Klea Blackhurst, Jim Caruso & Billy Stritch Bring A SWINGING BIRDLAND CHRISTMAS to Birdland, 12/21-25
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by BWW News Desk
Birdland has announced the third year of "A Swinging Birdland Christmas," starring Birdland regulars KLea Blackhurst, Jim Caruso and Billy Stritch. This will be a limited engagement of 6 performances, Friday, December 21 through Tuesday, December 25. All shows are at 6pm, except for the Monday and Tuesday, with 7pm and 10pm shows.
In the tradition of beloved seasonal specials, Blackhurst, Caruso and Stritch will perform swinging arrangements of "Christmas Waltz," Kay Thompson's "Holiday Season," "Sleigh Ride," and "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm" among other favorites. The singers will be joined by the Birdland Jazz Quartet (Stritch on piano, John Hart on guitar, Paul Gil on bass, Carmen Intorre on drums) and Special Guest Jazz Violinist, Aaron Weinstein.
KLea Blackhurst was recently seen starring in the Nashville production of The Nutty Professor, directed by Jerry Lewis. She was also seen on television, featured as Shelby Cross, former prosecutor and hypercritical pundit on the IFC Channel comedy series, "The Onion News Network." Her vast theatre credits include Rose inGypsy, Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes, as well as the role of Debbie, the perpetually enthusiastic drummer in the original Off Broadway production of Oil City Symphony. Blackhurst is best known for her acclaimed tribute to Ethel Merman, "Everything the Traffic Will Allow," that has been charming audiences and critics alike nationwide since its New York debut in 2001. Among many accolades, this production earned her the inaugural Special Achievement Award from "Time Out New York" magazine. The recording of Everything the Traffic Will Allow was named one of the top ten show albums of 2002 by Talkin' Broadway.com.
Jim Caruso recently made his Broadway debut alongside Liza Minnelli in the Tony Award-winning smash hit Liza's At The Palace!, singing, dancing and celebrating the music and arrangements of the late, great Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers. For his nightclub work, Caruso has won six MAC and two BackStage Bistro Awards for his sold-out New York shows at Birdland, the Algonquin Hotel, and Arci's Place; and has also performed in runs at the Gardenia and Cinegrill in Los Angeles, The Vic Theater in Chicago, Libby's in Atlanta, the Colony Palm Beach Hotel and the Connaught Room in London. He sang with the New York Pops in an all-star tribute to Kander & Ebb at Carnegie Hall, and returned to "The Hall" in a tribute to Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, hosted by Michael Feinstein. Jim and his vocal trio, Wiseguys, were invited to sing at President Clinton's First State Dinner at the White House, and celebrated Bing Crosby in concert at Carnegie Hall with Rosemary Clooney. For the past eight years, he has hosted a Monday night showbiz bash called "Jim Caruso's Cast Party," which was honored with a New York Nightlife Award, as was his Broadway at Birdland concert series. His new cd, "The Swing Set," was released on January 11, 2011.
Billy Stritch is one of the premier singer-pianists on the New York and national jazz and cabaret scene. His most recent nightclub act "Billy Stritch sings the Mel Tormé Songbook" earned rave reviews from the New York music critics. Stritch has appeared in cabaret venues across the nation as well as concert performances at the London Palladium, NHK Hall in Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro's Municipale Auditorium. In New York, he has performed at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall and completed 688 performances as Oscar the rehearsal pianist in the 2001 Broadway revival of 42nd Street, which starred Christine Ebersole. It was in this production that Billy and Christine initially met, laying the groundwork for a happy and mutually rewarding musical collaboration. Their CD release "In Your Dreams" is available on Ghostlight Records. Billy is also a songwriter and arranger, and his composition "Does He Love You" was recorded by Reba McEntire and Linda Davis. The single reached the number one spot on the Billboard Country chart, winning a Grammy Award and selling over five million copies along the way. He has arranged for many top performers and is a frequent collaborator with Liza Minnelli, having written the arrangements for Minnelli On Minnelli at the Palace Theater, Liza's Christmas at Town Hall, and was musical supervisor and pianist for the Tony Award-winning, Liza's At The Palace. Billy has played and sung on numerous television shows including "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," "Oprah," "The CBS Morning Show," "The Today Show" and "Inside The Actor's Studio". He has four solo CDs to his credit, including "Billy Stritch Sings Mel Tormé," "The Waters of March," "Jazz Live," and "Billy Stritch." He is the winner of the Nashville Music City News Award, a BMI Song of the Year Award, and four awards from the Manhattan Association of Clubs and Cabarets.
A Swinging Birdland Christmas
Birdland, 315 West 44 Street, NYC
$30 cover, $10 food/drink minimum
Nightly, December 21 - 25
All shows are at 6pm, except for the Monday and Tuesday 7pm and 10pm shows.