"I don't sing because I'm happy. I'm happy because I sing." - William James

Stephen Sorokoff was on hand at 54 Below to document its Halloween Sondheim special “Into Sweeney Todd’s Woods“. The show featured Len Cariou (Sweeney Todd’s original Sweeney), Sarah Rice (Sweeney Todd’s original Johanna), Pamela Winslow Kashani (Into the Woods’ original Rapunzel), as well as Kristy Cates, Scott Coulter, Claybourne Elder, Matt Farnsworth, Marquee Five, Trent Armand Kendall, Rob Maitner, Teri Ralston, T. Oliver Reid, Julie Reyburn, Lucia Spina, Jessica Vosk.


View photos from the event at Broadwayworld.com


Read an article and view photos, video and a slide show featuring Marquee Five‘s opening song “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd” (below) at Times Square Chronicles.


Plus! Read an interview of Phil Geoffrey Bond by Jena Tesse Fox on BroadwayWorld.


Marquee Five is slated to perform at a special “Into Sweeney Todd’s Woods” show on October 31st, 2013!

From BroadwayWorld.com:

Attend the Tale… 54 Below, Broadway’s Nightclub, is thrilled to celebrate Halloween (Thursday, October 31 at 9:30pm) with a special evening of songs from two beloved musicals: Stephen Sondheim’s masterpieces, Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods. Expect a night of chills and thrills as some of Broadway and cabaret’s spookiest performers descend on the midtown boite for what promises to be an All Hallows Eve to remember.

As a special part of this piping hot evening, 54 Below is also delighted to welcome original casts members from both Sweeney & Woods: Len Cariou (Sweeney Todd’s original Sweeney), Sarah Rice (Sweeney Todd’s original Johanna) and Pamela Winslow Kashani (Into the Woods’ original Rapunzel)! God, That’s Good!

Hosted by 54 Below’s own Director of Original Programming and the host of 54’s popular Sondheim Unpluggedseries, Phil Geoffrey Bond, the cast includes a cross section of some of New York’s most captivating voices:Kristy Cates (Wicked), Scott Coulter (MAC, Bistro Award-winning vocalist), Claybourne Elder (Road Show, Bonnie & Clyde), Matt Farnsworth (Curtains, Thoroughly Modern Millie), Marquee Five (award-winning vocal quintet),Trent Armand Kendall (Into the Woods), Rob Maitner (Urinetown), Teri Ralston (Company, A Little Night Music), T. Oliver Reid (After Midnight, Sister Act), Julie Reyburn (MAC, Bistro, Nightlife Award-winner), Lucia Spina (Kinky Boots, South Pacific), Jessica Vosk (Company, She Loves Me) & Stephen Wallem (Nurse Jackie, Anna Nicole the Opera), all under the capable musical direction of Joe Goodrich, with Steve Doyle on bass and Jonathan Russell on violin.

There is a $40 cover charge as well as a $25 minimum. 54 Below is located at 254 West 54th St., in the heart of New York’s theatre district. For tickets, please visit 54below.com/artist/into-sweeney-todds-woods/ or call Ticketweb at 866 468 7619.

    Apply access code “ISTW5” online for a discount of $5 off the cover price!

MarqueeFiveSondheim10-31-2013

Thanks go to Alex Pearlman for this video of Marquee Five singing “Sunday” at the “Sondheim Unplugged” show on September 15, 2013, at 54 Below. “Sondheim Unplugged” was Directed/Conceived by Phil Geoffrey Bond, Musical Direction and piano by Joe Goodrich.

Direct link here.

October 19, 2013
Marquee Five performs in “Broadway By The Letter: Act One” at 54 Below, Broadway’s Supper Club, on October 19th, 2013 at 8:00pm. Doors open at 5:00pm. Cover charge: $25-$35, Food & Beverage Minimum: $25. Tickets: 54below.com/artist/marquee-5 – Use Online Access Code “Marquee5” for $5 off the dining room cover. PLUS! Limited Goldstar Tickets available for $17.50 (processing fee plus food/drink minimum still apply).

Marquee Five returns to 54 Below with their acclaimed show “Broadway By The Letter: Act One,” a collection of Broadway material arranged with Marquee Five’s signature harmonies, humor and heart, including pieces by Stephen Sondheim, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Kander & Ebb, Jason Robert Brown, William Finn and many more. Featuring Adam West Hemming, Vanessa Parvin, Sierra Rein, Julie Reyburn and Christopher Whipple on vocals, accompanied by Mark Janas and directed by Lennie Watts, “Broadway By The Letter: Act One” offers a harmony-infused tribute to theatrical composers, shows and songs presented with a wink and a few surprises.

Watch Video of Marquee Five singing from “Broadway By The Letter: Act One” at 54 Below’s “Sondheim Unplugged,” September 15th.

rip10.12.2013
Sierra can be seen in a Narrated Concert version of the new musical “Rip!: A Story of Love, Revolution, and What Is Possible”, a “radical reimagining” of Washington Irving’s classic “Rip Van Winkle,” at The Reformed Church of the Tarrytowns on October 12th, 2013 at 7:30pm. Music and lyrics by Dan Furman, with additional lyrics by Mary-Liz McNamara. Suggested $10 donation at the door. The Reformed Church of the Tarrytowns is located at 42 North Broadway, Tarrytown, New York 10591 – 34 minutes by train from Grand Central plus a 10 minute walk. There is also a 3:30pm tour of Washington Irving’s home; that, in addition to dinner in Tarrytown and “Rip!” the musical, will make quite a grand day out!

Rip invitation

September 15, 2013
Marquee Five will perform in “Sondheim Unplugged” at 54 Below, Broadway’s Supper Club, on September 15th, 2013. Show starts at 7pm, doors open at 5pm. For tickets, click here or call 866 468 7619.

Marquee Five will share the stage with special guests and Broadway greats Dee Hoty, Pamela Myers, Sarah Rice and Alice Ripley, Trent Armand Kendall (Broadway’s Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Into the Woods), George Lee Andrews (singing a cut song written for him when he created the role of Frid in A Little Night Music), cabaret great T. Oliver Reid (Broadway’s Sister Act, The Color Purple), Marquee Five’s own Julie Reyburn (MAC/Bistro/Nightlife Award winner) and Lucia Spina (Broadway’s Kinky Boots, South Pacific). Read more about it on Broadwayworld.com.

54 Below is located beneath the legendary Studio 54 at 254 West 54th St., in the heart of New York’s Theatre district. There is a $35 cover charge, as well as a $25 food/beverage minimum (a full dinner menu is available).


A celebrated New York event since 2010, the Bistro Award-winning series Sondheim Unplugged features some of Broadway and cabaret’s most dynamic voices, accompanied by piano only. Expect tunes from A Little Night Music, Company, Into the Woods, Follies, Passion, Dick Tracy, and more. Past special guests have included original Sondheim cast members such as Len Cariou, Victoria Mallory, Donna McKechnie & Chip Zien – so you never know who might drop in. Sondheim Unplugged is hosted by series creator Phil Geoffrey Bond, who will fill the audience in on Sondheimien facts, history, and assorted tidbits of theatrical lore!

One of the creators of one of the most important pieces of my musical theater history passed away this week: Damon Intrabartolo, the composer of “bare” and “Ann E. Wrecksick: The Odyssey of the Bulemic Orphans.” While the latter was a hilariously crass and ridiculous piece of parody, “bare” was one of those haunting musical works that stays fresh and brilliant even 13 years later, and my experience in the original Los Angeles cast (Hudson Mainstage Theater, 2000-2001) had positively haunted me since then. With music by Damon and incredible book/lyrics by Jon Hartmere, the show even at its very inception was perfect.

Damon, who died this week at the age of 39, was a cherubic ball of musical brilliance and energy. He was troubled, had issues with substance abuse and was prone to be very stressed and manic at times. But his childlike energy and constant need to push himself made his music specific, his melodies easy to hum but also challenging to sing yet easy to connect to emotionally. When we performed it at the Hudson, the orchestration was full of strings, keyboard, drums and electronic swells (reflecting the Enya-esque music of the time). This September, as it is being re-recorded and re-opened on the stage at The Hayworth Theatre in Los Angeles (Direction by Calvin Remsberg, featuring original LA cast members Stephanie Andersen and John Griffin), the orchestration has been pushed into 2013 in a more modern rock sensibility. However, judging by the videos that the Production has made public, the music and melodies that Damon wrote are intact – beautiful, emotional, bitter, fun, rockin’, and joyful.

Damon Intrabartolo, borrowed from Steve Schalchlin’s website www.bonusround.com

Back in early 2000, I was invited to see a reading of “bare” at UCLA with the understanding that I’d become the Assistant Stage Manager when it would be realized at The Hudson Theater on Santa Monica Ave (I was a graduate of UCLA and had many connections with the creative team because of it). At that first reading, I was witness to one of the most touching, intelligent, sassy and human musicals I had ever heard. Tears flowed down my face by the end of the reading, and I had yet to even see it on its feet. I was lucky enough not only to see it on its feet, but to be one of the pairs of feet onstage, in the ensemble – I started as ASM, then was asked to be the Female Swing, then graduated to the Ensemble, and became the Nadia understudy before it opened in October of 2000. It started as a 5 week run, but as more and more people saw it, the show kept getting extended and extended until it finally closed after 6 months. For an unknown musical in a small, 99-seat theater, run by early 20-somethings doing everything we could to keep it going, this was quite a feat.

Backstage at "bare", October 2000, Hudson Mainstage Theater, Los Angeles

Backstage at “bare”, October 2000, Hudson Mainstage Theater, Los Angeles

I remember one performance where two leads were out with a cold, a few ensemble people were out as well (the show called for us to be very touchy-feely-High-School characters), two understudies were in AND both our swings were already in, leaving a few chorus parts uncovered. To refrain from cancelling a fully-booked show, the Lighting Designer walked into an ensemble role, and also the Director Herself, Tony Nominee Kristin Hanggi, put on a plaid skirt to become one of St. Mary’s students. Costumes were pinned, we whispered on-stage directions to each other (“Ok, after he finishes this verse, move the chair to stage right and exit…”), and afterwards we all gave a huge revelatory wooop of excitement that another audience was able to see the show. I performed as Nadia five times (Keili Kefkovitz was just as professional as I was and rarely missed a show), and I was introduced to my future agent when he came to see me in one of my understudy runs. This youthful energy and push to make the story happen made this a special show for us.

We knew that this was an important show, one that discussed High School angst from a real, true, and meaningful position; what it was like to be different (gay, fat, ignored, misunderstood), what the pressures of religion and other adult-manufactured judgements can do to someone, and how love, acceptance and hearing that “God don’t make no trash” could mean life over death to a young ego. I’ve made friends with young men and women who were simply fans of the show, who returned and saw the show multiple times throughout the run (who have seen it Off-Broadway and Regionally) and who have found personal solace and comfort in the musical’s message. It won numerous awards, including Robby, LA Weekly, Ovation awards and a GLAAD nomination. It went Off-Broadway twice (the second time with some edits both in book and in music that didn’t make much sense to me), and now 13 years later it’s returning to Los Angeles in a return to the original book and concept.

Since the announcement of Damon’s passing, my Facebook account has exploded with posts, pictures, links and statuses, full of regret and disbelief. Kristin opened up a Facebook group to discuss and celebrate Damon, and his work will be sung in just a few weeks by a new cast and mostly new creative team. In the past few days I have revisited my 13 year old recordings of “bare” and have marveled at how gorgeous it still is, and sadly how relevant.

“Nobody has all the answers
Remember the message well:
If you hide from yourself
Be someone else for someone else’s sake,
That would be the greatest mistake.”

Jon’s poetic lyrics and Damon’s emotionally connected melodies provided some answers, and for hundreds (maybe thousands) of audience members and performers, “bare” is truly a remarkable and wonderfully connected and beautiful piece of musical theater. I feel so honored to have been able to be a part of its life, and I hope that the next incarnation will give justice to Damon’s soul as it has parted from his this week.

Watch the 2001 GLAAD Award performance by Original Los Angeles castmates John Torres and Wallace Smith sing “Are You There?”

Here I am singing “Spring” (Nadia’s second-act solo) at The Salon Open Mic a few years ago:

And finally, here I am as Olivia Whorebucks in “Ann E. Wrecksick and the Odyssey of the Bulemic Orphans”…may a chinese gong ever ring in Damon’s ears (wherever he has chosen to be) whenever someone mentions that title from now on. (GONG!)

As Olivia Whorebucks in "Ann E. Wrecksick and the Odyssey of the Bulemic Orphans"

As Olivia Whorebucks in “Ann E. Wrecksick and the Odyssey of the Bulemic Orphans”

Recorded at Mark Janas’ The Salon Open Mic on July 21, 2013.
Guest Host/Pianist: Bill Zeffiro

“Nothing Really Happened” by Craig Carnelia, from “Is There Life After High School?”

“The Road to Ruin” by Bill Zeffiro, from “The Road to Ruin”

Marquee Five in “Broadway By The Letter: Act One” at SOPAC

As a special event presented by Midtown Direct Rep, Marquee Five will be bringing “Broadway By The Letter: Act One” to the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) on Sunday, August 4th at 7pm. If you missed the debut of this new show at 54 Below in May, now is your chance! Click below for tickets or call the SOPAC Box Office at 973.313.2787 today.

This is a special performance, as it will be my first back from my Disney Cruise Line job, and we will be video taping for posterity and marketing power. So we need a nice big audience to fill this amazing, beautiful large venue! Please come see what has been hailed as “the Manhattan Transfer for the New Millennium” (Times Square Chronicles) and help me celebrate my return to my beloved group.

South Orange Performing Arts Center – Purchase tickets HERE.

“Broadway By The Letter: Act One”
Direction by Lennie Watts
Dan Feyer on Piano

Sunday, August 4, 2013, 7:00pm
South Orange Performing Arts Center
One SOPAC Way
South Orange, NJ 07079

Take the Midtown Direct line or NJ Transit bus to South Orange or travel by car via the 78 or 280 freeways.

Tickets: $20
Box Office: www.sopacnow.org
Phone: 973.313.2787



About “Broadway By The Letter: Act One”:

After a successful debut at 54 Below, Marquee Five brings “Broadway By The Letter: Act One” to SOPAC. Presented as a special event by SOPAC’s resident theatre company, Midtown Direct Rep, “Broadway By The Letter: Act One” is a collection of Broadway material arranged with Marquee Five’s signature harmonies, humor and heart, including pieces by Stephen Sondheim, Rogers & Hammerstein, Kander & Ebb, Jason Robert Brown, William Finn and many more. Featuring Mick Bleyer, Adam West Hemming, Vanessa Parvin, Sierra Rein, and Julie Reyburn on vocals, with special appearances by Lynsey Buckelew and Christopher Whipple, accompanied by Dan Feyer, and directed by Lennie Watts, “Broadway By The Letter: Act One” offers a harmony-infused tribute to theatrical composers, shows and songs presented with a wink and a few surprises.


About Marquee Five:

Hailed as “a breath of fresh air in the cabaret world” (BroadwayWorld.com) with “superb blend in song” (NiteLifeExchange.com), the group won the 2010 MAC Award for their debut show “We Can Make It: The Songs of Kander and Ebb” at the Metropolitan Room. They followed this in Fall, 2010 at Don’t Tell Mama with “8-Track Throwback,” a show Cabaret Scenes called “top-notch spectacular.” The group released an album recording of “8-Track Throwback” in early November, 2011 and debuted their new show “Broadway By The Letter: Act One” at the prestigious 54 Below in May of 2013.

www.MarqueeFive.com
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