Fifteen years ago, before the iPhone, when Zoom only referred to a camera lens, when Corona was one of the top selling beers in the world, and Social Distance wasn’t part of the lexicon, Jim Caruso’s Cast Party made it’s debut on the Birdland stage. It started a New York City entertainment late night Monday tradition attracting some of the greatest entertainers on the planet (also other people). Caruso, arguably one of the wittiest and talented performers to ever host an open Mic joined with the extraordinary pianist/vocalist and partner in repartee Billy Stritch to create one of the most entertaining evenings in the heart of the theatre district. It attracts celebrities and audiences from all over the world. Eda and I discovered it early on and a few times I even made it on Jim’s list. Just as the Late Night TV hosts Jack Parr, Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, and Steve Allen had some familiar continual guests, Jim’s list of talent for the evenings would always include some Cast Party regulars in addition to the talented newcomers and major Broadway stars who dropped in.
For the first time in it’s 17 year history Cast Party has not been able to happen. Only a world-wide disaster could have interrupted the fun, so Jim endeavored to bring some of the spirt of Cast Party into our homes last night via the internet. I used to document the early Cast Parties but alas, watching from one’s bedroom can be dangerous and I dozed off three quarters of the way through (very busy days lately) but here are some of the performers. The evening was technically produced by the uber talented Ruby Locknar daughter of Award Winning country songwriter and performer Victoria Shaw.