Duncan Sheik

The fact that Duncan Sheik brought home an armful of honors at the recent Tony Awards — thanks to his sensational smash-hit musical Spring Awakening — may have led some unaware observers to believe that he has always been a Broadway bard. In fact, Sheik started his career as a slightly askew singer/songwriter, and while his recent stage success might have sidetracked him temporarily, a pair of new anthologies and a live DVD will attest to his credentials as a pop figure. In fact, his first album, the eponymous Duncan Sheik, yielded a modest chart hit in "Barely Breathing" and a Grammy nomination. His third effort, Phantom Moon, affirmed his flair for drama with its orchestral flourishes and contributions from poet Steve Sater, with whom he'd later partner on Spring Awakening. On Daylight, the set that followed, he continued his flirtation with over-the-top arrangements, adding an experimental edge that's easily as daring as anything Rufus Wainwright has offered lately. 2006's White Limousine continued that sonic trajectory through a stunning meld of mood and melody that drove home his artistic ambitions. Having proved himself an overachiever, his upcoming concert should provide another vivid example of how Sheik can shake things up.

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Lee Zimmerman