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Onstage, New York: Big City Songbook

Writer, dramatist and concert/revue creator Deborah Grace Winer is a leading expert on the American Songbook and Musical Theatre. She collaborates with institutions such as Jazz at Lincoln Center, Feinstein's/54 Below supper club, and Birdland Theatre, where her revue New York Big City Songbook (which the New York Times called "A triumph") was, pre-pandemic, a monthly highlight.   For a decade she was Artistic Director of the 92Y’s venerable Lyrics & Lyricists American Songbook concert series, presiding over 50 original shows there and steering the nearly 50-year-old N.Y. tradition to rejuvenated success.  Earning audience and critical acclaim, the New York Times dubbed one of her personally led and written shows, “A home run…propelled by Ms. Winer’s best script ever.”

She collaborates with the top creative and performing talent from Broadway, jazz and cabaret.

She also has created shows for myriad special events, including the famed global event Diner en Blanc (NYC), for an outdoor audience of more than 5,000.  Her show, Baby, Dream Your Dream celebrating the great women writers of the American Songbook, has been booked in numerous venues.

Her book, On the Sunny Side of the Street: The Life and Lyrics of Dorothy Fields (Schirmer Books/Simon and Schuster Macmillan, foreword by Betty Comden), was recently re-released on Amazon.  Other books include: The Night and the Music: Rosemary Clooney, Barbara Cook and Julie Wilson Inside the World of Cabaret (Schirmer Books, foreword by Rex Reed); Sing Out Louise!:150 Stars of the Musical Theatre Remember 50 Years on Broadway (co-author/Schirmer); and I Remember Too Much: 89 Opera Stars Speak Candidly of Their Work, Their Lives and Their Colleagues (co-author/Wm Morrow).  The Dictionary of Literary Biography special volume on American songwriters includes her entries on both Dorothy Fields and Carolyn Leigh.  She authored three coffee table books accompanying a 3-box, 22 CD set of the complete early recordings of Rosemary Clooney (Bear Family).  Her articles on music have appeared in the New York Times, Town and Country, and numerous other publications.


She was featured on PBS’s special, Jimmy Van Heusen: Swingin’ with Frank and Bing, the PBS American Masters special, Yours for a Song: The Women of Tin Pan Alley, on the A&E Biography of Rosemary Clooney, on NPR’s “Fresh Air” and “Morning Edition.”


As a dramatist, her plays and musical theatre writing (including Sing For Your Shakespeare, The Real Tabasco, (an O’Neill finalist) and Little Shows) have been variously developed at Lincoln Center Theatre, Primary Stages, The Westport Country Playhouse, the Actors Studio (where she is Artistic Adviser to the Playwrights-Directors Workshop), among other theatres.


She is a native of Manhattan and a graduate of Swarthmore College.

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