Broadway's John Bucchino explores the art of song at Millennium

Entertainment,Music,Marie Gullard

As part of Broadway Today and Tomorrow, the Kennedy Center is pleased to showcase an evening of new musical theater Saturday with Broadway and pop composer John Bucchino at the helm in a new role.

"Nothing gives me as much satisfaction, nothing makes me feel that I'm in alignment with my purpose on the planet, than teaching," said the composer. "I guess because I'm not doing it for me; I'm doing it for others, and that's often more rewarding than doing something for ego purposes."

To that end, Bucchino is teaching a master class in song interpretation to six area students, most from Catholic University. This is followed by a Saturday presentation, where he and the class will perform his songs before the public.

And these students will be in good company. Pop artists (Art Garfunkel and Judy Collins), theater performers (Liza Minnelli, Patti LuPone, Kristin Chenoweth, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Audra McDonald), and cabaret singers (Barbara Cook and Michael Feinstein) have performed and recorded Bucchino's music.

John Bucchino: Broadway Today and Tomorrow
Where: Kennedy Center, Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW
When: 6 p.m. Saturday
Info: Free; 202-467-4600; 800-444-1324;

"I see the class more as a coaching session," explained Bucchino, who has written more than 400 songs and composed the score for the DreamWorks Animation film "Joseph, King of Dreams" and the lyrics for "Simeon's Gift," a children's musical.

The students will have their sheet music -- all Bucchino originals -- and they will be critiqued during the class on their ability to get across the meaning of these songs while being able to connect with the audience. In performance, Bucchino will accompany them on piano, as well as singing a song or two, himself, one of which is his hit "Grateful," which Feinstein performed on an album of Bucchino songs.

"I hope the music touches [the audience] in some way; makes them think about something or brings up a memory in their life," said Bucchino.

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