Classical 91.5

Michael Lasser

Fascinatin' Rhythm Host

Michael Lasser grew up just across the Hudson in New Jersey at a time when Broadway was still Broadway, and kids, parents, and grandparents could all sing the same songs. He is a broadcaster, writer, lecturer, writer, critic, and teacher. He is also the author of America’s Songs II: From the 1890s to the Post-War Years (2013), a companion volume to his and Philip Furia’s America’s Songs: The Stories Behind the Songs of Broadway, Hollywood, and Tin Pan Alley (2006). A graduate of Dartmouth College, he is the former theater critic for The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, and appears often at museums, universities, and performing arts centers around the country. In 1994, Fascinatin’ Rhythm won a prestigious George Foster Peabody Award, and, in 2010, he was named a Thomas P. Johnson Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Rollins College. He recently completed his third book, City Songs: The American Popular Song, 1900-1950.

Ways to Connect

I got a call one day from Jeanie Williams, a features editor at the now long-defunct Rochester Times-Union. She had heard my review of a revue—Irving Berlin’s songs performed at the old Downstairs Cabaret located in a restaurant’s basement at the corner of Andrews and St Paul. She’d been unable to send someone to cover it and asked if the paper could run what I’d read on the radio the morning after the show opened.