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BWW Review: Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party Brings The Celebrities And Charm Right Into Your Home

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BWW Review: Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party Brings The Celebrities And Charm Right Into Your Home

On April 6th, 2020 the internet airwaves welcomed a refreshing and delightful new variety show to the Youtube when Jim Caruso took his 18-year-long weekly Birdland show CAST PARTY digital. After two weeks in bed due to the city-wide quarantine, the indomitable Caruso got out of bed, got up, and got on with it. Never one to wallow (for too long), Jim called up up-and-comer Ruby Locknar, who is young enough to possess all the tech knowledge that eludes some of us more, shall we say, senior members of the family, and asked Ruby to help him produce Jim Caruso'S PAJAMA CAST PARTY.

BWW Review: Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party Brings The Celebrities And Charm Right Into Your Home13 weeks and 14 episodes later, New York City is no longer under quarantine, but live entertainment still has a pin in it, so Jim and Ruby continue to provide quality live entertainment for internet audiences. Let's not mince words: there is certainly a lot of television watching to be had out there, with streaming channels like Netflix, Hulu, Disney + and so many more, but no matter how many recorded films and TV shows are available for the public, people still want the human connection that comes from live performances. That is one of the main reasons for the popularity of the Variety/Talk Show that Caruso and Locknar provide every Monday night, and after the last three months, the dynamic duo has got the creation and execution of the show to a fine-honed level, as they present as good an online entertainment as can be found these days.

BWW Review: Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party Brings The Celebrities And Charm Right Into Your Home

BWW Review: Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party Brings The Celebrities And Charm Right Into Your HomePajama Cast Party has lived quite a life in these last 97 days. From the first two hour-seventeen minute, 14 guest episode to last week's 96-minute, 6 guest episode, we have watched as Caruso and Locknar have tightened up the format, rolled with the technical punches, and developed their own charming voice as internet entertainment. The online show is different from the live performance because Jim spends a little more time chatting with guests so that viewers can learn about them, hear what their quarantine has been like, and become new fans (and friends) of people they may not have known of before. Especially entertaining are Caruso's discoveries - people like Josh Bouwer, an elementary schoolboy from South Africa whose musical viral video made him a cyberlebrity; or Debbie Wileman, whose "Song a Day'' videos from the UK have turned her into an internet sensation. Jim reached out to both singers within days of their online explosions and booked them for the show, with young Josh staying up till 3 am in South Africa, and Debbie doing her (now famous) spot-on impression of Judy Garland. Whether Caruso is talking to people he has known so long that they rank as family, like Billy Stritch, Christina Bianco or Natalie Douglas, or getting to know newcomers to his circle of friends like Jennifer DeLucy, and Nicolas Dromard & Desiree Davar, his interest in his guests is genuine, loving and respectful... although the Caruso humor is never absent, as he teases, kids, and makes fun of everyone, especially himself. What makes Pajama Cast Party so special is a combination of seeing the guests in their homes, in their natural habitat, and getting to watch them perform. Oftentimes, televised chat shows feature guests talking about a project that they are promoting: this is not the case with Pajama Cast Party. Few people have a new show or CD to sell, they only have this time away from the business - that doesn't stop Caruso from having them showcase that which makes them the entertainers that they are. If the audience were at Cast Party live at Birdland, there would be 90 seconds of talk and then a musical number; so Jim Caruso spends five or so minutes learning about the guest artists and then they each perform a number, using the tools that are available to them in the isolation of their own homes. Singers like The Drinkwater Brothers, Nicole Zuraitis, Andrew Swackhamer and Telly Leung who play instruments may play for themselves while they sing, sometimes there are tracks that artists like Betty Buckley and Melissa Errico work with, and there is even some sublime acapella action from singers like Tiffany Abban and Mary Wilson. Pajama Cast Party has featured music videos from The Altar Boyz, magic tricks from Harrison Greenbaum, and dance numbers from Robbie Fairchild, John Manzari, and Nic & Desi. It's a happy hodgepodge of hilarity and humanity, all at the capable fingertips of Jim Caruso.

BWW Review: Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party Brings The Celebrities And Charm Right Into Your Home

BWW Review: Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party Brings The Celebrities And Charm Right Into Your HomeMost human of all, though, has been Caruso's wonderfully implemented and executed idea to showcase young talents that he has gone online and found, the performers from High Schools and Colleges who were about to do their senior class musicals or senior showcases but who could not, due to the cancelation of school, shows, and graduations. Jim Caruso went out and found special young performers like Lily Hickey, Brianna Davies, Molly Martin, Lily Mikita, Jana Jackson, Max Chulmecky, Bonale Fambrini, Henry Elliott, and Max Bartos (who also missed his Broadway debut) to perform on the show to make up for having to miss out on their personal rites of passage - it's a beautiful thing he did when he started this feature of Pajama Cast Party, and it's one of the main reasons this writer has gone back, week after week.

BWW Review: Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party Brings The Celebrities And Charm Right Into Your Home

BWW Review: Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party Brings The Celebrities And Charm Right Into Your HomeIt should be said that no program like this just happens magically, and Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party certainly is lucky to have Ruby Locknar working as producer. The splendidly affable young performer is as adept at tech as she is at singing (as evidenced by her own appearance on the show, on her birthday, as a guest performer) and Ruby ducks in and out of the Zoom Room with seamless ease, helping guests with a variety of technical issues that may bubble up... but they don't last long because Ms. Locknar is the Wizardess of Cast Party, quietly smoothing things over behind her curtain, that is, until she is (happily) in one of the windows chatting with Jim - another thing she does well, kind of making her the Ed McMahon to Caruso's Carson. They are a delightful duo that works well together and, clearly, adores each other.

One of these days, the clubs will be reopened and Jim Caruso's Cast Party will be live from the stage of World Famous Birdland; until that happens, there is no reason to not tune in on Monday nights and watch the online program - and if you miss it, all the shows are archived at Jim Caruso's Youtube page, with every episode indexed so viewers can click right to the artist they want to see. Don't skip to the individual performers, though: get a bowl of popcorn and watch the whole show. You'll be glad you did.

Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party
Mondays at 8 pm EDT
YouTube (Jim Caruso) & Birdland Jazz Facebook Page
Link to show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFDxqBeIzTU

BWW Review: Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party Brings The Celebrities And Charm Right Into Your Home
BWW Review: Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party Brings The Celebrities And Charm Right Into Your HomeBWW Review: Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party Brings The Celebrities And Charm Right Into Your HomeBWW Review: Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party Brings The Celebrities And Charm Right Into Your Home


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From This Author Stephen Mosher