Donnie Kehr and the core band (Gary Bristol, Gary Seligson, Hidayat Honari, John Putnam and Jay Leslie) of Monday’s Rockers On Broadway were in full swing mode Saturday night during a somewhat rain-soaked evening as part of the Prudential/Playbill-sponsored Curtain Up in Times Square.
Kehr opened the show with his song “NYC Strong” which will appear on his forthcoming solo album Beautiful Strange. Things kicked into high gear when N’Kenge (Motown, The Musical) performed a smoldering version of “Proud Mary.” Attired in a glittery gown, suffice to say, her energy definitely equaled Tina Turner’s on her original version.
Jen Perry then performed a wonderful version of the Kris Kristofferson classic “Bobby McGee” while Kehr and fellow-original Jersey Boys-cast mate Michael Longoria performed a terrific “Oh What A Night.” Longoria followed with a spirited version of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” while Kehr next performed an excitable version of “Pinball Wizard,” from The Who’s Tommy that Kehr performed in.
It’s worth noting that while in Tommy, Kehr and Who-mastermind Pete Townshend devised the Rockers On Brodway concept which had Broadway performers attend on their night off and rock out.
Monday’s event, their 29th, will be honoring songstress Diane Warren who will be receiving her first Oscar in next month’s broadcast. The event is formally titled Rockers On Broadway: She Rocks.
Jen Perry returned to the stage to perform a fiery version of the Katrina and the Waves “Walking On Sunshine.”
Rob Evan, N’Kenge and Kehr next performed a version of “Don’t Stop Believing” which had the SRO-audience standing and singing along.
Max Sangerman also did a terrific version of Green Day’s “When September Ends.”
Lolo (Lauren Pritchard) also performed a brilliant version of Alanis Morrissett’s “Isn’t It Ironic” which I felt was the highlight of the entire show.
Kehr and the band then took audio-requests electronically and performed “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” “9 To 5” and a great version of “New York State of Mind.”
Seen in the crowd were Rockers-producer Cori Gardner; Rockers PR-man David Salidor; Jazzheads prexy Randy Klein; and Broadway composer/producer Michael Moritz.
Ahead of the Broadway Opening of Lempicka The Longacre Theatre Is Showcasing Art Work By Tamara de Lempicka
The Longacre Theatre (220 W 48th St.), soon-to-be home of the sweeping new musical, Lempicka, is showcasing a curated selection of renowned artist Tamara de Lempicka’s most famous works. Eschewing traditional theatrical front-of-house advertising, the Longacre’s façade now boasts prints, creating a museum-quality exhibition right in the heart of Times Square. The musical opens on Broadway on April 14, 2024 at the same venue.
The Longacre’s outdoor exhibition includes works of Self Portrait (Tamara in a Green Bugatti) (1929), Young Girl in Green (1927), Nu Adossé I (1925), The Red Tunic (1927), The Blue Scarf (1930), The Green Turban (1930), Portrait of Marjorie Ferry (1932), Portrait of Ira P. (1930), Portrait of Romana de la Salle (1928), and Adam and Eve (1932).
Starring Eden Espinosa and directed by Tony Award winner Rachel Chavkin, Lempicka features book, lyrics, and original concept by Carson Kreitzer, book and music by Matt Gould, and choreography by Raja Feather Kelly.
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.
Young Girl in Green painted by Tamara de Lempicka (1927). Oil on plywood.