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Music News: Hugh Jackman The Music Man, Bobby Conte, Tony Danza and Dave Slonaker

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The Producers of The Music Man announced today that Accidental Jacket Entertainment will release the official cast recording of the much beloved Broadway revival of Meredith Willson’s The Music Man, starring two-time Tony Award®, Grammy Award®, and Emmy Award®-winning star Hugh Jackman as Professor Harold Hill and two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster as Marian Paroo. The album is produced by seven-time Grammy Award® nominee Robert Sher, in partnership with producers Brian Gillet and Huck Walton. The two-day recording session with the complete original cast took place earlier this week at Manhattan Center. Never-before-seen photos of the session can be downloaded here. An official release date for the recording will be announced shortly.

The album is executive produced by Steve Shultz, and is co-produced by Marc Levine, Evan McGill, Patrick Vaccariello, and David Garfinkle.

The Music Man’s original Broadway cast recording was released in 1958 and spent a staggering 245 weeks on the Billboard charts. In 1959, the album was awarded the first ever Grammy Award for “Best Original Cast Album.” Its enduring appeal was made plain when it was certified Platinum in 1992 – 30 years after its original release. It is listed at #15 on Playbill’s list of the Best-Selling Cast Recordings of All Time. The song “Till There Was You” was further immortalized in popular culture by none other than The Beatles, who included it on their second album (1964’s Meet The Beatles!). It was the only musical theater song the band ever recorded and became a lasting and beloved part of their live shows.

One of the most universally cherished treasures of the American musical theater, The Music Man was an instant smash hit when it premiered on Broadway on December

Bobby Conte

Birdland Jazz Club will present Bobby Conte – currently playing the role of PJ in the Broadway revival of Company – in his acclaimed solo concert “Along the Way” on Monday, August 15 at 7:00 PM. Based on his debut studio album, “Along the Way” is scored by an eclectic array of songs, all re-imagined and orchestrated by conductor/musician and producer, James Sampliner. Featuring a 10-piece band, the show highlights songs from classic Broadway (“Time Heals Everything”), funkified Sondheim (“Everybody Says Don’t”), acoustic folk (“Here, There and Everywhere”), and gospel rat pack (“That’s Life”), to swinging mambo (“She Loves Me”), 90’s R&B (“Me and Mrs. Jones”), Brahms meets Berlin (“How Deep Is the Ocean?”) and Steely Dan meets Pasek & Paul (“Along the Way”). Conte strives to subvert expectation and surprise the listener at every turn, all in the service of lyric-driven storytelling. The music charge ranges from $40-$100. VIP tickets guarantees premium seating and meet & greet with Conte following the show. Birdland is located at 315 West 44th Street in New York.

“Along the Way” charts the journey of a not-so-fictional young man slowly ridding himself of his ignorance as he strives to carve his own path in this terrifying world. Through a series of relationships, he reflects on the profound joy, heartbreak and good humor experienced in the pursuit of love, success and connection. He comes to the understanding that it’s not the mistakes that define one’s life, but how that individual chooses to learn, evolve and live on through those missteps out of brutal honesty, unconditional love and kindness.

Bobby Conte made his Broadway debut originating the role of Calogero in A Bronx Tale, directed by Robert De Niro and Jerry Zaks. Other New York theater: My Fair Lady (Bay Street Theater); Starting Here, Starting Now (York Theatre Company). Regional: Last Days of Summer (George Street Playhouse); all-male A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Two River Theater); the world premiere of Ken Ludwig’s A Comedy of Tenors (McCarter Theatre Center/Cleveland Play House); three seasons at The Muny, including the regional premiere of Jersey Boys and revised adaptation of Lerner & Loewe’s Paint Your Wagon. Film/TV: If Beale Street Could Talk (directed by Barry Jenkins); “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (Netflix); “Madam Secretary,” “The Code” (CBS). His debut studio album, Along the Way, is available across all digital music providers.

Tony Danza

54 BELOW, Broadway’s Supper Club and 2022 Tony Awards® Honoree for Excellence in the Theatre, welcomes entertainment icon and Broadway star, Tony Danza, back with his hit live cabaret show, Standards & Stories. His previous performances garnered raves, with BroadwayWorld calling it “one of the most enjoyable evenings one can have at 54 Below” (BroadwayWorld). The New York Times has also described Tony as “a live wire who tap-dances, plays the ukulele, tells stories and radiates irresistible charm… He exudes the kind of charisma that can’t be taught!” (The New York Times). The triple threat returns to Broadway’s Living Room on September 26-October 1 at 7pm. For reservations and information, visit54below.com/TonyDanza.

Tony Danza and his band bring their hit show, Standards & Stories, to 54 Below for a limited engagement. Combining timeless music with wit, charm, storytelling, and a dash of soft shoe and ukulele performances, Danza performs a selection of his favorite standards from the Great American Songbook, as well as selections from the hit Broadway musical Honeymoon in Vegas (which Danza also starred in), while interweaving stories about his life and personal connection to the music.

Danza has been one of the world’s most beloved and iconic entertainers for over 40 years. Perhaps best known for his starring roles on two of television’s most cherished and long-running series, “Taxi” and “Who’s The Boss,” Tony has also starred in hit films such as Angels in the Outfield, She’s Out of Control, Hollywood Knights, and Don Jon. Well established as a song and dance man, Tony has also starred on Broadway in The Producers, A View from the Bridge, and most recently received rave reviews for his performance in the Broadway musical comedy, Honeymoon In Vegas, with The New York Times calling his performance “sly genius,” and a “career high.” He received an Emmy nomination for his guest spot on “The Practice,” and recently made a special guest appearance on “Blue Bloods.” Danza also has a much buzzed about “Who’s the Boss” sequel in the works, and just wrapped a co-starring role in the upcoming 20th Century Fox feature film, Darby Harper Wants You To Know.

Tony Danza: Standards & Stories plays 54 Below (254 West 54th Street) September 26 – October 1 at 7:00pm. Cover charges are $85, with premium seats for $140-145. There is a $25 food and beverage minimum. Tickets and information are available at 54below.com/TonyDanza. Tickets on the day of performance after 4:00pm are only available by calling (646) 476-3551.

Composer and arranger Dave Slonaker believes that we are in a new Golden Age for big bands, and considering the success of his debut recording, Intrada (2013), he is probably right. Not only was the album nominated for a Grammy for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album, Intrada also received stellar reviews. Jack Bowers of All About Jazz said, “Slonaker ́s music is contemporary in the best sense of the word, harmonically sophisticated yet always accessible thanks to an unswerving reliance on time-honored melodies and rhythms. In other words, this is big band jazz that quickens the pulse, swings hard and enhances the tradition.”

Dave Slonaker

Now, on his newest release, Convergency, Slonaker takes all the elements that made Intrada so successful and expands upon them. The title of the album reflects his concept. Rather than writing standard big band charts, Slonaker set out to create a large ensemble where each of the remarkable musicians has an opportunity to express their own unique talent, creating a convergence of all the different elements of the ensemble into a unified whole. Slonaker explains, “I love the tonal colors of a large jazz ensemble, and that includes the different colors that band members paint with their solos. When I compose and arrange, I like to create a canvas that allows diverse musicians to express themselves with their own, individual voice.”

The musicians on Convergency are a Who’s Who of top Southern California players. Slonaker has known several of them for 30 to 40 years. Having  worked in Hollywood for over thirty years, he is highly regarded as one of the top arrangers and orchestrators in film and television. His credits are extensive, including such blockbusters as Spiderman, Men in Black, Alice in Wonderland and Air Force One, among many others. In television, his work can be heard on a couple of different Star Trek series, JAG, and Murder She Wrote, to name just a few. Although working in film and television has its rewards, as a composer and arranger with unique concepts, Slonaker has a compelling need to express himself through his own compositions.

Slonaker wrote and arranged 10 of the 11 compositions on Convergency. A big part of the job as a Hollywood arranger and orchestrator is to assimilate and duplicate different styles as needed, and all those disparate styles can be heard on this recording. “I’m like a sponge that has absorbed a wide range of influences, from the Jazz Messenger groups and Blue Note recordings of the late 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s to Thad Jones and Bob Brookmeyer to the Yellowjackets and Pat Metheny, but one of the greatest influences on my writing and arranging is undoubtedly Bill Holman,” says Slonaker.

The compositions on Convergency in some way reflect a life journey, which Slonaker explores within the tradition but also with all the possibilities his large jazz ensemble offers. When musicians come together as a group, each of their own life stories intersect, merge, and converge in ways that give meaning to the music.

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

Celebrity

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!

Images on this page have been licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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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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G.H. Harding

OJ DOA — Perhaps the Drudge Report (yes, the Drudge Report) had the most fitting headline: Cancer Murders OJ.

Yesterday’s news came as a huge surprise at 11:00 AM. For me, firstly, I couldn’t quite believe it was almost 30 years since that trial. When the verdict came in, I was at The Conservatory restaurant in the long-gone, much missed Mayflower Hotel. It was packed and when the verdict was announced there was a minute or two of dead-silence, then gasps. One of the most surreal moments I’ve ever experienced.

I wasn’t a huge sports fan -never have been- but I knew a lot about OJ. Face it, he was an icon And when the murders happened; the Bronco-chase; and trial … it was just extraordinary. His rise and fall was an amazing tale. It was also a major story for all the entertainment outlets. Journalists essentially moved to LA for the 9-month trial. It was, to my mind, the first trial of its kind.

CNN showed some of the reactions from then: then audience reaction at the Oprah Winfrey show was a mixed bag. Some cheered as Winfrey stood stone-faced. The reaction of OJ’s lawyers were interesting too; Robert Khardashian looked shell-shocked, while Cochran and Robert Shapiro  hugged OJ.

As Wolf Bltizer just said: these are moments one will never forget.

We think we know what happened … but now, we’ll never know for sure. An american tragedy for sure.

YES Photo by Gottlieb Bros

YES’ PURPLE — (via Ultimate Classic Rock) Deep Purple and Yes will team up for a North American summer tour.

The trek begins on Aug. 14 in Hollywood, Florida, and concludes on Sept. 8 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday.

Deep Purple is in the midst of their 1 More Time tour and simultaneously celebrating 50 years of “Smoke on the Water” (52 years now, to be exact). The band recently released a super deluxe edition of its landmark album Machine Head, which includes classics such as “Smoke on the Water,” “Highway Star” and “Space Truckin’.”

Yes, meanwhile, will deliver a career-spanning set comprising material through their latest album, 2023’s Mirror to the Sky. The prog legends are also releasing an expanded anniversary box set of their 1994 album Talk next month.

52 years of “Smoke On The Water.” A classic if there ever was one. Every time I hear it on the radio, I start singing along. Talk about staying power! I saw Yes years ago and it was quite the show; with Chris Squire too.

There are a slew of legacy artists out for the summer and deservedly so. They may not generate the ink of a Beyonce or Jennifer Lopez, but their impact is still there.

Hubert Laws

SHORT TAKES — CTI Records. Remember them? It was producer Creed Taylor’s boutique label which released some of the most dynamic and interesting jazz-records in the 70’s and 80’s (SONY owns them now). From Airto to Milt Jackson; Deodato; Bob James; Jim Hall and Hubert Laws, the music was just terrific. Originally distributed by Herb Alpert’s A&M Records, they went independent and continued with some of the best jazz recordings ever. Even before you listened to the music, all the albums had a deluxe-cover; with some startling images. Check this piece out about their album covers from Medium: https://medium.com/@slishpogodi/cti-records-the-best-album-covers-cdac2e16c534 … 50 years of People Magazine. Rumors spread last year that the weekly was on its last legs.

Mia Farrow

Their first issue was in 1974 with Mia Farrow on the cover …

David Kramer

Director David Kramer won for ‘Best Documentary’ at last week’s NYFF event for his Jimi Hendrix: The Documentary. Congratulations

Coopstock

Coopstock is this weekend in Mesa, Arizona. Guests include Micky Dolenz; REO’s Kevin Cronin; Orianthi; Patrick Warburton; and of course, Alice Cooper himself … Hard to believe that director Todd Phillips, who directed The Hangover, did the first Joker movie with Joaquin Phoenix. It was just startling in every way and now the follow-up is about to come out with Phoenix and Lady Gaga; introduced as Harley Quinn. One trade already termed it a jukebox musical. Stylish for sure it looks just sensational and is one of the best trailers I’ve seen in quite some time. Here’s it is: https://variety.com/2024/film/news/joker-2-trailer-joaquin-phoenix-lady-gaga-1235957692/
… Here’s the trailer of Disney+’s Beach Boys doc.  Directed by Frank Marshall and Thom Zimny – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_Rspu3Xoi4 …  And, this week’s New York Magazine cover heralds the history of NYC through its restaurants. I was ready to see Tortilla Flats; La Cote Basque; Schraffts; Mortimers; Trader Vic’s; and Fontana Di Trevi. Turns out, it’s memories from people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who worked at The Coffee Shop and Keith McNally, who shucked oysters at One Fifth. Honestly, I expected a bit more depth. Great idea; lousy execution.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Toni Basil; Mark Bego; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Mitch Dolan; Barry Nolan; Robert Lamm; Jacqueline Boyd; Wayne Avers; Tyorne Biljan; Michelle Toscas; Fred Zarr; Abbe Rosenfeld; Shep Pettibone; Tony Darrow; Robert Funaro; Angel Mastrogiorgio; Ellen Smith; Howard Bloom; Jane Berk; Jack Cunningham; and CHIP.

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Patti LuPone A Life Well Sung

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Caricature By Ken Fallin

“Music is a gift, and has a power to crystallize a moment. This is my life in music — so far.”

Patti LuPone: A LIfe in Notes Photo By Chris Lee

Nothing could have been said, that would have been truer for three-time Tony winner Patti LuPone, who returned to Carnegie Hall last night for her fifth solo concert.

“I wrote a memoir 15 years ago, but I kept going, so there’s more story to tell.” Starting off with Leon Russell’s “Song For You.”

Patti LuPone: A LIfe in Notes Photo By Chris Lee

This was not the concert I was expecting, but was entranced by Ms. LuPone’s skillful storytelling that was immersed in heart and soul. Conceived and directed by Tony winner Scott Wittman, LuPone’s latest act is written by Jeffrey Richman. Act One was filled with teen angst and tragedy, with songs like “Come On-A My House,” Summertime Summertime“ and “Ebb Tide,” brought us back to Patti’s youth, 1958 and Long Island were she was born and grew up.

Like a typical teenager boys and crushes dominated her mind. In We Kiss In A Shadow” from The King and I Patti gives her memories of kissing posters on her wall into the real thing with “Teen Angel,” and “Town Without Pity”

It was lovely to hear Marc Blitzstein’s “I Wish It So” and  “Some People,” from the musical Gypsy. In these sections Patti allows the emotions of her feeling to dominate while release that fabulous belt that is unbeatable. LuPone is backed by music director, music supervisor and pianist Joseph Thalken and the phenomenal string instrumentalist Brad Phillips, who has multiple instruments at his beck and call adding yet another layer.

A tender “Lilac Wine,” “Alfi“ and “Saratoga Song” gave us falling for the wrong men, doing Summerstock and again more men. Patti definitely had a good time, then there was the until heartbreaking “Man That Got Away,” that rivaled Ms. Garland. (I know sacrilege!) A standing ovation, the first of many.

She closed the First Act with “Those Were The Day,” which was a powerful statement with Ms LuPone’s vocal and acting chops at play.

Patti LuPone: A LIfe in Notes Photo By Chris Lee

The second Act began with “On Broadway.” The line I won’t last too long was made powerful with a growled Ha! Ms. LuPone looked stunning in glittery silver an Oscar de la Renta gown.

Patti LuPone: A LIfe in Notes Photo By Chris Lee

A riveting  “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” was performed with only Phillips on an acoustic guitar making this sound lush and even more powerful than when she originally sang it. Of course a standing ovation followed. “I Dreamed a Dream,” was plaintive and the heartbreaking earnings yet another standing ovation. LuPone won her third Tony Award in the 2021 revival of Company with “The Ladies Who Lunch” and proved why. I stood up for that. All in all this was a 15-minute masterclass in how to sell a song while making it your own.

Patti LuPone: A LIfe in Notes Photo By Chris Lee

LuPone has the ability to completely immerse herself in a song and draw you in, as lyrics wash over you. She did this with Janis Ian’s “Stars.”

A moving tribute to those we lost to AIDS mashed up “Anything Goes” and “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye.” Cole Porter would have been thrilled to have heard these together.

With Covid Patti started to cherish time, especially that she spent with her husband and son. “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” “Time After Time,” and “Make You Feel My Love,” were dedicated to them.

Bridget Everett and Patti LuPone Photo By Chris Lee

Leiber and Stoller’s “Ready to Begin Again” led to the arrival of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City and Somebody Somewhere star Bridget Everett. It was lovely seeing the two stars belting it out and having a blast. How truly kind and generous to give all those young people a chance to sing on the Carnegie Hall stage.  Bob Dylan “Forever Young,” was joyously embodied.

Young People’s Chorus of New York City Bridget Everett and Patti LuPone Photo By Chris Lee

For an encore The Beatle’s “In My Life” and a reprise of “Those Were the Days” had the audience leaving the theatre singing joyously and knowing they had just witnessed a master’s artistry, and a magical New York night.

Patti LuPone: A Life in Notes also featured spectacular lighting design by John Hastings and a clear sound design by Mark Fiore.

You can see Patti LuPone: A Life in Notes in San Francisco, LA, Washingto DC, CT and Australia. To see the dates click here.

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