Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra gave a jumping and laugh filled evening of jazz and comical showmanship last night at the Starlight Gala for the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center. The audience was riveted before the show even began. The well dressed crowd in suits and gowns were full of energetic eagerness. This was an audience with a giving heart of support for The Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, in its visual and performing arts programming. Including arts education, free shows for schools, free exhibitions, community outreach, classes and workshops. This was also an audience of die hard Jeff Goldblum fans. Talk about wonderful gathering indeed.
The lights dimmed and without fanfare or an intro. Goldblum casually walked onto the stage. Nonchalantly saying "You guys really are a quiet audience." The house let loose a thunderous cheer. Ever the carefree showman, Goldblum graciously bowed and accepted the electric adulation. "This is my first time in Birmingham. Actually this is my first time in this wonderful state. Can you believe that?"
The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra hit the stage strong. Goldblum on piano, John Storie on Guitar, Joe Bagg on organ, Scott Gilman on tenor saxophone, Alex Frank on bass, and Kenny Elliott on drums. The sultry voice of jazz vocalist Annie Ellicott heated up set list. The full program delivered fresh arrangements of jazz standards and some jazzy cool improvisational jams. The snaps and claps were constant from the audience.
Throughout the performance, Goldblum effortlessly flowed with gleeful engagement with the hyped Birmingham audience. He gave personal stories, entertaining vamping, trivia games, answering questions from the audience, and a wonderful run of Alabama themed questions on everything from BBQ, college football and half moon cookies.
One of the quiz questions on Birmingham trivia read how Birmingham is under the watch the Roman God Vulcan. "What is Vulcan the God of?" Goldblum asked inquisitively. The crowd in unison screams out "FORGE!" Goldblum unable to make sense of so many voices shouting gave a comical glance out to the house. 'What is that you say? I can't hear you all clearly. Vulcan is the God of ...Thor? Is she saying Thor?" The audience bellowed loudly again "FORGE!" Now hearing and understanding the answer, Goldblum smiles and laughs. "Oh forge! Oh yes. I see now. The God of forge." He reads more of the answer on the paper with great curiosity. "And what's this? I read here Vulcan is mooning the city of Homewood? Why is his backside showing? This is all very confusing Birmingham."
When the evening's performance sadly came to its last song. Goldblum looked out to at all of the gracious faces in the audience, and said with much emotion "I don't want to leave you Birmingham. I may move here. You are just wonderful."
I think Rent Monster can find him a permanent place to live in the Magic City. I'm sure the Alys Stephens Center would welcome them all back as instructors for the ArtPlay program. We could probably sweeten the deal with some Dreamland, Grapico, and a few dozen half moon cookies. What say you Birmingham? Lets make this happen so we can bring back Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra. It was a night of memorable entertainment that everyone should enjoy.
Click here for more info on The Alys Stephens Center or to donate to one of their many arts programs - https://www.alysstephens.org/support-us/donate/