Tag Archives: new york jazz

Out With An AMAZING 2015 And Happy 2016!

Happy 2016!

It isn’t until you sit down and give it a good think that you realize – WOW, 2015 has been a great year!

I mean, anytime the Broads of Broadsway get together, we’re going to make lots of music and laughing until we’re aching…but then you actually look at what we did, well that’s a whole ‘nuther story.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 10.37.30 AM.pngIt all started in January with the Broads returning to NYC for our second show at the Metropolitan Room – what a great night! There’s just something about New York City that makes you feel just that much cooler and that much hipper…ok…maybe it was the pastrami at Katz’s or the great Italian restaurants, but I’m going to go with it anyway!

Still in the Big Apple, we were off to APAP, an arts conference where we could watch, see and be seen by presenters and artists from all over the world. Of course, having the lights blow out and the sound board catch fire was also memorable. (Honest…we had nothing to do with it!!!)

Valentine’s Day weekend we played Diane’s home town of London, Ontario at the Aolean Hall. It’s a lovely room with great sound and an even greater piano (Diane was very happy. And if she’s happy, so are Heather and I). The audience braved a blizzard to come out and join us and the result was a warm, cozy evening with friends – even if they didn’t walk in that way – we were all together by the end of the night.Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 10.37.15 AM.png

March had us going from the Performing Arts Centre in Lakefield (with great thanks to Michael Rosen) to the Homesmith Bar, right here in Toronto – the travelling is great, but it’s always good to play a room at home!

April had us travelling again to Ajax and the St. Francis centre with its beautiful windows and great audience to the Deer Creek Golf Club to sing for Autism Ontario. That was such a satisfying gig – to be part of thea supporting cast of a great organization doing great work.

In May, we gigged at Toronto’s Soul Pepper Theatre. It’s always a kick to share the stage with folks you truly respect and whose talent is a pleasure to see and hear. We had so much fun! I think it’s the energy that’s generated when you get that special concentration of music and an audience that truly appreciates what you’re doing that makes a night magical and that is what happened.

On Mother’s Day, we were warmly welcomed at The Bloom Restaurant. Not only was the audience astute and appreciative, the meal we were served at the end of the evening was sublime. Did I mention that we Broads are fond of food? Do I need to mention that?

There’s a new venue for music in Toronto and the Broads got a chance to play our tunage at the 120 Bistro on Church Street during the Toronto International Jazz Festival. It’s fun to be in an intimate spot and really get to make the audience part of the performance.

Let’s see…we’re in July now…(my how time flies!) and singing in Niagara-on-the-Lake for their Jazz Festival. It was a great, enthusiastic audience and we had a blast. And we even got to continue the great vibes the next day when we taught our first workshop together! We’re all educators, but it was really fun to pool our experience and give our workshoppers a truly 3-dimensional experience!

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 10.36.09 AMNow onto our biggest event in 2016 – our new CD, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Maybe”. Yup, the Broads have made a CD of Christmas music…and stuff…..well, you can’t expect us to leave anything the way we found it! Mind you, there were more than a few songs that Diane lent her special talents to – “Breath of Heaven” is definitely one of the loveliest arrangements I know. And Heather’s version of “Christmas Angel” is so pure and sweet. And me? I got to sing one of my all-time favourites, Gordon Lightfoot’s, “Song for a Winter’s Night”. Then there’s the other Broadsway take on Christmas…”Jingle Bell Rockin'” and “Winter Wonderland” as a kick-ass Latin carol! Yeah…we just couldn’t play everything the way it was written…really!

Now think about this – it’s August, 30-plus degrees Celsius and about 200% humidity. The only sound in the quiet morning is that made by our three collective curly heads kinking up! We are at the studio of engineering wizard, Jono Grant and singing Christmas songs at the tops of our lungs – ‘like we ever sing anywhere else! I gotta’ tell you, it’s kind of an interesting head space to get into the Holiday spirit when just standing in one place makes you schvitz! Still, it’s a really fun CD and we had a blast recording it.

In November we released it at our beloved Jazz Bistro. Sybll and the gang helped to make the nights even more special by being right there cheering us on…and laughing…and well, you get the idea.

I would be remiss if I did not talk about the Friends of Broadsway. Spearheaded by Lisa Landry and Claire Lavoie, this group raised funds to cover the cost of our Symphony orchestrations. Broadsway will be performing with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra on April 2 and 3 of this year!!!! Since early summer, Diane and Heather have been working with four orchestrators to create symphonic versions of twelve pieces from our repertoire. Yes, Broadsway Bacharach has been orchestrated! We could not have funded this project on our own and are extremely grateful to: Lisa and Claire, Martha, Jennifer and Lori, Jo and Cheryl, Andrea and Deb, A. Frank, Gail R., Gwen, Liz, Heather G., Jacki, Jaki, Yvonne, Noelle and Diane, Heather B., Joan and Ann and Gail C.

The rest of the year has been a flurry (no pun intended) of great times, including Trivia contests at the MCCT (my team are the reigning champs…’just sayin’) and Heather’s annual Christmas Kitchen Party – imagine – great music – great people – great wine and great food – you just can’t get much better than that!

Well, that’s the news! It’s been a great, crazy, wonderful year full of music! If you are missing us, join us at the 120 Diner on Sunday March 6 between 5 and 7 p.m. Ticket info is on our website. Until we see you again, we thank for your ongoing support and friendship and wish all of you a New Year full of joy and love, good health and lots of laughter!

We’ll see you later!

The Broads of Broadsway

For a list of our shows and much more, please visit thebroadswayshow.com

Stay connected with us on Facebook & Twitter!

In A New York State Of Mind…The Finale Part 3.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 10.08.27 AMNo sooner were we done at The Salon, when we had to head over to the Hilton for our next APAP showcase. We hopped in a cab, prayed the sound equipment was working tonight, and made our way to the big convention. Not only was it a huge display of music, it was also a great hang!! We spent time with fellow Canadians Dave Restivo, George Koller, Larnell Lewis, and the lovely Laila Biali (who is now based in NYC, so it was so good to spend some time with her and hear her incredible music!) We all did our showcases and cheered each other on, like the good Canadians we are. The response was great, and we met several NY-based singers who were all quite appreciative of what we did. As for the other results: we’ll see what happens and will keep fingers crossed!

Our official showcasing was done, but there was no rest yet, because we had more work to do the next day. After some walking around, visiting interesting places in the neighbourhood of our hotel, and a wonderful celebratory meal at a fabulous Italian restaurant (DeGrezia’s on 50th and 3rd) we headed to Birdland for another open mic. Birdland is a famous and well-respected New York Jazz mainstay, featuring the best of the best in the Jazz world. Every Monday night, the venue becomes a theatre / Cabaret room, including an early show from bigger-named artists (that night it was Jane Monheit) and a later open mic show known as Jim Caruso’s Cast Party.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 10.08.34 AMCaruso is a true entertainer: a Tony Award winner, a highly touted crooner with a great sense of swing, and one helluva sense of humour! Each week, he and a house band, including the incredible pianist Billy Stritch, welcome a host of Cabaret and Theatre artists (many of whom appear regularly on Broadway or in London’s West End) and the audience is treated to a wide variety of performers. Speaking of the audience, you never know who is going to be there!

On past occasions, Lucie Arnaz and Lisa Lambert (Drowsy Chaperone) were in attendance. On this night, the Grande Dame of Cabaret and Jazz, Ms Marilyn Maye was in the crowd! If you don’t know Marilyn Maye, you really should!! At 86 years of age, she is still in fine form, with a fabulous voice, fierce sense of swing, and wicked sense of humour!! Ella Fitzgerald once called her “the greatest white female singer in the world”, and on that night, the whole audience got a taste of her greatness. Guest host Klea Blackhurst (hilarious, by the way) invited Ms Maye to the stage and she graced us with a couple of numbers. She still had it!

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 10.08.45 AMWe were eventually called to the stage and did a rousing rendition of “Cloudburst / Oleo”, which the audience seemed to enjoy … so much so that we were asked to do another song immediately after (something which RARELY happens at Cast Party). We went into Broadsway Bacharach, with bassist Sadi Zain and drummer Daniel Glass trying their best to play along with us without the help of any music. All in all, it went well and people seemed to enjoy it. One of those people was Marilyn Maye, who was gracious enough to pass on some kind words and chat with us a little, following the show. We told her we were going to see Annie Ross (of Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross – who did “Cloudburst”) at the Metropolitan Room the next night, and she said she’d call and make sure Annie heard us sing. What a gracious and classy lady!

The following day was our last full day in New York. We’d extended the weekend so as to be able to attend Cast Party and also visit the Metropolitan Room to see the legendary Annie Ross, the latter being our plan for the final evening in town. We each did our own thing during the day: Heather had a commercial recording session to do, so she headed to a studio for that; Diane had lunch with Michele Jelley, an old friend and niece to Jazz legend Kenny Wheeler; Julie laid low and relaxed after a particularly busy week for her. (Julie had been in New York since the previous Thursday.)

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 10.08.52 AMEventually we made our way to the Metropolitan Room to see Annie Ross. 84-year old Ross has been hosting Tuesday evenings at the Metropolitan Room for quite some time, now. Tonight, the show bizz veteran (77 years in the business!) was performing with legendary trumpeter Warren Vache. It was almost surreal hearing her sing! We were joined by Holli Ross, a wonderful vocalist we’d met at APAP. Holli has worked with Annie, so she introduced us after the show. In the meantime, it seems Marilyn Maye DID, in fact, call the Metropolitan Room to let them know that Annie should hear us sing. Warren Vache told us to go for it, so we did. I have to say: it was pretty darned cool singing “Cloudburst” to Annie Ross!! She listened with a big smile on her face, occasionally conducting a rhythmic “shot” or two along with us. There’s one to cross off the bucket list!

Having completed a VERY fun-filled, action-packed weekend, we returned to Toronto the next day. We were moderately exhausted, but pleased with how the weekend turned out.

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Of course, there was little time to rest … we were returning to the Big Apple in just 3 days for our follow-up show at the Metropolitan Room. No rest for the wicked … or for the independent Jazz / Cabaret artists determined to create careers for themselves!

Thanks, New York! We’ll be seeing you soon!

Thanks for reading. More adventures to come! Big hugs from Broadsway. 

 

In A New York State Of Mind…Part 2

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 4.51.56 PMWe had another showcase the following evening, with another day to ourselves. Julie was tired and wanted to rest, so Diane and Heather took in another Broadway show (for research purposes, of course). Today it was “If / Then”, the show written for the Tony-winning musical theatre phenom Adele Nazeem … er, sorry …. Idina Menzel. Being a bit of a fan of her work, Heather was more than a little excited to see this show – not only to be able to see this Musical Theatre powerhouse (Menzel), but also to perhaps find some lesser-known modern Broadway tunes to add to the Broads’ repertoire. The show didn’t disappoint, mainly because we were front row, with Menzel, Tony-winner LaChanze, and theatre favourite Anthony Rapp (Rent) – as well as the other cast members – all within 2 feet of us. (Did we mention we were front row centre?)

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 4.52.07 PMParticularly sweet for Diane was the fact that the pit orchestra and conductor were right in front of us, as well, which made for a neat “inside look” at what the musicians were doing during the show, (which included – unfortunately – making distracting noises during a particularly poignant romantic scene … something for which said musicians were quickly chastised). However, the highlight was DEFINITELY experiencing Idina Menzel live. As Diane put it: “She truly is at the height of Musical Theatre right now – the best there is.” AND, there were, indeed, one or two songs from this show that were appealing. Stay tuned to see if they make their way into a future Broadsway show!

From here, it was back to the hotel to prep for the first of our “open mic” appearances this weekend. We’d been told by more than one person that the best way to get yourself in front of New York audiences is to do just that: get yourself out there. So, we connected with Richard Skipper, a well-heeled Cabaret performer who was hosting a weekly open mic called “The Salon”, happening at a great Italian restaurant called Etcetera Etcetera. They have an upstairs space, complete with stage, lighting, and a grand piano – plus plenty of seating – where cabaret artists gather each week to try out their stuff. Each show also features a “headliner”, if you will, who does their own 15-minute set. This week, Broadsway was the headliner. The crowd was lovely – very warm and supportive and we hoped there might be one or two who would join us the following week for our return to the Metropolitan Room.

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 4.53.06 PMWhile we were sitting in the back of the room, enjoying some appetizers and a cocktail and waiting to perform, we were joined at our table by a couple who clearly knew the host and had been to previous Salons. Both of them seemed rather familiar, and we joked, made wise-cracks, and generally enjoyed some light conversation with them, all the while wondering why it felt like we knew them. Eventually, Heather said to one of them: “I’m sure I know you, but I can’t place it”, to which the woman simply replied “Orange Is The New Black”. It was Lin Tucci, who plays Anita DeMarco in the show!!

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 4.53.15 PMShe was an absolute doll, and took the time to chat with us about our performance, which she really seemed to enjoy. AND the neat thing was that she actually knows her stuff. She studied at the Boston Conservatory of Music and has worked quite a bit as a stage actress and in musicals. Plus, she also told us she’d spent more than a few years doing just what we were doing: working in the world of Cabaret, attending open mics, and truly just trying to sell herself as an artist to various audiences. She had some encouraging words for us and wished us luck. When she found out we knew Leah DeLaria from her work in Toronto, she told us she’d pass on the good word to Leah. It was great to be able to chat with someone who had spent so much time doing just what we are doing now … and to get encouragement from her. What a sweetheart!

What happens next? Check back NEXT WEEK for Part 3 of “In A New York State Of Mind” by Broadsway. 

In A New York State Of Mind…Part 1

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 11.47.47 AMWe’re well into 2015 and we Broads started the New Year out with a bang – 2 trips to New York City!

The first was for a conference known as APAP, which is an acronym for the American Performing Arts Presenters (or something equally as clever). Basically, artists and presenters from all over the world gather in New York for a weekend of showcasing and schmoozing. It was our first time at APAP and we really didn’t know what to expect. We were armed with business cards, flyers, CDs, fancy outfits (meant to say “Hey – we always look this good … even when we’re being relaxed and casual … but could break into song on stage at any minute … ” or something like that!) and a lot of hope!

We were scheduled for 2 showcases at something called “Two Great Days of Jazz in the Harlem Suite”. This was happening in a room at the Hilton (APAP’s host hotel) where for 2 days, various artists did 25 minute showcases, one after another. It was intense! Our first showcase was on Saturday night … which meant we had the day to take things in. Julie was showcasing on her own, so Diane and Heather decided to take some time and research for new material for Broadsway … translation: going to see some shows!

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 12.50.17 PMFirst stop: “The Last Ship”, with music by Sting. Alas, ticket sales for this show weren’t what producers had hoped for, and so it was set to close on January 24th. In an attempt to push sales, Sting – himself – was brought in as a member of the cast, and the show we caught was his last. We enjoyed the production (which might have had something to do with the double gin and tonics we purchased on our way into the theatre), and thought Sting was pretty good in his role. Diane’s extensive musical theatre background gave her more to say about the show: the staging, blocking, movement, arrangements, etc., etc., etc. Overall, it was a good experience, made better by the fact that we saw the composer, himself, acting in the production.

Our first showcase was scheduled for that evening. Anyone who has ever produced or presented a show knows the difficulties that go along with it. Thus, our hearts went out to Pat and Allan Harris, who were producing the “Two Great Days of Jazz … ” showcases. We felt particularly badly when, towards the end of the evening, things were already delayed, and then – poof – no sound!!! It seems the amount of power required to run the lights, and all of the sound equipment might have been just too much to handle. First, the lights flickered, then there was a strange odour, and finally someone yelled something about the sound board smoking, all of which was followed by the strangest little “dance of frustration” executed by the sound technician.

So, suddenly we were faced with (a) 30+ minutes delay to our already somewhat late (11:30 pm) showcase, (b) no sound / amplification system, and (c) a dwindling audience who now thought shows were cancelled because the sound board … er … almost caught fire!! HOWEVER, as they say in the bizz: the show must go on! When the time came (just after midnight), we took to the now significantly darker stage, and did a kick-ass performance … for the 8 people in attendance. Tomorrow is another day – and another showcase! Plus, the Hilton had a large hotel bar and the fact that there is such a thing as an “American Pour” meant we could mark the evening with a nice martini. (Yes, “martini” IS used in the plural sense there!)

What happens next? Check back NEXT WEEK for Part 2 of “In A New York State Of Mind” by Broadsway. 

Happy New Year From Broadsway!

broadsHappy New Year from the Broads! 

So, here we are in the final moments of 2014. What a year it’s been for Broadsway! Before going any further, we very much want to thank all of you for your support, suggestions, assistance, laughter, applause, encouragement, and kindness over the past 12 months. It’s been said by many, but we truly mean it when we say, we really couldn’t have done it without you!

It’s been a heck of a year and there were definitely more than a few highlights for us, including:

– repeat performances at Toronto mainstays where our “home” crowd showed lots of love

– opening the JAZZ.FM91 Cabaret Series with a sold out performance at Hugh’s Room (a show that was broadcast on JAZZ.FM91, and featured Diane’s incredible “scatting” for the first time)

– our debut appearance at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival, where we got to “rock out” at the Hard Rock Cafe

– showin’ ’em ‘what we got’ in New York, in open mics at The Metropolitan Room and Birdland, which lead to…

10397989_891975070812645_2886144021383337636_n– …our New York debut feature performance at The Metropolitan Room, one of Manhattan’s premiere Cabaret Rooms!

– six full houses at the exquisite Jazz Bistro, including three during which we began creating the makings of a live album

– signing with a fantastic team of managers / agents who will be working with us to spread the good Broadsway word

– participating in the 25th Anniversary of the MCC Toronto’s Christmas Eve Service at Roy Thomson Hall

– meeting and making wonderful new connections from across Canada and the US with whom we hope to be working with very soon!

This year has also had its challenges, both professionally and personally. There have been major shifts in our respective and collective lives, and there have been losses, as well. They have caused us to have to rely on each other, the music, and all of you for spiritual/emotional uplift and support.

Then there were the thrilling off-stage moments that saw us finding new sources of love, support, and joy…and new furry, four-legged bundles, as well!

1456610_892911620718990_2384219060681390953_nThrough it all, there have been a few constants:

1. We continue to love each other and love working with each other. Broadsway is like a marriage: there are moments of love, moments of struggle, moments of laughter, moments of tears, moments of joy, moments of contentment. We love what we do and we love doing it together!

2. The music continues to thrill, motivate, and inspire us. There are always new doors opening, new shows to experience, new tunes to embrace, now arrangements to create, and new musical thrills to enjoy!

3. You are constantly wonderful in your support! Whether it’s showing up at multiple shows at the Jazz Bistro, consistently inviting new people into the Broadsway fold, or hopping on a plane to join us for our New York debut, you have been there for us time and time again. We LOVE the comments on Facebook, we LOVE the messages you Tweet to us, we LOVE that you continue to visit us at our website, watch our videos, listen to our music, and support our shows!

So, as we head into the New Year, we wish all of you nothing but the best of health, happiness, laughter, peace, and contentment for 2015. We also thank you for everything you’ve offered us in 2014, and hope that we will see you at more performances in the new year…and that you’ll continue to let your friends know about the fun and great music that comes with a Broadsway show.

Here’s hoping our paths will cross many times in much musical love and joy.

With love and appreciation,

Broadsway

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For all things Broadsway, please visit our website @ thebroadswayshow.com

 

 

 

What Have The Broadsway Broads Been Up To?

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 1.27.33 PMThe BROADS have quite a few shows coming down the pike! With fall in full swing, we’ve been prepping for a bunch of upcoming performances AND will be making our first NEW YORK FEATURE ‘debut’ in November!

New material is being introduced AND our collective energy is hitting higher frequencies (didn’t think it was possible now did you) which we are loving!

In case you haven’t had a chance to see what we’ve been up to, here’s your chance! We have an array of shows to mention so please spread the word and we hope to see your face(s) soon!

Sunday October 26th 2014 – TWO Performances – Global Cabaret Festival – 1pm & 7:45pm.

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 1.27.41 PMPlease share the event on Facebook by clicking HERE! 

Saturday November 1st 2014 – 8:00pm – Hamilton All Star Jazz Bands

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 1.33.42 PMClick HERE for MORE INFO!

Saturday November 15th 2014 – 8:00pm – Runnymede United Church

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 1.38.56 PMClick HERE for MORE INFO!

Monday November 17th – 9:30pm – NEW YORK FEATURE DEBUT!  Click the image below for tickets and more INFO!

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For all things BROADSWAY, please visit our website @ thebroadswayshow.com

Stay connected with us on Facebook & Twitter! Check out our YouTube channel by clicking HERE!