THE GRAFF FAMILY HOLIDAY SPECIAL Set for 54 Below This Weekend
The family includes brother and sister Ilene (Grammy-nominated TV-mom), and Todd (Emmy-winning Tony nominee), cousin Randy (Tony and Drama Desk Award-winner), and Nikka, (triple-threat Broadway performer), the daughter of Ilene and Musical Director Ben Lanzarone (ASCAP-award winning composer). THE GRAFF FAMILY HOLIDAY SPECIAL was born of the realization that the family had never worked together on the same stage, and that the Holiday season was the best time to make that happen. In celebration of their close bond, they created this show, which combines a little bit of '60's TV, a dash of Pee-Wee Herman, some Happy Hanukkah magic, and secret surprises. The Graffs will be joined by some very special guest-stars including Alexandra Silber and Joanna Gleason on Saturday, and Ms. Gleason, Liz Callaway, Max von Essen, and Julia Murney on Monday. These outstanding performers are part of the Graff's theatre family; Liz and Todd created the roles of Danny and Lizzy in Maltby and Shire's "Baby," Ilene and Joanna were the original Cleo and Monica in the Coleman-Stewart musical, "I Love My Wife," and Nikka and Max appeared together in the Transport Group's production of "Hello Again." In addition to Ben on piano, their trio features John Miller on bass and Jared Schonig on drums. Randy's husband Tim Weil, the original Musical Director of "Rent," will be joining her onstage at the keyboard.
"The Graff Family Holiday Special," plays 54 Below (254 West 54th Street) on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 7 P.M. Cover charge starts at $35, with a $25 food and beverage minimum. Tickets and information are available now at www.54Below.com. Tickets on the day of performance after 4:00 are only available by calling (646) 476-3551.
Ilene Graff is a Grammy nominated recording artist (for her CD "Baby's Broadway Lullabies) who is best known as the mom on the TV comedy, "Mr Belvedere." On Broadway she created the role of Cleo in the Cy Coleman-Michael Stewart musical, "I Love My Wife," played Sandy in the original production of "Grease," and was a pit singer and Fran Kubelik understudy in "Promises, Promises." As part of her extensive TV career, she co-starred with Glenn Close in the Disney film version of "South Pacific," and currently recurs on the CW show "Hart of Dixie." Ilene has performed her cabaret show "First You Dream," on both coasts as well as on the Crystal Symphony cruise ship. She is married to composer Ben Lanzarone and is the mom of musical theatre performer Nikka Graff Lanzarone. www.ilenegraff.com
Randy Graff won the Tony and Drama Desk Award for her performance in "City of Angels." Her other Broadway credits include: "Fiddler on the Roof" (2004 revival), "A Class Act" (Tony, Drama Desk Nominations, "Moon Over Buffalo," 'Laughter on the 23rd Floor," "High Society," "Les MIserables" (original Fantine), and "Grease." Off-Broadway audiences have seen her in "Damn Yankees" and "Do Re Mi" (Encores!), "Motherhood Out Loud" (Primary Stages), "The Long Christmas Ride Home" (Vineyard, Drama League Nomination), "Hotel Suite" (Roundabout), and "Coming Attractions" (Playwrights Horizons). Ms Graff played the Countess in "A Little Night Music" for the acclaimed Sondheim Festival at The Kennedy Center. TV and film credits include "Learning to Drive," "Keys to Tulsa," "Notes From the Underbelly," "Law and Order," "Mad About You," and "The Tonight Show." She can be heard on several original cast recordings and her own solo recording, "Randy Graff Sings "Cy Coleman." In February of 2014, Randy will bring her solo show Randy Graff...MADE IN BROOKLYN to 54 Below. www.randygraff.com
Todd Graff's acting career included Broadway (Tony nomination and Theatre World Award for "Baby"), TV (the original "Electric Company" on PBS), and film ("The Abyss", "City Of Hope", "Opportunity Knocks", "Dominic and Eugene", etc.). As a screenwriter, his credits include "Used People", "The Vanishing", "Angie", "Coyote Ugly", and "The Beautician And The Beast". As a writer/director, he created the films "Camp" (Dramatic Competition - Sundance Film Festival, New Directors/New Films at Lincoln Center, Grand Prize at the Provincetown and Sydney Film Festivals, etc.), "Bandslam" and "Joyful Noise". Current projects include the libretto for a new stage musical, "Sheila Levine Is Dead And Living In New York" with a score by Michael Devon, Sam Carner and Derek Gregor in development at the Vineyard Theatre, as well as directing the film "Match" in 2014.
Nikka Graff Lanzarone first came to the Broadway scene as Marisa (the icy fiancée who really loved gazpacho and naps) in Lincoln Center Theater's Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. She has also played Velma Kelly in Chicago at Broadway's Ambassador Theatre. Off-Broadway, she appeared as The Whore in the Transport Group's Hello Again and as a Birdgirl in Seussical at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. Nikka has also performed in Jerry Mitchell's Peep Show at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. Favorite regional credits include: The Jungle Book (Goodman/Huntington), A Chorus Line (Paper Mill Playhouse) Into the Woods (Baltimore Centerstage/Westport Country Playhouse), Tommy (Bay Street Theatre). Film: Bandslam. TV: Smash (NBC), Live From Lincoln Center (PBS). Recordings: "Women on the Verge...," "Seussical" cast albums. She is the co-creator and co-host of The Ensemblist, a Broadway-themed podcast. nikka-graff-lanzarone.com @nikkalanz
Ben Lanzarone (Musical Director), a winner of ASCAP's Most Performed Composer Award, is an arranger, conductor, pianist, and Musical Director who has composed hundreds of hours of music for television shows. He conducted and played piano for the original Broadway production of Grease, and conducted, played and arranged for some of the biggest names in the business including Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darn, Peter Nero, Art Garfunkle, Mary Travers, Anthony Newley, Petula Clark, Lainie Kazan and Mason Williams. He has also played on countless records, jingles and movie scores and recorded his own piano album, In Classic Form produced by the legendary Bob Crewe. His work on wife Ilene Graff's CD Baby's Broadway Lullabies helped it earn a Grammy nomination.