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My View: “We’re Not Singing Ballads” at Jim Caruso’s Cast Party by Ann Hampton Callaway

My View: “We’re Not Singing Ballads” at Jim Caruso’s Cast Party by Ann Hampton Callaway

One day the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. will probably ask for Jim Caruso’s lists of entertainers that have appeared on his Cast Party Stage at Birdland.  At Liza Minnelli’s urging Jim started the adventure sixteen years ago and Birdland quickly became not only the “Jazz Corner of The World” but the place to be if you want to experience the thrill of once in a lifetime show biz happenings.  Last night we started our Birdland adventure at the 7 PM Broadway at Birdland Series as Anita Gillette in her latest cabaret outing, performed a Barry Kleinbort directed  show “Me and Mr. B”.  In it,  Anita fantastically celebrates the music and  life of Irving Berlin.  Anita and Berlin had a “father – daughter” relationship that developed after she starred in his last musical Mr. President.  Irving Berlin may not be on any of Jim Caruso’s Birdland lists but the overflow audience on 44th street certainly felt his genius as Anita with reminiscences and songs brought Irving Berlin to life in her emotional show.  What a night as the audience spontaneously  joined Anita at the conclusion and sang God Bless America.

However it didn’t stop there.  Cast Party then started and Jim Caruso’s list contained some legendary performers who just happened to drop in.  Ann Hampton Callaway and Clint Holmes were in the house and a bevy full of super singers who also performed.  No ballads allowed on the Cast Party Stage but Ann ended the evening with one of her “on the spot” song improvisations that addressed that issue.  I’m sure Irving Berlin would have approved of her song writing ability.  “Ya Just Never Know” what’s going to happen at Birdland

Check out the VIDEO

(Full Photos/Article on

Ann Hampton Callaway & Jim Caruso



Stephen studied at the Manhattan School of Music. Besides being a pianist, Stephen’s business career was in the Fashion Industry. He was CEO of a textile manufacturing facility and President of an international textile machinery company. Stephen was on the Board of Directors of the “First All Children’s Theatre” which brought the Stephen Schwartz musical The Trip and Captain Louie to the Kennedy Center in Wash DC. His wife Eda, an interior space designer and classical pianist was on the Board of Barrington Stage Company and is still active at BSC. Stephen’s photographs, videos and articles appear on, and The New York Observer. He is active in the entertainment events at the Friars Club, where he is a member. Stephen is thrilled to be the cabaret/ music and co-theatre editor. email:

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