Monday, August 5, 2019

Natalie Merchant to perform, be honored at annual John Lennon Tribute

Natalie Merchant. Photo by Jason Blickenstaff.

Announced today: 

Natalie Merchant To Be Honored at 39th Annual John Lennon Tribute. Artist to receive the 2019 “John Lennon Real Love Award” and play a set of her favorite John Lennon Classics December 6 at Symphony Space, NYC.  More Artists to be announced.

Tickets on sale Tuesday, August 6 at 1PM

August 6, 2019 (New York, NY) – Theatre Within, the grassroots non-profit behind the Annual John Lennon Tribute since 1981, will honor acclaimed alternative rock singer and songwriter Natalie Merchant as the sixth recipient of the “John Lennon Real Love Award” at its 39th Annual John Lennon Tribute –  Friday, December 6 at Symphony Space, NYC. Previous recipients of the prized award include Rosanne Cash, Patti Smith and Donovan. Tickets for Theatre Within’s 39th Annual John Lennon Tribute will go on sale Tuesday, August 6 at 1pm and will be available online anytime at or by telephone at the Symphony Space Box office at 212-864-5400, Tuesday - Sunday, 1pm - 6 pm. Plus, a limited number of VIP packages are available at

Ms. Merchant who will be appearing in the long-running charity concert for first time and will play a set of her favorite John Lennon and Beatles classics, said in a statement:

“John and Yoko’s activism had a profound impact upon me as a child. Through their ingenious war protests they challenged the entire world to reflect upon itself. In my estimation, ‘Imagine’ remains the most powerful three minutes and eight seconds of music ever recorded. It contains a vision of our highest aspirations in the most concise language and simple melody. John and Yoko realized that popular art and celebrity could be used to push society closer toward equity and compassion. I’ve tried to follow their example throughout my life, as an artist and citizen. It’s such an honor to be recognized for my work with the John Lennon Real Love award this year.”

With her beautiful songs, social activism, and support of charitable causes, Natalie Merchant has truly brightened our world and our hearts,” said Yoko Ono. “Natalie’s outspokenness on the environment, domestic violence, and special-needs children shines light on these vitally important issues. I am so happy that Theatre Within is honoring her with this year’s John Lennon Real Love Award.” 

Theatre Within Artistic Director and longtime Tribute producer, Joe Raiola added, “John Lennon combined music and social activism in a unique and remarkably positive way. Natalie Merchant is a great artist blazing a similar path with heart, caring and compassion, and she is very deserving of this honor.”

In addition to Ms. Merchant, the Tribute will feature performances by a diverse line-up of veteran and emerging artists to be announced. Recent performers include Jackson Browne Debbie Harry, Joan Osborne and the late Ben E. King. 

Proceeds from the Tribute will support Theatre Within’s ongoing free workshops – in songwriting, art, meditation and more – at Gilda’s Club NYC for those whose lives have been impacted by cancer. Workshops include the John Lennon Real Love Project, a visionary songwriting program for children who have lost a parent to cancer and adult cancer survivors.

Theatre Within, a 501(c)3 non-profit, relies on contributions from supporters to produce the annual Tribute. John Lennon and Beatles fans are invited to join “Friends of the Annual John Lennon Tribute” at

Theatre Within’s Annual John Lennon Tribute is produced in association with Music Without Borders. It is the only ongoing John Lennon Tribute concert in the world sanctioned by Yoko Ono.

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