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Entries in Broadway (333)

Monday
Dec222014

Call Redialed: Graham Alexander: Repeat Deceiver

Graham Alexander, Photo Credit: Christina Sees"Call Me Adam" catches up with singer/songwriter Graham Alexander to talk about his sophomore album Repeat Deceiver which was released on December 19! Click here to purchase on iTunes and here for a physical CD!

For more on Graham be sure to visit http://www.graham-alexander.net and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instragram and Soundcloud!

1. On December 19, you released your sophomore album Repeat Deceiver. What are you looking forward to most about this release? Well....quite honestly the #1 thing I look forward to about this album is playing it live (also...finishing what was seemingly a never ending series of sessions that made up Repeat Deceiver). We are excited to promote the album despite its macabre feeling in title, and appearance--most of that has an underlying "freedom" from deception mantra. Across a platform of so so so many things in life, really.

2. How did you come up with the title of the album? I wrote the song first and then it was determined that the rest of the songs were thematically applicable to the rest of them....so it made sense. "Repeat Deceiver" was such a wonderful phrase (I felt) and in two words it described how I felt about so many aspects of the modern age. Is there a day that goes by that you *don't* hear about deception?

3. When you were thinking of recording your sophomore album, what goals did you set to achieve with this recording that you did not get to achieve on your debut album? I didn't set any goals, really. I think you just learn what you like and what you hate and then turn all of that on its head and try to create something that really breathes and makes you excited to listen to it. It's like...I suppose…to me at least, setting goals for an album of any tangible value sort of eliminates the possibility of it being anything you could ever a. enjoy, b. promote with love for it and passion and c. creatively be satisfied with. I say CREATE and perfect as much as possible but try not to shove the project in a box.

Graham Alexander and his band, Photo Credit: Christina Sees4. What was the best part about the making of this album? What was the most challenging? Finishing it. HAHAHAHAHA.......YEA....finishing the album was the absolute best part. Although notable highlights for me also include the live band stuff we did for things like "People Are Only Sorry When They're Caught" and "Third Wheel," which we recorded very much live (like the olden days)…together in a room. Very raw.

5. Aside from this being a new recording, why should fans be excited for Repeat Deceiver? It's my favorite album thus far that I've ever been involved with and my team and I feel we've really created something realllly unique and really enjoyable to listen to. We spent so much time to make sure we weren't cutting a single corner on the production. You hear real violins, cellos, trumpets, saxophones--humans--playing music. It's really a rare album in 2014/2015 and part of an overall plan to bring more substance from a drooping 100+ year old industry. These songs are handcrafted. There aren't any formulas we follow. We don't hire outside writers to churn out the next pop hit. The songs are from us. The music is from us and it's our absolute passion for almost 2 decades now.

6. How do you feel you've grown as an artist with this album? Ya know...I'm not sure how an artist grows really. I would say thinking about it too much might stunt creativity. I feel like thinking about things too much often ruins them like having 6 people try to write a joke. Eventually there are so many punchlines that the concept of the whole thing is dead in the water.

7. In addition to recording your sophomore album, you also reorganized and reincorporated RCA and merged your production and administration facilities with them. What made you want to take on this venture and what have you enjoyed most about this side of the business? Well....the first thing my production company LAIR did was to acquire a bunch of essentially ancient brands including some early record labels (and imprints) because, of course, RCA Records was sold off from the Radio Corporation of America (RCA Corp.) portfolio (to Sony) years before we were able to re-organize it. Because I'm from Victor Talking Machine Co.'s hometown (the very first major record company), I cared more about seeing that restored since it had more historic value for me personally than the later RCA Records division. So once we organized that together with our other brands we decided to dissolve LAIR as the parent holding company and return VTMC (and our other brands which include brand holdings in musical Instruments, pro audio, and apparel) to its parent (which of course GE bought in 1986 and subsequently sold off bits and pieces of...holding the company as a shell until recently).

Graham Alexander performing with his band, Photo Credit: Christina Sees8. Since the album is called Repeat Deceiver, what is an event in your life you would want to do over and over again and have you ever deceived someone? I don't think there is a single thing I've ever experienced that isn't better off a memory HAHAHAHAHA and by that I mean…I love the past BUT it's the past for a reason. Society should move as progressively out of the status it is in at all times and oddly that occasionally means peeking into the past to see what went wrong and how we can all make it better. I know that probably sounds pretty hypocritical coming from the artist releasing a record through a 115+ year old company, but I suppose thats the irony of progression sometimes…and occasionally, you don't know what you've got till its gone. And sadly, even more occasionally, it's not gone because of a natural progression of events.

9. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I'd say the power to sleep. At this point. I can't stop my brain these days!

10. If you could be any original Life Saver flavor, which one would you be? Cherry! but it stains your face.

BONUS QUESTION:

11. How do you want to be remembered? By having done something that makes people happy! I'll keep you updated if that happens!

Graham Alexander, Photo Credit: Christina SeesMore on Graham:

With a style incredibly eclectic and signature, Graham Alexander's life has been dedicated to performing, composing and producing music from an early age. Graham's upbringing brought in an incredibly diverse palette of pop artists from Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra and American folk music of the early 20th century, to Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, and 2Pac. Born in a severely depressed post-industrial Camden, N.J., Graham's first guitar was picked from the garbage on account of not being able to afford one on his own. From that point, he and music of every kind became inseparable.

Having grown up with the birth and progression of the internet (and the vast media availability it granted the world), Graham never saw music as something that needed to be genre-based. As a songwriter, he preferred the freedom of writing what struck his mind as interesting at the moment rather than adhering to a trend. This fearless and rebellious attitude towards genre bending pushed him to produce and self release his first album in 2011 to rave reviews (quickly becoming a cult classic). Critics and fans alike lauded the album for its neo-retro sensibility coupling irresistibly catchy songs with organic and incredibly detailed production. Spotify's top 100 songs chosen by fans playlist even included the first single from the album "Biggest Fan" at #6 in its 2011 list. Shortly after, Graham Alexander with his band toured in support of the album, building the brand one set of ears at a time.

Graham formed his band of nearly 15 years while he was still in middle school--a rare feat in this day and age. Their commitment to touring and their history at such a young age makes Graham Alexander & Co. an incredibly special phenomenon in the live music world today. Additionally, they pride themselves on performing without the assistance of sequences or backing tracks that are all too common in live acts today. In addition to his career as a solo artist, Graham's passion for performance was nurtured by his work on Broadway as an actor, musician, and musical director in various productions at the Neil Simon, Brooks Atkinson, and St. James theaters in New York City.

In 2013, Graham reorganized and reincorporated 'Radio Corporation of America' returning it to Camden, NJ. In 2014, Graham merged his production and administration facilities while developing products for the company’s Victor Talking Machine Co., Victrola, His Master’s Voice, and Little Nipper brands.

Friday
Dec192014

Call Answered: Elli "The King of Broadway": Chanukah at The Metropolitan Room

Elli "The King of Broadway""Call Me Adam" chats with Elli, "The King of Broadway" about his 2nd annual Chanukah show at The Metropolitan Room (34 West 22nd Street, between 5th & 6th Avenue) on December 21 (9:30pm) and December 22 (7pm). We also discuss his Jewish upbringing and the role religion has played throughout his life and career! Click here for tickets to Elli's show Chanukah!

For more on Elli be sure to visit http://www.broadwaykingdom.com and follow him on Twitter!

1. On December 21 and 22, the 6th & 7th nights of the Jewish Holiday Chanukah, you are presenting your 2nd annual Chanukah at The Metropolitan Room. What initially made you want to do a Chanukah show? The lack of any other Jewish programming during the month of December. There are sometimes shows that include a Chanukah song or two, or claim to be Chanukah shows and the content mostly has the "I’m jealous of all the other holidays this month that seem better than mine" vibe to them. It’s always been my belief that we Jews have a rich heritage and Chanukah is an important part of it. Something to 'kvell' about!

2. What made you want to make this an annual show? That’s easy, we got an amazing reception to last year’s show but since Chanukah fell out so close to Thanksgiving there were a lot of people out of town that wanted to come but couldn’t. Plus, the whole cast had so much fun doing, it we all wanted to do it again! Hopefully for many years to come!

3. What can audiences expect from this show and what do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Chanukah at The Metropolitan Room? A singularly genuine and unique celebration of Chanukah with traditional songs the audience can sing along to and some new songs from around the Globe they’ve never heard before. There will be songs in English, Hebrew, Yiddish and even Ladino from the Sephardic Jewish heritage. Songs from the liturgy and songs from Broadway. And, I throw in some facts about Chanukah in case people aren’t aware. I hope they’ll leave asking, "Will there be a show for Purim as well?"(We’re working on it!)

4. What do you enjoy most about performing at The Metropolitan Room? What do they offer you that another venue does not? Bernie Furshpan! No one else has a Bernie! He’s totally on board with my ideas and has even gone out of his way to make sure the Club has Kosher Wine for those who keep Kosher. We will also have Latkes and Sufganiot (Donuts) at the shows. The Metropolitan Room has a wonderful vibe to it and with all the new upgrades that JoAnne has made to the venue it’s just a great place to perform.

The ghost of Pavarotti5. What do you love most about celebrating Chanukah in NYC? Menorahs and Jews everywhere. There are also dozens of Kosher eateries and Chanukah parties to attend. You could be out at a different Chanukah event every night of Chanukah (except Shabbos of course).

6. You are known as "The King of Broadway." How did you get this title? It’s quite a story but the short of it is before I moved from Miami to NYC I was doing Karaoke in a Lesbian Sports Bar. I came to NYC for an Audition and brought back a Karaoke CD from The Producers which was on Broadway at the time. There's a song in the show called "The King Of Broadway." I sang it, and afterwards the Karaoke Hostess said, "That was Elli - The King Of Broadway" and it stuck. A few months later I decided to make a web site and searched for that name AND NO ONE OWNED IT! I immediately grabbed it and have had it ever since. So - I got the moniker singing Showtunes in a Lesbian Sports Bar in Ft Lauderdale – you can’t make stuff like that up - and now that's how people refer to me! It’s pretty cool.

7. You are also one of the founding members of Improvodox, a Jewish Improv Group. What made you want to start your own Improv group instead of just joining one of the many groups already out there? I’ve been performing and teaching Improv for over 30 years. During the 15 years I taught at Jewish Day Schools in L.A. & Miami Beach I used it quite successfully as a teaching tool. When I moved to NYC I heard about a young lady wanting to start a Shomer Shabbos (Sabbath observant) improv group because all the groups she’d been in performed on Friday nights, she was looking for 5 other people to join. I auditioned and was chosen as one of the founders.

Rabbi Elli8. You have spent your career both performing and being a Hassidic Orthodox Rabbi/Cantor. When did you decide to stop performing in theatrical shows to pursue your Rabbinical/Cantorial passion? What was it like to not perform in theatrical shows after becoming a Rabbi/Cantor? What made you want to return to your theatrical performing? I have been performing since I was 5 in one form or another starting with the role of "The Arab Shepherd Boy" in Milk & Honey at the local JCC to playing "Arab" in West Side Story at the Temple (I see a weird pattern there) and many different roles in High School as well. I had always planned on becoming a Cantor, our Temple’s Cantor was like a 2nd father to me. I was his assistant (teaching Bar Mitzvah students for him) from age 11 on. During High School I became more religious and decided to go to the Chabad Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, NJ to study to become a Rabbi as well. During my years in Yeshiva I performed in Holiday programs all over the NE. After I graduated I moved to Miami Beach, FL and began teaching/performing to a Jewish Day School audience of 20 5th graders daily while still leading services at different Shuls in S. Florida. So in truth I never really ever stopped performing. After raising a family and trying new careers after many years, my life took an unexpected left hand turn, and during the tumult I was at a friend’s Birthday party and there was Karaoke. I was pushed to go up and sing, which I did and was asked by the host to start coming to his Karaoke nights in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. One thing led to another and I gained quite a following. I decided to start travelling to NYC to audition for Musical Theatre and – well, I already told you above how I got my moniker… and here I am! BTW, I’m still teaching as I’ve happily become the Rabbi to many entertainers in NYC.

Elli "The King of Broadway"9. What's the best advice you've ever received? Pursue your heart’s desire and dream big dreams for little dreams have no magic.

10. What have you learned about yourself from your varied careers? I learn something new every day. It’s a process and I can achieve any goal I set.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I already have my super power, it was given to me in high school by my classmates, they called me "Super Jew!"

12. If you could be any original flavor Life Saver, which one would you be? Life Savers aren’t Kosher these days, but for a short while when I was in my 20’s they were and without a doubt Wild Cherry was my favorite.

13. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what would the ingredients be? Of course it would be called "The King’s Brew." It has Fresca as the base but it’s still under development. I’ll let you know when it’s ready! For Chanukah I’m drinking Redd's Apple Ale as a compliment to the homemade applesauce I made for the homemade Latkes!

Elli "The King of Broadway"More on Elli:

Elli began his theatrical career in Los Angeles under the direction of the famous That Little Old Wine Maker ME! James Rawley & Rawley's best friend, Lee Strasberg. Some of the many varied roles he inhabited were "Jud" in Oklahoma, "The Tin Man" in the The Wizard of Oz, "A-rab" in West Side Story, "Charlie Davenport" in Annie Get Your Gun, "Kralahome" in The King & I, "Nicely-Nicely" in Guys & Dolls and of course, the part he was born to play but never has, "Tevye" in Fiddler on the Roof. He has also appeared in such favorites as Arsenic & Old Lace, Julius Caesar, Up the Down Staircase and Our Town, to name a few. Elli's unique look and moldable image, added to the myriad of languages & accents he has perfected, lends itself to the diverse roles he plays.

For a while, Elli changed directions and lived his childhood dream of becoming a Hassidic Orthodox Rabbi & Cantor, leading religious services and teaching in Synagogues throughout the U.S. and Canada. He is now reviving his dream of taking his place on "The Great White Way," by lending his rich, multi-accented and multi-character voice to several children's audio tapes, radio and TV commercials, both in the U.S. and England.

In 2002, Elli appeared as a "Hassidic Jew" (big surprise) in the film, 2 Fast 2 Furious, filmed on location in Miami, Florida; in 2003, he worked on the Indy film, Once Upon A Wedding (now on DVD) as a "Barfly" and in 2003, he performed the role of the "Papa" in The Jazz Singer, which played South and Central Florida.

Currently working on his third one-man show, Elli has become quite popular and well known on the Florida, New York and California Karaoke circuits and is lovingly referred to as "The King of Broadway." Since moving to NYC in 2004, he has been seen in commercials, promo spots for VH1's Metal Month, as featured background in several movies and been on stage at Birdland in Times Square, the Duplex and Marie's Crisis in the Village and onstage at the Triad, doing his stand-up comedy. Elli is currently in a pilot for Comedy Central and is a founding member of Improvodox, a Jewish Improv Group.

Wednesday
Dec172014

Call Redialed: Scott Alan: Greatest Hits Volume 1 and 54 Below Debut Concert 

Scott Alan"Call Me Adam" catches up with songwriter Scott Alan to talk about his new album Scott Alan Greatest Hits Volume 1 and his upcoming 54 Below debut concert on January 19, 2015 at 7pm, which celebrates the release of Scott Alan Greatest Hits Volume 1!

Scott Alan Greatest Hits Volume 1 features Samantha Barks, Shoshana Bean, Stephanie J. Block, Lisa Brescia, Liz Callaway, Kerry Ellis, Hadley Fraser, Eden Espinosa, Marcus Paul James and Willemijn Verkaik, and new tracks by Marc Broussard, Taylor Dayne, Cynthia Erivo, RJ Helton, Christina Marie, Jonathan Mendelsohn, Stuart Matthew Price, Oliver Tompsett and Natalie Weiss.

Scheduled to appear at Scott's 54 Below concert include 2014 Tony Award Winners James Monroe Iglehart (Aladdin) and Jessie Mueller (Beautiful), Tony Nominee’s Joshua Henry (The Scottsboro Boys, Violet) and Chad Kimball (Memphis) as well as Lilla Crawford (Little Red Riding Hood in Disney’s upcoming film adaptation of Into the Woods), Alysha Umphress (On the Town), David Burtka (upcoming’s It Shoulda Been You), Mykal Kilgore (Motown), Natalie Weiss (Wicked), Katie Thompson (Giant), Ellyn Marie Marsh (Kinky Boots), Danny Calvert (Altar Boyz), Elizabeth Stanley (On the Town). More performers to be announced. Click here for tickets!

For more on Scott be sure to visit http://scottalan.net and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram!

Designed by Robbie Rozelle1. You have just released your new album Scott Alan Greatest Hits Volume 1 which features, well, some of your biggest hits from your previous five albums, plus a few new recordings and re-workings of other hits. What made now the right time to release a Greatest Hits album as opposed to recording a new album? To make a new album would cost too much money and putting out a Greatest Hits album allowed me the opportunity to revisit my older catalogue of music and reconstruct it enough to give these songs a new feel. In addition, since so many of my past albums are out of print, it only made sense to place the greatest hits on one album instead of spending the money to duplicate all or most of my previous albums. Everything comes down to money, which isn’t to say this album didn’t cost money, it actually cost more to make then my debut album, Dreaming Wide Awake.

2. What does it mean to you to have enough material to be able to create a Greatest Hits album? It means I’m getting really old. I’m now in that stage of my life where graduates tell me they discovered my music when they were in Junior High School. Old. Old. Old.

Scott Alan3. How did you decide which songs you wanted to put on this first collection of Greatest Hits and how did you decide which songs you wanted to re-work/change from their original recording? We did a poll on my website and about 90% of the songs were picked from that poll. As for the re-worked songs, it was important to have updates on many of the songs to make this album special and unique and not the normal "greatest hits" collection of songs that fans already own.

4. Some of the artists featured on your Greatest Hits were not the original artists you initially had record the song. Why did you choose to change some of the artists for this release? It started with the song "Anything Worth Holding on To." It’s a very personal song but it never caught on when released on my third album, What I Wanna Be When I Grow Up, even though it was beautifully sung by the iconic voice of Crystal Monee Hall. Then when I did my IndigO2 concert at the O2 and it was performed by the extraordinarily gifted talents of Cynthia Erivo, it gained a new life and a new following. I knew I wanted to try and recreate that and so having Cytnhia record the song was not even a question. Nothing will ever match the magic of the live performance but it’s so incredible to have it recorded for this album. And, to have Stuart Matthew Price re-create his performance of "Over the Mountains" was a no brainer. He was my original idea for the recording but I had already offered it to Bobby Steggert. Then we tried to have him in for the LIVE album but he was busy with Shrek. So, we finally had the timing right. Thankfully. And, "In This Moment" recorded in the studio was a no-brainer. Marc Broussard. Hello. This new version of "Kiss the Air" was featured on the special edition of LIVE, so we changed the arrangement a bit. Oliver Tompsett’s voice is timeless. And Natalie Weiss' new version of "The Distance You Have Come" was our way of going back to the original demo of what the song represented. Simplistic and organic.

Scott Alan and Taylor Dayne5. One artist who is new to this recording is the one and only Taylor Dayne who sings "I'm Coming Home To You." I have loved Taylor Dayne since she burst onto the music scene in the 80s. How did you come to work with this Grammy-nominated artist? I’m annoying and overly eager. Taylor can tell the story better but truthfully I just kept tweeting her and emailing her assistant until she said yes. I wouldn’t give up and kept on pushing and thankfully our schedules linked up and I had the opportunity to work with one of my childhood idols. I grew up the biggest Taylor Dayne voice and that voice hasn’t changed one bit. It’s still crazy to look in my phone and know I can call her, and I do. She’s so down to earth and awesome. The studio session was a blast. Just two Long Island kids. We have the same lingo and she is brilliant in knowing what she wants and how to achieve it. She’s got a brilliant mind. It was an honor.

6. On January 19, you will be making your 54 Below debut to celebrate the release of your Greatest Hits. What excites you about making your 54 Below debut? Why was now the best time to make your 54 Below debut? You know, I feel like I’m having an affair on Birdland because I've been performing there for years but when Jennifer Tepper asked me if I would be interested in doing a concert at 54 Below I couldn’t help but say yes. I mean, aren’t all the cool kids doing it? Sometimes new scenery is just what the doctor ordered.

Scott Alan7. In addition to this concert being your 54 Below debut, your first concert in a year and a half, why should fans get excited for this concert? and What do you hope audiences come away with after attending this concert? I have always feared performing in New York because I feel like I can’t just sit back and relax and be myself. Over the years, performing in London and Australia and Holland and Germany and just having the opportunity to sit back and tell my story - I’m excited to do that now, in my city. It’s gonna be a very different vibe and I’m really excited to share that with this audience.

8. Why did you wait a year and a half to return to the New York concert stage? I always think nobody will show up and so I think it’s always smart to take breaks so that the audience awaits your next visit and I don’t overdose on xanax.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? From Frank Wildhorn. He said "The day you stop thinking you’re a new voice and think you’ve learned everything there is to be learned, leave the industry." Smart advice. Thankfully, I keep learning. And advice I always tell the young one’s which is to "Always remain a fan" and I do. I continue to work with my childhood hero’s because I am still that 12 year old kid in his bedroom waiting for life to begin.

Scott Alan10. What have you learned about yourself from being a composer/lyricist? How truly therapeutic music can be if you let it.

11. How do you want to be remembered? As a father and a husband. I just need a husband and kids to father. But that is what I want my legacy to be. 

BONUS QUESTIONS:

12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I seem to dream about flying a lot. I don’t know why. I have dreams often that I can fly. So, I guess that one?

13. If you could be an original flavor Life Saver, which one would you be? Oh, hmmmm. Is cool mint an option?

14. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what would the ingredients be? The Dreamer. Part Malibu Rum, Part Pineapple Juice, Part Citrus Absolute Vodka, part Midori Melon and topped off with a cherry. And yes. I was a bartender and that actually was my signature drink back in the day at Stonewall Inn, located in the W. Village. So I’m sorta cheating.

Scott AlanMore on Scott:

Since returning to New York City in 2003 many of Broadway's elite have sung Scott Alan's songs, including Liz Callaway, Jonathan Groff, Shoshana Bean, Adriane Lenox, Stephanie J. Block, Cheyenne Jackson, Eden Espinosa and more, all of which can be found featured on his debut CD Dreaming Wide Awake. Scott then released the follow up CD, Keys, in 2008 which features more of Broadway and West End elite singing his work, including Sutton Foster, Norm Lewis, Kerry Ellis, Randy Graff, Megan Hilty, Hadley Fraser, Julia Murney and many more.

In the fall of 2010, Scott Alan released his third album, What I Wanna Be When I Grow Up, featuring Christiane Noll, Darius de Haas, Christopher Sieber, Willemijn Verkaik, Patina Miller and more.

Scott Alan released his fourth album, LIVE, in 2012 which was recorded at the famed Birdland Jazz Club in New York City. This recording featured Samantha Barks, Lea Salonga, Jane Monheit, Marc Broussard, Ramin Karimloo, Pentatonix and many of today's brightest Broadway and West End stars. On May 24th, 2012 Scott's composition, "It's Good to See You Again" was featured on the premiere episode of the ninth season of So You Think You Can Dance. His work has also been heard in the documentary The Standbys and on VH1's reality show Off-Pitch.

In 2014 Scott released his fifth album, a seven song collection sung by the composer called Anything Worth Holding on To.

Scott Alan has sold out concerts of his music in New York City, London, Holland, Germany, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles and Australia.

Thursday
Dec112014

Call Answered: Conference Call with Joe Iconis and Josh Franklin: Singing Cyndi Lauper: 54 Just Wants To Have Fun

Josh FranklinJoe Iconis"Call Me Adam" chats with award-winning composer/lyricist Joe Iconis and actor Josh Franklin about being part of 54 Below's Singing Cyndi Lauper: 54 Just Wants to Have Fun which will take place this Sunday, December 14 at 7pm (254 West 54th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue). Click here for tickets!

In addition to Joe Iconis and Josh Franklin, Singing Cyndi Lauper: 54 Just Wants to Have Fun features Becca Ayers (Les Miserables, South Pacific, The Addams Family), Annie Golden (Orange is the New Black, Xanadu, Assassins), Grace McLean (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, Bedbugs! The Musical), Molly Pope (Award-winning cabaret artist, Atlantic Theatre’s Found), Brian Charles Rooney (The Threepenny Opera, Bedbugs! The Musical), and Gabrielle Stravelli (Award-winning jazz vocalist).

For more on 54 Below visit http://www.54below.com and follow them on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram!

1. This Sunday (December 14), you are performing at 54 Below in Singing Cyndi Lauper: 54 Just Wants to Have Fun. What made you want to be part of this show? 

Joe Iconis: As a child of the 80's I was always very aware of Cyndi Lauper and I really fell in love with her when I saw the video for Goonies 'R' Good Enough. It combined so many of my favorite childhood obsessions (Magical Pirate Ships! Badass Rocker Chicks! Italian criminals! Captain Lou Albano!) that it was almost too much to handle.

Josh Franklin: The amazing catalogue of Cyndi's and of course Lucia Spina...she's hard to say no to. 

Cyndi Lauper2. What are you looking forward to most about this concert?

Joe Iconis: I'm looking forward to seeing Annie Golden tear into some Cyndi Lauper classics.

Josh Franklin: Hearing what cool things the other artists will do with this material.

3. What excites you about performing at 54 Below? 

Joe Iconis: It's just the most beautiful room and it has a strange rock and roll spirit about it. Or, as much of a rock and roll spirit as a fancy supper club can have.

Josh Franklin: Having had my CD release concert there last year, I'm familiar with the amazing staff and venue. There's so much history in the space and so many greats have performed on that stage. It's nice to have the opportunity to come back. 

Joe Iconis at 54 Below4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Singing Cyndi Lauper: 54 Just Wants to Have Fun?

Joe Iconis: I hope audiences write personal checks to everyone in my group as a thank you for being such great entertainers. Money changes everything, you know. Somebody told me that once.

Josh Franklin: I hope to familiarize them with some of Cyndi's less well known material. She has such a wide range of style. It's was a blast searching through all of her many records for interesting tunes to tackle.

Josh Franklin at 54 Below5. Out of all of Cyndi's songs, how did you decide which song you wanted to sing?

Josh Franklin: I searched through her records on Spotify and tried to find lyrics I could identify with as well as a melody that I could put my stamp on. I was really overwhelmed by the vast amount of writing she's done! So many great tunes.

6. How has Cyndi Lauper and her music influenced you and your own performing?

Joe Iconis: I love performers who allow themselves to be strange and contradictory and confrontational. I love singer/songwriters who aren't too precious about the fact that they are singer/songwriters. People whose image is sometimes at odds with the music they create. I love performers like David Bowie and The Ramones and Dolly Parton and The White Stripes where there is quite a bit of "theater" in the presentation so it makes you forget what brilliant writers they are. I think Cyndi falls into that category in a huge way and it's something I'm continually inspired by.

Josh Franklin: She's always has a "no fear" attitude that I admire. She's always 100% and 100% Cindi.

Cyndi Lauper7. What is your favorite Cyndi Lauper song and album?

Joe Iconis: My favorite song of hers is "That's What I Think," and I love it because of how simple it is and it's the only song in the history of music that ever made the recorder sound so fucking badass. My runner up is the Pee-Wee's Playhouse theme song.

Josh Franklin: Too many songs to choose from but I think her Memphis Blues album is pretty rad because it's so different. It's clear she loved that style and wanted to change it up for an entire album. Not many artists have the ability to do that...nor the cajones.

Cyndi Lauper8. If you could sing a duet with Cyndi Lauper, which song of hers would you want to duet with her on?

Joe Iconis: I think we'd do a really confusing version of "Hole In My Heart (That Goes All The Way To China)." 

Josh Franklin: I'd make her write us a brand new hit.

9. One of my favorite Cyndi Lauper songs is "Hat Full of Stars." If could you have a lucky "Hat Full of Stars," what would you put in it?

Joe Iconis: Kazoos.

Josh Franklin: My dog, my piano, and a million dollars. 

Cyndi LauperCyndi Lauper10. Throughout Cyndi's career, she has taught us to show our "True Colors," from Broadway's Kinky Boots she showed us to "Just Be," and helped "Raise You Up." How do you "Just Be"/show your "True Colors?" and How do you Raise people up?

Joe Iconis: As a writer, I try to give people opportunities who wouldn't normally get them. As a human being, I make sure to tell the people I love that I love them. I try to be honest and passionate. As a drinker, I tip my servers Very well.

Josh Franklin: I'm pretty good at just chillin with my dog and good friends. I put who I am and my "True Colors" into my music and in everything I do. I choose a handful people to raise up by being a loyal and loving friend. Hope to inspire the rest with my art and a smile.

Joe IconisMore on Joe:

Joe Iconis is an award-winning writer and performer. He is a creature of Manhattan and can frequently be spotted banging away on a dirty old piano. His songs were featured on Season 2 of NBC’s Smash. As a composer – lyricist – bookwriter he has authored the musicals Bloodsong of LoveThe Black Suits (with Robert Maddock), ReWriteThe Plant That Ate Dirty Socks, and We The People. His concert act, Joe Iconis and Family, frequently plays The Beechman Theater, 54 Below, and Joe’s Pub. The original cast recording of Joe’s theatrical rock concert Things To Ruin, is out on Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight records. He’s been nominated for two Drama Desk Awards, a Lucille Lortel Award, and is the recipient of an Ed Kleban Award, a Jonathan Larson Award, and several other fancy-sounding writing awards. Joe is deliriously inspired by Robert Altman, Dolly Parton, Martin Scorcese, Sardi’s, The Rolling Stones, whiskey, The Muppets, and The Family of artists he frequently surrounds himself with. For more on Joe be sure to visit http://mrjoeiconis.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter, and YouTube, and Instagram!

Josh FranklinMore on Josh:

Josh Franklin is an accomplished Broadway performer known for his roles on Broadway in Anything Goes, Ghost, Legally Blonde and Grease. He received wide recognition for his first national tour roles as "Bob Gaudio" (Jersey Boys), "Danny Zuko" (Grease), "Chad" (All Shook Up), "Billy Crocker" (Anything Goes) and in Disney’s On the Record. He most recently starred as "Bobby Child" in Crazy For You at the Stratford festival this season. He received his B.F.A. from Webster Conservatory and is an accomplished songwriter, musician and recording artist. He was selected to perform for the PBS special A Capitol Fourth (2009) live in Washington, DC. Josh has just released his self titled debut pop album; produced by Grammy award winner, Peter Wade (click here to purchase). For more on Josh be sure to visit http://joshuafranklin.wix.com and follow him on Twitter!

Thursday
Nov202014

Call Answered: Behind-The-Scenes Rehearsal Facetime Interview with Anthony Nunziata for 54 Below solo debut

"Call Me Adam" went behind-the-scenes with recording artist Anthony Nunziata as he prepares for his debut solo concert at 54 Below in NYC. Anthony let us into his rehearsal studio, where he and musical director Tedd Firth, were busy at work preparing for this big night.

Anthony will be making his solo concert debut at 54 Below on Friday, November 28 at 9:30pm with Tedd Firth - Piano/Musical Director/Arranger, Tom Hubbard - Bass, and Sherrie Maricle - Drums. Click here for tickets!

For more on Anthony be sure to visit http://www.anthonynunziata.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

Behind-The-Scenes Facetime video interview with Anthony Nunziata and Tedd Firth: