The Broadway at Birdland concert series celebrated a musical trifecta on Monday night, with sublime jazz vocalist Jane Monheit, extraordinary arrangements by Mary Ann McSweeney, and a wealth of Irving Berlin material. The stellar backup band for the evening evening included McSweeney on bass, Jim Ridl on piano, and Alvester Garnett on drums. Several months ago, the Monheit-McSweeney duo teamed up with a swinging take on Cole Porter''s iconic score for Anything Goes, to great acclaim.
Jim Caruso's Cast Party followed the concert, and included, as always, a startling mix of musical styles. The weekly "extreme" open mic is hosted by Caruso and musical directed by Billy Stritch, along with the Cast Party Symphony Orchestra (Steve Doyle on bass and Daniel Glass on drums). The packed house cheered impromptu performances by Ms. Monheit, Broadway leading lady Laura Osnes, Hawaiian superstar Melveen Leed, Las Vegas jazzer Pascale Elia, Aussie song and dance man Linden Furnell, James Harkness from Beautiful, cabaret star Joanne Tatham, "The Voice" finalist Max Milner, the swinging sounds of Nancy Harms, former Cats star Elizabeth Ruff, the casts of Fifty Shades of Grey (Kaitlyn Frotton, Ashley Ward and Chloe Williamson) and We''ll Take Manhattan (Hannah Elless, Trevor McQueen, Brian Carter and Caleb Ryan)!