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G. H. Harding

SWIFT FEUD — Taylor Swift‘s feud with Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta is going into the “Red.”

 In a statement published Thursday night to her social media channels, Swift writes:

“Guys — It’s been announced recently that the American Music Awards will be honoring me with the Artist of the Decade Award at this year’s ceremony. I’ve been planning to perform a medley of my hits throughout the decade on the show. Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun have now said that I’m not allowed to perform my old songs on television because they claim that would be re-recording my music before I’m allowed to next year.

“Additionally — and this isn’t the way I had planned on telling you this news — Netflix has created a documentary about my life for the past few years. Scott and Scooter have declined the use of my older music or performance footage for this project, even though there is no mention of either of them or Big Machine Records anywhere in the film.

“Scott Borchetta told my team that they’ll allow me to use my music only if I do these things: If I agree to not re-record copycat versions of my songs next year (which is something I’m both legally allowed to do and looking forward to) and also told my team that I need to stop talking about him and Scooter Braun.”

Swift also asks her fans for help:

“Please let Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun know how you feel about this. Scooter also manages several artists who I really believe care about other artists and their work. Please ask them for help with this — I’m hoping that maybe they can talk some sense into the men who are exercising tyrannical control over someone who just wants to play the music she wrote. I’m especially asking for help from The Carlyle Group, who put up money for the sale of my music to these two men.”

Swift’s appeal to the other artists managed by Braun, 38, is an oblique reference to Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato and Justin Bieber.

The 29-year-old’s statement ended on a dismal note: “Right now my performances at the AMA’s, the Netflix documentary and any other recorded events I am planning to play until November of 2020 are a question mark.”

Sources close to Big Machine Records say that Braun wasn’t part of AMA negotiations and rather Borchetta had been dealing with them with Swift’s attorneys.

Our sources also tell us Swift owes Braun and Borchetta $7 million and agreed to sort out the finances afterAMA negotiations settled, but when negotiations fell flat, she threatened to publicly blast them — hence the statement Thursday. Big Machine didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Swift has been embroiled in a public feud with Borchetta and Braun since the latter acquired her masters. She has maintained that she discovered the deal “as it was announced to the world.” Borchetta denied the allegedly false claims, posting screenshots of messages that show she was well aware of the deal and stated her father, Scott Swift, was on investor calls. In September, New York’s Page Six exclusively learned that Swift’s mother, Andrea Swift, also texted Borchetta prior to the deal’s closing asking to discuss it.

My take: This has all gotten way out of hand and put them ALL in a very bad light. Stop all the social-media posting, sit down, have dinner and work it out. It’s really all about millions of dollars. Everyone can be happy. They all look like over-privileged customers. This is not cool at all.

Debbie Harry Face It book cover

HEY DEBBIE —Debbie Harry is a certifiable pop culture icon. Here’s just a fascinating interview with Harry fromRock Cellar Magazine:

As the frontperson for Blondie, the chart-topping New Wave group that grew out of New York City’s fabled CBGBs-fueled punk scene, she became known worldwide as not just one of fashion and style symbols of her era, but one of the most arresting lead singers of late-1970’s and early-80’s, and certainly the premiere female artist of the fertile, post-punk musical landscape.

Her new memoir, the no-holds-barred Face It, is both a love letter to her early days fighting for attention amongst the litany of bands trying to make it on the New York punk scene, a life lived in the extreme, and a how-to (and how not to) for aspiring musicians and artists.

With Blondie’s 2017 album Pollinator proving that the group — and especially her collaborative partnership with guitarist Chris Stein — is still as fertile as ever, and in the midst of a grueling promotional tour for Face It – also available in fantastic audiobook form, narrated by Harry herself, and with original music by Stein – Rock Cellar caught up with Harry, to talk about the old days, why she wanted to write a memoir, and the state of the music scene and the world at large, as she sees it.

Rock Cellar: The response to the book has been great. Tell me, how’s the book tour going, from your perspective?

Debbie Harry: It’s been going really, really well. It was a little bit hectic over in Germany, and in the U.K., because I was covering a lot of ground in a short period of time. But it’s been good. So far, knock wood.

Rock Cellar: Have things in the book resonated with fans, or even critics, that you didn’t expect? Were there surprises, from your point of view?

Debbie Harry: Well … no, not especially. I’m used to people having opinions. It’s something that we deal with. Everybody sure has their opinion, and even more so today, because everybody has a voice and a place to express themselves. So, you know … I appreciate people’s opinions and comments, at least to some degree.

I think we all have learned that we’re entitled to express ourselves. That’s one of the basic concepts of our form of democracy; that we have a freedom of speech. And it comes very naturally to us. But I think one of the things that really stands out for me is that people say that they can really hear me, and that it’s not a contrived voice.

So I really like that. That makes me very happy.

Rock Cellar: That’s the one thing you absolutely want as an author, after you spend all this time, for your own personality to come out. It’s interesting, though, that you say that. The last time we spoke, the Washington Post review had just come out, and the response, especially from your fans, was pretty vehement, that the author had treated you like an object, yet again.

It’s not that you’re blasé, but you write in the book about seeing David Bowie’s dick, and being raped, and other pretty awful things that happened to you, almost as just things that you lived through and dealt with. How do you relate to the #MeToo movement, and do you understand the vehemence? And how do you see it in relation to what you lived through, back in the day?

Debbie Harry: I think we all survived in our own way. Fortunately, for me, I had a really good partner who did not condescend or discriminate against me after some of these things happened. Very supportive.

I also had a really indestructible interest in doing music, and I’m so driven, that my values were in my favor. To go through any kind of trauma is awful, but I sort of felt like it was part of the game, in a way. I think I also have in my personality a great deal of tenacity and stubbornness, though I don’t express it in a real sort of stubborn way. I’m flexible, and I’ve learned to appreciate working in an ensemble situation, which is really valuable.

But nevertheless, I try to keep it going, and that’s given me sort of a backbone or something to fall back on. It has been heartbreaking, and it has been difficult, but I guess I’m a fighter. So I’ve got some things in my personality that are really in my favor. I’ve got some things in my personality that are totally not in my favor, too, of course. But I think maybe the music thing has really been the biggest thing, that I get this real incredible satisfaction from.

Deep, deep, deep satisfaction. I’ve been able to do it my whole life. And I didn’t really expect that. I knew that I loved music and I knew that it did something for me in a very important way, but now I know for sure that it’s really played an important part in my life.

Rock Cellar: You mentioned this, but you clearly had, in Chris and others close to you, a network of people who were really supportive. And you had within yourself a reserve of self-reliance. There’s a gang mentality in a band. Social media, in some ways, has taken that away from people. They tend to vent their anger, or they look for acknowledgement of their ills and pains and whatever, in the world at large, rather than seeking help from their partner or somebody close to them. Their network. Do you agree with that? Do you see that, and world we live in now, as having that as a downside, compared to what you went through? Because clearly things could have turned out differently had you not had Chris and that gang to help you through?

Debbie Harry: Well, in particular, yes, as far as Chris goes. I think that I definitely would not have done the whole band thing without Chris.

I think in terms of the Internet, and people’s isolation, there’s this very real isolation. It’s odd, isn’t it? Isolationism in today’s world, and the world of politics and economy and culture, it just doesn’t work.

It’s over. Isolationism is an old, old story. And cooperation and interaction is the true value; it holds the biggest value. Often, of course, it’s the most difficult to achieve. But the thing that strikes me about it is that people want to have a voice. They want to be heard. They’ve been ignored, or they haven’t been heard, so it’s very exciting and they get to vent and do all this stuff that gets them heard. But what you’re saying is true: After you do that, then to go over and try to be part of a team. That is really a huge challenge.But everybody likes sports. Everybody likes teams. But the principal players on a team are nothing compared to the manager or the coach. That’s my experience.

I don’t think I would have Blondie today if it wasn’t for my management team.

Rock Cellar: So while it’s good to be able to vent, true collaboration is really the thing that’s ultimately the most satisfying, and that will save us? I know you follow politics, so let’s put it in political terms: The resistance and the relentlessness of that resistance is what has led us to this impeachment moment. So it’s not just in the arts. It’s not just in business, for that matter. It sounds like you’re saying that true collaboration is the thing that will save us, ultimately.

Debbie Harry: Yeah. Totally, totally, totally. I’m sure that when I was younger, I didn’t really think of it like that in any way, because I was just trying to get ahead, trying to find myself and find what I was capable of. So I think athletes really get it right, for the most part. They really learn how important that is early. Because having a physicality that is reliant on other people is a real mind fuck, you know?

Rock Cellar: Sure. But in a good sense. I get a sense of a lost New York from the book, and yet you don’t seem to over-glamorize it, or even maybe miss it. What does New York City mean to you in its current state? It’s very different now than when you were first making music, in the early days. 

Debbie Harry: Well, I miss my youth. I think that that was the excitement of it all. We were all of a certain age, and trying very hard to have a band, and be part of the music scene. But it was intimate. It was a small scene, basically. Everybody was sort of turned on by everybody else and what they were doing.

We all helped each other, in terms of inspiration. I think it still exists today, but it’s probably a little bit more sophisticated. And also, the value has changed. The monetary values have changed.

Back then, we weren’t expected to make any money, and everybody was just shuffling along. Everybody wanted to make money, everybody wanted to have a career or a profession, but it sort of didn’t happen immediately, and we all knew it wasn’t going to happen immediately, so we just sort of kept on going anyway, and kept fighting for it.

In a way, I think you’re right about it being over-glamorized. The past always looks a little bit rosier than perhaps it really was. For example, there’s so many of those great musicians and artists and performers that are dead. That didn’t happen because it was so dire. Well, I guess a lot of it was drugs. But some of it was the illness, too. It was just a pressure cooker.

Rock Cellar: Paul Weller always jokes to me that he’s only become a legend because he’s alive.

Debbie Harry: But he’s right! If you can live, you keep on going. That’s something!

Rock Cellar: It’s a lot of the game, isn’t it?

Debbie Harry: It’s a lot, yeah.

Rock Cellar: John Doe and Chris did an event here at City Winery a couple of months ago. I was talking with Chris, and it amazed me how he was really into a lot of current music that I would not have expected. I mean, of course he is, because that’s his thing, and that’s what he’s always been known for, but it made me curious: What do you listen to? Do you listen to music these days? What piques your interest, or do you just listen to playlists from growing up, or the seventies and eighties?

Debbie Harry: Actually, I’ve been on a grunge kick for a while. It’s been sort of like my re-education or something.

But I’m starting to branch out again. Chris and I have always been different on this point. I don’t play music in the house. I tend to watch movies. I don’t know. I listen to a lot of music. I love music. But mostly I listen to it in the car. I really like being in, like, a sound booth, because I’m always analyzing everything. I went to see an artist last night, Steven Sayeed. He’s working with Hal Willner. Our keyboard player, Matt Katz-Bohen, was backing him up, so I went out to see them.

So I don’t know. It’s just a part of my routine. It’s what I do. I go out, I see music. I like live music. I like going on the road. I like going to festivals and seeing bands.

I went to the Afropunk festival in Brooklyn. It was so fabulous. It was great. I got to see some artists that I hadn’t seen in a while. Santigold was there, people like that. So I think really what I enjoy is live stuff. When I listen to recorded music, it’s always because I’m listening to how it’s done, and what the sounds they used are.

I’ve turned into one of those people who watches movies and thinks about how it was shot, except with music. Some people listen to music and they go off into the mood of it. That’s a different kind of listening. Maybe it’s just a phase I’m in, I suppose. But to answer your question, I like Chopin, and I like some of the classics. Occasionally I’ll listen to some of the arias, some operas that I really like. Sometimes I listen to jazz.

I don’t have real leash.

Face it, Harry’s a certified icon. Great interview! Kudos.

 J. Robert Spencer

SHORT TAKES —TONY-nominated J. Robert Spencer, from the original cast of Jersey Boys on Broadway and now the Midtown Men, has a new holiday single out next week, “Waiting On Christmas.” We’ll have more on this terrific effort Wednesday as he’s here in town next week …

Brian May and Micky Dolenz 

Micky Dolenz, about to begin the second leg of the 50 Years Ago Today tour, was thrilled to have Queen’s Brian May backing him up at last week’s James BurtonFoundation-event in Nashville. Micky did “Johnny B. Goode” … Rupert Holmes, performing “Escape: The Pina Colada Song” at last week’s stellar Rockers On Broadway, had a reunion with Rockers-PR man David Salidor, who worked for the PR-office who handled the PR-on the song. Holmes remarked at was almost 40 years to the day .. and, that they both looked pretty good all these years later. Funny! … Saw former Newsday-music writer Wayne Robbins at My Father’s Place. Now teaching at St. John’s, it was great to re-connect. Back in the day, a good review from Robbins could make-or-break an act …

Mark Bego with Philippine DeSmedt

Celebrity author Mark Bego sat with TV producer Philippine DeSmedt at the taping of a new documentary on the life and legend of Aretha Franklin, for the European Artenetwork.  Bego is the author of the Number One best seller Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul. The program is scheduled air in February of 2020. Steve Walter’s Cutting Room holds a cocktail-reception for Bego’s book with Surpeme-Mary Wilson (Supreme Glamour), tonight …Jazz-artist Nicole Henry is at My Father’s Place, January 16. Our super-spy Mr. Fisch says this highly recommended. Check her out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abXr06kstOI&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR0y9-i9SFvPXkBurD1C2hj5WBuUCscplbKFsuakBPa8eU6SDa6YnGDYseg … Billboard yesterday announced their Top 125 artists of all-time, in celebration of the magazine’s 125th anniversary. On that list, Chicago is ranked #10, which is so well deserved and amazing at the same time. But after analyzing their list, it dawned on me that Chicago is the Top American Band of All-Time!  Just think of the bigness of that title! Well done lads!!! …

Bob Lefsetz

Interesting piece from Page Six, on blob-blogger Bob Lefsetz and Sharon Osbourne. Lefsetz should have left years ago. What a bore. Here it is: https://pagesix.com/2019/11/15/sharon-osbourne-rips-into-music-blogger-in-savage-leaked-email/ … What ever happened to Eagle Rock Entertainment? We used to be serviced with news and sometimes even DVDs, of their latest releases … many of which were rather splendid.  Have they gone Chapter 11? … I’ve always been a fan of Eddie Murphy. Sure, he’s done some real questionable movies, but his appearance in Dreamgirls and that first Beverly Hills Cop were both miraculous. I saw his newest Dolemite Is My Name and it’s a rip-roaring smash … just terrific. A true story based on Rudy Ray Moore, its just sensational and Wesley Snipes almost steals the movie. I have to admit, its now in my top ten of the year!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Eppy; Barry Fisch; J. Robert Spencer; Donnie Kehr; Bar 9; Cori Gardner; Keith Girard; Markos Papadatos; Claire Mecuri; Maritime Music; John Reid; Tony King; Magda Katz; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; and, Ziggy!

G. H. Harding is a four decades insider to the entertainment world. He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production companies and several cable outlets. His anonymity is essential in bringing an unbiased view to his writings on pop culture. He is based in NYC.

Off Broadway

A Sign Of The Times Revists The Sounds of The 60’s

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I grew up with the songs of Petula Clark, The Monkeys, Nancy Sinatra, Dusty Springfield and Lesley Gore, so I could not wait to see this production. These songs from my childhood are all featured in the new off-Broadway show A Sign of the Times, playing at New World Stages. The problem here is Joseph Church’s orchestration, musical direction by Britt Bonney and dance arrangements by David Dabbon don’t do justice to “I Know a Place,”“The Boy From New York City,” “It’s A Sign of The Times,” “Call Me,”“Downtown,” “The Shoop Shoop Song,” “Rescue Me” and more. They also for the most part, do not have singers who understand the genre, which has a pop sound not a musical theatre cadence.

The book by Lindsey Hope Pearlman (based on a story by Richard J. Robin), is over the top camp in the first act, but settles down in the second. Gabriel Barre’s direction is also inconsistent, which you wish for both of these element to be better as they take on issues such as sexism, racism, women’s rights and the Vietnam War.

Chilina Kennedy (center) stars in the off-Broadway premiere of A Sign of the Times, directed by Gabriel Barre, for the York Theatre Company at New World Stages. Photo by Jeremy Daniel

We begin in Centerville, Ohio New Year’s Eve 1965 as Cindy (Chilina Kennedy) decides she wants a career and not marriage to her boyfriend Matt (Justin Matthew Sargent). Cindy longs to go New York City, and make it in the world as a photographer.

Akron Lanier Watson (center) plays Cody in A Sign of the Times, directed by Gabriel Barre, for the York Theatre Company at New World Stages. Photo by Jeremy Daniel)

On the bus to NYC Cindy meets Cody (Akron Lanier Watson) “President Emeritus of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, University of Buffalo Chapter.” He is on a mission to improve race relations.

Cindy finds an apartment with Tanya (Crystal Lucas-Perry) who wants to make it in the music business.

Cindy gets a job and a romance with sexist Brian (Ryan Silverman), as Tanya hooks up with Cody, as Matt is sent to Vietnam.

In the end a happy ending transpires and you are left with some moments that leave you singing the soundtrack that is oh so singable.

As the lead Ms. Kennedy does not have a powerful singing voice until Act 2, where she excels in “You Don’t Own Me”. She also makes you understand Cindy’s dreams and longing for independence.

Who steals the show is Lucas-Perry singing “Rescue Me” and “Somethings Got A Hold On Me”.

Matthew Sargent in the beginning vocally lapses into the musical theatre genre, but when he allows his voice to get gravelly “Last Train to Clarksville” and “Eve of Destruction,” he excels.

Lanier Watson also has moments, but isn’t as strong as he should be vocally.

Silverman is strong vocally and makes chauvinism as creepy as a snake shedding it’s skin.

The choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter, is a hit and miss with some of the ensemble making it look effortless and the other half making it look like they are trying too much.

Johanna Pan’s costumes are also hit and miss.

In the second act  “Gimme Some Lovin” “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss)””Don’t Sleep In the Subway” and others really make you miss this infectious music that guided our lives.

What does shine is Evan Adamson’s scenic design; Ken Billington’s lighting; Shannon Slaton’s sound design; Brad Peterson’s projection design; and J. Jared Janas’ hair, wig and makeup. Also before the show old TV commercials put you in the mood.

What does make A Sign of the Times shine is that you really get to hear the lyrics of these songs and really see how songwriting was done. Ahh to have the music and innocents back again.

A Sign of the Times: New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street.

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Cabaret

An A-Mayes-ment in black and white 

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Imagine the surprise, when expecting the sweet and bouncy lady you’ve known from the Broadway stage—you know, the one who is part Dorothy Loudon/part Anita Gillette—takes the stage and delivers a program that reveals her to be a jazz baby as well. The lady in question is of course Sally Mayes in Now and Then/Jazz Standard Time. 

Yep, Sally’s back, bedecked in a black-and-white outfit with just enough subtle sparkle to be seductive.  As sassy as ever, with a glint in her eye like the female Harold Hill, she presented a selection of songs that were rousing, heart-rending, funny, and overall fabulous. Fueled by talent we all know and love and coupled with an energy and verve that were enviable, she was entrancing. This was a new Sally and one I was very pleased to meet. With Tedd Firth as Musical Director and Tom Hubbard supporting on bass, a sensational evening was virtually guaranteed. 

Sally began with “Cloudburst”, a tongue-twister of a tune that revealed her verbal as well as vocal dexterity. She then switched gears, spoke of her son and his birth which led to “The Way You Look Tonight” sung almost as a lullaby. Her delivery of “Don’t Blame Me” which had been arranged by the much-missed Mike Renzi revealed some of the truthfulness and vulnerability that makes her such a beloved performer. A hint of Peggy Lee was to be spotted, which just added to the magic of the evening.  There was plenty of scat and lots of giggles as Sally told stories about her mother, life in Westchester, and other peeks into her life that made her feel like an old friend. 

If you missed this performance, fear not—there’s more to come! Sally will be returning to The Green Room 42 (570 Tenth Avenue in YOTEL).  Make reservations early—you don’t want to miss these two:  

The Stories on May 16 and The Broadway Extravaganza on June 20 

One caution: The overly enthusiastic lighting features the equivalent of headlights flashing, quite disconcerting and unnecessary.  It had me yearning for my cataracts.  Next time I’ll bring sunglasses.

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Cabaret

An Evening With Richard Holbrook and The Tom Nelson Trio

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 Richard Holbrook along with The Tom Nelson Trio performed at 54 Below in Richard Holbrook: Twenty Plus Four In 2024. This anniversary show celebrated Mr Holbrook’s twenty-four years of  singing in New York City. With Tom Nelson on piano; Tom Kirchmer on bass; and Peter Grant on drums they returned to 54 Below this week with his  latest show, directed by MAC Award-winning cabaret performer Jeff Harnar.

As always Richard shows his sophisticated style making each song very personal. He can take any song and add his personal touch. Richard is also a four-time MAC Award nominee. My favorite part of the show was Richard’s take on some of Charles Aznavour songs. He shows off his deep understanding of Aznavour’s dramatic songs. 

Richard’s debut in musical theater happened when he was a freshman in high school and got cast in a production of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. This began a life-long love affair with performing. Richard appeared on such hit television series as “The Sopranos”,  “Spin City”, and “Law & Order: (Season 22). No stranger to daytime television, he frequently appeared in “All My Children” and “One Life to Live”. In regional theatre he performed in productions which included leading roles in Deathtrap and The Subject Was Roses.

In 1985 Richard started performing in cabaret venues throughout Manhattan which he continues to do to this day. Over the years, he has done highly acclaimed cabaret shows with musical direction by Tom Nelson. In 2003, he did a tribute to Fred Astaire by focusing on the legendary dancer’s other talents … that of a singer and a musician. The act Richard Holbrook: The Untapped Fred Astaire, received critical acclaim.  In August, 2004, Richard released his first CD entitled Richard Holbrook Steps Out. This recording features Richard, accompanied by The Tom Nelson Trio, singing several well-known songs from his Astaire show and other selections by such composers as Portia Nelson, Ronny Whyte, and Kander & Ebb.  

Between 2008 and 2015, Richard successfully performed his cabaret act Richard Sings Burton – The Songs of Burton Lane at such venues as Don’t Tell Mama, The Metropolitan Room, and Feinstein’s/54 Below. In March, 2015, Richard reprised the show at Feinstein’s / 54 Below.  After that, Richard’s tribute to the legendary composer Richard Rodgers, Richard Holbrook: Richard Sings Rodgers With A Lot Of Heart, was presented in October, 2015 at The Metropolitan Room. It received excellent notices and played to sell-out crowds. All three tribute shows – Fred Astaire, Burton Lane, and Richard Rodgers – were directed by Richard Barclay. 

 In 2013, Richard was diagnosed with single cell carcinoma (cancer of the jaw) and successfully underwent a thirteen-hour operation in which his jaw was replaced with the fibula of his left leg. After five months of recovery, Richard resumed his singing career. For the past several years, Richard has presented a musical tribute to the lyrics of Alan Jay Lerner, as well as his annual Christmas cabaret fund-raising shows at Don’t Tell Mama for The Cancer Support Community. In the summer of 2024, Richard and his musical director Tom Nelson presented his anniversary show at 54 Below celebrating their twenty-three years of working together. This show was a reprise that show.

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Cabaret

Cabaret News: ROSIE: A New Musical, Karen Mason, The Wicked Stage: Songs About Show Business, Lisa Dawn Miller and Late Night Vibing: Asian R&B

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54 Below, Broadway’s Supper Club, presents ROSIE: A New Musical by Annika Stenstedt on March 31st, 2024 at 9:30pm. Join us for an empowering evening featuring the songs of this new musical based on Rosie the Riveter and all the “We Can Do It” women who worked on the homefront of World War II. Experience the public debut of ROSIE’s sweeping, emotional score, which both celebrates and interrogates the legacy of the iconic feminist symbol. Featuring a stunning cast, including theater favorites and recent NYU Tisch graduates, the concert will share a special glimpse into a project that has been years in the making.

ROSIE: A New Musical is written and created by Annika Stenstedt. The concert is produced by Annika Stenstedt, Brie Leftwich, and Caroline Lace McPherson. The cast includes Cara Rose DiPietro, Chris King, Demiah Latreece, Amanda Leske, Sean Manucha, Caroline Lace McPherson, Marissa Mitchell, Joey Morof, Olivia Ondrasik, Senna Prasatthong, Annika Stenstedt, Gus Stuckey, Mona Swain, and Hannah Lauren Wilson. The band also features Henry Wolf on Drums and Gus Stuckey on Trumpet.

ROSIE: A New Musical by Annika Stenstedt plays 54 Below (254 West 54th Street) on March 31st, 2024 at 9:30pm.

Birdland Jazz Club will present the return of Broadway, concert and recording star Karen Mason in the debut of a new show “Just in Styne: Karen Sings Jule” – honoring Jule Styne, one of her favorite songwriters – on Monday, March 25 at 7:00 PM. From the first time she sang for Mr. Styne in New York City, to performing in a concert in his honor at Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Karen has made the songs of Jule Styne a part of her musical life. This new concert may include Broadway tunes “Just in Time” and “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” and pop standards “Time After Time” and “Three Coins in the Fountain.” Karen will be joined by Christopher Denny on piano and Tom Hubbard on bass. The show will be directed by Barry Kleinbort. There is a $30-4o music charge. Birdland is located at 315 West 44th Street in New York.

Karen Mason was seen playing Mrs. Marsh on Ryan Murphy’s “Halston” on Netflix. On tour, was last seen as Madame Giry in the North American premiere of Love Never Dies, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s epic sequel to The Phantom of the Opera. On Broadway, she starred as The Queen of Hearts in Wonderland and originated the role of Tanya in Mamma Mia! (2002 Drama Desk nomination as Best Actress). Her other leading roles include Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard on Broadway and in Los Angeles for three years; Velma von Tussel in the Broadway company of Hairspray; “Monotony” singer and Mazeppa in Jerome Robbins’ Broadway. In regional theater, Karen starred in Chasing Rainbows (Paper Mill Playhouse), A Christmas Story as Miss Shields; White Christmas (St. Louis Muni Opera); Side by Side by Sondheim (Coconut Grove Playhouse in Florida); Gypsy (Sundance Theatre in California); Company (Huntington Theatre in Boston). Off-Broadway, she won the Outer Critics Circle Award for her performance in And the World Goes ‘Round.

She is a 14-time MAC Award winner, and was the recipient of the 2019 MAC Lifetime Achievement Award. She also won 3 Bistro Awards. Her eight recordings include the single “It’s About Time,” written by Paul Rolnick and Shelly Markham; her 2009 MAC Award-winning Right Here/ Right NowThe Sweetest of NightsWhen the Sun Comes OutChristmas! Christmas! Christmas!Better Days (featuring the 1998 Emmy Award-winning song “Hold Me”); and Not So Simply Broadway. Also, Wonderland (original cast); the film Jeffrey (Varese Sarabande); Wonderful Town (JAY Records); the cast album of And the World Goes ‘Round (RCA Victor).

54 Below, Broadway’s Supper Club, present The Wicked Stage: Songs About Show Business on Monday, March 25th at 7pm, in-person and streaming live.Everything about it is appealing!” Hear musical tales from Broadway, Tinseltown, TV & popular song about the colorful characters  who create the crazy business called SHOW.”
Musical theatre comedienne & Sirius XMs On Broadway DJ Christine Pedi  will host  & perform  along with John Bolton (Anastasia, A Christmas Story, Dames at Sea), Cabaret & Jazz legend Marilyn Maye,  Tony Award® nominee Lee Roy Reams (42nd  St, Applause, Hello, Dolly!), and Zal Owen (Harmony, The Band’s Visit). Music direction by Michael Lavine.
Christine Pedi (Chicago, Forbidden Broadway, Newsical) and Michael Lavine  (renowned vocal coach and musical archivist) have created and performed in many memorable evenings at 54 Below. The Wicked Stage features Broadways most vivacious performers from many of your favorite shows past and present singing songs (and telling tales)  from the stage, screen and beyond that tell the  stories  of show people”  who are like NO people YOU know!  From Norma Desmond to Harold Hill, from Show Boat to A Chorus Line, the evening features songs about the ups, down, ins, outs, highs and lows, passions and pitfalls of performing.

New York’s newest hotspot for intimate dining and extraordinary music – will celebrate one of Motown’s most successful hitmakers in “For Once in My Life: The Songs of Ron Miller” on Monday, March 25 at 7:00 PM. Produced by his daughter Lisa Dawn Miller, the show salutes the legendary songwriter and producer, who penned some of the label’s biggest hits including multiple-Grammy Award winner “For Once in My Life,” recorded by over 700 major label artists and inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Some of his other standards include “Touch Me in the Morning,” “Heaven Help Us All,” “A Place in the Sun,” “Yester-me, Yester-you, Yesterday,” “Someday at Christmas,” “I’ve Never Been to Me,” and “If I Could.” Ron’s songs have been featured in numerous blockbuster and Academy Award-winning films, and on countless television shows throughout the decades. This evening, which will feature special guests, features music director Ryan Rose. Tickets are $25-$45 in addition to a service charge and a two-item food and beverage minimum. A livestream option is available for $20. Chelsea Table + Stage is located at 152 West 26th Street.

Lisa Dawn Miller is a singer, songwriter and producer as well as the daughter of legendary songwriter, Ron Miller. She produces and stars as “Frank’s One Love” in the critically acclaimed hit musical “Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack,” which tours throughout the U.S. and is currently in its 14th season. She also produces and directs the musical comedy “My Buddy,” and has produced multiple recordings and directed numerous music videos. Lisa is set to release three new singles this summer under a new distribution deal with The Orchard, a subsidiary of Sony Music: “I Need Your Love,” “Rhythm of Me,” and “There You Are,” as well as a new EDM dance record, “I’ve Been to Paradise,” an interpolation of her father’s classic, “I’ve Never Been to Me.” In 2022, she signed a new publishing deal with Sony Music Publishing to administer her father’s songs. The new deal expands upon a decades-long partnership between Millers’ songs and the publishing giant. Lisa runs her own music publishing company, LDM Worldwide and record label, J-Wall Records. She manages her father’s vast legacy song catalogue.

Ron Miller (1932-2007), the legendary Motown songwriter, wrote numerous hit songs which have sold in the hundreds of millions, with recordings by some of the biggest recording artists of all time, including Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Michael Bublé, and Celine Dion. His songs have been reimagined for every generation with several recordings by even the artists of today, including Justin Bieber, LeAnn Rimes, Jackie Evancho, Noah Cyrus, and Oliver Richman. Ron’s songs have been featured in numerous top-grossing films and on countless television shows throughout the decades as well as in major ad campaigns by the largest global companies and brands. Ron has numerous RIAA gold and multi-platinum records and multiple BMI awards. His songs have won several Grammy Awards including in 2005 for “Heaven Help Us All,” the last song recorded by the legendary Ray Charles.

The Green Room 42 – the intimate concert venue dubbed Broadway’s “off-night hotspot” by The New York Times – will present the special concert “Late Night Vibing: Asian R&B” on Monday, March 18 at 9:30 PM. From artists of 88rising (Joji, NIKI, keshi) and Kpop (Jungkook, Jay Park) to soulful American songwriters (H.E.R., Jhené Aiko) and more, Asian R&B has had an undeniable impact on both the global music scene and broader Asian community. Experience iconic songs from all of your favorite singers performed by an all-AAPI/BIPOC ensemble of star-studded vocalists.

The creative team for “Late Night Vibing: Asian R&B” includes co-producer, director and vocalist Yu Hin Bryan Chan (“54 Sings Allegiance,” Cinderella), music director Rose Van Dyne (Broadway’s 1776, Spring Awakening), co-producer Cindy Tsai (Producer Hub, New York Civil Liberties Union), and arranger Max Addae (Upper Structure LAAF ‘22). The concert will star Roger Rees Award finalist Cassidy Baltazar (The Vendetta), Cindy Tsai (The Chinese Lady, Jeanette: The Musical), Sushma Saha (Broadway’s 1776, Interstate), George Davidson-Dennis (Carousel, A Chorus Line), and Yu Hin Bryan Chan.

 “Late Night Vibing: Asian R&B” will be performed on Monday, March 18 at 9:30 PM at The Green Room 42 (570 Tenth Avenue at 42nd Street, on the 4th Floor of Yotel). The cover charge ranges from $20-$50. A livestream option is available for $20. For tickets, please visit www.TheGreenRoom42.com.

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Theatre News: Here We Are, Water For Elephants, Tuesdays with Morrie, The Tempest: A Surround Sound Odyssey, FIVE: The Parody Musical, Forbidden Broadway

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Producers Tom Kirdahy, Sue Wagner, John Johnson, and The Stephen Sondheim Trust announced today that the critically acclaimed world premiere production of Here We Are, the new musical from David Ives and Stephen Sondheim that debuted at The Shed’s Griffin Theater in 2023, was filmed by the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive (TOFT) at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, and added to its collection. The complete show was filmed by TOFT in December of 2023 and is now available and free to view by anyone with a library card.

 Here We Are is directed by two-time Tony Award winner Joe Mantello, and features Francois Battiste, Tracie Bennett, Bobby Cannavale, Micaela Diamond, Amber Gray, Jin Ha, Rachel Bay Jones, Denis O’Hare, Steven Pasquale, David Hyde Pierce, and Jeremy Shamos.

The musical features a book by Tony Award nominee David Ives, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and is inspired by two films, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and The Exterminating Angel, by Luis Buñuel.

Here We Are opened on October 22, 2023 at The Shed and performed its final show on January 21, 2024.

Water For Elephants is announcing their Tent Talkback Series with members of the creative team following selected Saturday matinees between March 2 through April 6, at the Imperial Theatre (249 West 45th Street).  Creative team members will include book writer Rick Elice and composers and lyricists PigPen Theatre Co.  The Water For Elephants Tent Talkback Series will be a moderated 15-minute discussion about the creative process and development of the show and commence at the conclusion of selected Saturday matinee performances.

Tent Talkback Series Schedule

Saturday, March 2, matinee performance

Saturday, March 9, matinee performance

Saturday, March 30, matinee performance

Saturday, April 6, matinee performance

Water For Elephants is based on the critically acclaimed and New York Times Bestselling novel by Sara Gruen. The new musical has a book by three-time Tony Award nominee Rick Elice (Jersey Boys, Peter and the Starcatcher), a soaring score by the acclaimed PigPen Theatre Co. (The Tale of Despereaux) and is directed by Tony Award nominee Jessica Stone (Kimberly Akimbo).

The cast stars Grant Gustin (“The Flash”, “Glee”) in his Broadway debut, Isabelle McCalla (The Prom, Shucked), four-time Tony Award nominee Gregg Edelman (City of Angels), Drama Desk and Outer Critic Circle Award nominee Paul Alexander Nolan (Slave Play), Stan Brown (“Homicide: Life in the Streets”), Joe De Paul (Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion), Sara Gettelfinger (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) and Wade McCollum(Wicked) and features Brandon Block, Antoine Boissereau, Rachael Boyd, Paul Castree, Ken Wulf Clark, Taylor Colleton, Gabriel Olivera de Paula Costa, Isabella Luisa Diaz, Samantha Gershman, Keaton Hentoff-Killian, Nicolas Jelmoni, Caroline Kane, Harley Ross Beckwith McLeish, Michael Mendez, Samuel Renaud, Marissa Rosen, Alexandra Gaelle Royer, Asa Somers, Charles South, Sean Stack, Matthew Varvar and Michelle West.

After losing what matters most, a young man jumps a moving train unsure of where the road will take him and finds a new home with the remarkable crew of a traveling circus, and a life—and love—beyond his wildest dreams. Seen through the eyes of his older self, his adventure becomes a poignant reminder that if you choose the ride, life can begin again at any age.

The award-winning Sea Dog Theater’s production of Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie, by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom, based on the book by Albom, directed by Erwin Maas (NY Times Critic’s Pick for Poison and A Kid Like Rishi), starring Tony Award winner and Emmy nominee Len Cariou (Sweeney Todd original cast, CBS’s “Blue Bloods”) and three-time NYIT “Best Actor” nominee Chris Domig.Tuesdays with Morrie runs March 1 – 23 in a limited engagement at St. George’s Episcopal Church (209 East 16 St.) Opening night is March 7.Two post-show talkbacks are scheduled during the run. On Monday, March 4, Len Cariou and Judy Kaye will discuss working with Stephen Sondheim. On Monday, March 18, Len and Abigail Hawk will discuss working on CBS’s “Blue Bloods.”Tuesdays with Morrie is the humorous and poignant story of career-obsessed journalist Mitch Albom, who sixteen years after graduation serendipitously learns that his former sociology professor Morrie is battling Lou Gehrig’s Disease. What starts as a simple visit, turns into a weekly pilgrimage and the last class in the meaning of life.Featuring vocalist Sally Shaw. Original music written and performed on piano by Chris Domig.

The Perelman Performing Arts Center (PAC NYC, Executive Director Khady Kamara Nunez and Artistic Director Bill Rauch) announces complete casting and creative team for An American Soldier at the new performing arts center at the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.  An American Soldier will premiere in New York during AANHPI Heritage Month with performances starting May 12 through May 19, 2024.

An American Soldier will feature principal cast members Hannah Cho, Alex DeSocio, Nina Yoshida Nelsen and Brian Vu. Ensemble members include Ben Brady, Cierra Byrd, James C. Harris, Shelén Hughes, Joshua Sanders, Christian Simmons and understudies, Misoon Ghim, Luke Harnish and Angela Yam. Photos of the company are available here.

An American Soldier features scenic design by Daniel Ostling, costume design by Linda Cho, lighting design by Jeanette Yew and multi-media design by Nick Hussong, joining the previously announced creative team members Huang Ruo (composer), David Henry Hwang (libretto), Carolyn Kuan (conductor), and Chay Yew (director).

On October 3, 2011, Chinese-American Army Pvt. Danny Chen was found dead in a guard tower at his base in Afghanistan. Based on his story and the ensuing courts-martial of Chen’s fellow soldiers, this New York City premiere opera tells the powerful true story of a young soldier from Manhattan’s Chinatown who sought to serve his country, only to find his biggest threat was the very people who swore to protect him.

Told through the multidimensional music of Huang Ruo (M. Butterfly, Book of Mountains and Seas) with libretto by Tony and Grammy winner David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly, Soft Power), and directed by Obie Award winner Chay Yew (Cambodian Rock Band, Sweatshop Overlord), An American Soldier is a powerful and unforgettable experience.

Due to popular demand, Knock at the Gate producers Joseph Discher and Sean Hudock announced a two-week extension of their audio immersive streaming production of The Tempest: A Surround Sound Odyssey, now available to stream virtually through Saturday, March 16.

Tickets for the stream are $9.99 and are available for purchase at KnockattheGate.com. The broadcast is available worldwide on all internet connected devices with a dimmable screen and a pair of headphones. Audiences will receive a link and password to access the listening portal prior to the broadcast.

The cast includes Hale Appleman (SyFy’s “The Magicians,” FX’s “American Horror Story”) as ‘Ariel,’ Tony® and Grammy® Award nominee Emily Skeggs (Broadway’s Fun Home) as ‘Miranda,’ Joel de la Fuente (Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle) as ‘Prospero,’ and Derek Wilson (Amazon’s “Gen V,” Hulu’s “Future Man”) as ‘Caliban.’ Rounding out the cast are Michael Daly, Sean Hudock, Greg Jackson, Maurice Jones, Raphael Nash Thomspon, Shane Taylor, Patrick Toon.

Due to popular demand, producers of FIVE: The Parody Musical have put a new block of tickets on sale through April 21. The world-premiere production, initially announced as a limited four-week engagement, will now play an additional 6 weeks Off-Broadway at Theater 555 (555 W 42nd St, NYC). For tickets and further information, visit www.FiveTheMusical.com.

Look out SIX, here comes FIVE: The Parody Musical. Henry VIII and his six wives had nothing on Donald, the 45th, and these five ladies. Poised to make America laugh again, FIVE is an 80-minute, irreverent musical comedy revue starring some of the women in the life of America’s past President. Ivana, Marla, and Melania are joined by crowd favorite Stormy and daddy’s girl Ivanka as they each take the spotlight and sing their hearts out for your vote.

Presented by Five Musical LLC, FIVE: The Parody Musical features a book and lyrics by Shimmy Braun & Moshiel Newman Daphna, music and lyrics by Billy Recce (A Musical About Star Wars, Little Black Book), and direction and choreography by Jen Wineman (Dog Man: The Musical, F#%king Up Everything).

FIVE: The Parody Musical features Anyae Anasia as Ivana, Gabriella Joy Rodriguez (The Color Purple Tour) as Marla, Jaime Lyn Beatty (Stranger Sings! The Parody Musical, Starkid Founding Member) as Melania, Gabi Garcia as Stormy, and Hannah Bonnett (Legally Blonde National Tour) as Ivanka, with a special appearance by drag legend Jasmine Rice LaBeija as Hillary Clinton.

Forbidden Broadway will open on Broadway titled Forbidden Broadway on Broadway: Merrily We Stole a Song. It will begin previews on July 29 and open August 15 at the Hayes Theater. Creator Gerard Alessandrini, a Tony honoree for the musical’s Off-Broadway stagings, will direct the Broadway production and it will play a limited run through November 1.The musical revue will feature a five-person cast, who will be joined weekly by guest stars. The production will parody Back to the Future, Company, The Great Gatsby, Hell’s Kitchen, Into the Woods, Merrily We Roll Along, The Notebook, Sweeney Todd and Water for Elephants. Forbidden Broadway on Broadway is produced by Broadway & Beyond Theatricals (Ryan Bogner, Victoria Lang and Tracey Stroock McFarland) in association with John Freedson and Harriet Yellin.”

 

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