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America In Concert

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Formed in 1970 in London, England by Dewey Bunnell, Dan Peek and Gerry Beckly, the trio met as sons of US Air Force personnel stationed in London where they began performing live, as America. Having achieved fame in the 70s, the trio was known for their close vocal harmonies and light acoustic folk rock sound.

In 1971 they released their self titled debut album, which included “A Horse With No Name” and “I Need You”. Their second album “Homecoming” included “Ventura Highway “. In 1975, America released “History America’s Greatest Hits”, which went certified multi-platinum in the US and Australia. After Peek left the band in 1977,they returned to the top 10 in 1982 with “You Can Do Magic”. The band was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2006 and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2012.
With a wide array of great songs, America played last Saturday night in the Seaside Beach Concert Series at the New Jersey shore. Opening with a brilliant acoustic rendition of “Tin Man”, the evening’ second song ” You Can Do Magic” was a uplifting, breezy version of this great song. With a brilliant young backing band, America was in synch all evening. America’s founder’s Beckly and Brunnell were very creative in bringing in new young blood to tour with them. With Richard Campbell on bass, Ryland Steen on drums and vocals and Steve Fekete on lead guitar and keyboards, the band gave us Folk, Rock and at times a Metal sound and all of it was impressive!
In “Driving” and ” Survival”, the band dug deep for a hard driving sound. An almost progressive “Greenhouse ” and ” Sandman” were highlights of the evening. The “Popish” “California Dreaming”, “Lonely People” and ” Sister Golden Hair” were all flawless in tempo and arrangements.
While I was disappointed with the uninspired version of “Ventura Highway”, the evenings closing song “A Horse With No Name” was the perfect end to what was an incredible musical experience.

Robert Massimi is the Chief Drama Critic for Metropolitan Magazine.Chief Drama Critic for Nimbus Magazine.Chief Drama Critic for My Life Publications.Member of The Dramatists Guild.Member of The National Arts Club.Former Member of the Board of Directors Metropolitan Playhouse.I Have produced 14 shows both on and off Broadway.A Graduate of Manhattan College. Alpha Sigma Lambda and Triple Major :English, Government and Psychology.

Cabaret

Autumn in New York, in April 

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Have you ever had an acquaintance that you knew for many years, and then one day you realize there’s so much more to this person, and before you know it, you can’t get enough of them?  If this is familiar, you’ll understand the kind of experience we all had at Chelsea Table + Stage Sunday night when Klea Blackhurst left us no choice but to fall in love with Vernon Duke.   

Klea took us on a journey exploring the life and music of this man, who was born Vladimir Dukelsky,  and operated under both names.  He wasn’t a spy, but one of those rare remarkable talents that could have one foot in Tin Pan Alley and the other in Carnegie Hall.  Klea reminded us of others in this category: Leonard Bernstein and Kurt Weill were two.  Even Cole Porter dabbled on the classical side, producing the ballet Within the Quota.  Dukelsky took charge of the classical side of this man, composing symphonies and concertos, and even a ballet for Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes.    

Life took a turn for Mr. Dukelsky when he met George Gershwin who told him to “not be scared about going low-brow—that’s where the money is!”.  Gershwin also encouraged him to change his name, and Vernon Duke was born!    

Klea delivered the standards Duke was known for: Taking a Chance on Love, Autumn in New York, April in Paris et al with her usual panache.  But then there were songs I had never heard before, like Not a Care in the World and Poor as a Church Mouse which had a charm that made one hope for more. 

With her characteristic warmth and enthusiasm, Klea peppered this lesson in Vernon Duke with tidbits that those of us who live for this music relish.  Did you know that Duke wrote April in Paris in ten minutes?  No show of Klea’s is complete without a mention of Ethel Merman.  In 1944, Ethel was to star in a new musical by Duke and Deitz entitled Sadie Thompson.  After a brief rehearsal period, Ethel quit over a dispute about the name of a lipstick!   

Finally, did you know that Mary Martin was asked by Rodgers and Hammerstein to be the original Laurey in Oklahoma!?   And after she turned it down, they sent her flowers on every anniversary of the opening.  For details, catch this show next time around.  Or ask Klea yourself—she’ll be back at Chelsea Table+ Stage on May 5 for her Jerry Herman show—One of the Girls.  But wait—there’s more!   On September 15 you can join her for Dreaming of a Song—a salute to Mr. Stardust himself, Hoagy Carmichael.  and on November 20 join in the fun with An Evening with Klea Blackhurst.    

For those unfamiliar with the Blackhurst magic, Klea’s love and enthusiasm for what she does is infectious, and no one leaves one of her performances without catching some of her fire.  If there was ever an antidote to the blues, it’s Klea Blackhurst. 

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The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

COUGAR HEAT — (Via Ultimate Classic Rock) John Mellencamp has a clear message to fans planning to attend his shows: behave or just stay home.The Rock & Roll Hall of Famer – known for such timeless tunes as “Hurts So Good” and “Jack & Diane” – recently hit the road for his 2024 Live and in Person tour. In a conversation with The Washington Post, Mellencamp detailed what he expects of his fans.

“I do expect etiquette inside of the theater, the same way you would at a Broadway show,” the rocker explained. “My shows are not really concerts anymore. They’re performances, and there’s a difference between a performance and a concert.”

To that end, Mellencamp demands a certain amount of decorum from his audiences.

“Look, I’m not for everyone anymore,” the singer admitted. “I’m just not. And if you want to come and scream and yell and get drunk, don’t come to my show.”

Mellencamp’s directive on manners comes after a series of notable outbursts. In March 2023, the singer told concertgoers to “keep your f—ing mouth shut,” during an acoustic portion of the show.

Last May, an audience member yelled “play the f—ing music” after Mellencamp offered criticism of the U.S.A.

”If these people don’t shut the f–k up I’m just going to leave, OK?” Mellencamp told the crowd. “Because I’m not used to this crap. Look, guys, if I wanted to play in this type of drunken environment, I’d play outside or I’d play in an arena.”

Then, last month, things reached another cantankerous height. At a show in Toledo, Ohio, Mellencamp became outraged at a heckler in the crowd who told him to “play some music.”

“What do you think I’ve been doing, you c–ksu–er?” the rocker responded. “Here’s the thing, man. You don’t know me. You don’t f—ing know me. Hey Joe, find this guy and let me see him after the show.”

Mellencamp later stormed off the stage, seemingly cutting the performance short. However he eventually returned to play a few more songs.

I am a fan of his music and his art, but I’ve negative stories about him for decades. Tommy Mottola used to manage him, then Randy Hoffman and there’s a long list of people who will NOT work for him. Great music though; from the heart.

Mottola in his memoir said Mellencamp was the type of person who if he won  million dollars, would fume why it wasn’t two-million! I know people like that!

“Human Wheels” is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard.

SHORT TAKES — Mixed reviews for The Outsiders on Broadway which opened last week in NYC. Angelina Jolie is one of the producers. It’s a great book by S.E. Hinton and even though Theatermania panned Coppola’s movie it stills stands as a classic. Check out their review: https://www.theatermania.com/news/review-the-outsiders-becomes-a-soggy-broadway-musical_1736986/Showbiz 411’s Roger Friedman interviewed Woody Allen for The Observer ten years ago. His just-out, new interview with Allen is a classic. Take a read: https://www.showbiz411.com/2024/04/17/exclusive-woody-allen-on-marriage-kids-his-great-films-influence-on-movie-making-writing-a-novel-epstein-and-not-retiring … If a new Woody-interview wasn’t enough, Tatiana Siegel in Variety touts the new films coming from ageless auteurs Spielberg; Scorsese; Scott; Coppola; and 93-year old Clint Eastwood. Breathtaking for sure. Take a read: https://variety.com/2024/film/news/martin-scorsese-frank-sinatra-biopic-dicaprio-jennifer-lawrence-1235973769/

Micky Dolenz and Alice Cooper at Coopstock -photo by Valerie La Rue

Micky Dolenz joined in with Alice Cooper for “School’s Out” at Coopstock last weekend in Arizona. Coopstock is Cooper’s annual charity event … Director Quentin Tarantino abruptly dropped plans for his last movie The Movie Critic; which was to star Brad Pitt  …

CBS, which inexplicably cut the Billy Joel at the Garden special 1/2-hour too early last weekend (and during Joel playing his signature “Piano Man” no less) gets a repeat tonight … And, remember the Sullivan Street Playhouse where The Fantasticks ran? Check this out: https://www.villagepreservation.org/2012/01/13/sullivan-street-playhouse-gone-but-not-forgotten/ … RIP Dickey Betts … Happy Bday Marc Eliot!
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Dan Zelinski; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; David Letterman; Robert Morton; Janice Zegers; Jane Rosenthal; Frankie Crocker; Deb Caponetta; Jimmy Fallon; Kelsey Ledbetter; Chuck Scarborough; Mark Bego; Kent and Laura Denmark; Bruce Haring; Greg Evans; David Kramer; Joe Malone; Charley Crespo; Jodi Ritzen; Tone Scott; Anthony Noto; and BELLA!
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The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

LET IT BE AGAIN — (Via SHOWBIZ 411) I told you yesterday the Beatles are releasing a restored version of “Let it Be,” the film, on Disney Plus. Peter Jackson, who made the “Get Back” series, did the work with his lab of mad scientists. “Let it Be” will begin streaming on May 8th.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg shot all the footage in 1969 and then made the final film. It played in theaters briefly, then disappeared. The rumor always was that Paul McCartney didn’t like the film. But when Jackson released “Get Back,” those reasons didn’t make sense.

Now the general public will see the film. (I saw it back in the day.) It should be exciting.

“Let It Be” contains footage not featured in the “Get Back” docuseries, bringing viewers into the studio and onto Apple Corps’ London rooftop in January 1969 as The Beatles, joined by Billy Preston, write and record their GRAMMY Award®-winning album Let It Be, with its Academy Award®-winning title song, and perform live for the final time as a group.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg

Michael Lindsay-Hogg says, “’How often do you get to see artists of this stature working together to make what they hear in their heads into songs. And then you get to the roof and you see their excitement, camaraderie and sheer joy in playing together again as a group” …“I was knocked out by what Peter was able to do with ‘Get Back,’ using all the footage I’d shot 50 years previously.”

“I’m absolutely thrilled that Michael’s movie, ‘Let It Be,’ has been restored and is finally being re-released after being unavailable for decades,” says Peter Jackson. “Over three parts, we showed Michael and The Beatles filming a groundbreaking new documentary, and ‘Let It Be’ is that documentary – the movie they released in 1970.”…“I now think of it all as one epic story, finally completed after five decades. The two projects support and enhance each other: ‘Let It Be’ is the climax of ‘Get Back,’ while ‘Get Back’ provides a vital missing context for ‘Let It Be.’

As much as I liked the Peter Jackson-version, the original still burns in my head. I well remember when it came out – with a greatphoto book I still have on my shelf. When all the chatter began about how much fun they really had come out; I sort of didn’t believe it. Face it, if the Fab Four didn’t like Hogg’s version back then … it never would have come out.

I think there was a backlash of sorts and that’s why the original is finally coming out again, though Jackson ‘s involvement is curious. The first time in 50 years no less!  If you want to see it unvarnished and how it really was … watch it.

DON IS BACK — (Via Deadline) Don Johnson is set to star opposite Joshua Jackson in Dr. Odyssey, a new ABC drama series from Ryan Murphy, which is targeting a fall launch. It hails from 20th Television in association with Ryan Murphy Television.

As is the case with any Ryan Murphy series, no details about the premise are being revealed. As the title suggests, Dr. Odyssey is believed to be a medical procedural. According to sources, it is set on a cruise ship.

Details about Johnson’s character are being kept under wraps.

Dr. Odyssey is written, and executive produced by Murphy, Jon Robin Baitz and Joe Baken. Paris Barclay is directing and executive producing. Eric Paquette, Alexis Martin Woodall, Eric Kovtun, Scott Robertson and Nissa Diederich also executive produce alongside Jackson.

Johnson is known for his roles as Det. Sonny Crockett on the classic 1980s NBC series Miami Vice and as the title character in the 1996 CBS series Nash Bridges, which he also reprised in the 2021 Nash Bridges movie for USA. Recent credits include the Emmy-winning HBO limited series Watchmen, Rian Johnson’s Knives Out and the Book Club feature franchise. He has coming up Book Club 2: The Next Chapter and Rebel Ridge.

Tokyo Vice

SHORT TAKES — Watched the second season of MAX’s Tokyo Vice-toplining Ansel Elgort; Ken Watanabe and Rachel Keller. Was a great run, though the ending seemed somewhat somber. Sure the bad-guy was offed, but it was his wife who did the most damage. Great show. Michael Mann is one of the Executive Producers and you can see his hands on everything … Felix Cavaliere and The Rascals at SONY Hall on May 17 …

(Via Deadline) Financier and producer Participant is shuttering after 20 years. Founder Jeff Skoll alerted staff at 10:30 a.m. PT on Tuesday, Deadline has confirmed. Sources say Skoll did an audit of the company and wanted to pivot from entertainment. We understand that most of the 100-person staff is being let go except for core employees who will settle out remaining productions and oversee outstanding commitments to the catalog. Participant’s m.o. was to bring content to the world that was socially conscious, read its Oscar Best Picture winners Spotlight from Open Road and Universal’s Green Book, as well as DreamWorks’ Oscar winner Lincoln. All in, Participant counts 135 films, five series, 21 Oscars — including the two Best Pictures, four Best Documentaries and two Best International Features — 18 Primetime Emmys and north of $3.3 billion in global box office

Pam Anderson joins Liam Neeson in a Naked Gun re-boot? Yes indeed …

Ripley

Steve Zaillian’s Ripley on Netflix is a staggeringly spellbinding take on Ripley; the novel by Patricia Highsmith. Not quite the often comedic-romp that was Matt Damon’s take, but rather a very stylish re-construction. Michael Scott as Ripley is pretty awesome and shot in black-and-white, the images are stunning. After the first few episodes that meandered a bit, I’m definitely into it. Very much recommended.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — John Boulos; Manny’s; Al Roker; Roger Friedman; Roy Trakin; Alec Baldwin; Ken Sharp; Surf Ballroom; My Father’s Place; Eppy; Chuck Pulin; Joel Diamond; Billy Amato; Ray Free; Al Teller; Joel Diamond; Robey; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Glenn Friscia; and SADIE!

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The Glorious Corner

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Kjersti Long (David Kaptein)

G.H. Harding

GO LONG —- We’ve spoken before of 17-year-old Kjersti Long – on Origin Entertainment/ModSquad (ADA) Records. Her latest single “Sad Song” has become a digital-hit and a new album (her second) is in the works.

She’ll also be in NYC for June’s Tribeca Festival and a prominent agency is stepping up to rep her and her play Relative Space is prepping for an opening in the West End.

Said NEW HD’s Zach Martin: “Kjersti Long, at just 17, stands as a beacon of talent and ambition in the music industry. Her journey from a prodigious debut at the tender age of 11 with the album “Stronger Than You Think I Am” on Broadway Records to becoming a significant influencer on platforms like Instagram and TikTok, Kjersti’s career trajectory is nothing short of remarkable​​. Her engagement with her fans and the music community through platforms like Instagram and TikTok, where she has garnered over 50 million views and more than 160,000 new followers, underscores her magnetic appeal and the resonant connection she forges through her music​​.”

She also has a song on the new Vanessa Williams album, “Legs.” Williams’ official video will be out April 26, but here’s an update on her from LifeMinute TV:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eD-Okb_T8CM

www.kjerstilong.com


RASCAL-ING AROUND —
(Via Forgotten Hits) Look for a new Rascals box set coming out May 31st.

The 7-disc set encompasses their entire recorded output with Atlantic Records, 1965 – 1971, including mono and stereo copies of their albums, special singles mixes and some previously unreleased tracks.  (I remember shelling out big bucks for an earlier CD edition of this set … but I’ve gotta tell you, this one has got the COOLEST looking cover!!!).

“The Rascals:  It’s Wonderful: The Complete Atlantic Studio Recordings features 152 remastered songs, including 14 previously unreleased tracks. The first four albums are presented in both stereo and mono, along with significant single edits and foreign language versions. The collection includes a 60-page booklet with detailed notes and rare illustrations from The Rascals archives.

Amazon’s got it for $69.99 (I paid 2 ½ times that much way back when for the original!) so pre-order now.  This is quite the collection!

Interesting that this box set is from the UK-based Cherry Red Records. Founded by Iain McNay in 1978, Cherry Red Records has continued to uphold the same fiercely independent values since day one. Check them out here: https://www.cherryred.co.uk/about

And don’t forget about Felix Cavaliere and Gene Cornish and The Rascals at SONY Hall on May 17.

https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Atlantic-Recordings-Rascals/dp/B0CZ3NHLGG?crid=3S8UG8TZCIC3M&dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.fcz-QxVsrVNGCoS-EbSPkg.htVhtZLFLUN8n9NrR1H-6rJi5fsjLvQexjIPS6c2Ges&dib_tag=se&keywords=B0CZ3NHLGG&qid=1712320481&s=music&

Micky Dolenz at Troubadour (Stevo Rood)

SHORT TAKES — Check out Tone Scott’s review of Micky Dolenz at LA’s Troubadour in Goldmine: https://www.goldminemag.com/columns/micky-dolenz-songs-and-stories-raises-the-roof-off-the-troubadour-all-for-make-a-wish#gid=ci02dac725a00025c5&pid=thumbnail-3

RIP Eleanor Coppola, wife of Francis Ford Coppola at 87. Years ago, I was at a screening of Roman Coppola’s A Glimpse Inside the Mind Of Charles Swan with Charlie Sheen. I loved the movie and at a post-screening event, I met Francis Ford Coppola, who could not have been more approachable.

He invited me to sit at his table with his wife Eleanor. Both were terrific. She’ll be much-missed by the film community as well. From Deadline: https://deadline.com/2024/04/eleanor-coppola-dead-hearts-of-darkness-francis-coppola-wife-1235883537/Happy Bday Brit Brashear.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Melinda Newman; Barry Fisch; Toby Rasmussen; Roy Trakin; Joel Diamond; Fred Armisen; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Richie Kaczor; Jim Burgess; Tom Scott; Steve Walter; Dan Zelinski; Herb Alpert; Hubert Laws; Eppy; Craig Newman; Jane Blunkell; John Billings; Lora Evans; Andrew Sandoval; Chris Carter; Wen Fernandez; and ZIGGY!

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Music News: Stereophonic, Aaron Tveit, Abby Mueller, Cheyenne Jackson, Lempicka, Reeve Carney, Rodgers & Hammerstein and The New Belters

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After starting previews to an extraordinary standing ovation this week, the season’s most critically acclaimed new play, Stereophonic, has dropped a brand-new music video of the hit song in the show, “Masquerade”, written by Academy Award® nominee and Grammy Award® winner Will Butler.

Direct from its smash hit world premiere engagement at Playwrights Horizons, David Adjmi’s Stereophonic is directed by Daniel Aukin and features songs by Will Butler, formerly of Arcade Fire. The highly anticipated Broadway production is currently in performances at the Golden Theatre (252 W 45th St) for 14 weeks only, and will officially open on Friday, April 19.

The music video was creative directed by Cameron Sczempka (Polymoth Productions). Director of Photographer was Hil Steadman.

Aaron Tveit

After incredibly high demand for his initial announcement, Broadway sensation Aaron Tveit, has extended his debut residency at Café Carlyle. Tveit’s captivating performances, characterized by his impeccable vocal talent and magnetic stage presence, have garnered widespread acclaim. With this extension, audiences will have another opportunity to experience the magic of Tveit’s musical artistry in the intimate setting of Café Carlyle, promising an unforgettable evening. The event will take place June 11 – 29, 2024 (previously June 18 – 29) at Café Carlyle in The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel (35 East 76th Street, at Madison Avenue).

54 Below, Broadway’s Supper Club, presents Abby Mueller on April 26-27, 2024 at 7pm. The performance on April 27 will also be streamed live. After her celebrated reign in Six, Abby Mueller (Broadway’s original Jane Seymour) makes her 54 Below and NYC solo concert debut! Previously seen on Broadway in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and Kinky Boots, this Drama Desk Award winner and Grammy nominee invites you on a musical journey from Carole to Adele, pop to American Songbook classics, and beyond.

She will be reunited with her OG Six “Ladies in Waiting” Kimi Hayes (guitar), Michelle Osbourne (bass) and Elena Bonomo (drums), led by Music Director Sharon Kenny. Special musical guests include Nasia Thomas (Caroline, or Change, Ain’t Too Proud), Yasmeen Sulieman (Shucked, Paradise Square), and Paris Nix (Hamilton, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical)

Cheyenne Jackson

54 Below, Broadway’s Supper Club and 2022 Tony Awards® Honoree for Excellence in the Theatre, is thrilled to welcome back star of stage and screen Cheyenne Jackson on September 23-29 at 8pm. Each night will feature a Broadway VIP, with Tony Award® winner Matt Doyle on September 23, Cheyenne’s Once Upon A Mattress co-star Nikki Renée Daniels on September 24, Tony Award® winner J. Harrison Ghee on September 25, Company star Claybourne Elder on September 27, Tony Award® winner and Emmy nominee Jane Krakowski on September 28, and Wicked star Jessica Vosk on September 29. The special guest on September 26 will be announced at a later date. Tickets can be purchased at 54below.org/CheyenneJackson. Mr. Jackson’s shows are scheduled at 8pm instead of the usual 7pm and will be the only show of the night to allow for an extended dinner hour and enhanced patron experience. Following the show, the bar will remain open for patrons who wish to linger and continue to enjoy the evening.

Sony Masterworks Broadway, Seaview, and Jenny Niederhoffer announce the forthcoming Original Broadway Cast Recording of Lempicka, the sweeping new musical with leading lady Eden Espinosa, celebrating the gripping true story of renowned artist Tamara de Lempicka.  With music and lyrics by Matt Gould and Carson Kreitzer, the digital album arrives May 29, 2024 with the physical CD release set for July 5, and available for preorder now.

The album news follows the release of three tracks “Woman Is,” performed by Eden Espinosa; “Perfection,” with vocals by George Abud; and “Stay” performed by Amber Iman from Lempicka – the Musical (2022 Sessions) – listen here.

The creative team consists of Tony Award winner Rachel Chavkin (director), Carson Kreitzer (book, lyrics, and original concept), Matt Gould (book and music), and Raja Feather Kelly (choreography).

Spanning decades of political and personal turmoil and told through a thrilling, pop-infused score, Lempicka boldly explores the contradictions of a world in crisis, a woman ahead of her era, and an artist whose time has finally come.

The cast of Lempicka is led by leading lady, Eden Espinosa as Tamara de Lempicka, with Amber Iman as Rafaela, Andrew Samonsky as Tadeusz Lempicki, George Abud as Marinetti, Natalie Joy Johnson as Suzy Solidor, Zoe Glick as Kizette, Nathaniel Stampley as the Baron, and Beth Leavel as the Baroness with Mariand Torres, Alex Aquilino, Lauren Blackman, Stephen Brower, Kyle Brown, Holli’ Conway, Abby Matsusaka, Jimin Moon, Khori Michelle Petinaud, Ximone Rose, Nicholas Ward, Veronica Fiaoni, Mary Page Nance, Julio Rey, and Michael Milkanin rounding out the company.

Tickets are now on sale at telecharge.com.

Screenshot

The Green Room 42 – the intimate concert venue dubbed Broadway’s “off-night hotspot” by The New York Times – will present a special two-part evening with Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and actor Reeve Carney, paying tribute to one of his greatest musical influences in “Reeve Carney Sings The Beatles,” on Monday, May 13 at 7:00 PM and 9:30 PM. Performing two completely different sets, Carney will cover era-defining selections ranging from 1963’s “Twist and Shout” to 1970’s “Let It Be,” and everything in between. The recent star of Broadway’s Hadestown, Carney co-starred in Ridley Scott’s hit film House of Gucci, opposite Al Pacino, Lady Gaga, and Adam Driver.

“I love a good challenge,” says Reeve. “And what greater challenge, musically speaking, than to do my best to tackle one of my greatest influences? I grew up on the Beatles. They have always been my parents’ favorite band, and quickly became mine through wearing out cassette tapes from Please Please Me all the way to Let It Be on long car rides. They have served as a seemingly endless source of inspiration for me as a songwriter, as well as a recording engineer. While producing my solo album, Youth Is Wasted, I drew constantly upon them through obsessive auditory deep dive explorations of all of their astonishing records. I also immersed myself in books by both George Martin and Geoff Emerick, both of whom were at the helm of capturing The Beatles’ music. Their unparalleled prolificacy in the modern recorded music world has served as an inspiration to many of my other prominent influences. So it felt only natural for me to pay tribute to them in the way I have done with some of my other inspirations. When I sat down to put this set together, I quickly realized it would be a nearly impossible task to select only 10 or even 15 of my absolute favorites. So I am excited to present this as a two-part evening.”

Concord Theatricals Recordings announced that the 42-track live recording of My Favorite Things: The Rodgers & Hammerstein 80th Anniversary Concert will be released on double CD and digital platforms worldwide on Friday, May 31. The star-studded new album is now available to preorder on CD HERE.

Celebrating the historic partnership of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, the album features iconic songs from The Sound of Music, South Pacific, Oklahoma! and more, recorded live by stars of the stage and screen at the landmark December 2023 event in London.

In tandem with the album release, a condensed version of the filmed concert will premiere on PBS as a part of their “Great Performances” programming on May 31. Learn more HERE.

The concert was headlined by recent R&H leading lady Joanna Ampil (Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific); two-time Olivier Award®  winner Michael Ball; television, film and stage actor Daniel Dae Kim; four-time Olivier Award®  winner Maria Friedman; Emmy®, two-time GRAMMY®  and six-time Tony Award®  winner Audra McDonald; Olivier Award®  nominee Julian Ovenden; West End sensation Lucy St. Louis; Tony Award®  winner Aaron Tveit; two-time Olivier Award®  nominee Marisha Wallace; and two-time Tony®, two-time Golden Globe®  and Emmy Award®  nominee Patrick Wilson. Also featured are Anna-Jane Casey, Lily Kerhoas, Jonny Labey, and Jordan Shaw, among others.

The performance featured the 40-piece Rodgers & Hammerstein Concert Orchestra, conducted by music supervisor Simon Lee, with stage direction by Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Christopher Gattelli and associate choreography by Simon Hardwick.

54 Below, Broadway’s Supper Club, presents Seth Sikes and Nicolas King in The New Belters Sing MGM on Monday, April 22 at 7:00 PM. Acclaimed jazz pianist Billy Stritch will music direct the evening, a brand-new show celebrating music from the golden age of MGM. This vast and iconic catalog includes songs from the films Singin’ in the Rain, The Band Wagon, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Wizard of Oz, and many more. Under the musical baton of Stritch, Sikes and King will deliver a powerhouse performance that promises to capture the glitter and magic of the golden age of Hollywood, and bring it into the next generation.

The swinging American Songbook is the specialty of these performers, and the duo has been touring the country with their debut show, The New Belters.

Seth Sikes is one of New York’s popular young nightclub entertainers and a regular at 54 Below. His critically acclaimed tributes to Judy Garland (which have won two BroadwayWorld Awards), Liza Minnelli, Barbra Streisand and others are a consistent draw for audiences. Sikes was also Associate Director on the multiple Tony Award-winning musical The Band’s Visit and many other productions. During the pandemic he made numerous musical video parodies set on Fire Island that were widely viewed.

Nicolas King is an award-winning artist who’s been belting out tunes since he was 4-years-old, having been seen in dozens of TV commercials, and numerous times on Broadway opposite Tom Selleck, Carol Burnett, Linda Lavin and Andrea McArdle. King was the longest running Chip in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. He toured the country as Liza Minnelli’s opening act, and has performed on stages all over the world from Carnegie Hall to “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

The New Belters Sing MGM plays 54 Below (254 West 54th Street) on Monday, April 22 at 7:00 PM.

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