Billy Stritch, Carole J. Bufford, and Liam Forde to Star in HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD! at Birdland

“Hooray for Hollywood!” is a melodic reminder of the many voices that we heard in song on the silver screen.

By: May. 19, 2023
Billy Stritch, Carole J. Bufford, and Liam Forde to Star in HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD! at Birdland
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BIRDLAND THEATER will present the New York debut of the musical revue "Hooray for Hollywood!" on Thursday, June 15 at 8:30 PM. This enthralling tribute stars Billy Stritch, Carole J. Bufford, and Liam Forde singing favorite classics from Hollywood's golden age, all to benefit The Mabel Mercer Foundation. "Hooray for Hollywood!" is a melodic reminder of the many voices that we heard in song on the silver screen, including Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Judy Garland and more. Devised by writer and producer Barry Day, the show has enjoyed a multi-year run at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida. There is a $30 music charge. Birdland is located at 315 West 44th Street in New York.

"Hooray for Hollywood!" features timeless hits that are synonymous with the movies, including "The Trolley Song," "Make 'Em Laugh," "One for My Baby," "Moon River," "As Time Goes By," "Two for the Road," "Put the Blame on Mame," and many more. These are the songs that gave movies a voice - the iconic, familiar tunes that evoke fond memories with just a few notes. According to creator Barry Day, "Music has always had a potent effect on the movies, after all, how can you hear 'Singin' in the Rain' and not envision Gene Kelly twirling his umbrella along that soggy sidewalk? Or see Humphrey Bogart looking into his bottomless glass as Dooley Wilson sings 'As Time Goes By' and Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers romancing as they dance 'Cheek to Cheek'?"

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Billy Stritch

is one of the premier singer-pianists on the New York and national jazz and cabaret scenes. He began his career in Houston, Texas, where he formed the vocal trio Montgomery, Plant and Stritch. The trio performed all over New York and Europe from 1983 until they disbanded in 1990. A chance meeting with Liza Minnelli in March of 1991 resulted in her asking him to create vocal arrangements for the record-breaking extravaganza Liza Stepping Out at Radio City Music Hall. In addition to his 25-year collaboration with as accompanist and opening act for Liza, Billy recently toured with the legendary Tony Bennett as Tony's pianist and musical director. A solo entertainer in his own right, he has performed his own shows (including tributes to Mel Tormé and Cy Coleman) in concert halls and nightclubs across the country. Billy also serves as musical director for such leading vocalists as Linda Eder, Christine Ebersole and Linda Lavin. He is the co-writer of the Grammy-winning song "Does He Love You," recorded by Reba McEntire and Linda Davis, and recorded again last year by Reba and Dolly Parton. When he's not on the road, he is the pianist for Jim Caruso's Cast Party open mic night every Monday at Birdland Jazz Club and he and Jim hold forth on Sunday nights at Bemelmans' Bar in Manhattan's fabled Carlyle Hotel. Named the Best Musical Director four times by BroadwayWorld, Billy's 2022 birthday engagement at Birdland was the winner of Best Vocal Jazz Show of the year. During Covid-19, he hosted his own weekly Facebook live-stream show "Billy's Place," celebrating the Great American Songbook with songs and stories from his varied career. He has recorded five solo albums and his latest release Billy's Place (Club44 Records) is a collection of his favorite songs from these online concerts.

Carole J. Bufford

has become one of the most sought-after young performers in the New York nightclub and jazz scene. Her recent shows, "speak easy" (featuring the Grammy Award-winning Vince Giordano & The Nighthawks) and "Body & Soul" earned her rave reviews across the board, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Carole is the recipient of a Nightlife, Bistro and BroadwayWorld Award for Outstanding Vocalist. She has traveled across the US (The Colony's Royal Room in Palm Beach; Venetian Room in Dallas; Cabaret 313 in Detroit; Broadway by the Bay in San Mateo; Upright Cabaret in Los Angeles) and recently made her London Debut to great critical acclaim. Carole was featured in Michael Feinstein's Great American Songbook series at Jazz at Lincoln Center. She has been spotlighted in numerous "Broadway By the Year" concerts, both at The Town Hall and in California. Bufford originally hails from Lincolnton, GA where she grew up on healthy doses of Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland, Patsy Cline, Dinah Washington, and Bessie Smith.

Liam Forde

is a pop/jazz vocalist and songwriter whose authentic points of view create something fresh while drawing from a decidedly 1960s soundscape that encompasses the dry wit of Noel Coward, the infectious rhythms of Stevie Wonder, and the sweeping grandeur of classic Hollywood soundtracks. In The Wall Street Journal, Will Friedwald raved "the boy wonder never fails to find precisely the right note." Peter Marks in The Washington Post praised Liam's "breakout performance." Forde has been the recipient of many honors, including the Bistro Award for "Performer on the Rise," the Nightlife Award for "Outstanding Male Vocalist," the Mabel Mercer Foundation's Julie Wilson Award, and a Helen Hayes Award for "Outstanding Performance." In addition to headlining shows in New York and London, he has performed concerts in Paris at L'Auguste Théâtre, Café Universel, and Le Carré Parisien. His debut album Great to Be Here, called a "dreamy pop debut" by Huff Post, features original songs that blend cosmopolitan pop and a vintage sound with contemporary influences like Jon Batiste, Lake Street Dive, and Rufus Wainwright.

Barry Day

retired to write full-time after a distinguished career in international advertising. He has published to date 16 books on Noël Coward and the same number of shows. Day is Literary Advisor to the Coward Estate and Chair of the Coward Archive. He has also written books about Oscar Wilde, P.G. Wodehouse, Raymond Chandler, and Dorothy Parker. His shows on Johnny Mercer, Rodgers & Hart, and Kander & Ebb, in addition to "Hooray for Hollywood!," have been produced in New York, Chicago, London, Paris, Los Angeles, and Palm Beach. He was Communications Advisor to Sam Wanamaker when he undertook his historic project to rebuild Shakespeare's Globe in London's Bankside. Day's book This Wooden 'O' tells the story. Queen Elizabeth awarded him the O.B.E. (Order of the British Empire) "for services to British Culture in the U.S."

BIRDLAND THEATER

will present "Hooray for Hollywood!" on Thursday, June 15 at 8:30 PM. There is a $30 music charge and a $20 food and beverage minimum. Birdland is located at 315 West 44th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues) in Manhattan. For reservations, please call (212) 581-3080 or visit www.BirdlandJazz.com.

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UPCOMING HIGHLIGHTS AT

BIRDLAND THEATER AND BIRDLAND JAZZ CLUB


Every Monday at 9:30 PM - Birdland Jazz Club

Jim Caruso's Cast Party

"Jim Caruso's Cast Party," a New York institution for almost two decades, is a wildly popular weekly open mic night/variety show that has brought a sprinkling of Broadway glitz and urbane wit to Birdland since 2004. Called "show-business heaven" by The New York Times and "the gold-standard of open mic nights" by The Wall Street Journal, "Cast Party" will take advantage of the city's post-pandemic nightlife renaissance to keep presenting a potent mix of Broadway stars, jazz swingers and cabaret legends, in addition to new faces and rising talent from every genre. The buoyant, sharp and charming Caruso guides the entire affair, while musical genius Billy Stritch (Liza Minnelli, Tony Bennett) holds court at the ivories and leads the Cast Party Symphony Orchestra (Steve Doyle on bass and Daniel Glass on drums).

$30 + $20 food/drink minimum

Every Tuesday at 8:30 PM - Birdland Theater

The Lineup with Susie Mosher

"The Lineup with Susie Mosher" is a wild, anything-goes variety show featuring entertainers from the Broadway, cabaret and comedy scenes, ranging from today's hottest headliners to the best up-and-coming stars of tomorrow. Mosher - the noted actress and singer from Broadway and beyond, called "one of those talents you need to see to believe" by Time Out New York - hosts the spontaneous extravaganza every Tuesday, and each Lineup is unique and promises to deliver an unforgettable night of quintessential New York City entertainment.

$20 + $20 food/drink minimum

Every Saturday at 5:30 PM - Birdland Jazz Club

Eric Comstock & Barbara Fasano

Hailed as "the truest heir to Bobby Short" in The New York Times, pianist/singer Eric Comstock returns to Birdland with star bassist/composer Sean Smith with songs by everyone from George Gershwin to George Harrison. These two masters met on the Off-Broadway hit Our Sinatra (which Eric co-wrote) and have since worked separately and together around the world. Vocalist Barbara Fasano joins them at Birdland for a swinging Saturday supper where the music and stories are equally great. Sean Smith has been an integral part of the international jazz scene for over 25 years, and has performed with Gerry Mulligan, Phil Woods, Benny Carter, Art Farmer, Flip Phillips, Clark Terry and many others. Barbara Fasano has been praised as "a gorgeous, soulful singer who has an actor's intensity in whatever she sings" by The New York Post and "a lyrically sensitive interpreter" by The New York Times. Her latest album Busy Being Free is the recipient of the MAC Award for "Major Recording of the Year."

$30 + $20 food/drink minimum

May 25 (Thursday) 8:30 PM - Birdland Theater

Jessica Fishenfeld

Award-winning vocalist and actor Jessica Fishenfeld, known for her "crystalline and pure voice" and "spot-on comedic timing" is a natural optimist in a rough-and-tumble town. With a springtime sprinkle of jazz, cabaret, and musical theater tunes, you'll be sure to forget all your troubles and get happy. Joined by pianist/music director Matthew Sheens and Sam Zerna on bass, you'll be gifted with a bouquet of toe-tapping classics and new favorites from Gershwin, Rodgers & Hammerstein, John Bucchino, Ann Hampton Callaway, and more. Jessica Fishenfeld recently was featured on "America's Got Talent" as an opera-singing aerialist. She "triumphed" (NY Observer) in New York City Opera's World Premiere of Stonewall, with "clean coloratura," (Opera News) and "spunky personality" (Opera Wire), made a "stand out" (New York Times) off-Broadway debut in Das Barbecü, and appeared in the series premiere of Sony Pictures' Panhandle. She recently released her debut EP The Nothing Lamp with Crossover Records, as well as several singles available on all streaming platforms.

$30 tables / $20 bar + $20 food/drink minimum

May 29 (Monday) 7:00 PM - Birdland Jazz Club

Gavin Lee

"Steppin' Out with Fred Astaire"

The two-time Tony Award nominee and two-time Drama Desk winner Gavin Lee makes his Birdland debut. Gavin played two Fred Astaire roles during his award-winning West End and Broadway career, so with a little help from Gershwin, Berlin, Porter and a pair of tap shoes, he will fill this evening with songs and stories that made Fred a true star of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Gavin Lee just returned from the UK where he was playing Lumière in Disney's Beauty and the Beast at the London Palladium. He previously originated the role of Squidward in The SpongeBob Musical on Broadway (Drama Desk Award and Tony Award nomination). Two of his favourite roles have been Thénadier in the Broadway revival of Les Misérables and the title character in How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical at Madison Square Garden. He originated the role of Bert in the West End and Broadway productions of Mary Poppins (Drama Desk and Theatre World Awards, Olivier and Tony Award nominations).

$40 + $20 food/drink minimum

June 5 (Monday) 7:00 PM - Birdland Jazz Club

Billy Stritch & Gabrielle Stravelli - "Mel and Ella Swing!"

Renowned pianist and singer Billy Stritch and award-winning jazz vocalist Gabrielle Stravelli combine their considerable talents return for an evening of great music celebrating the legendary Mel Tormé and Ella Fitzgerald. "Mel and Ella Swing!" includes favorites from the Great American Songbook ("The Man I Love," "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square," "Cheek to Cheek") and swinging standards from the world of jazz ("Too Close for Comfort," "Oh, Lady Be Good!").These two performers have brought their magic to stages all over the world and together bring an incredible knowledge and feel for this great music that's not often seen these days. It's an incredible and joyful evening featuring Patrick O'Leary on bass and Mark McLean on drums. Stritch is one of the premier singer-pianists on the New York and national jazz and cabaret scenes.. In addition to his 25-year collaboration with Liza Minnelli, Billy recently toured with the legendary Tony Bennett as Tony's pianist and musical director. A solo entertainer in his own right, he has performed his own shows (including tributes to Mel Tormé and Cy Coleman) in concert halls and nightclubs across the country. Billy also serves as musical director for such leading vocalists as Linda Eder, Christine Ebersole and Linda Lavin. He has recorded five solo CDs and his latest CD release "Billy's Place" (Club44 Records). Stravelli's pairing of a jazz artist's musicianship with an ability to interpret lyrics and connect with an audience has led to a richly varied career. She regularly leads her quartet in performances at the country's finest jazz clubs and performing arts centers and has headlined domestic and international jazz festivals including the 2021 & 2018 WBGO Jazz on the Mountain Festival in New Paltz, NY, the 2019 Providencia Jazz Festival in Santiago, Chile, the 2016 All That Jazz Festival in Eleuthera, Bahamas and the 2014 Maree Sonore Festival in Venice, Italy.

$30 tables / $30 bar + $20 food/drink minimum

June 8 (Thursday) 8:30 PM - Birdland Theater

Phillip Officer - "Second Time Around"

Greeted by a sold-out audience this past September, Phillip Officer stepped back up to the microphone after more than a decade's absence from the NYC theater and music scene. "Second Time Around" embraces change and how it affects our lives. Celebrating a coterie of great writers and artists who have influenced this musical journey, including Peggy Lee, Carole King, Stephen Sondheim, The Beatles, Irving Berlin, Cher, Johnny Mercer, and more.Featured musicians include Mark Hartman on piano, Kevin Kuhn on guitar, and Erik Friedlander on cello. The show is directed by Bill Russell. Officer built a commanding reputation for his arresting commitment to lyrics. The New York Times complimented him as "a master of lyric interpretation...a textbook example of pop understatement." Phillip made his Broadway debut in the Tony-nominated musical Side Show. He was featured in the original cast of Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens, and is the recipient of multiple New York Nightlife, Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs, and Backstage Bistro Awards. Rex Reed proclaimed, "In a world often devoid of authenticity, the engaging performer, Phillip Officer, is the real deal."

$30 tables / $30 bar + $20 food/drink minimum

June 12 (Monday) 7:00 PM - Birdland Jazz Club

​​The Brat Pack - featuring Kathryn Allison, Sam Gravitte, Luke Hawkins, and Jelani Remy

The triumphant return of The Brat Pack features Kathryn Allison, Sam Gravitte, Luke Hawkins, and Jelani Remy, with musical direction by Isaac Hayward. Four of Broadway's brightest stars bring the timeless style and energy of the original Rat Pack to this raucous, roaring, ring-a-ding evening of showtunes and standards. Kathryn Allison is a dynamic singer who was the winner of NYMF's "Next Broadway Sensation" and later made her Broadway debut in Aladdin. Since then, Ms. Allison has been in the Broadway musicals Wicked, and the Tony-winning revival of Company. Sam Gravitte is an actor, writer, and guitarist. He starred as Fiyero in Wicked on Broadway. Other major professional credits include Almost Famous at The Old Globe Theatre, Joseph and Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and his solo show "Songs That Raised Me," which debuted at Birdland. Luke Hawkins is a NYC based tap dancer and choreographer who has choreographed for Harry Connick, Jr. and performed alongside him in concerts including The Hollywood Bowl, Wolftrap, and the Palladium in London. Luke also performed in and choreographed Connick's Broadway show A Tribute to Cole Porter. Luke's theater credits include Broadway's Xanadu, Cirque duSoleil's Banana Shpeel, and New York City Center Encores! productions of No, No, Nanette; Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; and On Your Toes. Jelani Remy, a New Jersey native, was last seen on Broadway as Eddie Kendricks in Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations. He made his Broadway debut playing Simba in Disney's The Lion King.

$40 tables / $40 bar + $20 food/drink minimum

June 19 (Monday) 7:00 PM - Birdland Jazz Club

Natalie Douglas - "A 60's Songs Juneteenth Jubilee"

Thirteen-time MAC Award,two-time Backstage Bistro Award and Nightlife Award Winner Natalie Douglas returns to Birdland to collaborate with her longtime music director, Mark Hartman (2022 Drama Desk Nominee) as they perform the songs of decade, including "Blackbird," "Mississippi Goddam," "Freedom Day," "Compared To What?" and many others. They celebrate this federal holiday with music, friendship, laughter, healing, and hope! Natalie Douglas has been called "a true force of nature" by Clive Davis of The Times (UK). She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Cafe Carlyle, The Town Hall, Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Pheasantry in London, and at her NYC home club, Birdland where her award-winning "Tributes" monthly residency (Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Nat "King" Cole, Dame Shirley Bassey, Ella Fitzgerald, Barbra Streisand and more) ran from Summer 2017 thru January 2020. Natalie has released three albums, including the MAC Award-winning Human Heart.

$35 tables / $25 bar seating + $20 food/drink minimum




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