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Ricky Pope

Ricky Pope

Ricky Pope is a very busy actor/musical director/vocal coach who has toured the country with the national tours of ANNIE, ALL SHOOK UP AND TITANIC. He has worked in regional theatres in 49 states in shows like ROCK OF AGES, FOOTLOOSE, NEWSIES, SOUTH PACIFIC, MIDLIFE: THE CRISIS MUSICAL AND SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE. He has worked on four editions of BROADWAY BACKWARDS for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and has musical directed shows for artists at Don't Tell Mama, the Duplex, and 54 Below. 


BWW Review: TORI SCOTT Leaves It All on the Stage in JETLAGGED at Joe's Pub
March 31, 2022

There is a phenomenon that occurs at Joe’s pub sometimes. Once in a while, you feel a little tremor underneath the seats while you’re watching a show like you’re experiencing a small earthquake. It’s attributable to the 6 train that runs directly below the Public Theatre on Lafayette Street. However last night, the tremor that was felt was completely due to the act onstage. Tori Scott was in complete command of the room, a room packed with fans there to celebrate her return to Joe’s Pub after a 2-year absence. For ten years she has been making appearances at the downtown cabaret and has developed a sizeable following. If her show, TORI SCOTT: JETLAGGED is any indication, it’s no wonder she has such devoted followers.

BWW Review: CHEEYANG NG is an Artist on the Rise at Feinstein's 54 Below
March 21, 2022

Cheeyang Ng is an impressive human. They are celebrating nearly a decade as a resident of New York. The native of Singapore came here, as they said to escape some traditions and find a truer, more authentic version of themself. That journey is reflected in many of their songs, which focus on the joys and the uncertainty of being in unfamiliar territory, whether it be relationships or career ambitions of just self-actualization. They seem drawn to examining the multitude of thoughts and feelings that occur in a split second of actual time. In short, Cheeyang Ng writes about the active mind.

BWW Review: BETTY BUCKLEY & FRIENDS Deliver a Beautifully Thoughtful Evening at Joe's Pub
March 19, 2022

Betty Buckley is in great form. Her control over her instrument is remarkable, singing soft and gently, making her audience wait for the clarion tones that are her trademark. But when it’s time to belt, she delivers. She is masterful at creating musical monologues. For all her musical gifts you never forget that you are watching a great actress at work.

BWW Interview: Broadway Veteran Liz Callaway of TO STEVE, WITH LOVE at Feinstein's 54 Below Talks Sondheim and More
March 17, 2022

At every point of her career, Liz Callaway has been closely associated with the work of Stephen Sondheim. Her Broadway debut was in Merrily We Roll Along, which despite its sadly brief run has gone on to be the ultimate cult musical. Along with Merrily co-star, Jim Walton, she sang excerpts of Sondheim’s work when he appeared on Bravo’s Inside the Actors Studio. She has also appeared in a number of Sondheim tributes including You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow and the much-heralded concert of Follies in which she played Young Sally. This month, Liz Callaway pays tribute to the recently departed maestro in a very personal evening entitled TO STEVE, WITH LOVE which will premiere at Feinstein’s 54 Below on March 23. I had the pleasure of talking to Ms. Callaway about the show and her body of work with Stephen Sondheim.

BWW Review: NY Pops Enchants With GET HAPPY: THE NELSON RIDDLE SOUND at Carnegie Hall
March 17, 2022

Nelson Riddle, the legendary arranger/orchestrator/composer is largely responsible for what we think of as the sound of The Great American Songbook. His arrangements and orchestrations for artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole Dean Martin, Judy Garland, Johnny Mathis, Rosemary Clooney, and Doris Day, created for the Capitol label defined the sound of the 40s, 50s, and 60s. He is responsible for resuscitating Sinatra’s career and turning him into the legend he became. Riddle is the creator of the “Rat Pack” sound, composing scores for Robin and the Seven Hoods and Ocean’s 11 among dozens of other films. He won an Oscar for the score of 1974’s The Great Gatsby in addition to 3 Grammy awards, two of them for his album collaborations with Linda Ronstadt that revived his extraordinary career shortly before his death in 1985. It’s hard to overestimate his importance to American popular music.

BWW Review: MAKE YOUR OWN PARTY Marcy & Zina Are Songwriter's Songwriters at 54 Below
March 16, 2022

When it comes to the vagaries of modern urban romance, no team has written more succinctly or prolifically than Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich. Since they first met in a workshop in 1992, they have created a steady stream of musical gems that audiences and actors alike adore. Their off-Broadway musical Dear Edwina was nominated for a Drama Desk award. Their Junie B. Jones is a staple of youth theatres around America. Their musical based on the Drew Barrymore film Ever After, has had one of the most anticipated development periods since it made its premiere at Paper Mill in 2015. They write about love and loss and joy and heartbreak so truthfully they are like the Nora Ephron of musical theatre.

BWW Review: TYCE GREEN: DOING THE MOST is Too Much and Not Enough at 54 Below
March 8, 2022

Tyce Green is an artist of great vocal dexterity who is delightful to listen to. An alumnus of American Idol and a cast member of the tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, his voice soars to the rafters.  He has a personality that is charming, touching, irreverent, and vulnerable by turns. He is a deft mimic and is possessed of a quick wit that is for the most part self-deprecating.  He is smart, politically astute, and in spite of claiming to be socially awkward has the ability to dominate a room with his presence. His 54 Below show, TYCE GREEN: DOING THE MOST has been crafted to showcase his humor, his pyrotechnic singing, and his dual love of musical theatre fandom and true old-school rocker tunes. His show was stuffed full of an embarrassment of riches that display his many versatile talents.

BWW Review: MUSE MATCH XIII: A TIME TO REVIVE Proves Blind Dates Are Sometimes Magic at The Green Room 42
March 5, 2022

How cool would it be to have a composer write a song personally tailored to you? Cabaret performers live for those tunes that tap into their truest essence and express exactly who they are as an entertainer. That is the premise and the purpose of MUSE MATCH, a concert of new works benefiting The Musical Theatre Factory. The founder of the event, Bill Coyne described it as a “musical theatre blind date.” Cabaret artists are matched up with a composer or composing team. They answer a series of in-depth questions about what believe in and what’s important to them as people, and voila! a custom-made song.

BWW Review: Matt Baker Brings Gershwin Back To Its Jazz Roots With A RHAPSODY OF GERSHWIN at Birdland
March 3, 2022

On Monday, Australian jazz pianist Matt Baker returned to Birdland with a new version of his project A RHAPSODY OF GERSHWIN. The project is very much in the spirit of Gershwin’s own mix of jazz and classical styles. Using Gershwin’s original compositions as a launching board, he created inventive variations with his 5 piece band. There was a great deal of virtuosity on display. Gershwin’s work lends itself to such displays of bravura. The material is so rich it can’t help but yield fruitful improvisations. Matt Baker’s ensemble definitely rose to the challenge. The joy of the evening was the addition of Grammy-nominated singer Nicole Zuraitis. Ms. Zuraitis has a supple voice that is both warm and delicate. In addition to providing the lyrics, she also had many numbers in which she was treated as another instrument in the band, providing haunting vocalises.

BWW Review: CADY HUFFMAN & MARY ANN MCSWEENEY Are Everything Cabaret Should Be at The Green Room 42
February 23, 2022

The real star of the evening was the musical arrangements that Huffman and McSweeney created themselves. They reimagined some wonderful classics by artists as diverse as Ann Margaret, Nat King Cole, Jimi Hendrix, The Pointer Sisters, Cole Porter, Joni Mitchell, and Peggy Lee, utilizing only bass and voice with a little sprinkling of piano, violin, and Ms. Huffman’s “Low G” ukulele. The sparseness of the ensemble was a huge asset, focusing attention on the lyrics and the performances themselves. And the performances were lovely. Ms. Huffman is a gifted and versatile actress and Ms. McSweeney is a truly soulful jazzwoman.

BWW Interview: Cady Huffman And Mary Ann McSweeney Talk About Their New Show IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR: SONGS INSPIRED BY A PANDEMIC at The Green Room 42
February 20, 2022

As the pandemic nears its much overdue endemic end, artists are coming out of the woodwork to sum up the past 24 months with their personal stories of survival and thriving. Last September, Tony award winner Cady Huffman and respected jazz bassist Mary Ann McSweeney presented such an evening at Birdland. With only the two of themselves, they put together an eclectic evening of jazz-flavored tunes with Ms. McSweeney on bass and Ms. Huffman on vocals entitled IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR: SONGS INSPIRED BY A PANDEMIC. This coming Tuesday, February 22, Huffman and McSweeney will present a new and improved version of the show at The Green Room 42, with a few surprises for those who caught the show before.

February 19, 2022

When you go to see an evening featuring Michael Feinstein, it is a given that you will hear some well-crafted performances of classics from The Great American Songbook as well as some more obscure gems. What is less well known is what an educational experience any appearance by Mr. Feinstein is. There is probably no one who knows more about American popular music from the golden age than Michael Feinstein.

BWW Review: Nicholas Kaminski Brings An Exciting New Voice to The Green Room 42
February 7, 2022

Nicholas Kaminski, whose self-titled show opened on Saturday at the Green Room 42, is a new writer who would have felt completely at home in the mountain resorts where clever and topical songs were created at a breakneck pace. I have had the pleasure of seeing M Kaminski sing his songs individually at Michael McAssey’s “Open Mac” at Pangea. They are always something fresh and unexpected. Seeing an entire evening of his work was something I was looking forward to. I’m happy to report he did not disappoint. Together with his friends, Staci Jo Johnson, Rachel Phalen, Jada Valenciaga, Bart Shatto, Kelsey Kaufman, Lauren Ranahan, and Aaron Remy, he delivered over a dozen well-crafted story songs that announce the arrival of a very individual new musical theatre voice. Mr. Kaminski has a talent for catchy melodies and wry, self-deprecating lyrics that have the elegance of Bock & Harnick combined with the bawdiness of William Finn.

December 30, 2021

New York cabaret is back and in many ways, it is better than ever. We can take pride in a community that is stronger, more supportive, and more diverse than it has ever been. There is, of course, much to do still, but we are on a path that may lead us toward a second “golden age” of New York cabaret that could rival the 1980s. The signs are all around us. Not only have most of our cabaret rooms survived the pandemic, but we have also seen the birth of new spaces this year. There is more crossover between Broadway and cabaret than we have seen in decades, and thanks to social media, there are more new artists on the scene as well. Even with all the pandemic woes, as Jerry Herman would say “the best of times is now. As for tomorrow, well, who knows…who knows…who knows?”

BWW Interview: Lisa Howard of WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS TO ME at 54 Below Talks About Her New Album and What's Next
November 26, 2021

There are some people who manage to make everything look so easy, even the difficult things. Lisa Howard is just such a person. She has worked with some of the best and brightest on Broadway. She has won a Drama Desk Award and been nominated for another. Her powerhouse voice feels as effortless as a cool breeze on a summer day. She’s been directed by James Lapine, David Hyde Pierce, Joe Mantello, Bartlett Sher, and Christopher Ashley, and yet it always looks like she glided on from the wings and just made up something brilliant.

BWW Interview: Mykal Kilgore Talks About His Meteoric Rise and His New Show at 54 Below
November 16, 2021

Mykal Kilgore is a force to be reckoned with. In only a few short years he has appeared in a brace of Broadway musicals, including, Hair, Motown: the Musical, The Wiz Live!, Dear Evan Hansen, Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, Songs for a New World, and Into the Woods. His first album, A Man Born Black was a big hit for Affective Music. His single from the album  “Let Me Go” was nominated for a Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Performance in 2021. He is the first openly gay artist to be nominated in the category.

BWW Interview: THERE ARE NO ONE-PERSON SHOWS: Cabaret Director, Marc Tumminelli
November 7, 2021

So what does a cabaret director do? Today in my ongoing series, THERE ARE NO ONE-PERSON SHOWS, we will find out from one of the busiest cabaret directors in New York, Marc Tumminelli. Marc is the founder of Broadway Workshop, which provides year-round, professional-level classes and workshops for kids 8-19 with some of the finest artists working on Broadway and in the West End. He is also the founder of Project Broadway, a non-profit that provides scholarship opportunities to young performers.

BWW Interview: Linda Purl of IN THE MOOD: SONGS FOR JUMPING BACK INTO LIFE! at Birdland Talks about Music, Life and Riding the Waves
November 3, 2021

Linda Purl has the kind of career that actors dream of. Since she began in the 70s on the daytime drama Secret Storm, she has rarely had a period in which she was not working. She has appeared in films like Crazy Mama, Visiting Hours, Mighty Joe Young, and Fear of the Dark. She has appeared on Broadway in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Getting and Spending, and Off-Broadway in The Baby Dance. With over 50 television movies to her credit, she is a perennial presence on the small screen. She has had recurring roles on Matlock, Murder, She Wrote, The Office, Homeland, and The Oath, among dozens of others. She has the distinction of having played two different characters on the classic sitcom Happy Days. In Season 2, she played Richie Cunningham's girlfriend Gloria. Eight seasons later she played the Fonz's fianceé, Ashley.

BWW Review: THE MELODY LINGERS ON - The Mabel Mercer Foundation Salutes Irving Berlin at Rose Hall
October 28, 2021

THE MELODY LINGERS ON: A GALA TRIBUTE TO THE SONGS OF IRVING BERLIN was a gathering of some of the biggest names in the cabaret world. There’s something a little odd about celebrating the intimate art of cabaret in a Broadway-sized theatre like Rose Hall, but to be honest it was one of the few venues sizable enough to hold all the cabaret fans who came to see this fine collection of talented artists. There were performances from Sandy Stewart, Jeff Harner, Andrea Marcovicci, Eric Yves Garcia, Karen Oberlin, David LaMarr, Natalie Douglas, Stacy Sullivan & Todd Murray, Karen Akers, Steve Ross, Amra-Faye Wright, Klea Blackhurst, Billy Stritch, Aisha de Haas, Christine Andreas, Sidney Myer, Karen Mason, Nicolas King, Mark Nadler, and the Moipai Triplets. In addition to these wonderful performers, we were treated to some of NYC’s best musicians including Ray Marchicka, Steve Doyle, Jon Weber, Bill Charlap, Darnell White, Alex Rybeck, Mark Hummel, Michael Rice, and Tracy Stark.

BWW Review: MARILYN MAYE Is Not to Be Missed at 54 Below
October 27, 2021

As has often been reported, Marilyn Maye appeared on the Tonight Show a record-setting 76 times and was Johnny Carson’s personal measure of excellence for any other singer who appeared on his show.  As a cabaret performer, it is not hyperbole to say she simply has no peer. She is the person that everyone who sets foot on a nightclub stage, sings a jazz riff, or dabbles in The Great American Songbook looks to for inspiration and instruction. There is no getting around it, Marilyn Maye is the undisputed gold standard.

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