MARCY HARRIELL x ETHAN IVERSON
Two years into her study of opera, acting, and dance at The Boston Conservatory, Harriell earned the role of Maria in the European tour of West Side Story. With her parents’ full support, she accepted the role and took her education onto the professional stage. It proved to be the right move, as the tour sparked a career that has continued to flourish and evolve over three decades. Under the masterful supervision of Jerome Robbins and Arthur Laurents, Marcy deepened the role of
Maria in the First World Tour of West Side Story. Continuing her evolution, she switched gears from coloratura soprano to the belting Mimi Marquez, marking her Broadway debut, starring in the rock musical Rent.
Over the years, Harriell’s ability to embrace diverse vocal styles, coupled with her unquestioned passion, has made her a unique standout in New York theatre. Jumping lithely among opera, rock, music theater, and R&B, the New York Post declared this “wildcat kitten” a “star in the making,” while The New York Times hailed her as a vocalist who “demolishes the furious torch song” with a “rafter rattling intensity.”
After starring opposite Lin Manuel Miranda in In The Heights, Manuel tapped her to record for Disney’s Moana. Along with her many Broadway, Off-Broadway, and concert appearances, she has also been seen on screens both big and small in numerous productions including Men In Black, Death Proof, Nurse Jackie, Ed, NCIS, Queens Supreme, Royal Pains, Manifest, Elementary, Beauty and the Beast, and Law & Order. Her newfound role as Jazz Singer is yet another evolution, one that has been a long time in the making. The daughter of a truck-driving trumpeter and a gardening visual artist, music was as mandatory as air in her family. If it wasn’t Prince, Stevie Wonder, or Led Zeppelin, then Ella, Nina, and Frank filled the house. She would often drill arias while jazz greats played in the background, delighting in the challenge of practicing against a contrasting backdrop. Marcy is thrilled to bring this backdrop to the forefront, with the phenomenal Ethan Iverson.
Throughout her career, she has had the privilege to work with and learn from numerous legends in the industry: Stephen Sondheim guided her performance of Marta in his musical Company at both Lincoln Center and The Kennedy Center. Athol Fugard directed her in the World Premiere of his play Sorrows and Rejoicings. And Quentin Tarantino wrote the role of “Marcy” for her in his grindhouse movie, Death Proof. Other amazing collaborators include Henry Kreiger, Paul Gemignani, Thomas Kail, Tim Robbins, Paul Simon, Edie Brickell, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Mandy Gonzalez, Robert Loggia, Judith Light, Terence Mann, Chuck Cooper, and most recently, Coach Bill Belichick. When she’s not onstage, Marcy is a couture designer and sewist, and stars in the hit series, Re:Fashion, in which she takes the audience on a wild and colorful ride, making custom garments for everyday life—and the spotlight. In fact, she’ll be wearing one of her handmade creations onstage tonight.
Pianist, composer, and writer Ethan Iverson doesn’t have the words “never” and “stop” in his vocabulary. He was a founding member of The Bad Plus, a game-changing collective with Reid Anderson and David King. The New York Times called TBP “…Better than anyone at melding the sensibilities of post-60’s jazz and indie rock.” During his 17-year tenure, TBP performed in venues as diverse as the Village Vanguard, Carnegie Hall, and Bonnaroo; collaborated with Joshua, Redman, Bill Frisell, and
the Mark Morris Dance Group; and created a faithful arrangement of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring and a radical reinvention of Ornette Coleman’s Science Fiction. But that wasn’t enough for the insatiable Iverson. He has also deepened his craft with many jazz greats.
NPR lauded him for making it “a point to play the classics with his musical elders.” He is a founding member of the critically-acclaimed Billy Hart quartet, has played with them for well over a decade, and is honored to record studio albums and regularly perform with elder statesmen like Albert “Tootie” Heath, Ron Carter, and the late Lee Konitz. In 2017, Iverson premiered the acclaimed score Pepperland for the Mark Morris Dance Group’s celebratory work of The Beatles “Sgt. Pepper at 50, ” a score dubbed by The Guardian “boldly idiosyncratic reinventions of the original songs…a gorgeously entertaining and witty homage to its source,” and with Aaron Greenwald, co-curated a major centennial celebration of Thelonious Monk at Duke University.
In spring 2018, Iverson premiered Concerto to Scale with the American Composers Orchestra, and in fall 2018 released Temporary Kings, a duo album with Mark Turner on ECM. In 2019, Iverson curated a celebration of Bud Powell at the Umbria Jazz Festival and a history of English jazz for the London Jazz Festival. His second ECM release, Common Practice, featured trumpet master Tom Harrell, and received a bevy of rave reviews at home and abroad, with The Wall Street Journal extolling Iverson’s signature touch on the tunes, which “simultaneously offers a heartfelt love letter to standards while spray-painting his own tag all over them.”
For over 15 years, Iverson’s website Do the Math has been hailed as an invaluable repository of musician-to-musician interviews and analysis, winning the Jazz Journalists Award multiple times, and surely one reason Time Out New York selected Iverson as one of 25 essential New York jazz icons: “Perhaps NYC’s most thoughtful and passionate student of jazz tradition—the most admirable
sort of artist-scholar.” Since 2016, Iverson has been studio faculty at the prestigious New England Conservatory, an activity that naturally aligns with his pedagogical work on Do the Math. It is an honor to pass on his insights to a younger generation of jazz minds. Other musicians Iverson has shared the stage with include Miranda Cuckson, David Williams, Victor Lewis, Houston Person, Ben Street, Wendy Lewis, Eric McPherson, Dayna Stephens, Thomas Morgan, Chris Potter, Joe Sanders, Melissa Aldana, Ravi Coltrane, Jorge Rossy, Josephine Bode, Dodo Kis, and Gerald Cleaver. His new project with star vocalist Marcy Harriell promises to be one of his most exciting collaborations yet!