BROADWAY! Songwriters, composers, actors and singers think that is the place you can say you really made it. Scott Siegel put on an evening of songs and entertainers that proved that even though the Great White Way may be a dream; dreams and success can be achieved on other streets in New York or even at the Papermill Playhouse.
Mr Siegel’s newest version of Broadway by the Year was a misnomer this time as he celebrated songs and shows that spanned a number of years and locations but not on Broadway; but, “Almost on Broadway.”
He selected a wonderfully varied collection of songs from decades of shows that came thisclose to being on Broadway and they were performed by some of the original singers of those great numbers. Nowadays, the lifespan of a Broadway musical can be as short a ;but some of the shows that were spotlighted on Monday, June 27th at Town Hall have flourished for decades. The Fantastics, Forbidden Broadway (in its numerous incarnations) and Newsical, The Musical (with its long list of headline inspired songs) are examples of musicals these shows. And hey there songwriters! Just because you have been on Broadway don’t poo poo the Off Broadway circuit. Stephen Schwartz, that guy who has had a lot of success with single word titles: Godspell, Pippin and Wicked has not faired as well when he names his shows with more than that: The Baker’s Wife and Children of Eden; both of which were represented in Mr Siegel’s song selection.
Anyway, on with the show and let me say the singers did right with the songs that were presented. Christine Andreas started the evening with the classic Try to Remember from The Fantastics where she hit the perfect notes and tone for the evening. She later came back on stage to sing Welcome Home from the musical adaptation of the film Johnny Guitar, which incidentally was written by her husband Martin Silvestre. The songs of Mr Schwartz; both beautifully sung by Kelli Rabke were Meadowlark and Stranger to the Rain. Pedro Copetti, one of Mr Siegel’s “Broadway’s Rising Stars” veterans showed why he earned a spot on that list with If I Didn’t Believe in You from the incredibly successful Jason Robert Brown musical The Last Five Years and Out There from The Hunchback of Notre Dame which he performed as Quasimodo in his native Brazil.
Brian Charles Rooney, who was supposed to be in the 2017 revival of When Pigs Fly (which originally ran for 840 performances from 1996) sang the timely number Laughing Matters with the right pathos and meaning that we need after a pandemic and social unrest we have currently encountered. He reminisced before he began the songs about his 14 Bob Mackie designed costumes that never made to the stage because the revival was cancelled at the last minute.
Crystal Joy who has recently performed as Nina Simone in Little Girl Blue showed her range with the song If We Only Have Love from Jacque Brel Is Alive and Well and the upbeat My Boyfriend’s Back from Beehive where she danced with the Broadway by the Year (BBYT) Dance Troupe.
But the night was definitely not just about ballads and love songs. One of the great things about Off Broadway musicals is their pure joy and humour and both were evident when Michael West and Gina Kreiezmar brough to life the wonderful songs from Forbidden Broadway and their parodies of Liza, Robert Goulet, Ethel Merman and the Phantom of the Opera. Their singing talents and comical movements had the audience laughing out loud as did the quartet from Newsical, The Musical singing Denial: Kristen Alderton, Taylor Crousore, Carly Sakolove and again Michael West.
Bradley Dean, Adam Gruper and Cheryl Stern reenacted a very comic scene/song from No Way to Treat a Lady called I Need a Life and their deliveries of the dialogue and lyrics demonstrated all their great comic timing. And speaking of timing, Danny Gardner’s tapping and singing Don’t Give In from A New Brain was only one of the numbers he choreographed for the evening.
Jason Graae did double duty during the evening, first as a young camp goer writing his parents in Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah (the name of the song and the show) and then aging into a high school boy in the quartet from Forever Plaid. Unfortunately, one of the quartet came down sick Monday morning and the four became three as they sang This or That/Undecided. Lots of talk this past year has been about the invaluable efforts of understudies and swings on Broadway. That sentiment was no better represented as when the three: Jason, Larry Raben and Leo Daignault sang the accompaniment to the song Shangri La/Rags to Riches which would have been the big number for the missing David Engel . While this was done to great comic effect it did show what happens when there is no understudy to take a headliner’s place.
Scott Siegel, once again showed his talent for picking terrific numbers and a wonderful group of singers who were accompanied by the terrific band of Eric Halvorson on drums; Don Falzone on bass and musical director Ross Patterson on piano.
The final number which had the audience leaving the theater with smiles on their faces was New York, New York from the Kander and Ebb review And the World Goes Round sung by Brian Charles Rooney, accompanied by the BBTY Dance Troupe.
I am looking forward to the next Broadway by the Year show to see what more surprises Mr Siegel can give to us.
Lead photo by Genevieve Rafter Keddy. To see all photo’s of the event click here.
Betty Buckley Returns to Joe’s Pub
Tony Award-winning, stage and screen icon Betty Buckley returns to Joe’s Pub in New York City for six live performances on May 16-18, 2024. She is joined by her long-time collaborator and Grammy® nominated pianist/MD Christian Jacob, Tony Marino on bass and Jamey Haddad on drums.
The Joe’s Pub concerts will take place on May 16-18, 2024 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. (Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. respectively). Joe’s Pub is located at The Public, 425 Lafayette Street. Tickets now on sale HERE.
Most recently, Ms. Buckley is co-starring in the upcoming horror film Imaginary, set for U.S. release March 8, 2024, presented by Lionsgate and Blumhouse. From Blumhouse, the genre-defining masterminds behind Five Nights at Freddy’s and M3GAN, the film explores the universal idea of imaginary friends and childhood connections to them and what otherworldly realms they may inhabit.
Additionally, Ms. Buckley wrote, narrated and produced The Mayfly, an animated short film that will have its world debut on March 24, 2024 at the American Documentary and Animation Film Festival (AmDoc Film Festival) in Palm Springs, Calif. Tickets are available to the public HERE. The Mayfly is directed by award winning animator, Sue Perrotto, and the music is composed by Christian Jacob. BluBlu Studios in Poland is the animation house.
Ms. Buckley will also perform in a tribute concert A BROADWAY BIRTHDAY: Sondheim, Lloyd Webber, and Friends! in Costa Mesa, Calif. The show takes place at the Segerstrom Concert Hall on Thursday, March 28 at 8 p.m. Joining her in performance are Kerry O’Malley, Liz Callaway, Aaron Lazar and Alex Joseph Grayson. Visit www.scfta.org/events/2024/sondheim-lloyd-webber-and-friends for tickets and more information. Her upcoming calendar includes a Master Class and concert at Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA on April 19 and an evening with Christian Jacob at Adelphi University in Garden City, NY on May 11.
Betty Buckley is a legendary, multi-award winning actress/singer whose career spans theater, film, television and concert halls around the world. She is a 2012 Theatre Hall of Fame inductee and the 2017 recipient of the Julie Harris Awards from The Actor’s Fund for Artistic Achievement and received The Lifetime Achievement Award from The American Songbook Association in 2023.
She won a Tony Award for her performance as Grizabella, the Glamour Cat, in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS and received her second Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a musical for her performance as Hesione in Triumph of Love. She received an Olivier Award nomination for her critically acclaimed interpretation of Norma Desmond in the London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard, which she repeated to more rave reviews on Broadway.
Ms. Buckley co-stars in the film Imaginary for Blumhouse Productions and to be released by Lionsgate in March 2024. She co-starred with James McAvoy in the M. Night Shyamalan hit film Split, one of the top international box office hits of 2017. She received a Saturn Award Nomination for Best Featured Actress for her work in the film.
Her other films include her debut in Brian de Palma’s screen version of Stephen King’s Carrie, Bruce Beresford’s Tender Mercies, Roman Polanski’s Frantic, Woody Allen’s Another Woman, Lawrence Kasden’s Wyatt Earp and M. Night Shyamalan’sThe Happening.
Her other Broadway credits include 1776, Pippin, Song and Dance, The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Carrie. She headlined the first National Tour of the new Broadway production of Hello, Dolly! in 2018/2019.
Off-Broadway credits include the world premiere of Horton Foote’s The Old Friends for which she received a Drama Desk Nomination in 2014, White Lies, Lincoln Center’s Elegies, the original NYSF production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, The Eros Trilogy, Juno’s Swans and I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It On the Road. Regional credits include The Perfectionist, Gypsy, The Threepenny Opera, Camino Real, Buffalo Gal, Arsenic and Old Lace, The Old Friends at Houston’s Alley Theatre and Grey Gardens at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, NY and The Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles in 2016 for which she received an Ovation Award Nomination.
In London, she starred in Promises, Promises for which she was nominated for An Evening Standard Award and in the 2013 British premiere of Dear World.
On television, Buckley has a recurring role on “Law & Order SVU” for NBC and guest starred on the Fox/Warner Bros. TV show “The Cleaning Lady.” She co-starred in the third season of AMC’s hit series “Preacher” and has guest starred on The CW hit “Supergirl”, the NBC Series “Chicago Med” and ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars.” For HBO, she has appeared on “Getting On”, “The Leftovers”, “The Pacific” and for three seasons on OZ. She starred as Abby Bradford in the hit series “Eight is Enough.” She appeared twice on The Kennedy Center Honors and was a guest star in numerous television series, miniseries and films for television including Evergreen, Roses for the Rich and Without a Trace. She has been nominated for two Daytime Emmy Awards® for her work on Taking a Stand, an After School special.
In 2022, she released the compilation recording Betty Buckley Sings Stephen Sondheim as a tribute to the late composer. The recording comprises 24 songs Buckley has recorded of Sondheim’s music over the span of her career. She has recorded 18 CD’s: including Ghostlight, produced by T Bone Burnett released in 2014, Story Songs in 2017 and Hope in 2018. Buckley tours in concert worldwide with her ensemble of musicians and in 2015 was featured in the Royal Albert Hall concert of Follies, in celebration of Stephen Sondheim’s 85th birthday.
She received a Grammy Nomination for Stars and the Moon, Betty Buckley Live at the Donmar. She received her second Grammy Nomination for the audio book The Diaries of Adam and Eve.
For over forty years, Ms. Buckley has been a teacher of scene study and song interpretation, giving workshops in Manhattan and various universities and performing Arts Conservatories around the country. She has been a faculty member in the theatre department of the University of Texas at Arlington and teaches regularly at the T. Schreiber Studio in New York City, The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX and in Los Angeles, Denver and Oklahoma.
In 2009, Ms. Buckley received the Texas Medal of Arts Award for Theater and was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2015, she was awarded The Stephen Bruton Award by The Lone Star Film Festival for her work in film and music. In 2018, she received the Sarah Siddons Award for outstanding theatrical performance in a Chicago theatrical production. She has two honorary doctorates from The Boston Conservatory and Marymount College and has been honored with three Lifetime Achievement Awards for her contributions to theater from the New England Theater Conference, The Shubert Theater in New Haven and the Terry Schreiber School in NYC.
Cabaret, Talks and Concerts For March
Brave the rain and head out to the clubs for they abound in entertainment galore. Here are our top picks.
92 Street Y: 1395 Lexington Ave. 3/ 2 – 4: Soul Picnic: The Songs and Legacy of Laura Nyro; 3/ 11: Cabaret Conversations Sally Mayes and 3/18: The Ally: Josh Radnor and Playwright Itamar Moses in Conversation Co-presented with The Public Theater.
Birdland Jazz: 315 West 44 St. Every Monday at 5:30 Vince Giordano and The Nighthawksand 9:30pm Jim Caruso’s Cast Party; Every Tuesday at 8:30pm The Lineup with Susie Mosher; 3/11: It’s De-Lovely: Jeff Harnar Sings Cole Porter and 3/25: Karen Mason In “Just In Styne: Karen Sings Jule”.
Cafe Carlyle: 35 E 76th St. 2/1-3: Through 3/2: Jennifer Holliday; 3/3 – 4: Mallory Portnoy and Nick Blaemire; 3/5 – 20: Hamilton Leithauser and 3/21 -23: Orfeh.
Carnegie Hall: 881 7th Ave at 57th St. 3/15: The New York Pops Hitsville: Celebrating Motown; 3/20: of Sinéad O’Connor and Shane MacGowan; 3/23: Meow, Meow and 3/27: Standard Time with Michael Feinstein.
Moonlight and Love Songs
And so promised Steve Ross in his new show at Birdland, and he delivered both with his customary style, wit, and superb interpretations. This fabled music room takes on the hush of a cathedral when Steve performs there, evidenced by the silent reverence of the audience throughout his performance. Sporting his subtle homage to Cole Porter—a red carnation—Steve began the evening with tunes that described being on the brink of that most coveted of falls, and as the inevitable approached, his carefully curated selections become more tantalizing. Never has “On a Slow Boat to China” been more inviting– sign me up now! A few moon-titled songs followed, including one written by Steve himself. His guest star, Nina Wachenfeld, sang in German and seemed to conjure up Marlene as a bonus.
Kurt Weill and his haunting melodies were presented next, with appropriate tribute given to that great American wordsmith, Ogden Nash. Another aspect of the topic of the evening was Steve’s review of a few songs about love at first sight. Messrs, Coward and Porter put their two cents in, with the penultimate and heartbreaking “This Nearly Was Mine” putting a twinge in the heart of everyone as only Rodgers & Hammerstein can. Cole then did what he does best: teased and tickled the memory with his thoughts on the matter.
Steve’s ability to find new ways to make all these songs new for an audience is part of his wonder. He snapped us out of our dreamy reveries with a joke and then the ever-hilarious “Dolphins” and then encouraged everyone to do what we were aching to do—sing along to some classics from the 1940s. He has an uncanny ability to know what an audience wants and needs and switched the dial to drama with Dietz and Schwartz’s haunting “Dancing in the Dark”. The charming conclusion to this Valentine was the duet of “Married”. I have tried many times to dissect the magic Steve brings to his music and never quite capture it with words. You just must see it for yourself! A performance by Steve Ross is indeed transformative, as his ever-full audiences will attest.
In between engagements on both sides of the Atlantic, Steve appears regularly at Birdland. Check his website for future appearances, and possibly even a master class!
My View: Carole J. Bufford…”You Don’t Know Me”. ( Now We Do)
Her show is titled “You Don’t Own Me” and if anyone in the Palm Beach audience didn’t know Carole J. Bufford before, they certainly do now after her exciting performance last night at Cafe Centro.
Carole J. Bufford, award-winning cabaret star and powerhouse vocalist, returned to Cafe Centro last night with a tribute to the fearless, fabulous females of the 1960s. With the music made famous by Janis Joplin, Tina Turner, Carole King, Dionne Warwick, Dusty Springfield, Nancy Sinatra, Cher, and more, Carole and her quartet put their own inimitable spin on those great song classics in her show You Don’t Own Me. Her electrifying musical tour de force celebrated a time of great change and transition in America and across the pond.
As Carole noted, the musical and cultural landscape was never the same after these bold and daring women planted their flags and ensured their voices were heard. Well, Carole Bufford’s voice was authoritatively heard in West Palm Beach last night as she took charge of each song and brought the music of the 60’s back to life. The moveable spot in the club illuminated this dynamic entertainer thrilling each table in a room filled with her Palm Beach fans.
Ms. Bufford’s good friend and co-producer of the evening Sandy Fisher introduced Carole to the enthusiastic Cafe Centro audience.
Next up in the Fisher/Sorokoff Cabaret series is Dawn Derrow on March 12, and on April 24th one of the hottest acts in show business “The New Belters” Seth Sikes & Nicolas King will be bringing their music to Cafe Centro.
Sex and the City’s Candace Bushnell Returns to Café Carlyle
Iconic author and creator of “Sex and the City” returns to Café Carlyle with her new one-woman show titled “True Tales of Sex, Success and “Sex and the City”, April 23 – 27. Across five performances, the original Carrie Bradshaw takes us on a whirlwind tour of New York City, from Studio 54 to “Sex and the City” to “Lipstick Jungle” and beyond, sharing her remarkable philosophy through stories of fashion, literature, and sex while pouring Cosmos in Manolos.
Candace Bushnell is the critically acclaimed, international best-selling author of ten books, including Is There Still Sex in the City, Sex and the City, Summer and the City, The Carrie Diaries, One Fifth Avenue, Lipstick Jungle, Trading Up, Killing Monica and Four Blondes. With each book, she has deepened her range, but with a light touch that makes her complex literary accomplishments look easy. In August of 2021, Sex and the City, published in 1996, celebrated its 25th anniversary. The book was the basis for the HBO hit series and two subsequent blockbuster movies. Lipstick Jungle became a popular television series on NBC, as did The Carrie Diarieson the CW.
Through her books and television series, Bushnell’s work has influenced and defined more than two generations of women. She is the winner of the 2006 Matrix Award for books (other winners include Joan Didion and Amy Tan), and a recipient of the Albert Einstein Spirit of Achievement Award. Bushnell’s work has famously appeared in Vogue, Esquire, The New York Observer and many other publications.
Her successful one-woman show premiered at the legendary Bucks County Playhouse then moved to off-Broadway at the Daryl Roth Theater in 2021 to rave reviews. Bushnell’s show success has taken her to the UK, before returning to where it all began in New York City.
Notably characterized by First Night Magazine as “an evening of pure joy and entertainment” and “a celebration of Candance Bushnell’s career and the importance and beauty of being a modern, independent woman” by Theatre & Tonic, Candance Bushnell’s “True Tales of Sex, Success and Sex and the City” is a chance to see the woman who started it all in the flesh.
Tickets are available online via Tock— General Seating $150 per person / Premium Seating $200 / Bar Seating $110.
Café Carlyle is located in The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel (35 East 76th Street, at Madison Avenue).
For more information and updates on these exciting events, follow Café Carlyle on Instagram @cafecarlyle and Facebook.
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