VIDEO: BWW's 12 Days of Christmas with Guest Editor Richard Jay-Alexander; Day 2 - Laila Robins Like You've Never Seen Her Before!
BroadwayWorld.com is, once again, celebrating the Holiday Season with a special 'countdown' which will reveal some favorite holiday-themed performances! For the 5th Anniversary of this Exclusive Feature, we've invited director/producer Richard Jay-Alexander to be our first-ever Guest Editor, to share with us HIS holiday favorites. His list will be composed of holiday songs and boasting performances with artists we know and love from Broadway and beyond. We'll bet that this countdown will surely get you into the holiday spirit, as the big day rolls around on December 25th, but we won't forget Chanukkah and Kwanzaa either. This is sure to be a 'Must Check-In Daily' event to see what's on RJA's list, while we wish you Happy Holidays from all of us at BroadwayWorld.com!
Today is Sunday and Sunday night means HOMELAND on Showtime, now in it's 4th season and as riveting as ever. It also informs my choice for Day 2 of BWW's 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS Holiday Video picks. Over the years, I have done a number of benefits for BroadwayWorld. Rob Diamond has a wonderful relationship with Tom Viola and everyone at Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS and that has been the focus of the fundraising for these benefits. Now, when I do, pretty much, anything, I put alot of thought into the "assignment" and I am not a fan of, what I like to call, PARK & BARK events. I try to match talents and material in a very special way. This brings us to LAILA ROBINS.
Laila came to mind, this morning, as she is having a "killer" season on HOMELAND, playing the character of Martha Boyd, the United States Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. She is a fine actress and a personal friend to both me and to BroadwayWorld, but who knew she could sing? That stated, somehow, back in 2006, we did a Holiday Show at Joe's Pub, called BROADWAYWORLD.COM ON ICE. It was a pretty amazing AND emotional evening. Somehow, I either found out, or just asked Laila, if she sang, as I had something special in mind for her. It would be unique and emotional...and happily she signed on.
I am proud to be a member of the Board of Trustees of BC/EFA and have been, for some time now. Many books about the AIDS Epidemic have been written over the years, but ONE stuck with me and I would visit it year after year, after year. The book was / is THE QUILT: STORIES FROM THE NAMES PROJECT, published back in 1988. The book is a collection of stories about people we lost to AIDS. It is a searing, yet poetic and beautiful book, with real people's "voices."
One story takes place at Holiday Time and I don't want to tell you much more than that, as that would certainly be a 'spoiler'. But, for this evening's special benefit, I asked Laila to read it and then sing a song I remembered that Reba McEntire had recorded ... that ALSO left a huge impression on me when I first heard it. Laila was totally commited and had never sung in public before and everything was moving along just fine ... even a smooth afternoon run-thru rehearsal. That night in performance ..... it became something truly unforgettable.
Ladies and Gentleman, today I offer a piece of video that lasts 12 minutes and 18 seconds, and that no one has ever seen. I can promise you that this will be time well invested.
Thank you Rob Diamond and Nicole Rosky, for pulling it out of the BWW VAULTS for me. This is truly a thing of beauty .... and I will forever be grateful to Laila for going to such a "dangerous" and "beautiful" place for us.
WARNING: Seriously, have kleenex.