Neil Berg is the composer and co-lyricist of award-winning several musicals. His new rock musical The 12, written with Pulitzer Prize/Tony-winning playwright, Robert Schenkkan, premiered at the Denver Center. His Off-Broadway musical The Prince and the Pauper played New York. His new Broadway-bound musical Grumpy Old Men, is set to have its official U.S. Premiere this summer at The Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine. Neil is the creator/co-producer of the #1 Broadway touring concert in America, Neil Berg’s 100 Years of Broadway, as well as Neil Berg’s 50 Years of Rock & Roll and Neil Berg’s Pianomen. He is the co-producer of the Off-Broadway Alliance Award-Winning revival of Closer Than Ever. Neil also produced a concert version of the Broadway musical The Secret Garden, in association with its composer, Lucy Simon. He has also produced concert versions of The Mystery of Edwin Drood (NYC), Chess (John Houseman Theater), and Jesus Christ Superstar.
What most people do not know is what a fabulous piano player Neil is. In bringing Pianomen to The Green Room 42, Neil pays an intimate tribute to the songwriting of two iconic composers of the 20th Century, Billy Joel and Elton John, but it is his piano playing that rocks the house. As Neil told the stories, influences and meaning that motivated these compositions vocalists Danny Zolliand Erick Buckley took to interpretation of the vocals. This intimate performance of these classic hits felt like you were in a bar in New Jersey in the 80’s. High energy performances of “Moving Out,”“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” “Piano Man,” “Your Song,” and “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant” brought the enthusiastic crowd to swaying and of course singing along.
Singer Danny Zolli brought an enormous vocal range that showed his more than 20 years of experience on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and on-tour in concert. He is best known for his work in more than 25 different productions of Jesus Christ Superstar. He also starred in the 20th Anniversary Concert, the 25th Anniversary Concert, and the 30th Anniversary Concert of the legendary show. A singer much in-demand, he has shared the concert stage with some of the world’s most renowned performers including Jose Carreras, The Gypsy Kings, Peter Frampton, Phoebe Snow, and Felix Cavaliere.
Erick Buckley was the first person in the world to perform both the roles of Marius and Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables,” Uncle Fester in “The Addams Family,” Piangi in Andrew Loyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera,” Dave in “The Full Monty,” was handpicked by Berry Gordy to appear in “Motown The Musical,” Roger in the Broadway revival of “Grease!” with Sheena Easton, John Secada, Rex Smith, and Adrian Zmed, Gangster #1 in the Tony-winning Broadway revival of “Kiss Me, Kate,” “Camelot” opposite Robert Goulet and critically-acclaimed concerts around the world. Erick currently teaches voice training at New York University for theater students.
Neil is backed by a fall star band which included Abe Saenz on bass, Alex Wise, electric keyboard, Mike Wilson on guitar and Roger Cohen on drums.
You can catch Neil’s Berg’s 50 Years of Rock & Roll July 21st at Westchester Broadway Theatre – Elmsford, NY (6:15pm) and July 28th at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences – Long Beach Island, NJ (7:30pm).
Hear the crowd pleasing popular hits and forgotten songs of the last four decades. These timeless songs light up the stage as they are performed by Award-Winning Composer, Lyricist and Producer Neil Berg on piano and two incredible Broadway/Rock vocalists.
Events For December
Cabaret, Talks and Concerts For December
Tis the season to be entertained. Here are picks:
92 Street Y: 1395 Lexington Ave. 12/2 – 4: Lyrics & Lyricists In the Key of Life: The Genius of Stevie Wonder. Led by Broadway’s Darius de Haas; 12/5: Recanati-Kaplan Talks Death, Let Me Do My Show: Rachel Bloom in Conversation and 12/14: Sharon Stone and Jerry Saltz Talk About Art.
Birdland Jazz: 315 West 44 St. Every Monday at 5:30 Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks and 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); 12/11: Karen Mason for her annual Christmas show “Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!”; 12/12 – 16 Stacy Kent; 12/18: James Barbour returns to Birdland with his annual Holiday Concert: 12/21 – 25: “A Swinging Birdland Christmas” starring Birdland regulars Klea Blackhurst, Jim Caruso and Billy Stritch and 12/28 – 31: Marilyn Maye.
Cafe Carlyle: 35 E 76th St. 12/1 – 9: Sutton Foster; 12/12 – 16: Gavin DeGraw and 12/19 – 31: Michael Feinstein.
Carnegie Hall: 881 7th Ave at 57th St. 12/5: Christmas with Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith; 12/6: Dee Dee Bridgewater with Sean Jones and the NYO Jazz All-Star Big Band; 12/13: Michael Feinstein and Jean-Yves Thibaudet and 12/22 – 23: The New York Pops The Best Christmas of All with Norm Lewis
Don’t Tell Mama: 343 W. 46 St.
Dizzys Club Coca Cola: Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th Street.
Alec Wilder Tribute
Devotees of the Great American Songbook have another reason to love living in New York. Yes, cabaret shows of the music of Porter, Rodgers et al abound here of course, but once a year there is a loving tribute to a lesser-known composer. Some of us may have even passed him on West 44th Street as he was leaving his home in the Algonquin Hotel. This dapper gentleman was Alec Wilder, a musician who wrote classical pieces as well as songs. He wrote words and music, and sometimes let the likes of Marshall Barer, Fran Landesman and even Johnny Mercer supply lyrics. There are a few of these titans who can have one foot in Tin Pan Alley and the other in Carnegie Hall. George Gershwin comes to mind immediately; Cole Porter dabbled but reverted to what he could do best. Wilder also wrote American Popular Song/The Great Innovators 1900-1950, a volume respected by those who love the music of that era.
The Friends of Alec Wilder presented their 38th Annual Concert for an audience of seriously devoted fans of Wilder on November 11th at 54 Below.
Mark Walter, FOAW Board Member and son of noted pianist and friend of Wilder’s Cy Walter, introduced Honorary Host Steve Ross, who along with the ever-amiable Eric Comstock interspersed the music with anecdotes about Wilder which rounded out the portrait of the gentleman being painted so effectively by the rest of the cast.
The afternoon began with one of Wilder’s chamber works, presented lovingly by The Wilderness Trio. Eric Comstock followed, summing up Wilder by saying that his music never went out of vogue because it was never in vogue. Wilder is like that secret ingredient that once having tasted it, one yearns for it thereafter. Eric sang four songs, infusing I’ll Wait with his ineffable sass and charm before being joined by his wife, the spunky and gorgeous Barbara Fasano, who made each lyric come to life in ways Wilder would have appreciated. Sean Smith provided bass support, and the trio which has been a mainstay at Birdland illuminated Wilder’s deep emotional grasp of the human condition.
The Wildebeest Wind Quintet followed with the Alice in Wonderland Suite, which showed Wilder at his classically playful best. Jason Henderson carried some of that lightheartedness into his segment, with two songs that benefited from his natural charm and enthusiasm. Steve Ross made the heart ache a bit with his rendition of the plaintive Did You Ever Cross Over to Sneden’s? before closing the program by encouraging everyone to join him in singing I’ll Be Around, perhaps the best known of Wilder’s songs.
If your interest in Alec Wilder has been piqued, visit alecwildermusicandlife.com.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Sutton Foster and Kelli O’Hara With The NY Pops
One Night Only: An Evening with Sutton Foster and Kelli O’Hara with the NY Pops is happening Friday 8pm, at Carnegie Hall. This unique program by NY Pops conductor Steven Reineke, pays homage to earlier icons of stage and screen who teamed up for memorable concerts.
T2C Talks To Paul Iacono, Unfiltered
Actor and writer Paul Iacono, best known for the films Fame, G.B.F., and MTV’s “The Hard Times Of RJ Berger,” returns to The Green Room 42 in “Paul Iacono, Unfiltered,” His bawdy evening of excess and exposé happens tonight Friday, November 17 at 9:30 PM. T2C had a chance to talk to this 3 decade seasoned performer.
Paul Iacono, is best known for his portrayal of the title character on MTV’s “The Hard Times of RJ Berger.” Paul was first featured on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” at age eight, after she discovered his unique talents for impersonating Frank Sinatra and Ethel Merman Favorite stage credits include Mercury Fur (The New Group), Bridget Everett’s Rock Bottom (Joe’s Pub), Noël Coward’s Sail Away with Elaine Stritch (Carnegie Hall), John Guare’s Landscape of the Body with Lili Taylor and Sherie Rene Scott (Signature Theater), and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs with Donna Lynne Champlin and Michele Pawk (Transport Group). Favorite film credits include MGM’s remake of Fame, Drew Barrymore’s Animal, Darren Stein’s G.B.F., Extracurricular Activities, and Dating My Mother with Kathy Najimy. Iacono’s play Prince/Elizabeth premiered at The Teatro LATEA Theater co-starring Sofia Black D’Elia and Peter Vack, and The Last Great Dame (loosely inspired by his relationship with Elaine Stritch) at Jane Friedman’s HOWL! Happening Gallery. His cabaret “Where’s the Fucking Kid?” premiered at 54 Below, with “Psychedelic Hedonism” following at Joe’s Pub (New York Magazine “Critic’s Pick”), and “Psychedelic Playhouse” at The Green Room 42.
Join Paul for a surreal vaudevillian celebration through the highs, lows, and misadventures from his past five years out of the spotlight. Directed by Eric Gilliland and written by Iacono, Paul weaves insanely personal and wildly hilarious moments from Hollywood to 42nd Street and beyond, accompanied onstage by music director Drew Wutke, with music consulting and arrangements by Peter Saxe.
Paul Iacono, Unfiltered on Friday, November 17 at 9:30 PM at The Green Room 42 (570 Tenth Avenue at 42nd Street, on the 4th Floor of Yotel).
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