"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).
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.
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: 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: 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.
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.
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.
10. 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 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 Love, The Black Suits (with Robert Maddock), ReWrite, The 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 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!