Buttered Soul Pop is how I once described his emotional, sweet, passionate baritone voice...and now it - one of my favorite vocalists - is silenced at 66. Rest peacefully, James Ingram. Here he is in 1981 on "Soul Train" singing one of his (many) signature songs (and one of my eternal favorites), "Just Once." Yes, … Continue reading Legacy: RIP James Ingram
Jerry Orbach photo courtesy Masterworks Broadway Of course we all loved him as Lennie Briscoe on Law & Order, a role he played for 12 years before succumbing to prostate cancer. But many of us, who are old enough, have loved Jerry Orbach for years prior, whether as a leading song-and-dance man on Broadway (he … Continue reading Legacy: Jerry Orbach – We’ll Always Remember
Remembering him on the second anniversary of George Michael’s too-early death, here’s his haunting version of Don McLean’s “The Grave.” Originally released on McLean’s 1971 landmark album, American Pie, Michael recorded the song in February 2003, as a protest to the imminent invasion of Iraq. McLean wrote it as a Vietnam protest song. After hearing … Continue reading Legacy: George Michael – The Grave
In 1998, twenty-two minutes after she was asked to cover for her ailing friend, Luciano Pavarotti, Aretha Franklin walked on stage at the Grammy Awards to perform the legendary aria “Nessun Dorma." With little time to prepare Franklin performed the aria as is. In Pavarotti's key. No one knew what to expect. No one knew … Continue reading Music Box: The Queen of Soul-pra
Too many changes pissed me off: Ne-Yo is curious enough, but Ne-Yo writing an original song FOR this? Ugh. Removing “I Was Born On The Day Before Yesterday” and replacing it with a song not even good enough to make the cut of the dreadful movie version, called “You Can’t Win”? Feh. (Though, I do … Continue reading Music Box: Nobody Beats “The Wiz”
I'm dazed. Literally. I first saw the off-Broadway production back in February, at the Public, as a birthday present to myself. It was a staggering achievement then, but even more so now. Every so often a work of art descends upon us from the heavens, via the musical theater gods - so breathtaking, towering in … Continue reading Music Box: Hamilton the Musical – History Is Happening In Manhattan
I've seen "Les Miserables" countless times on Broadway since its opening back in 1987, with various actors playing Jean Valjean. I saw the brilliant Colm Wilkison twice during his original run, and his replacement, the great Gary Morris - yes the Country singer - who was outstanding in a complete 180 of his usual metier. … Continue reading Music Box: Ramin Karimloo, Bring It Home!
How do you mourn a legend who’s lived more than you and me combined? At the ripe old age of 89, the great Elaine Stritch has taken her final bows. To see her in a show was to expect the expected AND unexpected, and to bear witness Broadway royalty non pareil. I'm thrilled, delighted, and … Continue reading Legacy: Elaine Stritch Everybody Rise!
The idea was noble, the benefit, beyond worthwhile, the execution a little cheesy in hindsight, but back in 1995, Lincoln Center staged a concert reading of “The Wizard Of Oz In Concert: Dreams Come True” to benefit the CDF (Children’s Defense Fund), the child advocacy group whose motto of No Child Left Behind defined their … Continue reading Music Box: Happy Birthday, Phoebe Snow
On March 6th, 2002, Sheryl Crow filmed a concert for TV benefiting Breast Cancer Awareness (it aired later that year). She invited the Queen of Rock N Roll (Stevie Nicks, of course!) to perform with her on a few songs. Strong Enough Sorcerer Come On, Come On The Difficult Kind Midnight Rider (Allman Brothers cover) … Continue reading Music Box: Sheryl Crow & Stevie Nicks Live 2002