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Adam's Call: Broadway Belts for PFF: An Evening of Learning, Belting, and Breath

Jefferson Harman, Julie Halston, and Call Me Adam at Broadway Belts for PFF 2016, Photo Credit: Jenny Anderson PhotographyOn Monday, February 29, I was so honored to attend Broadway Belts for PFF, a benefit for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, with my Dreaming With... associate producer, Jefferson Harman. Broadway Belts for PFF started in 2010 when beloved theater critic Michael Kuchwara, passed away from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Founded by D. Michael Dvorchak, Sue Frost, and Ed Windels, Broadway Belts for PFF is now in it's 6th year, and continues to be hosted by the hilarious Julie Halston! It was an evening of learning, entertainment, and feeling good about helping an important cause.

Prior to Broadway Belts, Jefferson and I were fortunate to have Julie as the first guest on our new internet based TV Show Dreaming With...where we talked with Julie about this amazing benefit prior to Jefferson interpretating a recent dream she had that tied into her husband, renowned radio personality Ralph Howard, being diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis, but luckily surviving through a lung transplant several years ago. Click here to watch our premiere episode!

Broadway Belts for PFF 2016, Photo Credit: Jenny Anderson PhotographyOn the night of the benefit, I was thrilled to speak with Julie even further about Broadway Belts as well as many of the guest performers and supporters of the evening including Hamilton's Daveed Diggs, Everybody Loves Raymond's Monica Horan, Tony Award winner Cady Huffman, It Shoulda Been You's Lisa Howard, Rocky's Margo Seibert, and director Carl Andress. Below are excerpts from my interviews.

Julie Halston and Call Me Adam at "Broadway Belts for PFF 2016", Photo Credit: Stephen SorokoffJulie Halston (Broadway Belts' host)

What do you hope everybody comes away with after the evening? Well, two things. I hope they understand what Pulmonary Fibrosis is and how they can help and I also want them to go away saying, "That was a fantastic show!" The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation has done a remarkable job educating people all across America about this disease and what's happening with the disease now. Our job, as New York Broadway people, is to provide a spectacular show and I have to tell you with the line-up we have, I can't imagine them being anything, but their heads exploding. We have an amazing line-up of talent: We have gorgeous gal singers, Broadway belters, Daveed Diggs from Hamilton, who has created an original song/rap for us, we have a trio of Tony award winners, and we have the cast of Cagney, tapping. The finale is going to be insane. You're not going to be let down.

"Hamilton's" Daveed Diggs, Photo Credit: Jenny Anderson PhotographyCall Me Adam, Daveed Diggs, Jefferson Harman at "Broadway Belts for PFF 2016", Photo Credit: Jenny Anderson PhotographyDaveed Diggs (Hamilton)

What made you want to be part of tonight's event for Broadway Belts for PFF? It's a great cause and really meeting Julie and learning about her story and her husband's story and the organization. It felt like a great opportunity to do something good and have a lot of fun and be around some cool people.

You wrote an original song/rap for tonight's benefit. What was the process like for you to do that? It was great. I was inspired by the work PFF is doing. Quite honestly, writing an original song is easier for me to do than learn a show tune, so I chose both something that fed my inspiration and took the easier way out (laughs).

Carl Andress and Julie Halston, Photo Credit: Evan ZimmermanCarl Andress (Broadway Belts director)

How does directing a benefit differ from directing a theatrical piece? Directing a benefit takes into account much more logistics. You are dealing with the organizers of the event, stage management, venue management, so it's pulling all the pieces together so we can all get on the same timeline. Then we have to get our talented artists onto that same timeline as well, so it's a lot more logistical. The part I most look forward to is picking material with the artists and curating how each number is going to come together and then working with the team to figure out what's the best flow. You have to put on different head when directing a benefit. Then when you come in on the day of the event, it's really about making sure everything goes as you planned, but it doesn't always go that way because plans change...they sell another table or someone has to film a TV show and come late, so you just have to run with whatever the changes are that day.

What made you want direct this particular benefit? Six years ago, when they were doing the first Broadway Belts, Julie asked me personally if I would direct and I immediately said yes a here we are in year six and we are in a muuuch bigger space, so it's very exciting.

Tony Award winners Cady Huffman, Randy Graff, and Judy Kaye, Cady Huffman (Tony Award winner The Producers)

What made you want to be part of this event? Well, Miss Julie Halston, everybody's favorite person, asked me. So, anything I can do to help her and her husband Ralph, who had Pulmonary Fibrosis.

"It Shoulda Been You's" Lisa Howard, Photo Credit: Jenny Anderson PhotographyLisa Howard (Broadway's It Shoulda Been You)

What made you want to be part of tonight's benefit and how has Pulmonary Fibrosis affected your life? Well, not necessarily Pulmonary Fibrosis, but I had a scare with my son, and it ended up all being okay, but I know what that's like of getting that diagnosis and freaking out, so when the opportunity came to help support this cause, I said, "Yes, count me in," cause you know, I'm lucky that our end result came out positively, but I could only imagine what that would have been like if it didn't, so I'm very happy to be here and sing a song for a good cause.

Margo Seibert, Photo Credit: Jenny Anderson PhotographyMargo Seibert (Broadway's Rocky, CBS' Elementary)

What made you want to be invovled in tonight's benefit? Well, I had the pleasure of working with Julie Halston at Papermill Playhouse in Ever After and we had a relationship from that show. After the show ended, she heard me sing the song I'm singing tonight at the benefit, "Flight" by Craig Carnelia, and asked me to be part of it and I'm just so happy to be here helping this cause.

"Everybody Loves Raymond's" Monica Horan and Julie Halston, Photo Credit: Jenny Anderson PhotographyMonica Horan (Everybody Loves Raymond)

What made you want to come tonight and support this event? I think it's so important when people in a creative industry use their talents to repair the world. I've been BFFs with Julie Halston ever since I got my equity card with her doing Vampire Lesbians of Sodom and so it's in support of Julie and Ralph and all the great work they are doing. This is a great opportunity for Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation to get their story out. That's all we really need, to hear the stories, connect, and then participate in doing something about it. 

Adam's Call:

After getting to speak with each person, it was time for the event itself! What an incredible evening! I learned a lot about the great advances in medicine that have been made to help fight Pulmonary Fibrosis and I was inspired by all the performers! Hunter Ryan Herdlicka started things off with a bang with his booming voice when he sang "When the Midnight Choo Choo Leaves for Alabam." Zakiya Young got us grooving with "See What I Wanna See" when her sultry vocals radiated throughout that Edison Ballroom. Telly Leung had everyone cheering with his great rendition of "Before The Parade Passes By." Tony Award winners Rand Graff, Cady Huffman, and Judy Kaye cast a spell upon us when they sang Cyc Coleman's "Witchcraft," while Margo Seibert captivated everyone with "Flight" by Craig Carnelia. Then it was time for Lisa Howard who brought down the house when she reprised her showstopping number "Jenny's Blues" from Broadway's It Shoulda Been You! A standing ovation and two bows, Lisa had the audience feeling anything other than blue. After Lisa, Hamilton's Daveed Diggs took the stage with an original song/rap he wrote just for Broadway Belts. Daveed wrote a truly remarkable rap all about how lucky we are to have breath and the gift of breathing until we no longer have it. Such a talented writer, he is! Rounding out the night was Robert Creighton and the cast (Jeremy Benton, Danette Holden, Ellen Zolezzi, and Josh Walden) of the new Off-Broadway musical Cagney. They tapped their way into our hearts with "Give My Regards to Broadway/Yankee Doodle Dandy." It was a wonderful way to end this incredible night!

If you are looking to help a great cause, a donation to Pulmonary Fibrosis and the gift of breath is the perfect choice! Click here to donate!

Hunter Ryan Herdlicka, Photo Credit: Jenny Anderson Photography

Telly Leung, Photo Credit: Jenny Anderson PhotographyTelly Leung, Call Me Adam, and Jefferson Harman, Photo Credit: Jenny Anderson PhotographyZakiya Young, Photo Credit: Jenny Anderson PhotographyRobert Creighton and the cast of "Cagney", Photo Credit: Jenny Anderson PhotographyJefferson Harman, Christopher McGovern, and Call Me Adam


Adam's Call: Lorna Luft "Triumph" at Feinstein's/54 Below: Celebration of Life

Lorna Luft and Call Me Adam at Feinstien's/54 BelowThere is a reason Lorna Luft entitled her current Feinstein's/54 Below concert Triumph. The reason is because her show is triumphant! Just 18 weeks ago, Lorna was in an operating room fighting for her life while she had a taxing 7-hour surgery for breast cancer. Now Lorna is up on stage singing her heart and soul out! 

In Triumph, Lorna sings songs about life, love, and accentuating the positive. She shows us what it really means to be alive through songs from the American Songbook including a Johnny Mercer medley and a great finale about being cut that you can't miss! Lorna has an energy like no other! Her voice is powerful, her belt raises the roof, and her control makes her one of the best singers around! She keeps the torch lit with her talent!

In addition to her singing, Lorna told some great stories behind the songs as well as behind her battle with breast cancer. It's through these tales that Lorna's heart, soul, and humor are revealed even more. I loved hearing about these special behind-the-scene moments.

To really understand how incredible this concert is, you need to buy a ticket and see Lorna Luft for yourself! She is the epitome of loving life and being grateful for every moment given to you! So, start this New Year off right and celebrate life with Lorna Luft Triumph at Feinstein's/54 Below (254 West 54th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue)! Lorna has just two concerts left on Friday, January 8 at 7pm and 9:30pm. Click here for tickets!

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


Adam's Call: Mathieu Blue: Merry Christmas To You at The Metropolitan Room: Merry and Bright

Mathieu Blue and Call Me Adam at "Merry Christmas To You" at The Metropolitan Room NYCLast October was the first time I saw Mathieu Blue in concert (click here for that review). It was then he announced he was going to be doing a Christmas show in December. Well, December couldn't come quick enough and now it has gone by too quickly and Mathieu, once again, left me wanting more! His Christmas show at The Metropolitan Room was exactly what a holiday show should be...merry and bright! He sang a mixture of holiday classics, Adele, and a yet-to-be-released original composition. 

Let's start with the classics. Mathieu opened the show hitting all the high notes with "Silent Night." This was a great way to get the show started! His sultry voice captivated me in a way it hadn't before. He had the whole room silent until he finished, when the audience gave a rousing round of applause! Mathieu also sang two of my favorite Mariah Carey songs, "Miss You Most (At Christmas Time)" and "All I Want For Christmas Is You" from her 1994 Merry Christmas album. He did a great job with both these songs. "All I Want For Christmas Is You" was a terrific way to end his show because it's a song everyone knows, loves, and can sing along to. It definitely left me smiling.

Mathieu Blue "Merry Christmas To You" at The Metropolitan Room NYCAnother song, Mathieu performed was Adele's "When We Were Young," which I wouldn't think of when I think of holiday songs, but Mathieu set up this song really well. He talked about how we all get caught up in making sure we get pictures of everything we do instead of just enjoying a moment and quality time with those you love. He suggested that this year we take those pictures in our mind instead of on camera. He then went into "When We Were Young." Now, not everyone can sing an Adele song well, but Mathieu did! 

The highlight of the evening, however, was Mathieu's original, yet-to-be-released holiday song, "My Gift." It's a beautiful song about finding love. I, for one, can't wait to get this song to be released next year! It's going to be an instant classic!

The holiday season should be all about smiles, laughter, and fun. That is exactly what you get when you attend a Mathieu Blue holiday show! His soothing voice, heartfelt and fun songs, really put me in the mood for the holidays! Here's to making memories and music!

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


Adam's Call: The Hope of Christmas: Ann Hampton Callaway & William Schermerhorn: Originally Fresh

There are hundreds of Christmas albums for one to purchase this time of year, more or less, featuring the same handful of songs, just sung differently by each artist. Well, this year, we are in luck, there is a BRAND NEW CHRISTMAS ALBUM out featuring an array of originally fresh songs called The Hope of Christmas, with lyrics by William Schermerhorn, sung by the award winning Ann Hamtpon Callaway, featuring the music of Ann Hampton Callaway herself, Michael Feinstein, Wesley Whatley, Stephen Fox, Matthew Sklar, Milton Delugg, and Mary Ehlinger.

The Hope of Christmas is the perfect gift because it's an album you can listen to over and over again! These songs are going to be the new classics you sing with your friends and family. William has written some terrific lyrics about hope, love, loss, and the spirit of the season paired with some of the greatest composers of today and yesterday! Ann's voice seamlessly welds the music and lyrics together, bringing you a finished product that will put you in the most festive mood!

William SchermerhornAnn Hampton CallawayThe jazz-infused songs effortlessly spread a sense of calmness and peace throughout your home and allow you to just relax and reflect on the sounds of the season. A few of my favorite songs, are the title song itself, "The Hope of Christmas" (music by Ann Hampton Callaway), a terrific song about bringing peace and love to the world, not only at Christmas time, but throughout the year. I also love "On Union Street" (music by Wesley Whatley), a fun song about the joys of the start of the Christmas season and meeting up with famiy and friends. It's a great song to open the album because, from the get-go, it gets you excited about all the fun, food, and good times Christmas can bring. I also adore "My Gift of Thanks" (music by Michael Feinstein), a terrific song about being grateful. Knowning a bit about Michael, it's no wonder he would write the music to such a beautiful song as this fits right in with his own beliefs. Then there is "Christmas Isn't Christmas At All," a faster paced bluesy song about missing someone you love during this festive time.

Ann Hampton Callaway and Seth RudetskyI am so glad The Hope of Christmas is available. It's so refreshing to listen to a Christmas album filled with ORIGINAL songs. Not that I don't love the classics we've grown up with and come to love, but it's definitely time and there is room for something new! So, celebrate this new holiday season with The Hope of Christmas, a NEW ORIGINAL Christmas album! Click here to purchase on and Click here to purchase on iTunes!

If you missed my original interview with Ann and William, click here to read it!

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


Adam's Call: Melissa Errico: Sing The Silence at Joe's Pub: Back, Better Than Ever

Melissa ErricoLast month I had the pleasure of going to see Melissa Errico's concert Sing The Silence at Joe's Pub which focused Melissa's journey of getting to sing again after she suddenly lost her voice during the run of Classic Stage Company's production of Passion. Melissa had to withdraw from that production and be on complete vocal rest for 100 days, meaning no singing and no talking whatsoever!

Well, the days of Melissa Errico being silent are very over! She is back and better than ever! I was amazed at how powerful her voice was. She belted stronger and louder than she ever has! I asked her after the show if she felt her voice was stronger than before she lost it and she said, "Yes, absolutely." 

Melissa Errico in "Sing The Silence" at Joe's Pub in NYCWhile the focus of the show was on her 100 days of silence, it was actually more of a biopic piece chronicling her life. She started off the show with some family background moving towards her birth then to her childhood, Broadway, and ultimately losing her voice. Melissa's journey was heavily influenced by her grandmother and great-grandmother as well as her mom's aspirations to be a singer. Some might say, she was destined for the stage. There was a lot I could identify with in Melissa's show, especially her time growing up on Long Island and having Broadway just a car or train ride away. I learned a lot about Melissa's life and her desire to be a performer. She worked hard at it and did whatever it took to get to where she wanted to be. She was going strong and then bam, without warning, one night on stage, she lost her voice. The emotional journey from there to getting her voice back was quite a long road. It was frightening at times to think Melissa Errico would never sing again, but thankfully, that was not the case! Melissa's voice is back, stronger than before!

Melissa Errico in "Sing The Silence" at Joe's Pub in NYCMy favorite musical moments in the show were "How Lovely To Be A Woman" from Bye Bye Birdie, "The Colors of My Life" from Barnum, "People's Parties" by Joni Mitchell, "This Woman's Work" by Kate Bush, "Happiness" from Passion, "Sing The Silence" by Adam Gopnik and Scott Frankel, "Silent Partner" by Patricia Barber, and "Blackbird" by The Beatles. Melissa sounded great throughout the whole show, but these were the songs that have really stuck with me and the ones I felt really drove the story of her journey home!

It did take quite a while to get to the point where Melissa lost her voice and as this piece moves forwards in development, I hope she will re-examine it to see how she can get to that point quicker. I loved learning about her family history and her childhood, but I think that is most of what could be more condensed. As a fan of hers, I want learn about what got her to where she is today, but I want more of the Broadway chatter and then getting to the actual part that made headlines for days when Melissa lost her voice. I think with those cuts, the show would be tighter, stronger, and move more seamlessly.

Melissa Errico in "Sing The Silence" at Joe's Pub in NYCI am thrilled Melissa is no longer "singing the silence" and that everyone can once again hear her powerfully soulful voice! I can't wait to see what is next for Melissa and the growth of Sing The Silence because Melissa will be silent no more!

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

For more on Melissa be sure to visit and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

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