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, her Classic American Songbook Series at Feinstein's/54 Below supper club launched in March, 2018 to rave reviews and her musical revue New York Big City Songbook (which the New York Times called "A triumph") has become a monthly highlight at Birdland Theater. She recently completed a nine-season run as 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, while collaborating with the top creative and performing talent from Broadway, jazz and cabaret. 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 recently created the centerpiece musical entertainment for 2019's famed Diner en Blanc in NYC, for an outdoor audience of more than 5,000. Her show, Baby, Dream Your Dream celebrates the great women writers of the American Songbook, and that and other shows continue to be booked into venues in New York and regionally. She has written and created musical shows across the spectrum of subject and material, from dogs, to magic, to Shakespeare, to classic American Songbook greats like the Gershwins, Rodgers and Hart and Jerome Kern. She has worked with venues including Birdland Theater, NJPAC and the Schimmel Center at Pace U. Projects with Jazz at Lincoln Center include collaborating with Kennedy Center honoree Carmen de Lavallade creating her show, Life of a Legend and with Wynton Marsalis on the 2019 gala; as well as scripting the concert celebrating Brooks Brothers 200th anniversary. Working with the top tier artists from Broadway and music, she creates special presentations for corporate and private events.
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 Lark and the Actors Studio (where she is Artistic Adviser to the Playwrights-Directors Workshop), among other theatres.
Among the favorite gala shows she has written for venues like New York City Center and Town Hall are Fans!: the Sally Rand Centennial Celebration, and Gotta Dance: A Dance Tribute to Hollywood, during which she wrote for, among many, Cyd Charisse, Esther Williams and Mary Tyler Moore.
She is a native of Manhattan and a graduate of Swarthmore College.