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BWW Review: THE LINEUP WITH SUSIE MOSHER at Birdland Should Be Your Tuesday Night Hangout

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The Lineup is a Modern Spin on the Variety Show

BWW Review: THE LINEUP WITH SUSIE MOSHER at Birdland Should Be Your Tuesday Night Hangout
Susie Mosher

Although it's been technically gone from theatres for nearly 80 years, vaudeville, in many ways is the art form that never dies. It keeps popping up in unexpected places. In the 60s and 70s, it found a home on television in the form of the variety show, a program that featured songs and dances and sketches and comics, and a whole panoply of short entertainment forms. They were always presided over by a charismatic host like Ed Sullivan, Sid Caesar, Milton Berle, Carol Burnett, Merv Griffin, or Dinah Shore. They still exist on television in reality TV form in shows like American Idol, America's Got Talent, and Dancing With the Stars.

BWW Review: THE LINEUP WITH SUSIE MOSHER at Birdland Should Be Your Tuesday Night Hangout
Aaron Lee Battle

Birdland, the world-famous jazz club, features two of these latter-day vaudeville offshoots. Jim Caruso's Cast Party has been a staple of Birdland for years, serving as Broadway's open mic experience. But every Tuesday evening, Susie Mosher presides over a somewhat more curated and far more ribald variety show in Birdland's downstairs theatre. THE LINEUP is not an open mic. Mosher puts together its guests each week. They are from every echelon of show business, from Tony winners to new up-and-coming artists. They often have nothing in common except for a wild amount of talent. Susie Mosher serves as the host of the evening. She is a combination of den mother, improv artist, and Tasmanian devil. Her wit is faster than lightning and she can turn on a dime into a fantastic chanteuse. I was lucky enough to catch the latest edition of THE LINEUP this evening.

BWW Review: THE LINEUP WITH SUSIE MOSHER at Birdland Should Be Your Tuesday Night Hangout
Michelle Dowdy

Susie Mosher kicked off the night with a brilliantly improvised tune about what was going on in her world. Her creativity is pretty astounding. During this number, she introduced her band who would play for all the acts during the evening: Brad Simons on piano, John Miller on bass, and Ray Marchica on drums. All three are first-class players. Brad Simmons premiered one of his new songs entitled "I'll Be a Rich Man. " It was a great tune with a country beat.

BWW Review: THE LINEUP WITH SUSIE MOSHER at Birdland Should Be Your Tuesday Night Hangout
Joseph C.Townsend

Aaron Lee Battle gave us some of the smooth jazz Birdland is famous for with Cy Coleman's "The Best is Yet to Come." He was backed up by Jon Weber on piano who had a delicious solo. Next up, Michelle Dowdy (Hairspray) made the most of the small stage dancing her way through the sultry "My Discarded Men." Joseph C. Townsend showed off his soaringly beautiful voice in a great rendition of "As Long As He Needs Me." Lightening the mood, Sierra Rein and Josephine Sanges sang a spicy arrangement of "Johnny One-Note" that was put together by their pianist John Cook.

BWW Review: THE LINEUP WITH SUSIE MOSHER at Birdland Should Be Your Tuesday Night Hangout
Sierra Rein & Jospehine Sanges
BWW Review: THE LINEUP WITH SUSIE MOSHER at Birdland Should Be Your Tuesday Night Hangout
Julie Halston

The highlight of the evening was an appearance by this year's Tony winner of the Isabelle Stevenson Award, Julie Halston. She did one of her hysterical trademark readings from the wedding section of the Times. She then proceeded to crack us up with a selection of readings from Joan Crawford's book on style and manners. There is no one funnier than Ms. Halston.

BWW Review: THE LINEUP WITH SUSIE MOSHER at Birdland Should Be Your Tuesday Night Hangout
Amanda & Rob Scalici

Father and daughter act Rob & Amanda Scalici did a beautiful job with Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Far Too Late" from the recently re-opened Cinderella. Continuing the ALW theme, Jessica Hendy from the recent Cats revival gave us a superbly acted scene in Heisler & Goldrich's "Out of Love." It was made more special by the presence of Marcy Heisler in the audience. The award-winning Scott Coulter donned his giant Elton John glasses and gave us a great performance of "Crocodile Rock." He was then joined by Jessica Hendy and together they did Carly Simon's "Nobody Does It Better." They have great chemistry and sound wonderful

together.

To wrap the evening up Susie Mosher did a wonderfully introspective version of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide." No tricks, no gimmicks, no jokes. Just great singing. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. All the talent was amazing. Take my word, THE LINEUP with Susie Mosher should be your regular Tuesday night hangout.

For more information on Susie Mosher, visit susiemosher.com or follow her @susiemosher on Instagram or @thesusiemosher on Twitter. For more great acts at Birdland, go to birdlandjazz.com.


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