One of the highlights of Matt Howe’s recent shows at Black Fox and Germano’s was Burning Man, a song written for him by Jeff Blumenkrantz at the suggestion of Matt’s husband Dan Adler. Perfect for these burning days…
Jeff Blumenkrantz just released a new episode of his songwriting podcast. And hip-hooray! It features a song called “Valentine” giving singers a very plausible holiday alternative to “My Funny Valentine” (see below).
Also, it seems that Mr. Blumenkrantz has been working his way through the recipes in Martha Stewart’s Cooking School. And, of course, he’s been blogging about it.
One of the concerts I’ve been looking forward to the most this year is Victoria Clark’s appearance at the Kennedy Center December 6 as part of Barbara Cook Presents series.
I’ve found myself with one-degree-of-separation from Clark on several fronts:* Alex Tang was a classmate of hers at Yale, Barry Dennen did Sound of Music with her in St. Louis, Alex Rybeck has played for her frequently. But in a direct experience, her Fifteen Seconds of Grace was one of my favorite CDs of 2007. And the Jeff Blumenkrantz podcast with her is charming.
I’m surprised that there are still tix left for the show, so thought you’d like to know now.
*Though it hasn’t helped me get her to do an interview for this blog.
Jeff Blumenkrantz is a notable Broadway performer, whom DC audiences have seen in Bells Are Ringing at the Kennedy Center and the pre-Broadway tours of How to Succeed… and 3Penny Opera. Lately he’s been breaking through as a terrific songwriter.
DC cabaret audiences have heard Emily Everson sing his song Toll and Judy Simmons sing I Won’t Mind (also recorded by Audra MacDonald).
Jeff has put out a songbook of his work to date, presciently sub-titled “Volume 1.” It’s a terrific collection of material with lots to mine. There are a number of “art” songs based on Edna St. Vincent Millay themes. And it is a treasure trove for any cabaret performer searching for that ever-elusive up-tempo/comic number.
What’s more, if you go to his Website, he has provided an amazing service. He has a series of podcasts of notable performers (Liz Callaway, Sally Mayes, Carolee Carmello, Judy Kuhn… the list goes on) singing his songs. He also features fabulously dishy interviews with the performers.
Jeff* forwarded this message about his DC experiences and an exciting new project:
As for comments re: performing in DC, I want to say that I love the city and had a great time with all three shows (I also did the pre-Bway 3 PENNY OPERA with Sting at the National in ’90). My favorite memory is from BELLS ARE RINGING. I played a dentist who fancied himself a great songwriter, and I used to make up new bad lyrics every time I did the scene to try to crack up the members of the ensemble, who were seated on the stage. Getting your fellow performers to laugh is so gratifying! Please send them all my best and let them know how much I appreciated their laughter.
FYI, my worst DC memory was getting trapped for 15 minutes above the proscenium in HOW TO SUCCEED. I was supposed to be lowered in on a window washing unit, and one night, it got stuck on a light rail and was tipped over at about a 45 degree angle. I was stuck up there watching the finale and the curtain call, all happening without me. Then everyone left the stage, the audience filed out, and finally I croaked, “Um… er… hello? Is anyone going to get me out of here?” They eventually did, but it was scary!
By the way, you might be interested to know that I’m working on a new podcast, which will be called THE BMI WORKSHOP SONGBOOK PODCAST. It’s going to feature 20 songs written by BMI Workshop members and alumni. The songs are being selected right now with an eye on material that will be useful for auditions, cabaret, and concerts. We should be “on the air” before the end of the year.
Access the Jeff Blumenkrantz Web site at http://www.jeffblumenkrantz.com/
*I’m not being pretentious. He said I could call him that.