On Monday, February 7, Birdland was alive with the sound of musicals! A stellar group of performers lent their talents to celebrate the publication of The TheaterMania Guide to Musical Theater Recordings during Jim Caruso's Cast Party, the regular Monday night event at the club. Here's Caruso hawking the book.
Kicking off the celebration in a very special way was Rita Gardner, who created the role of Luisa in the original Off-Broadway production of The Fantasticks 45 years ago. Gardner dedicated her performance of two songs from that show, "Try to Remember" and "They Were You," to her dearly departed fellow castmates Kenneth Nelson and Jerry Orbach.
George S. Irving, who was in the original Broadway cast of Oklahoma! (believe it or not!) and who won a Tony Award for his role of Madame Lucy in Irene, recreated his performance of "The Butler's Song" (a.k.a. "He's Screwing Dolores del Rio") from So Long, 174th Street.
Stephanie D'Abruzzo, one of the stars of the Tony Award-winning musical hit Avenue Q, sang "It's a Fine, Fine Line" from that show -- accompanied by no less a personage than co-composer Bobby Lopez. Afterwards, D'Abruzzo bantered with Caruso.
Richard Kind, the new Max Bialystock in The Producers, sang "A Little House for Mama," a lovely song that was cut from the Stephen Sondheim musical Bounce. (Kind co-starred in the show in Chicago and Washington, D.C., but Bounce never made it to New York.)
Steven Brinberg, who has gained fame as a brilliant impersonator of Barbra Streisand, performed in mufti for a change. He gave us Babs singing a song from a show that she never got to do: "Tomorrow," from Annie.
Christine Pedi, a mainstay of Forbidden Broadway, channeled three divas of very different stripes -- Eartha Kitt, Ethel Merman, Carol Channing, and Joan Rivers -- as she sang a survivors' anthem.
Also stopping by to sing at Cast Party were two more fabulous musical theater folk: Karen Mason, most recently seen on Broadway in Mamma Mia! ...
...and Sally Mayes, whose credits range from Closer Than Ever to She Loves Me to Urban Cowboy.