Thursday, May 5, 2011

BOOM! The Callaway Sisters: Ann Hampton and Liz


I'm VERY EXCITED because tonight, Birdland
Presents THE CALLAWAY SISTERS
in
BOOM!
Be there for the long-awaited live recording for PS Classics!


Photo: Bill Westmoreland. I first became familiar with Ann Hampton Callaway when I heard she was going to be on Joe Franklin's TV show.

I thought I was going to see Cab Callaway's daughter. This TALL DRINK OF WATER walked out. My first thought was, "This isn't Cab Callaway's daughter!".
My second thought was "I'm in LOVE with her!" after she sat down at the piano and began to sing. Over the years, I used to enjoy going up to The Bradstan Inn to see her. The first cd of hers I bought was her tribute to Ella Fitzgerald. I have bought many of her cds since then.I have several of her songs on my Ipod (which is always on shuffle).
Believe it or not, I have over 5000 songs on my Ipod. However, I don't think a day goes by that I don't hear Ann, or Liz, or both together on my Ipod. Visit Ann's website at http://www.annhamptoncallaway.com
ANN HAMPTON CALLAWAY is one of the leading champions of the great American Songbook, having made her mark as a singer, pianist, composer, lyricist, arranger, actress, educator, TV host and producer. A born entertainer, her unique singing style blends jazz and traditional pop, making her a mainstay in concert halls, theaters and jazz clubs as well as in the recording studio, on television, and in film. She is best known for Tony-nominated performance in the hit Broadway musical Swing! and for writing and singing the theme song to the hit TV series The Nanny. Callaway is a Platinum Award winning writer whose songs are featured on six of Barbra Streisand's recent CD's. The only composer to have collaborated with Cole Porter, she has also written songs with Carole King, Rolf Lovland and Barbara Carroll to name a few.

Callaway's live performances showcase her warmth, spontaneous wit and passionate delivery of standards, jazz classics and originals. She is one of America's most gifted improvisers, taking words and phrases from her audiences and creating songs on the spot, whether alone at a piano or with a symphony orchestra.
Ann has been a special guest performer with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood and is featured at many of the Carnegie Hall tributes. She has sung with more than twenty-five of the world's top orchestras and big bands, and has performed for President Clinton in Washington, D.C. and at President Gorbachev's Youth Peace Summit in Moscow. Callaway performed with her sister, Broadway star Liz Callaway, in their award-winning show Sibling Revelry at London's Donmar Warehouse. Their newest act "Boom!", a celebration of the babyboomer hits of the 60's and 70's, has garnered rave reviews and is being recorded live this week during their run at Birdland this May 3-7.


Ann is featured on the new Arbor's Records CD Johnny Mandel: the Man and His Music. Her recent solo CD's At Last, Blues in the Night, Slow and Signaturet have received high critical acclaim. She has recorded two popular holiday CD's- Holiday Pops! With Peter Nero and the Philly Pops, and her solo CD, This Christmas. Ann's other recordings include Easy Living, To Ella with Love, After Ours, Bring Back Romance, Ann Hampton Callaway, and the award-winning live recording Sibling Revelry. Callaway has also been a guest performer on more than forty CD's including Kenny Barron's latest CD The Traveler.

Award-winning actress, singer and recording artist Liz Callaway made her Broadway debut in Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along. She received a Tony Award nomination for her performance in Baby, and for five years, appeared as Grizabella in Cats. She has also starred in the original casts of Miss Saigon, The Three Musketeers, and The Look of Love.

Off-Broadway, she received a Drama Desk nomination for her performance in The Spitfire Grill, and also appeared in No Way to Treat a Lady, Marry Me a Little, Godspell, and Brownstone. Other New York appearances include Hair in Concert, the legendary Follies in Concert at Lincoln Center , A Stephen Sondheim Evening, and Fiorello! at Encores! She also starred as Venus in the Chicago Ovations! production of One Touch of Venus, and in Elegies at Reprise! in Los Angeles .

The award-winning Sibling Revelry (created with sister Ann Hampton Callaway) was presented to great acclaim at the Donmar Warehouse in London . Originally produced at New York ’s Rainbow and Stars, the show was recorded live by DRG Records.
Relative Harmony, also created with her sister opened to rave reviews in New York and Los Angeles . She had the pleasure of co-starring with Jimmy Webb & Paul Williams in their critically acclaimed engagement at Feinstein’s in New York . Her extensive concert and symphony work includes appearances at The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, The Hollywood Bowl, and on tour with the Boston Pops. Worldwide, she has performed in China , Iceland , Estonia , France , Slovenia , Seoul , South Korea , and Barcelona , Spain where she premiered a new concert featuring the music of Stephen Sondheim at Gran Teatre del Liceu.

Liz sang the Academy Award-nominated song “Journey to the Past” in the animated feature Anastasia. Liz is also the singing voice of Princess Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin and the King of Thieves and The Return of Jafar. Other film work includes the singing voice of the title character in The Swan Princess, Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride, Beauty and the Beast, and The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars.

She received an Emmy Award for hosting Ready to Go, a daily, live children’s program on CBS in Boston . Other TV credits include In Performance at the White House, Inside the Actor’s Studio: Stephen Sondheim, Christmas with the Boston Pops, The David Letterman Show, and Senior Trip (CBS Movie of the Week).

She has released 3 solo recordings: The Beat Goes On (featuring music of the 60’s), The Story Goes On: Liz Callaway On and Off-Broadway, and Anywhere I Wander (The music of Frank Loessor). Her numerous other recordings include Unsung Sondheim, Unsung Irving Berlin, Lost in Boston, The Maury Yeston Songbook, Hair in Concert, and the just released complete recording of Allegro produced by the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization.
In other Liz Callaway news, Karen Akers, Barbara Walsh, Liz, Stephen Mo Hannan Will Celebrate Broadway Musicals of 1982!

What a star studded opening they had this week with Michele Lee and a bevy of top songwriters- Stephen Schwartz, John Bucchino, Steve Flaherty and Lindy Robbins. Tonight they begin recording Boom! for PS Classics which will be out this July. Excited for the rest of this stellar week with these beloved sisters!


After seeing BOOM! last night, Brian Scott Lipton in his review on Theatremania wrote, "Should we rename West 44th Street "1960s Way?" Just on the other side of Eighth Avenue from the Broadhurst Theatre, where Baby It's You! takes us back to the land of the Shirelles, those sublime singing sisters, Liz Callaway and Ann Hampton Callaway, have brought an even more satisfying exercise in time travel, Boom!, to Birdland. Whether or not you lived through this period, this beautifully crafted and perfectly executed tribute to the pop music of the 1960s and 1970s is pure delight.

The show, a somewhat shortened version of the two-act piece they debuted last summer in Town Hall, smartly touches most of the great musical bases of those decades, from the songs of the Beatles and Bob Dylan through Carole King, Dionne Warwick, Petula Clark, Stevie Wonder, The Fifth Dimension, and even Nancy Sinatra. It's possible one of your favorite artists has been left out, but you probably won't care.And by the way, you may never think of the themes from Star Trek and Batman the same way again. But you may well be humming them -- and lots of other familiar tunes -- as soon as you leave Boom!
What does count is that, working both as soloists and brilliantly in tandem, the Callaways bring their powerful voices, superb interpretive skills, and infectious energy to this music -- along with heartfelt and humorous reminiscences of their childhood. At times, you can even picture yourself in the girls' bedrooms in Illinois or riding in the car to the Holiday Inn.

Choosing favorites among the many numbers presented is a challenge, but if I were pressed, I'd select Ann's haunting rendition of Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You" and her kick-ass take on the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Loving Feeling"; Liz's gorgeous pairing of Jimmy Webb's "Didn't We" and "MacArthur Park" and her infectious medley of "I Know a Place" and "Downtown"; and their shattering duet on Carly Simon's "That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be." (Kudos also to the wonderful trio led by pianist and arranger Alex Rybeck)."
Check out Ann's BUSY schedule at http://www.annhamptoncallaway.com/tour_information.html

Liz wrote on her wall on FACEBOOK,"Had an amazing opening night last night with incredible audiences both shows. Can't wait to start recording the live CD of Boom! tonight!" How exciting to be part of that audience! I'll be able to relive tonight over and over!


I first became familiar with Liz when I saw her on the Tony Awards performing "I WANT IT ALL" in her Tony nominated performance in BABY. I also became an instant fan of hers. I have been lucky enough to appear with LIZ in Scott Siegel's BROADWAY MUSICALS OF 1964 and last year in Tom Stajmiger's CABARET HOTLINE benefit last year honoring our contemporary songwriters. (Here we are along with Raissa Katonah Bennett and Faith Prince). I try to catch her whenever she is appearing and I also have many of her cds. One of my regrets is that I never saw Sibling Revelry although I have the cd. Last year, I was disappointed to miss BOOM! at TownHall. I was appearing somewhere myself that night. I had nothing but raves and I am thrilled that I am available to see them tonight. What a gene pool the Callaway family is! A lot like The Sullivan family (KT, Tim, Heather, Stacy).
I found these comments on FACEBOOK: "Had a wonderful time. Congrats to both of you on a splendid opening night. My friends concur that you are "the best show in town."

"Thank you Ann and Liz for a terrific 11 pm show at Birdland last night. It was a thrill to hear and see you two together in a show and I loved your song choices. I pre-ordered BOOM on PS Classics as soon as I got home.
To quote the great Katharine Hepburn "The Callaways are in BOOM!!!!"

Birdland
315 West 44th Street – between 8th & 9th Aves
Tuesday-Saturday, May 3–7 @ 8:30 & 11pm
($30 Side Seating, $40 Center Seating)
For tickets call (212) 581-3080 or go to http://www.birdlandjazz.com/
• The Callaway Sisters – “boom!”
Sisters and Tony-nominated actresses Liz Callaway and Ann Hampton Callaway present “BOOM!”, celebrating the soundtrack of these sisters' childhood with unforgettable songs from the 60’s and 70’s. Expect songs made famous by Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Carly Simon, The Beatles, Jimmy Webb and Stevie Wonder. The actresses will combine musical forces and share heartwarming, humorous stories of their years growing up in Chicago and New York. Don’t miss the chance to see one of today's most celebrated sister acts put their unmistakable stamp on solos and duets of songs such as “Got To Get You Into My Life,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be,” “You’ve Got A Friend” and “Downtown,” among others.
Directed by Dan Foster
Musical direction and piano by Alex Rybeck
Jered Egan on bass
Ron Tierno on drums

To pre-order your copy of the live CD “Boom!” go to www.psclassics.com

Please join our party tonight!

(Buy THE THOUGHT EXCHANGE by David Friedman http://www.librarytalespublishing.com/products/The-Thought-Exchange.html)

Tomorrow's blog will be YOU TELL ME...the first three suggestions I receive!

Please contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS: http://www.carolchanning.org/foundation.htm

TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED MAY!


Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com

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