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Here's what I've enjoyed seeing or reading so far...hope you enjoy them as well!

      

 

Wednesday
Jul132016

Adam's Call: Michael Raver's Fire on Babylon: The Heat is On

Michael Raver is a rising playwright everyone should have their eye on! His new play, Fire on Babylon, which is in the Fresh Fruit Festival, is HOT! In fact, it's scalding with twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole play!

Fire on Babylon is about two New Yorkers each locked in personal crisis, while the city is having one of its own: the 2003 blackout. Between Michael's script, the set, the acting, and the direction, Fire on Babylon took me back to August 14, 2003, the day of the Northeast blackout. I was filled with emotions and those feelings lasted the throughout the show. The uncertainty of what was initially happening in the city, the fear, the crowds of people you saw walking the streets, the comradery of strangers, were all perfectly conveyed here.

Michael Raver in "Fire on Babylon", Photo Credit: Lloyd MulveyJeffrey Hayenga in "Fire on Babylon", Photo Credit: Lloyd MulveyAt the onset, I thought, perhaps, the play was going to be a typical gay story of older man/younger man, but little did I know, that feeling was going to be short-lived. It wasn't long until the lights went out and we were in the darkness of the blackout watching little rays of light shine through as secrets are revealed. First one secret, then another, and another, and before you know it, Fire on Babylon is taking you on a road you did not expect to go. As the truth unfolded, so did their hurt, which just seemed to get deeper and deeper throughout the play. But through these revelations, I learned so much about each character and how they got to where they are. Fire on Babylon really displayed the sentiment of how secrets and lies can crush a person's soul, but when the truth is set free, one can rise up and move forward.

Michael's words are rich, powerful, and intriguing. He has a great way to setting the story up and just when you think you might know what's going to happen, he throws a wrench in the mix and takes you in a different direction, only to make another turn you were not expecting, but leads to the end. While the road to the end might be full of twists and turns, it's these uncertainties that kept captivated me. Life is unpredictable and Michael did an excellent job of showing that in Fire on Babylon.

Michael Raver and Jeffrey Hayenga in "Fire on Babylon", Photo Credit: Lloyd MulveyNot only did Michael write the play, but he starred in it too, opposite Jeffrey Hayenga. Michael and Jeffrey had great chemistry together. They played well off of each other and effortlessly made me feel as though they could have been in a real relationship. Paul Mason Barnes' direction was great. I felt he really understood the concept of the play and helped excute it very well. I loved the set. Simple, but super effective. It easily reminded me of the apartment I had to stay in during the blackout as I could not make my way home.

Fire on Babylon is a strong piece that is worth checking out. There are only two performances left of this show in the Frest Fruit Festival: Friday, July 15th at 6pm and Sunday, July 17th at 5pm. Be sure you get there before the lights go out forever on this run of the show! Fire on Babylon plays at The Wild Project in NYC's East Village (195 East 3rd Street, between Avenue A & B). Click here for tickets!

If you missed my interview with Michael Raver about this show, click here to read it!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Tuesday
Jul122016

Adam's Call: Charles Busch: The Ultimate Playlist at Feinstein's/54 Below: An Evening Filled with Laughter, Smiles, and a Walk Down Memory Lane

Charles BuschThis past June I had the pleasure of seeing Charles Busch's newest show The Ultimate Playlist at Feinstein's/54 Below. It's always a joy when Charles and his musical director Tom Judson return to Feinstein's/54 Below because I know I'm going to have an evening filled with laughter, smiles, and a walk down memory lane, well Charles' memory lane to be exact. 

Charles has a way of captivating the audience with his stories. Whenever he tells a story, it feels as though we are seated in his living room around his fire place. He has excellent story telling skills, hence why he's been such a successful playwright. My favorite story Charles told that night was about his Aunt Lillian and how when he was a little boy, she took him in, because she was the only person who truly understood him. Though Charles was a bit rebellious at first, he ended up having a very special and wonderful relationship with his Aunt Lillian. He learned a lot about himself, life, and theatre from her. He had so many fond memories of their time together. It made me think of the great relationship I had with my grandparents, whom have passed, but have left me with a lifetime of loving memories to remember.

Charles Busch performing "The Ultimate Playlist" at Feinstein's/54 Below, Photo Credit: Maryann LopintoI also really enjoyed Charles' re-enactment of "Miriam Passman," the character who inspired him to write his Tony-nominated play The Tale of the Allergists Wife. While I've heard him tell this story in some of his other cabaret shows, it's still enjoyable to hear how he came up with the character and then developed the play around her. But what's even more fun is getting to watch Charles become "Miriam" and do a skit he used to do back in the day. What a treat to get to see a Charles Busch classic skit!

It's always great to hear Charles sing. Until Charles started doing his cabaret shows more regularly, the only time I had ever heard Charles sing was during his annual Christmas Show Times Square Angel. The first time I attended a Charles Busch cabaret show, I remember going into it not fully knowing what to expect, but I ended up leaving with a huge smile on my face from having such a good time. Since that first cabaret show, I have been excited for every one ever since. In this particular show, I enjoyed Charles' varied set list. Charles opened the show with such energy singing "Taking A Chance on Love," a great song about new love. It was the perfect opener because it is such a positive song that it automatically put me in a mood to enjoy the evening set before us.

My favorite song of the night was Those Were The Days. I remember when Dolly Parton released her version of the song back in 2005. It was full of such energy that I was immediately hooked on it. Well, Charles' rendition of this song was just as fun! He got the whole audience singing along with him and he relished in the audience's energy and excitement over the song. He did such a great job with it, I didn't want the song to end!

Charles Busch performing "The Ultimate Playlist" at Feinstein's/54 Below, Photo Credit: Maryann LopintoCharles also did a beautiful mash-up of "The Summer Wind" and "That Sunday, That Summer." Two very sad songs about lost loves, but recalling happier times of each. Charles really brought such heart to these songs. I could feel his relationship to these songs and the sadness one can feel when you lose someone close to you.

Supporting Charles throughout the whole evening was his longtime musical director Tom Judson. I adore Tom! Him and Charles have terrific chemistry together. They play off of each other very well and I love whenever they do a duet together. They sound great! 

This show made me so happy and brought back some wonderful memories for me. I can't wait for Charles' next engagement at Feinstein's/54 Below and I encourage everyone to go see him the next time he's in town!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Saturday
Jul092016

Adam's Call: Alexa Green: So Good is SO GREAT!

Album Design: Kat HennesseyAs I started listening to Alexa Green's debut solo recording So Good, the first thing I thought was WOW. By the time the third song came on, WOW was still coming out of my mouth. I thought, could Alexa Green be anymore talented? Could she top what she's done in the first few songs I've heard? As the album kept going, I discovered, that, yes indeed, Alexa could be more talented! I couldn't wait to hear what note Alexa would hit next. She has an unbelievable vocal quality, and a range like no other. She hits all the right notes and then some!

Alexa GreenAlexa has gathered a great roster of songs for her debut album. My absolute favorite song is her "New York Medley" which consists of "I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City"/"Another Hundred People"/"I Miss New York"/"New York State Of Mind." Alexa really weaved these songs together perfectly, not only in selection, but in voice. Her vocals move seamlessly between songs and when she gets to "Another Hundred People," I lost it. This is one of my all time favorite songs and Alexa sang it beyond wonderfully! I'm sure it was hard to select just four songs for this medley, but I hope on Alexa's next album, she covers Carner & Gregor's "New York, Do You Care?" Her style of singing would make this song even more golden than it already is!

Alexa Green, Photo Credit: Kat HennesseyI also love Alexa's take on "If It's Over," "California/Come Rain or Shine," "Being Good Isn't Good Enough," and "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road/Look To The Rainbow." I will never forget when Mariah Carey sang "If It's Over" in 1993 during MTV's Unplugged. I thought no one will ever sing this like Mariah. Well, that was until, I heard Alexa Green sing it. Alexa's version is so powerful. It's so strong, she probably belted the roof off that recording studio. I esaily thought to myself, "Mariah who?"

If Joni Mitchell, Harold Arlen, and Johnny Mercer heard Alexa's version of "California/Come Rain or Shine," they would be so proud that she recorded it. When Alexa finished recording "Being Good Isn't Good Enough," Jule Styne, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green all came back to life to applaud Alexa on a job well done! Elton John and Bernie Taupin were seen running down the yellow brick road to catch up to Alexa and thank her for the terrific job on "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," while Burton Lane and E.Y. Harburg were definitely glowing from Alexa's cover of "Look To The Rainbow."

Alexa Green recording "So Good"What makes Alexa stand-out from other singers is her strong, powerful belt! Each song has some form of Alexa belting. While I've highlighted some of my favorite songs here, every song has their own special quality that makes them So Good! If you still are wondering whether or not you should buy this album, the answer is a qualified yes! Click here to purchase from iTunes and Amazon!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Monday
Jun062016

Adam's Call: Barrett Foa: Grin and Barrett is Unforgettable

I had the complete joy of getting to attend Barrett Foa's newest cabaret show Grin and Barrett which made it's New York City debut on Friday, June 3 at Feinstein's/54 Below. It was GREAT to see Barrett back on stage, singing his heart out, and enjoying the live audience he loves performing for.

Barrett's show was the perfect blend of music and behind-the-scene stories from his theatrical endeavors and time so far on NCIS: Los Angeles. From musical theatre numbers to standards, pop, and rock covers, Barrett wowed the crowd throughout the evening! A few musical moment highlights were his "BFoa Medley" which comprised of songs by Madonna, Coldplay, Cher, WHAM!, Bryan Adams, The Beatles, and a few musicals as well as his "Underdog Medley," "Finale," and "Encore." I don't want to give too much away, but after the show, I told Barrett that he NEEDED to record his encore and release it as a single (I hope you listen to that advice)!

Barrett Foa and Call Me Adam at "Grin and Barrett" at Feinstein's/54 Below in NYCWhat makes Barrett such a dynamic performer is the way he seamlessly moved between songs and stories. He had a great flow to the evening. My favorite story of the night was, what I felt to be, his most personal story of the show. He talked about the "hardships" of growing up with a name like Barrett Foa and how the kids at school teased him a lot. I related a lot to that story, not because people made fun of my name growing up, but because they made fun of me and my personality traits. But what an amazing feeling it is to get past those days and realize what a unique gift we each are to this planet. And when you are able to turn that hurt into laughter and learn how to truly be the joke a step ahead of everyone, well, that is the greatest moment of strength there can be.

Barrett may have been cheated by many as a kid, but he made up his mind and had it come to end. Look at him now, starring on a hit TV show, delighting audiences over the years on stage, and now, creating this cabaret show as a love letter to himself is probably the biggest reward he can give to both himself and to us, the audience!

Barrett FoaGrin and Barrett will play one last performance here in New York City at Feinstein's/54 Below on Tuesday, June 7 at 9:30pm! Click here for tickets, if you can still grab one!

For those of you on the West Coast, Barrett will be coming your way on June 24 and June 25 at Feinstein's Nikko in San Francisco! Click here to get tickets!

If you missed my interview with Barrett about this show, you can read it here! 

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Saturday
May212016

Adam's Call: Seth Sikes Sings Liza Minnelli at Feinstein's/54 Below: Sing Happy

There are many performers out there who attempt to sing the songs of Liza Minnelli. Seth Sikes is one of the few singers who CAN sing the songs of Liza Minnelli. In fact, he does such a wonderful job, that I'm sure Liza herself would endorse him, if he decided to record an album of her music.

Seth Sikes Sings Liza Minnelli which I saw at Feinstein's/54 Below a few weeks ago, has everything a tribute show should...a terrific singer, a great set list, and lots of personal stories. Seth really knows his stuff! My favoirte story was the first time Seth met Liza and how tongue twisted he got when trying to speak to her because he was so excited to meet her, he ended up not being able to say anything. It was sweet, funny, and heartfelt all at the same time.

Seth Sikes performing "Seth Sikes Sings Liza Minnelli" at Feinstein's/54 BelowI could easily tell just how much Seth adores Liza and her music. He has put a lot of time and energy into making this show perfect. He never missed a beat and belted every note just as powerfully as Liza. He may sing the songs of Liza Minnelli, but he also makes these songs his own. While Liza's voice may have been ringing in my head at first note, by the second note, it was all about Seth from there on out.

Liza has quite the music catalog and Seth sang a lot of my favorite songs including "Liza with A Z," "Old Friends," "Maybe This Time," "Some People," "Mein Herr," and "Cabaret." Seth sang his heart out on each one of these iconic songs and really defined them like no one else. I love how he played with the lyrics of "Liza with A Z" to suite his name as I have done with my own friends. My favorite Liza song Seth introduced me to was "Sorry I Asked," a really heartbreaking song about a woman finding out her husband was cheating. Seth hit all the right notes and emotions with this song.

Seth Sikes performing "Seth Sikes Sings Liza Minnelli" at Feinstein's/54 BelowHow do I wrap up this review? Simply by saying it's been six years since Liza Minnelli has released an album, I think now would be a good time for Liza and Seth to make a double duets album...one of him and Liza singing her music and then a second disc recreating the duets of Liza and Judy Garland (I mean Seth also has a critically acclaimed show singing the songs of Judy Garland). So, here's my official request for that! 

For those of you wanting to see this triumphant show, Seth Sikes Sings Liza Minnelli will be returning to Feinstein's/54 Below on Wednesday June 8 at 7pm (254 West 54th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue). Click here for tickets!

Seth is also bring this show to Feinstein's at the Nikko in San Francisco, CA on June 16 (click here for tickets) and The Mansion Inn in Saratoga Springs, NY on June 23 (click here for tickets).

If you missed my interview with Seth about this show, click here to read it!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!