American Songbook Today is celebrating songs with melodies and meaningful lyrics from the 20th and 21st centuries.
AST has its roots in two previous non-profits – The American Songbook Project in NYC (15 years) and the Telluride American Songbook Festival (three years), both of which were started by AST’s Founder and President Michael Estwanik. He is a graduate of St. Ignatius, attended Boston College, and lived in San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Manhattan, Telluride, and as of one year ago, back in Lakewood. The American Songbook Project in New York City brought Broadway, cabaret, and folk singers into New York City schools, from kindergartens in Harlem to students at Juilliard. In Telluride, he produced eleven concerts. He served on the Board of Directors of MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets) for seven years, five years as president. In that role he produced the annual MAC Awards Show at Town Hall which included performances by Liza Minnelli, Barbara Cook and Wally Harper, Maureen McGovern, Bobby Short, Marin Mazie, Barry Manilow,, Kathie Lee Gifford, and many more. He was involved as an investor in Urinetown, and as an Associate Producer of Charles Busch’s Swingtime Canteen, and Julie Halston’s A Lifetime of Comedy. He completed a 14-week, intensive workshop in Producing for the Commercial Theatre.
He has worked in 80 countries as a corporate event planner for McCann-Erickson, Google, Apple, Essilor Lenses, Guardian Life Insurance, and many other corporations. He planned and led exclusive JAUNTs (Journeys for All Us Nice Travelers) around the world. In each country, he took time to explore its unique cultural offerings. Recently he lived in Telluride, Colorado for three years where he skied and mountain climbed, lived in a tree house and a bunk house on a ranch built by Oscar-winner Oliver Stone. He presented such performers as Andrea McArdle (Broadway’s original Annie), the incomparable 90-year-old performer Marilyn Maye who also offered a Master Singing Class, Liz Callaway, Tony Award-winner Karen Ziemba, LA Drama Critics and Broadway star Jason Graae, Broadway stars Mary Michael Patterson (Christine in Phantom), Cary Tedder (Dick in Dames at Sea), Marissa Mulder, and Barbara Streisand (or a reasonable facsimile).
In October 2017, Michael moved back to his birth town of Lakewood to start American Songbook Today.