Photo Coverage: Jim Caruso and Billy Stritch Play Bemelman's Bar at Carlyle Hotel
Jim Caruso & Billy Stritch return to Bemelmans at The Carlyle Hotel this month with their evening of swinging standards. The two performers, who have performed extensively on their own, gained national exposure together as the host and musical director of the wildly popular open mic, Cast Party, which celebrates talent every Monday at Birdland in NYC, and tours nationally. During their November run at Bemelmans, the duo received critical acclaim, and made news when rock legend Bono joined them in an impromptu performance. Check out photos from their concert below!
Jim Caruso recently made his Broadway debut alongside Liza Minnelli in the Tony Award-winning smash hit Liza's At The Palace!, singing, dancing and celebrating the music and arrangements of the late, great Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers. For his nightclub work, Caruso has won six MAC, two Nightlife and two BackStage Bistro Awards for his sold-out New York shows at Birdland, the Algonquin Hotel, and Arci's Place; and has also performed in clubs in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Palm Beach Hotel and London. He sang with the New York Pops in an all-star tribute to Kander & Ebb at Carnegie Hall, and returned to "The Hall" in a tribute to Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, hosted by Michael Feinstein. Jim and his vocal trio, Wiseguys, were invited to sing at President Clinton's Inaugural and First State Dinner at the White House, and celebrated Bing Crosby in concert at Carnegie Hall with Rosemary Clooney. For the past nine years, he has hosted a Mondaynight Manhattan showbiz bash at Birdland called "Jim Caruso's Cast Party," which has also celebrated talent in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, Austin, Orlando, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and on the high seas with the "Dave Koz & Friends" jazz cruise. His cd, "The Swing Set," was released in 2011.
Billy Stritch is one of the premier singer-pianists on the New York and national jazz and cabaret scene. His most recent nightclub act "Billy Stritch Sings the Mel Tormé Songbook" earned rave reviews from the New York critics. Stritch has appeared in cabaret venues across the nation as well as concert performances at the London Palladium, NHK Hall in Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro's Municipale Auditorium. In New York, he has performed at Lincoln Center andCarnegie Hall and was onstage in the 2001 Broadway revival of 42nd Street, which starred Christine Ebersole. Their friendship laid the groundwork for a musical collaboration resulting in the CD, "In Your Dreams," available onGhostlight Records. Billy is also a songwriter and arranger, and his composition "Does He Love You" was recorded by Reba McEntire and Linda Davis. The single reached the number one spot on the Billboard Country chart, winning a Grammy Award and selling over five million copies along the way. He has arranged for many top performers and is a frequent collaborator with Liza Minnelli, having written the arrangements for Minnelli On Minnelliat the Palace Theater, Liza's Christmas at Town Hall, and was musical supervisor and pianist for the Tony Award-winning, Liza's At The Palace. Billy has played and sung on numerous television shows including "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," "Oprah," "The CBS Morning Show," "The Today Show" and "Inside The Actor's Studio". He has three CDs to his credit and his latest "Jazz Live," was released on Fynsworth Alley Records. He is the winner of the Nashville Music City News Award, a BMI Song of the Year Award, and four awards from the Manhattan Association of Clubs and Cabarets.
The Carlyle is the city's premier luxury residential hotel and has served as second home to socialites, politicians and movie stars. Ludwig Bemelmans was commissioned to paint large-scale murals in the hotel bar. The creator of the enormously popular Madeline children's book series as well as a successful artist working for The New Yorker, Vogue and Town and Country, Bemelmans transformed the bar with clever, whimsical scenes of Central Park (including picnicking rabbits). Instead of being paid for the art, Bemelmans exchanged his work for a year and a half of accommodations at The Carlyle for himself and his family.
Photo Credit: Stephen Sorokoff