Kitt Moran Delivers ‘Intimate Portrait’ of Johnny Mercer
Port Charlotte, Fla., Feb. 23, 2020 – Celebrated as a brilliant jazz vocalist and artist, Kitt Moran presents “Johnny Mercer: An Intimate Portrait,” with husband Mike Moran’s quintet, on Thursday, March 5, at the Charlotte Performing Arts Center in Punta Gorda. The one-night-only show starts at 7:30 p.m.
To anyone familiar with popular music over the past 70 years, Johnny Mercer needs no introduction. A lyricist and composer, he wrote and performed many of the most popular hits of his time, including “Moon River,” “Days of Wine and Roses,” “Autumn Leaves,” “That Old Black Magic,” “Satin Doll” and more. He wrote the lyrics to more than 1,500 songs, including compositions for movies and Broadway shows. He received 19 Oscar nominations and won four Best Original Song Oscars.
Mercer’s songs all tell a story, and Moran likewise will offer reflections from his life and career as she introduces her interpretations of the 19 or so Mercer songs on her March 5 setlist.
“There’s a story behind every song,” she said, adding that some of those stories concern Mercer’s 30-year love affair with the great Judy Garland.
“She was his muse,” said Moran, noting that Garland inspired Mercer to abandon the slick pop tunes that made him a star and produce some of the most profound and emotional songs of all time, which made him a legend. When the famous composer Dick Hyman gave a song to Moran, “Happy Ever After,” it was Mercer who supplied the lyrics.
Moran, who performs locally on Mondays at the Allegro Bistro in Venice, is unique among jazz singers. She has recorded with Rosemary Clooney and numerous other jazz greats and has sung with Michel Legrand, Burt Bacharach, Merv Griffin, Vic Damone, and others.
“A singer who shows imagination and taste in selecting her songs is already ahead of the game,” wrote the New York Times. “When she has the vocal warmth and clear-eyed, hoydenish beauty of Kitt Moran, she is even farther ahead.”
Moran is also a playwright and award-winning artist. One of her paintings was selected for the 12th National Biennial Art Exhibition, a juried art show held on Feb. 13 at the Visual Arts Center in Punta Gorda. “Chick Soup,” a musical Moran co-wrote with Janina Serden Sebesky, was presented by Charlotte Players in 2018.
In “Johnny Mercer: An Intimate Portrait,” Moran is joined on stage by her husband, pianist Mike Moran, who makes up the Moran Quintet with bassist Dominic Mancini, drummer Dane Hassan, guitarist Tony Boffa, and percussionist Moe Pereira.
Preferred seating tickets are $34 for adults and $17 for students, with regular seats priced at $29 for adults and $15 for students. Tickets are available at the Players website, Kitt Moran Event, or by calling 941-255-1022 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Charlotte Performing Arts Center is located on the campus of Charlotte High School at 701 Carmalita Street, Punta Gorda.