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BWW Feature: Carole Demas Goes VR With LIVE FROM SKYLIGHT RUN Concert Series

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Carole Demas' new concert series is so modern it could be Greased Lightning.

BWW Feature: Carole Demas Goes VR With LIVE FROM SKYLIGHT RUN Concert Series

Carole Demas is quick (and proud) to point out that her career has spanned six decades. In that time, the Broadway veteran has had opportunities to branch out into new corridors of show business, and opportunities to learn and grow with the craft. So here she is in a surreal 2020, with all live performing at a standstill, and what does she do? Go out on another limb, naturally; it is time to learn a new way to bring live entertainment to the people.

On October 2nd, Carole Demas and her husband Stuart Allyn will debut a monthly concert series that will take place in their home (a dwelling affectionately and appropriately named Skylight Run), and this isn't your run-of-the-mill live-streamed event. Determined to keep the product she is putting out up to the standard of quality that she has always given her public, Ms. Demas went in search of something a little more, something with an extra angle, something unique. She found it when she found Musae - or, to be accurate, when she and Musae found each other. Carole and Stuart's new concert series LIVE FROM SKYLIGHT RUN is a Virtual Reality cabaret experience. Every Live From Skylight Run show will be broadcast from two different cameras - one is a high-quality video camera set up in front of the artist, the other is a 360-degree camera that captures the room from which the singer is broadcasting; audience members may already have their 3-D goggles from their videogame or they can acquire some from Musae when they buy their tickets, and when they watch the show, they are watching in surround.

How's THAT for cool?

Pretty darn.

BWW Feature: Carole Demas Goes VR With LIVE FROM SKYLIGHT RUN Concert SeriesThe idea to collaborate with Musae came from a series of house concerts that Carole and Stuart hosted in 2019. Wishing to provide fans and followers with an intimate evening of music and socializing, the couple opened their home to 30 guests who would arrive, enjoy drinks and snacks, and then settle in for a truly intimate night of music from Carole, and even some of her friends from sixty years in the biz. These house concerts growing in popularity, Carole and Stuart shuffled some things around to accommodate 35 guests and, one day, one of those guests was a producer from Musae who lived a few towns away. The producer runs Riverspirit Music Productions, a company that specializes in outdoor shows and new music experiences, and when he heard about these house concerts he checked one out. He was so impressed that he struck up a conversation with Stuart and the rest, as the saying goes... well, you know how the saying goes. Now the Allyns and Musae are just days away from kicking off their first show together. Carole felt that it was only right that, when premiering the Skylight Run concert series, she be the artist to test the waters first, and with the new technology (and the vibe that goes with it) she is finding herself a little nervous.

BWW Feature: Carole Demas Goes VR With LIVE FROM SKYLIGHT RUN Concert Series(I feel) "Nuts! I have been in this business for 60 years. My first professional job was with the New York Shakespeare Festival and I was 20 years old, and I am 80 years old; 60 years. That was 1960. And in the course of that time, I have gone through a decade and more of working with no microphones at all, in theaters where you had to really project and you had to develop both your speaking voice and singing voice to reach the back of a house. In some theaters, there was something in the Footlights, maybe something hanging way, way overhead. By the time I got to Grease - we had this crazy thing with the original grease where we used handheld wired mikes for the song. And we actually had to spend a lot of time in rehearsals with blocks of wood with clothesline tied to them so that we could work out the choreography of where all the cords were going while we were moving around and singing into the mics, so we didn't tangle up each other or the set pieces or the scenery! (Laughing). And now, of course, every production of Grease that I see - and I work with high school kids now and then, to coach them and help them with their characters, to make them feel a part of the Grease experience and the history - they become a part of this ongoing history of this show, it just keeps going and going. And they love that. And when I tell them about the microphones, they just absolutely can't believe it, cause they never imagined such a thing. The reason I'm saying all of this is: I can tell you that I've been through a lot of changes, I certainly in the last 10 years appeared in almost every major cabaret venue in the city. So why in the world should I be... I was a little shaky going into this new opportunity. We had eight house concerts scheduled here for the year. We did eight of them last year, and they were growing. We're limited in the size of our audience because we can only see 30 to 35 people really comfortably (and it's a big space where everyone has full view - that's an important part of the comfort level for us, for our audience). But I have not tried to do it this way!"

BWW Feature: Carole Demas Goes VR With LIVE FROM SKYLIGHT RUN Concert SeriesWhile husband Stuart handles all the technical aspects of the event, Carole is focused on the concert itself, the securing of the audience, rehearsals with longtime Music Director Ian Herman, and the curating of the future concerts. With shows scheduled for the first Friday of every month, Carole wants to make sure that patrons willing to plunk down money for a Skylight Run concert get some quality entertainment, and for the rest of the year things are looking pretty good. On November 6th, the series will present Carter Calvert of the Broadway musical "It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues" but Carter won't be singing the blues, she's going for the music of Patsy Cline, with Eugene Gwozdz at the piano and Calvert's husband, Roger Cohen on drums. For December's show, Carole has secured her friend and frequent stage sister Sarah Rice, Sweeney Todd's original Joanna. The two sopranos have spent the last few years doing the show Thank You For Your Love, which is their love letter to Schmidt and Jones, creators of The Fantasticks - a show in which both Demas and Rice have played The Girl at The Sullivan Street Playhouse.

"I was in California working in television when Tom and Harvey called me and said, 'Sarah Rice has to have some surgery with a tonsil thing... Would you come back and play, Louisa?' And I was 36 years old - I was working in California and I thought they were absolutely crazy, but I really wanted to do it because Louisa is such a lovely role and my dress was still in the basement... you know, I tease them that was why they asked me - because it still fits. (Laughing) I came and I did it and for a while, and it was the last time I ever played that role; and Sarah would come and watch and we've been friends down the line all these years. I played Louisa from 1966 to 68, and Sarah played her in the early seventies. So she and I will be together for the December show. And at some point early next year Paula Janis, my Magic Garden co-star, dearest and longest friend, we have been friends since we were 14 - she has joined me for some of the house concerts, and the Magic Gardens fans always show up. They always get such a kick out of seeing us together. And we're going to be on the WPIX news either next week or the week after because WPIX called us and said, 'Would you guys do five minutes on the news? Everybody's so depressed. The news is so difficult these days we decided we needed a little sunshine!"

BWW Feature: Carole Demas Goes VR With LIVE FROM SKYLIGHT RUN Concert SeriesIt would appear that bringing along sunshine is something that Carole Demas is ready to do, and she's good at it, too. Her following has made it possible for her to be a constantly in-demand performer playing to full houses, and even though her house won't be full (literally) on Friday night, it's a pretty safe assumption that it will be full virtually. Whether a little nervous (or a lot) about the new-ness of all the virtual work that she will be doing, one this is for certain - Carole Demas is not to be stopped. This star of all the different stages in show business has seen all the different stages of show business and, at eighty, she is going to evolve with the times and the needs of the audiences during the times. Carole is throwing herself into her work as a new virtual concert performer (and producer!) and if her track record is indicator enough, people can put their money on this bet: Carole Demas will conquer this next stage, too.

For tickets to Carole Demas LIVE FROM SKYLIGHT RUN click HERE

For information on upcoming shows and all things Carole Demas visit the Carole Demas website HERE

Visit the Magic Garden website HERE

Learn more about Musae HERE


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From This Author Stephen Mosher