Photo Flash: Jonathan Brielle Brings I SAW BROADWAY to Birdland
The legendary Birdland was packed to the gills for the latest presentation of Jim Caruso's Broadway at Birdland Series, Jonathan Brielle's I Saw Broadway. An all star gathering of Broadway's greatest vocalists and musicians wowed the audience with one crowd pleaser after another from the musicals of the prolific Brielle. Check out a look back below!
Brielle's I Saw Broadway featured songs and stars from three of his new musicals, including Himself and Nora, which, following a critically acclaimed run at The American Theatre Group's Hamilton Stage, is rounding the corner for Broadway; 40 Naked Women, a Monkey & Me, recently seen in a staged reading, and Nightmare Alley a hit at this summer's New York Musical Theater Festival.
Broadway's brightest stars including Jessica Burrows, Deborah Cox, Veanne Cox, Rose Hemingway and Ken Pyrmus were solidly backed by Brielle and his New York hard swinging extraordinary group of musicians who have among them scores of Broadway show credits and hit records. The band includes Musical Director Jeff Klitz on piano, Paul Pizzutti on drums, Ira Siegel on guitar, Jim Hynes on trumpet, Mike Davis on trombone, Dan Willis on reeds and Andy Snitzer on saxophone. Jersey Boys star Matt Bogart who has been featured in Brielle's' Himself and Nora as legendary Irish writer James Joyce was originally announced to perform but a death in his family forced him to withdraw. The singers and musicians proved skilled at handling Brielle's works which range in genre from classic Broadway to ethnic.
The always engaging, multi-talented Brielle opened the show with the autobiographical title song "I Saw Broadway" and "40 Naked Women a Monkey and Me" and set the stage for one show-stopper after another to the delight of the crowd. Veanne Coxfollowed with the comically, plaintive artist's lament "Commerce & Art".
Ken Prymus famed for his long run in Cats and Ain't Misbehavin'. charmed the audience with "Your Last Second Chance" fromNightmare Alley. Deborah Cox of Aida fame also performed powerfully two songs from Nightmare Alley.
Filling in for Matt Bogart, Brielle rendered the anthemic "Land of Erin" and was joined by Jessica Burrows Van Kipp who won the NYMF Award for her portrayal of Nora in Himself and Nora on the tongue twisting "River Liffey". Solo on the stage the statuesque redhead performed two number from Himself and Nora. She broke hearts with her passionate "Stand Fast" and later drew knowing chuckles from the ladies with her sardonic rendition of "Lucky" - or What is a Woman without a Man- Lucky!
The petite Rose Hemingway with the powerhouse voice took on several of the Nightmare Alley tunes "Lucky Heart' and "Mystery" to roaring applause from the audience and Brielle gave his all for the soaring "I Surrender". Prymus performed "Last Second Chance" before Brielle launched into "I Wanna Be in Love Again". To the strains of "I Saw Broadway" the cast took to the stage for a standing ovation.
Birdland was packed with industry insiders and major fans of Brielle's ???? work including producers Jack Dalgleish, Erin Craig, Aldo Scrofani, Maria Di Día,, and Charles Armstrong, Jamie Roberts, Esq., Jean Ward, Esq., Liz Hamburg; actress Katherine Andreassen, WLIW21 New York Public Television host Laura Savini to name a few.
Jonathan Brielle's work has been seen on Broadway: Foxfire (music & lyrics); Off-Broadway: The Great Grandson of Jedidiah Kohler and Besides Herself (music & lyrics). Regional: Himself & Nora (book, music, lyrics) American Theater Group, NYMF, Dublin, Old Globe; 40 Naked Women, A Monkey and Me (book, music, lyrics) Eugene O'Neil Conference; Nightmare Alley (book, music, lyrics), Geffen Playhouse, NYMF; US and UK Tours: Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus; Rugrats; Goosebumps Live. Las Vegas: Enter The Night - 12yrs Stardust Hotel (book, music, lyrics), MadHattan, (book, music, lyrics) New York, New York Hotel. Honors: Board Vice President, Johnny Mercer Foundation; former Nat'l Projects Director, Songwriters Guild of America.
To check out clips from the evening, click here.
Rose Hemingway, Jonathan Brielle
Jessica Burrows Van Kipp and Christian Van Kipp
Jessica Burrows Van Kipp