A Glorious Christmas With Norm Lewis
Norm Lewis’ Nutcracker Cool at Feinstein’s/ 54 Below is the perfect way to start your holiday. Starting out hisfor his 4th consecutive year in a rainbow tutu Lewis, entered from the bar to the tune of the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from The Nutcracker Suite by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Once on stage he gave us a heartfelt “Toyland” by Glen MacDonough and Victor Herbert.
Getting deep, down and sexy Norm brought the classic Johnny Moore and Lou Baxter’s soulful “Merry Christmas, Baby!” to a new level of cool. On bass George Farmer really hit some blue notes.
Tony nominee Lewis, has just released The Norm Lewis Christmas Album. Lewis’s album has amazing arrangements by his musical director/ piano player the fabulous Joseph Joubert, especially on track 6, “The Little Drummer Boy.” Norm’s accomplished drummer Perry Cavari was highlighted.
Showing his Christmas spirit Norm gifted three of the audience members with gifts, including a personally signed copy of his new album.
Norm stared in the Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens musical Once On This Island as Papa Ge on Broadway. In Nutcracker Cool Lewis took on Ti Moune’s song “Waiting for Life” and made it his own.
“Ave Maria” by Franz Schubert blended seamlessly into the classic “O, Holy Night” by Adolphe Charles Adam and John Sullivan Dwight and left the audience feeling rapturous.
Norm is joined each performance by a special guests. Our guest was the brilliant Melonie Daniels-Walker who joined Norm on a bluesy “O’ Come All Ye Faithful”. Melonie then sang a mesmerizing “What Child Is This.” To see these video’s hop back to our Christmas songfest tomorrow because we were so impressed they joined our list.
Next up were “The Gift of Love” by Teese Gohl, Elliot Kennedy and Bryan Adams and a fabulous rendition of “Home” from “The Wiz”. Most people think that Charlie Smith wrote that but the fact is Larry Kushner did and sold his rights.
Not afraid to take on a classic Streisand’s “People” from Funny Girl, became an intense emotional moment.
But my favorite moment was the introduction of the hauntingly timely song “Be Aware” by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Although sung by Dionne Warwick, Streisand and Marcus Simone, this was the first time I heard this piece the should touch everybody’s heart. This is the video at the top.
Backed by Broadway’s Darius de Haas, Mykal Kilgore & Destan Owens and on track Lewis’s single from his album” Why Couldn’t It Be Christmas Every Day” by Walter Afanasieff and Jay Landers closed this seasonal event with a disco party atmosphere.
I brought a friend who is really picky on singers and cabaret. He was so impressed, he stood on line to have his picture taken, as I got dragged into it.
Do not miss Norm Lewis’s ultra fun Christmas Party fabulously directed by Richard Jay-Alexander or forget to add The Norm Lewis Christmas Album, to your list.
Norm Lewis’ Nutcracker Cool: Feinstein’s / 54 Below, 254 West 54th St., December 17th-22ndat 7:00 p.m.
Cabaret, Talks and Concerts For June
The summer nights bring excitement to the clubs and cabarets. Here are picks for June.
92 Street Y: 1395 Lexington Ave. 6/1: Music Icons: Graham Nash in Conversation with Anthony DeCurtis; 6/2 and 4: California Dreamin’: Jessica Vosk Sings the Songwriters of Laurel Canyon; 6/12: A New York Evening Celebrating Peggy Lee and 6/16: Focus Features’ Asteroid City: Bryan Cranston in Conversation with MTV’s Josh Horowitz.
Birdland Jazz: 315 West 44 St. Every Monday at 9:30pm Jim Caruso’s Cast Party; Every Tuesday at 8:30pm The Lineup with Susie Mosher; Every Saturday at 7pm Eric Comstock with Sean Smith (Bass) & special guest Barbara Fasano (Voice); 6/5, 12 and 26: Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks in the Theater;Billy Stritch & Gabrielle Stravelli “Mel and Ella Swing!”; 6/6 – 10: Stacey Kent; 6/8: Phillip Officer: “Second Time Around” in the Theater; 6/12: The Brat Pack and 6/19: Natalie Douglas: “Freedom Songs: Juneteenth Jubilee”
Cafe Carlyle: 35 E 76th St. until 6-10: Sutton Foster; 6/13 – 17: Mira Sorvino and 6/20 – 24 Megan Hilty.
Carnegie Hall: 881 7th Ave at 57th St.
Chelsea Table + Stage: Hilton Fashion District Hotel, 152 W 26th St. 6/4: Reeve Carney; 6/7: Nicolas King; 6/26: Samantha Pauly and 6/27: Marieann Meringolo.
Don’t Tell Mama: 343 W. 46 St. 6/3: Tim Di Pasqua and 6/16: Tanya Moberly
Dizzys Club Coca Cola: Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th Street. 6/11: Songbook Sundays Fats Waller
The DJango: 2 Avenue of the Americas. 6/9: Jason Tiemann Quartet
54 Below: 254 West 54 St. 6/1 -4: Clint Holmes: Between the Moon and New York City- The Songs of Peter Allen, feat. Nikki Renée Daniels!; 6/5: Charles Strouse’s 95th Birthday Show! Feat. Stephen Schwartz & more; 6/6: Hands on a Hardbody 10th Anniversary Reunion Concert; 6/8 and 10: Jenn Colella: Out and Proud; 6/12, 14 – 17: Joe Iconis & Family, feat. Lauren Marcus & more!; 6/13:Jeff Harnar & Alex Rybeck: Our 40th Anniversary Songbook; 6/21 – 25: Shaun Cassidy: The Magic of a Midnight Skyand 6/29 – 7/1: Amber Gray
Sony Hall: 235 W. 46th St. 6/9: The Manhattan Transfer 50th Anniversary & Final World Tour w/ Special Guest The Diva Jazz Orchestra; 6/23 and 24: Sergio Mendes and 6/26: Broadway Sings Lady Gaga
The Town Hall: 123 West 43rd Street. 6/3: Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers; 6/6: PAGEBOY with Elliot Page and 6/12: Irish Repertory Theatre Gala 2023 | All My Loving The Lyrics Of Paul McCartney
Broadway’s Samantha Pauly and Reeve Carney Come To Chelsea Table and Stage
On May 29th catch Samantha Pauly for Memorial Day. Best known for originating the role of Katherine Howard in Broadway’s smash hit SIX the Musical, and her captivating performance as Eva Peron in Jamie Lloyd’s critically acclaimed revival of Evita on London’s West End, Samantha Pauly has carefully crafted an evening that reflects the last few years of her life. Join this Grammy nominee and Drama Desk Award winner as she revisits some career highlights, Broadway classics, pop/rock favorites, and all the fun stuff in between.
Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and actor Reeve Carneyreturns to Chelsea Table + Stage June 4th to perform a night of music honoring the artistry of the legendary rock n’ roll supergroup Led Zeppelin. Carney is best known for his portrayal of Dorian Grayin on Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, Riff Raff in Fox’s Rocky Horror Picture Show Reimagining, as well as originating the role of Peter Parker in Julie Taymor/U2’s Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark. He is currently starring in the Broadway blockbuster, Hadestown. Reeve Carney delivers a one-man-show cabaret that feels more like an invitation-only after-party than a traditional concert performance. Don’t miss this special performance from one of Broadway’s leading actors!
My View: It’s Richard Jay-Alexander’s Birthday!
If there’s anyone who deserves to be featured in TIMES SQUARE CHRONICLES, on this particular day, May 24, it would be this guy, Richard Jay-Alexander. Born in 1953, today he turns 70 years old, here in New York City. He has walked these city streets more than most, as he pursued and has enjoyed a 49 year career, working on Broadway, in most theaters, clubs and majestic musical institutions, such as Carnegie Hall and The MET. He’s touched many, many lives and has a passion for this business that continues to burn and just this past Sunday, he helmed a thrilling evening, celebrating BroadwayWorld.com‘s 20th Anniversary, at midtown’s historic Sony Hall. On the eve of his birthday, he attended his favorite Tuesday night happening, Susie Mosher’s The LINEUP at Birdland Theatre, and treated the audience to a couple stories, observations on this important birthday and then, with Billy Stritch at the piano, John Miller on Bass and Clint De Canon on drums, performed a moving and heartfelt (THEY LONG TO BE) CLOSE TO YOU by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Richard clearly has a gift and a passion for the stage and for music and we are all the better for it, on the receiving end.
Happy Birthday, Young Man! Here’s to many more.
My View: A Glamorous Celebrity Filled Night With Lorna Dallas at The Laurie Beechman Theatre
It was a celebrity filled audience last night and the glamor of Manhattan Cabaret nightlife was in abundance for Lorna Dallas and her show at the Laurie Beechman Theatre titled “Glamorous Nights and Rainy Days
Ms. Dallas returned to New York City with a wonderful new show. This was Ms. Dallas’ first appearance in this town since she performed at the Bistro awards prior to the lockdown of 2020. The three years respite has done nothing to dim the luster of Ms Dallas’ exceptional instrument. She stayed in fine voice all evening long. But she is more than just an excellent vocalist. She is also a compelling actress. Her show, skillfully crafted by director Barry Kleinbort, and sensitively accompanied by one of this city’s best musical directors, Christopher Denny, was a joy from start to finish. The star studded audience at the Laurie Beechman theater responded heartily to every one of Lorna’s numbers. Evening high points ran the gamut, from standards like “I Have Dreamed,” to “When the Sun Comes Out;” from an hilarious “By Strauss” by the Gershwin’s to a dramatic “Silent Spring” by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg. She also premiered a new song written especially for her by Ann Hampton Callaway and Amanda McBroom, “In My Dreams,” which wowed the savvy New York crowd. Hopefully, Lorna Dallas will return to these shores on a more regular basis. Three years is too long a wait for this powerful soprano’s next appearance..
My View: David Yazbek and Norbert Leo Butz at 54 Below
Tony, Grammy, and Emmy award winning composer/writer/musician David Yazbek and his band were on the stage of 54 Below last night playing some of his new songs from an upcoming album. They also played some great music from the Yazbek songbook and from his Broadway musicals.
In addition to being an award winning composer and lyricist David Yazbek is a formidable pianist possessing a fearless technique generating an extraordinary combination of intoxicating melodious dissonance. . A highlight of the evening for me was when he displayed his unique harmonic and rhythmic pianistic concepts on the Great American Songbook Standard “Over The Rainbow”. Norbert Leo Butz also starred in the the 54 evening titled “David Yazbek and The Bludgeoneers” and he brought the house to it’s feet with the “Dirty Rotten Medley”
The Band: Javier Diaz (Percussion), Tony Orbach (Sax), Sam Sadigursky (Clarinet), Dean Sharenow (Drums), Chris Tordini (Bass), Paul Vercesi (Sax)
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