominated); 66th/68th Annual Tony Awards; “The Today Show.”
Bryonha is a proud member of Actors Equity Association and the Screen Actors Guild. She received her training at Illinois Wesleyan University and holds a BFA in Music Theatre. Twitter/Instagram: @BryonhaMarie
*Guests are subject to change