Friday, November 4, 2011

Go Out And See A Live Show!

"A boy becomes an adult three years before his parents thinks he does, and about two years after he thinks he does"
-Gen. Lewis B. Hershey, Selective Service director (1893-1977)

Happy Friday!
I hope this finds you well and preparing for a great weekend. It is supposed to be beautiful here in New York. Anything will be after the weekend we had last week. The aftermath continues. According to today's Journal News (here in Rockland), " Orange and Rockland Utilities continue to chipped away at the number of homes without electricity Thursday, saying that by 8PM it had restored power to 91.6 percent of its customers system wide."

Having been without power for six days, my heart goes out to those STILL without power...especially those with small children and the elderly. This weekend will be spent preparing for upcoming events I have coming up. I hope that you'll be able to support the artists mentioned in this blog. If not for the events cited here, then for upcoming shows.
 Next Friday night November 11th , Leslie Orofino returns to The Laurie Beechman Theatre, 407 West 42nd at 7PM with Daryl Kojak on piano and Boots Maleson on bass in Affairs of the Heart!
Make reservations by calling 212-695-6909.
2007 Hanson Award Winner
Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs

Actress/singer Leslie Orofino, who has entertained audiences across the country from the legendary Algonquin’s Oak Room in N.Y. to Napa Valley’s Silverado Country Club is returning to the Laurie Beechman Theatre with her new show, “AFFAIRS OF THE HEART”.

After seeing Affairs Of The Heart cabaret icon, Julie Wilson remarked," Leslie Orofino leaves you high on love and life.....and she's just
so much fun too!" " Loved it". 
Affairs Of The Heart celebrates all things that make your heart beat a little faster…with rock, jazz, comedy and tender ballads ….through the songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Harry Warren, Fats Waller, Tony DeSare, Alberta Hunter, Rodgers and Hart and many others. After seeing Leslie in Red Hot And Blues at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, International Cabaret Star, Julie Wilson exclaimed, "I had such a great time,  I had to go back again...She's a winner! Leslie has a certain elegance mixed with sex appeal that sells each and every song. She's also a great comedienne."

Of a benefit at Fairfield University's Quick Center  in which Leslie was the opening act for singer/songwriter Paul Williams, the organizer of the event, Gary Stromberg remarked, " Leslie is a magnificent performer with a heart to match her talent...unforgettable evening!"
Leslie's musical theatre credits range from lead roles in the St. Bart's Players in N.Y.C. as Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music, Miss Hannigan in Annie,  Sharon in Finian's Rainbow, Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes, Meg Brockie in Brigadoon to the Westport Country Playhouse as Kay Goodman in Nite Club Confidential.
Yes, Leslie is a friend. Yes, I've known her a looonnngggg time. Yes, I've seen many of her shows. But I have to say here and now, this is her best work to date. There is a sultry-ness in her voice that reminded me of Baby Jane Dexter. Leslie is definitely in control of her game right now. Her arrangement of WHAT'S THE USE OF WONDERING? (one of my favorite songs) and SOMETHING WONDERFUL is one of the best renditions of these song I have ever heard. Louis Pietig is director. The show covers the songs of things that make everyone's heart beat a little faster ... Romance, Latin Dancing, Five Star Hotels, Your First Child, Dear Friends ... all through the songs of Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, Tony De Sare, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Lerner & Lowe and many more (a perfect way to celebrate Corduroy Day). PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE go see this show!
After a successful run of her show at the Algonquin's Oak Room Leslie released her first CD, Moonlight Cocktails in 2002. 
Critic Dave Nathan from All Music Guide remarked," Leslie manages to impart such a high degree of eloquence to the songs she sings that one can picture her singing these tunes live and in person. 
She delivers each and every song with ease and aplomb. Solid cabaret and is highly recommended." Leslie is currently working on her newest CD, Red Hot And Blues, which is the title of her most recent show at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in N.Y.C.
Leslie recently said: "I have always loved the music of the '30s and '40s mainly because my dad filled our home  with his gorgeous tenor voice singing those songs and passed his love of them on to his first born of four  I love performing and was so blessed to have appeared across the country and for a few years  had the honor of having my darling dad as my very special guest singer at the Algonquin's Oak Room. "
For details on Leslie's CD and to hear sound clips, click on RECORDINGS.There are also OTHER wonderful happenings at The Laurie Beechman!  
Miss Coco Peru: There Comes a Time can be seen tomorrow night and Sunday.  Other engagements will include Michael Pesce (November 4), Le Scandal (November 5, 12, 19, & 26; December 3 & 10), Joshing Around, featuring Josh Warr & Josh Desjardins with Karen Musey (November 9, 22, 30 and December 21), Sandy Bainum: Songs Seldom Heard (November 9 & 15),Cookie Stark (November 13), Sarah Dash (November 17), and I Am: The Songs of Babbie Green (November 19-20). The club will also present Beth Holland (November 20), Kevin Burke, Michael Levi Harris, Riana Hershenfeld, Magee Hickey, Roberta Klein, Jackie Kristel, Bob Wiener, with special guest Brian Farley, will offer A Little Sondheim Music (November 20), Wilson Cruz and Scott Nevins (November 26). Dina Martina: An Early Hoarfrost (November 27-29), Sondheim Unplugged (November 28), Mark Nadler in Crazy 1961 (December 8, 11, 15, & 18), Molly Pope (December 2 & 4), The Molly Dykeman Christmas Show (December 6, 9, 13 & 22), and Jackie Beat: The Nutcracker (December 14-18).

Finally, Christine Pedi's acclaimed show There's No Bizness Like Snowbizness will play various dates throughout December.

 Also, next weekend, I am hosting an afternoon celebrating the legacy of Jerry Herman for the Sheet Music Society with an AMAZING panel!
Nov 12
1:45pm LOCAL 802 MUSICIAN'S HALL, 322 West 48th Street, NYC

An Afternoon Celebrating The Legacy of Jerry Herman
I am hosting and my panel includes Klea Blackhurst, Ken Bloom, Marge Champion, Amber Edwards (Words and Music, the award winning documentary on Jerry Herman), Sondra Lee (Hello Dolly!'s original Minnie Faye), Miles Phillips, Donald Pippin, Lee Roy Reams with John Fischer on piano.

$10 non members of the Sheet Music Society. 
I have written about Klea Blackhurst in previous blogs and I am thrilled that she has agreed to be part of this great panel.

Who better than Klea to discuss Ethel Merman's involvement with Jerry Herman (as well as her own) and to sing the songs written for Ethel that were cut from Hello, Dolly! when Ethel initially turned the role down.

Although the part of Dolly Levi in the musical was originally written for Ethel Merman, she turned it down, as did Mary Martin (although each later played it).

Merrick then considered Nancy Walker, but eventually Carol Channing was hired, giving her the opportunity to create her most memorable role. And leading to a star vehicle that gave a lot of actresses the chance to work for a long time!

Director Gower Champion was not the producer's first choice as Hal Prince and others (among them Jerome Robbins and Joe Layton) all turned down the job of directing the musical.

How different would the musical have been if Hal Prince had directed it!

Harold Smith Prince (born January 30, 1928) is an American theatrical producer and director associated with many of the best-known Broadway musical productions of the past half-century.
He has garnered twenty-one Tony Awards, more than any other individual, including eight for directing, eight for producing the year's Best Musical, two as Best Producer of a Musical, and three special awards.

His shows are known for their political context, new approach to romance, and characters who sing and dance with thematic import.

Prince was born in New York City to Milton A. Prince, a stockbroker, and Blanche Stern.

He entered the University of Pennsylvania at sixteen, where he followed a liberal arts curriculum and graduated at the age of nineteen.
He later served two years in the US Army in Germany.

Prince began work in the theatre as an assistant stage manager to theatrical producer and director George Abbott.
 Along with Abbott, he co-produced The Pajama Game, which won the 1955 Tony Award for Best Musical.  He went on to direct his own productions in 1962 beginning with A Family Affair and hit a series of unsuccessful productions. He almost gave up the musical theater right before he hit success with Cabaret in 1966.

1970 marked the start of his greatest collaboration, with composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim.

They had previously worked on West Side Story and at this point decided to embark on their own project.

Their association spawned a long string of productions, including Company (1970),  Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), Pacific Overtures (1976), and Sweeney Todd (1979). Following Merrily We Roll Along (1981), which was not successful, they parted ways until Bounce (2003).
Merrily We Roll Along is a musical with a book by George Furth and lyrics and music by Stephen Sondheim. It is based on the 1934 play of the same name by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart.

Prince has directed operas including Ashmedai, Willie Stark, Madame Butterfly, and a revival of Candide.
In 1983 Prince staged Turandot for the Vienna State Opera (conductor: Lorin Maazel; with Jose Carreras, Eva Marton).
He directed two of Andrew Lloyd Webber's successes, Evita and The Phantom of the Opera.
He was offered the job of directing Cats by Lloyd Webber but turned it down.

Despite creating a number of hugely popular musicals in the late 1970s and 1980s such as The Phantom of the Opera, Sweeney Todd, and Evita, Prince had his first artistic failure with Stephen Sondheim in 1981 with Merrily We Roll Along.

Determined to bounce back, he started working on a new musical A Doll's Life with lyricists Betty Comden and Adolph Green that would continue the story of Nora Helmer past what Henrick Ibsen had written in A Doll's House.

It was also badly received. Other commercially unsuccessful musicals includes Roza and Grind.
Prince himself stopped producing and directing concurrently during this period because the process of financing a  show had become so difficult. Prince was the inspiration for John Lithgow's character in Bob Fosse's film All That Jazz. He was also the basis of a character in Richard Bissell's novel Say, Darling, which chronicled Bissell's own experience turning his novel 7½ Cents into The Pajama Game.
Harold Prince currently serves as president of the National Institute for Musical Theater.
On May 20, 2007, he gave the commencement address at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
In 2000, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.
In 2006, Prince was awarded a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. The Harold Prince Theatre at the Annenberg Center of the University of Pennsylvania is named in his honor. In 2008 Prince was the keynote speaker at Elon University's Convocation for Honors celebration.
Does my bum look cheap in this? … Nancy Opel and Mandy Patinkin in Paradise Found. Photograph: Tristram Kenton for the Guardian

Prince co-directed, with Susan Stroman, the new musical Paradise Found. The musical features the music of Johann Strauss II as adapted by Jonathan Tunick with lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh.
The book has been written by Richard Nelson, based on Joseph Roth's novel The Tale of the 1002nd Night.
The musical premiered at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London on May 19, 2010 and starred Mandy Patinkin. Michael Billington, in his review in The Guardian wrote, " Some of Broadway's best have descended on this Southwark playhouse bearing a brand-new musical.
We have Harold Prince and Susan Stroman as co-directors, Mandy Patinkin as the star, Jonathan Tunick as orchestrator of tunes deriving from Johann Strauss II. Yet, I fear, all they have brought us is a prize turkey: a pastiche Arabian Nights fable of unbelievable coarseness and vulgarity.

The show is adapted by Richard Nelson from a novel by Joseph Roth based on a true story. Apparently, a desiccated shah of Persia really did turn up in late 19th-century Vienna and ask his eunuch to procure the sexual services of the Austro-Hungarian empress. Fiction takes over, however, when the eunuch and a Viennese baron conspire to substitute Mizzi, a local brothel-worker, for the empress in the shah's bed. Since Mizzi's success arouses the jealousy of the baron, who is both her client and lover, and since the eunuch views Viennese sexual mores with a voyeuristic fascination, we supposedly have a musical about the vagaries of human desire."  

Prince married Judy Chaplin, daughter of Saul Chaplin on 26 October 1962.
They are parents of Daisy Prince, a director, and Charles Prince, a conductor. Alexander Chaplin, the actor best known for his role as James Hobert (pictured right) on the sitcom Spin City is his son-in-law.

 In addition to Klea Blackhurst next Saturday, we also have Ken Bloom!


Ken Bloom is a New York-based theatre historian, playwright, director, record producer, and author.

He began his theatre career in the mid-70s at the New Playwrights Theatre of Washington.

 With some friends, Bloom co-founded the ASTA theatre.

That company became the basis for New Playwrights. While at ASTA, Bloom joined the Smithsonian Puppet Theatre, performing as part of Allan Stevens and Company in Washington and on tour throughout the United States for almost two years.
At New Playwrights, Bloom co-produced and directed a series of musicals and musical revues written by Tim Grundmann including Sirocco, Bride of Sirocco (which transferred to a commercial run), Nightmare!, Out to Lunch, and Eddie’s Catchy Tunes.

Bloom also was in charge of the theatre’s PR, audience development, and marketing.

After leaving New Playwrights Bloom edited The Washington Season, an arts supplement for the Washington Post.

In Washington, he hosted a musical theatre radio show for WKCR-FM, DC’s NPR station.

He continued radio work after moving to New York in 1980 as a correspondent for Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

He was also Broadway correspondent for the CBC. Bloom worked with Ezio Petersen on Musical Theatre Today on WKCR-FM, a weekly program that ran for fifteen years.

He also hosted 12 hours a week for Sirius Satellite Radio's musical theatre channel.

Shortly after his move to New York, Bloom, in partnership with Cleveland's Bill Rudman, founded Harbinger Records, an independent label dedicated to the preservation of the music of American popular song, musical theatre, and cabaret. Their first release was Geraldine Fitzgerald's one-woman show, Streetsongs.

Bloom and Rudman’s first studio record was Maxine Sullivan Sings the Great Songs of the Cotton Club by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler.

It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocalist and won the NAIRD award for Best Jazz Vocal of the Year.
They continued working with Sullivan on the highly acclaimed Together: The Music of Jule Styne and The Lady’s in Love with You: Maxine Sullivan Sings the Music of Burton Lane.
Harbinger has also produced albums devoted to the talents of Mabel Mercer, Susan Johnson, three CD's with jazz great Barbara Carroll, three jazz CD's with pianist/singer Eric Comstock, Sylvia McNair, opera diva Amy Burton (Opera News Recording of the Month), Lorna Dallas, Eric Michael Gillette, and others. They have also released on CD the legendary Walden Records series of recordings as well as recordings by Noel Coward, Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, Richard Rodgers, Jerry Herman, and Barry Kleinbort.

In 2008, Harbinger Records celebrated its 25th Anniversary. Bloom is also a noted author.

His first book, American Song: The Complete Musical Theatre Companion is a listing of every song written for the American Theatre which was named Reference Book of the Year by Choice Magazine.
He followed it up with Hollywood Song which contained information on songs from over 7,000 films.
His Tin Pan Alley features complete songographies of the top 175 composer and lyricists of American popular song.

Bloom also wrote Broadway: An Encyclopedic Guide to the History, People, and Places of Times Square which won a prestigious Source Magazine Award. In collaboration with Frank Vlastnik, Bloom wrote the bestseller, Broadway Musicals: The 101 Greatest Shows of All Time which was awarded the George Freedley Award and Sitcoms: The 101 Greatest Comedies of All Time.

Bloom also wrote The American Songbook: The Singers, the Songwriters and the Songs. He also compiled, with Jerry Herman, Jerry Herman: The Lyrics: a Celebration. In 2010, Bloom wrote "Hollywood Musicals: The 101 Greatest Song and Dance Movies of All Time."

With Elaine Orbach, In 2009, Bloom wrote "Remember How I Love You: Love Letters from an Extraordinary Marriage" for Simon and Schuster.
With Josh Wellman, Bloom wrote "Attending and Enjoying Concerts" for Pearson/Prentice Hall. Bloom is currently editor of Marquee, the journal of the Theatre Historical Society and sits on the board of that society.
In 2010, Bloom was the Executive Producer of the three-part PBS Series, "Michael Feinstein's American Songbook."

He also developed an extensive website for the series which can be found at:
And speaking of Jerry Herman, I also highly recommend "Perfect Hermany-Jason Graae sings Jerry Herman"
Wednesday, December 7 at 7:00pm - December 8 at 10:00pm
(Ribbons down my)BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!

Wed,Dec 7th- 7:00pm/ Thurs.Dec 8th- 10:00pm
Laurie Beechman Theatre- 407 W.42nd St.NYC
John Boswell-Musical Director/Lee Tannen-Director. This is one of the most perfect shows I've eva seen! 
Cause we need a lot more Jason right this very minute...saw it a few weeks ago and absolutely LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Where do we go from here? YOU TELL ME!

Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!

Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog! 

I love you ALL!! 

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!


 Become A Facebook friend of mine!
Follow me on Twitter If you've seen one of my appearances/shows, add your thoughts to my guestbook at

Tomorrow's blog will be focus on Marge Champion, Amber Edwards (Words and Music, the award winning documentary on Jerry Herman), Sondra Lee (Hello Dolly!'s original Minnie Faye) !!! I'm also seeking a video question for tomorrow! All part of my panel next Sunday at The Sheet Music Society!
Nov 12
LOCAL 802 MUSICIAN'S HALL, 322 West 48th Street, NYC
An Afternoon Celebrating The Legacy of Jerry Herman
I will be hosting  along with a panel that includes Klea Blackhurst, Ken Bloom, Marge Champion, Amber Edwards (Words and Music, the award winning documentary on Jerry Herman), Sondra Lee (Hello Dolly!'s original Minnie Faye), Miles Phillips, Donald Pippin, Lee Roy Reams with John Fischer on piano. $10 non members of the Sheet Music Society.


Richard Skipper,

No comments:

Post a Comment