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Photos: JIM CARUSO'S CAST PARTY Returns to Birdland!

July 5 marked the return of the popular weekly open mic/variety show that has been bringing Broadway glitz and urbane wit to the historic venue since 2004.

After fifteen months of unwanted hiatus, host/producer Jim Caruso brought his notorious "Cast Party" back to it's home on the Birdland stage. July 5 marked the return of the wildly popular weekly open mic/variety show that has been bringing Broadway glitz and urbane wit to the historic music room every Monday since 2004.

The evening started out with a slow, mournful version of "Happy Days Are Here Again," played by jazz superstar Benny Benack III and his band. After a chorus, the tempo sped up into an all-out celebration, with the band parading through the club dotted with red, white and blue balloons, with the Cast Party Symphony Orchestra (Billy Stritch, Daniel Glass & Steve Doyle) adding itself to the mix. Mr. Stritch introduced Mr. Caruso, and the audience stood and cheered celebrating the beginning of the Roaring Twenties, the Eighteenth Anniversary of Cast Party, and the end of the dark pandemic days. After a few well-chosen and welcoming words, the host got busy introducing thirty wildly talented artists, all of whom stormed the stage for an impromptu performance. Broadway stars, jazzers, cabaret divas, and two tappers entertained the sold-out house until the wee hours.

Jim Caruso's Cast Party is a cool open mic night and hilariously impromptu variety show in which showbiz superstars hit the stage alongside up-and-comers, serving jaw-dropping music and general razzle-dazzle. "Cast Party" is the ultimate spot to mix and mingle with talented show folk and their fans. 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). The best part is that the audience is invited to participate in the musical festivities.

Birdland Jazz Club is excited to announce that Jim Caruso's Cast Party - the weekly talent celebration that has been in residence every Monday for eighteen years - will continue every single Monday at 8pm. (Host Caruso will move his popular virtual variety show "Pajama Cast Party" to Wednesdays at 8pm beginning July 7.)

Photo Credit: Kevin Alvey


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