The Carlyle to Welcome Back Jim Caruso and Billy Stritch, 4/6-5/25
The Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel, is pleased to welcome Jim Caruso & Billy Stritch back to Bemelmans Bar for an extended Sunday night residency. The upcoming performances will build upon their recent run of shows in the intimate, storied New York City lounge, favorites not only of music fans and critics, but also of fellow artists. Jim Caruso & Billy Stritch shows are a place where some of the city's foremost entertainers go to commune with their own-and sometimes sit-in for a song or two-on their nights off. The pair will be at Bemelmanswith their evening of swinging standards Sunday nights, April 6 - May 25.
Bemelmans Bar is located in The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel (35 East 76th Street @ Madison Avenue). Jim Caruso & Billy Stritch will play Sundays in April and Mayat 9:00 p.m. Bar seating is $15 per person and table seating is $25 per person. Reservations not accepted; tables available on a first-come, first-serve basis. For additional information, visit www.thecarlyle.com.
To be sure, Caruso and Stritch are exceptional musicians in their own right. In a recent New York Observer review, Rex Reeddescribed their Bemelmans show as "a nimble, nonstop, musical show-business bonanza with as much rhythm and class as the feet of Fred Astaire." But part of the fun is experiencing Caruso and Stritch's impromptu collaborations with the showbiz heavy-hitters who turn up; recent guest appearances at Bemelmans have included Liza Minnelli, Michael Feinstein, Bono, Marilyn Maye, Jane Monheit and Linda Lavin. Chita Rivera, Lisa Lambert, David Zippel, Lucie Arnaz, Stephanie J. Block and Lisa Lampanelli are among the many other notable attendees of their shows.
In addition to performing extensively on their own, Caruso and Stritch-who are best friends-gained national exposure together as the host and musical director of the wildly popular, recurring open mic event Cast Party. Stephen Holden, in The New York Times, called a Cast Party event in the current Lincoln Center American Songbook series "a welcoming oasis of traditional show business bonhomie"-a description that perfectly captures the spirit of the duo's Bemelmans residency.
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 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 Monday night 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.
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 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 and Carnegie 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 on Ghostlight 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 Minnelli at 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 with the latest, "Jazz Live," 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.
A favorite neighborhood bar of Upper East Siders and visitors alike, Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle is a special hideaway where artist and author Ludwig Bemelmans' whimsical drawings come to life. Best remembered for his beloved Madeline series of classic children's books, Bemelmans was commissioned in 1947 to paint the large-scale murals to depict all four seasons in famed Central Park. Featuring the only surviving Bemelmans' commission open to the public, the bar combines wit and coziness in unique New York style. Restored in 2002 by designer Thierry Despont, the bar maintains its Art Deco legacy with chocolate-brown leather banquettes, nickel-trimmed black glass tabletops, a dramatic black granite bar and a 24-karat gold leaf-covered ceiling. Open year round with live music every evening, regular performers include favorites such as Chris Gillespie, Earl Rose, Loston Harris, David Budway, Jim Caruso and Billy Stritch. Named in honor of the legendary artist, Bemelmans is a classic New York watering?hole that has drawn socialites, politicians, movie stars and moguls for more than five decades.
Photo Credit: Bill Westmoreland