Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Proust The Musical Part II - Starring Jim Caruso

As we mentioned in our previous post we are devoted fans of Jim Caruso. Jim is a performer, producer, writer, and all round entertainment mogul. When he's not traveling the globe to perform with Liza Minnelli he can be found every Monday night running the show at Birdland's Jim Caruso's Cast Party. In addition to his many other accomplishments he is the award winning creator and producer of the Broadway at Birdland series. In an effort to discover more about the man of many chapeaus that is Jim we decided to give him our Musical Questionnaire....

The Questionnaire
Starring Jim Caruso

What is your current State of Mind?
Pleasantly confused

What was the first song you ever performed in public?
Three Little Fishies on The Ricky & Copper Show, WTAE-TV, Pittsburgh, PA

What was the first musical act you ever saw in person?
My parents took me to The Holiday House in Pittsburgh to see Ben Vereen's nightclub act. It changed my life. He wore a brown jumpsuit with puffy white sleeves, sang and danced “Magic To Do.” I almost wet my pants. I also remember going to The Americana Hotel in NYC to see Phyllis Newman, and I got her autograph.

What is your idea of perfect musical happiness?
James Taylor singing Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight

What do you regard as the lowest depth of musical misery?
German Oom-pah Band/Autoharp

Name three composers you wish would write a song for you?
Jimmy Webb, Adam Guettel, Maltby & Shire

What virtue do you consider essential for every musician?
Senses of swing and humor

What Profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Architect. It just sounds cool, and you get to wear interesting eyeglasses.

What profession would you not like to attempt?

What is your greatest extravagance?
Ralph Lauren

Who are your heroes in real life?
Tom Viola for his tireless work at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
Robert Kennedy, Jr. for his environmental crusade
Kay Thompson for coaching every performer I love and jazzing up the sound of the movies

Thank you Jim for taking a minute to answer our questions, and we give you our solemn vow not to bring our autoharps to Cast Party. For the complete info on Jim you can visit his website at It's a great site and has more photos like the one above from our favorite photog Bill Westmoreland.

Post your own answers to the questionnaire in our comments section and you could win a free ticket to see Laurel Masse' at Birdland on September 15th. If you aren't in the NYC area don't that stop you we'll send you a CD if your entry is chosen. All answers need to reach us by September 10th.

Redheads on the Town

As mentioned in our previous post Miss Laurel has a gig coming up at NYC's Birdland, so Monday night we strapped on our stilettos, hopped the A train and headed down to the club to hang out at Jim Caruso's Cast Party. And are we glad we did....Jim Caruso's Cast Party on Monday night at Birdland is one of NYC's great entertainment adventures. Jim Caruso is the dapper and unflappable host of the proceedings who gets our vote for the hardest working man in show biz. Each week he takes a head spinning variety of acts who come through the door from the famous, to the near famous to the not even close and combines them into perhaps the only true variety show left on the planet. On any given week you're likely to see singers from every genre, the cast of the latest Broadway hit, dancers, comedians, impressionists, instrumentalists, composers, ventriloquists, contortionists, you name it. It seems like everyone in town drops by to promote their latest project, try out new material, or to see and be seen. You'll never know who will be there.

This week on the audience side you had actress Mary Louise Parker, singer/songwriter Christine Lavin, busloads of tourists, scenesters, Broadway babies, and your very own Redheads. On the other side of the footlights were swinging singer Carrie Jackson, LaLa Brooks of the Crystals (remember Da Do Run Run?), cast members from the upcoming Off -Broadway show Enter Laughing, Luba Mason, the new cast of Alter Boyz, our own Miss. Laurel AND...LIZA MINNELLI. Your redheads are not normally star struck, but she rendered us twitterpated. It was a ten minute master class on performance. We have rarely seen anyone command a stage like this. With Billy Stritch on piano and without fancy costume (She looked tremendous, by the way) she was in complete command of the stage. We are still in awe. A good time was definitely had by all!!!!

It occurs to us that since Laurel will be in concert at Birdland on Monday September 15th at 7:00 PM, you could make it a twofer. Come for Laurel stay for Cast Party! You could even see Laurel free if you make a comment on this blog between now and September 10th. Just pick your favorite question from our musical questionnaire and you'll be eligible to win a free ticket to Laurel's show at Birdland. Not in the NYC area? That's okay, we'll send you a CD instead.
Cast Party happens at Birdland every Monday night beginning at 9:30 for more info visit their website . Tell 'em we sent you!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Proust the Musical…..

We must confess to being fans of both Vanity Fair Magazine and James Lipton and his TV show Inside the Actor’s Studio. Our favorite part is the questionnaire that closes each. The questionnaire is “adapted” from French talk show host Bernard Pivot, who “adapted” it from Marcel Proust, who “adapted” it from an English source, who “adapted” it from heaven only knows. Let’s just say that the use of a questionnaire to get to know the deep inner thoughts of relative strangers has a long and distinguished history, as anyone who has ever gotten certain email forwards knows all too well. Your Redheads certainly like the idea of using a few well-worded questions to reveal their current state of mind, but felt that existing versions of it didn’t specifically address their musical needs. With a tip of our lady-like bonnets to all the sources that came before here is our more musical version.

What is your current State of Mind?

LM: Happy

WLB: Expectant Agitation

What was the first song you ever performed in public?

LM: The Ballad of Davy Crockett

WLB: Paper Roses in the third grade Talent show.

What was the first musical act you ever saw in person?

LM: Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians

WLB: The Osmonds at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, VA. (Give me a break, I was nine….)

What is your idea of perfect musical happiness?

LM: Perfect harmony with all

WLB: Being surrounded by musicians I love and respect to collaborate on projects that let me use my skills as a singer, writer, and creator.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of musical misery?

LM: Being prevented from doing my best

WLB: Watching other musicians have all the fun while I do the paperwork and schlep the bags.

Name three composers you wish would write a song for you?

LM: Randy Newman, Adam Guettel, and James Taylor. But if they're too busy... Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Chris Thile, Lorraine Feather, James Bassi, Amanda McBroom and Michele Brourman, and Ann Hampton Callaway. And me. I wish I would, too!

WLB: I think I’m going to exceed my limit on this one, but here goes…Amanda McBroom & Michele Brourman (since they frequently write together they count as one), Gretchen Peters, Willie Nelson, Stephen Sondheim, and John Bucchino. Johnny Mercer too, but since he’s no longer among us I think he falls into a different category.

What virtue do you consider essential for every musician?

LM: Compassion

WLB: The Ability to listen

What Profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

LM: Other profession? I am completely happy being an artist, and I would
like to expand with writing and public speaking. But a different
profession? Hmmm. Chat show host? Traveling evangelist? Dog trainer?

WLB: Historian/Museum Curator

What profession would you not like to attempt?

LM: Formula One racing. Definitely.

WLB: Anything that involves being confined in a cubicle.

What is your greatest extravagance?

LM: Books and the time taken to read them.

WLB: Wildly impractical and terribly expensive shoes.

Who are your heroes in real life?

LM: Everyone who walks or stumbles though life with a measure of grace and compassion, and is able to change the lives of others for the better. Some get more publicity than others: Mother Teresa. Dr. Martin Luther King. St. Paul. Some are unknown. It might be you, beloved reader.

WLB: My mother, who taught me to love fiercely and that to survive with wit and grace, is the highest art form.

Not being content to gaze endlessly at our own navels in a fruitless search for answers we want to hear from YOU. We’re inviting you to take one or all of the questions from the questionnaire and answer them yourself, or if you’re feeling especially inspired make up your own question. Post it in our comments section and you will be eligible for our current fabulous give away. The winner, chosen at random, will get a free ticket to see the taller half of your redheads (that would be the fabulous and fierce Miss. Laurel) at Birdland in New York City on September 15th. If you don’t happen to be in the NYC area don’t let that stop you; if you’re our lucky winner we’ll send you one of Laurel’s CD’s. All entries are due by September 10th so get to questioning…..

Monday, August 11, 2008

Better Late Than......

We RedHeads seem to be enjoying our summer hiatus just a little too much. So much in fact, that we are a wee bit late announcing that the winner of our July give away is Naomi Hanks. Naomi, your prize is on its way. We'll be returning from our fun in the sun shortly to bring you an all new topic and an all new prize so y'all come back now.