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)
My View: Charles Strouse Celebrates his 95th Birthday at 54 Below
There were Tony Award winners in the audience and on the stage of the Tony Award Winning 54 Below last night. All had gathered to celebrate the 95th Birthday of Charles Strouse the Tony, Emmy Award winning Composer and Lyricist of many beloved Broadway Shows (Bye Bye Birdie, Golden Boy, Applause and of course Annie among many others). Strouse a classically trained composer and graduate of the Eastman School of Music also composed scores for film, TV, orchestral works, chamber music, piano concertos and opera. Strouse and lyricist Lee Adams wrote the theme song “Those Were The Days” for the Norman Lear sitcom All In The Family.
The evening hosted by Lee Roy Reams featured thrilling and emotional performances by luminaries from the Broadway, Cabaret, and Concert Stages whose artistic paths had crossed with Charles Strouse.
Carolee Carmello, Penny Fuller, Anita Gillette, Alan H. Green, Jeff Harnar, Karen Mason, Andrea McArdle, Donna McKechnie, Steve Ross, Stephen Schwartz, KT Sullivan, and Karen Ziemba, Music direction was by Alex Rybeck with direction by Eric Paul Vitale.
On a personal note, I’ve included a treasured family photo of our granddaughter Zoe Gelman being congratulated by Mr. Strouse after she sang an Annie Medley at a past Mabel Mercer Foundation Cabaret Convention honoring Charles Strouse.
My View: Clint Holmes Is In Town!
In the golden age of Manhattan night life top vocalists of the day would begin their engagements in venues like The Copa, Latin Quarter, Oak Room, Living Room, and similar glamorous nightspots. In the same month you might have Jack Jones at the Plaza’s Persian Room, Buddy Greco swinging in the Americana’s Royal Box and Vic Damone headlining the Rainbow Room. It all created a special kind of entertainment euphoria and excitement in New York City.
When the 54 Below advertisements came out heralding Clint Holmes’ engagement it rekindled that feeling for me. Clint’s talent and fame have been well established over decades and he’s just the type of performer who makes a town more exciting when he’s appearing in it. Seeing Clint’s extraordinary performance last night at 54 Below in his show celebrating Peter Allen, (back to back after being thrilled by Tom Jones at The Beacon and Barry Manilow at Radio City) brought me back to that era of New York’s glittering night life. What a joy to be in the audience and get that adrenaline rush from legendary performers whose artistry and charisma have not diminished, and are now communicating an even deeper expressiveness and musical eloquence than in their earlier years.
Here are photos from the closing night of Clint Holmes sensational run at 54 Below and an after party hosted by Producer Sunny Sessa saluting Director Will Nunziata, Music Director Michael Orland, guest artists Nikki Renee Daniels and Kelly Clinton- Holmes.
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.
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