The Unanswered Question shows Eliot Feld in a complex and mysterious mood, responsive to the music of Charles Ives. Fully theatrical in its staging, with lighting by the Feld Ballet's Allen Lee Hughes and costumes by Willa Kim, it creates an atmosphere often surreal, sometime humorous, sometimes dream-like. The dancers entwine and become parts of musical instruments (a Sousaphone, a drum) and a large tricycle. An exotic and daring pas de deux climaxes with the woman's mysterious disappearance.
Valentina Kozlova, Damian Woetzel
The deep, dark-maple tone that Christian McBride elicits from an upright bass is one of jazz’s forthright pleasures, and so is the pleasure he seems to extract from it himself...He calls this band Inside Straight, applying the phrase as a badge of intent and maybe a deflective maneuver: He’ll brand this music as conventional before you ever have the chance. What that says about Mr. McBride is that he has his principles but sees the bigger picture. — New York Times
The Wonderful Marilyn Maye returns to the Birdland Theater for a whole weekend to celebrate the New Year! Marilyn Maye is a highly praised singer, actress, director, arranger, educator, a Grammy nominated recording artist and a musical treasure. Her entire life has been committed to the art of song and performance. The award-winning Ms. Maye appeared 76 times on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson – the record for a singer. Perhaps the simplest Marilyn Maye accolade came after one of her show-stopping appearances on The Tonight Show when turning to his audience of millions, Johnny Carson said, “And that, young singers, is the way it’s done.” Marilyn began her professional singing career by winning a 13-week appearance on radio station WIBW, Topeka, Kansas, at age 9. She has been committed her entire life to the art of song and performance. During her eleven-year engagement at the Colony in Kansas City, she was “discovered” by Steve Allen who was the first to present her various times to a national television audience. The Steve Allen performances led her to an RCA recording contract. Her RCA recordings consist of seven albums and 34 singles, including the first hit recordings of “Cabaret” and “Step to the Rear.” Her album with full orchestra, The Lamp is Low, is considered a classic. Her place in American music history was assured when the Arts Council of the Smithsonian Institution selected one of her recordings, “Too Late Now” for the Smithsonian-produced album of the 110 Best American Compositions of the Twentieth Century. Her many symphony concert appearances around the United States, include the Florida Symphony, The Philly Pops, The Phoenix Symphony, The Kansas City Symphony, The Omaha Symphony, and in June, 2015, The Pasadena Symphony, Michael Feinstein conducting. Her two appearances with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall for tributes to Stephen Sondheim and Frank Loesser. These two performances received show-stopping applause and rave reviews.” Her more than 100 engagements in the last nine years in New York include; sold-out multiple-nights at the Metropolitan Room, Birdland, five two-week runs at Feinstein’s at The Loews Regency Hotel, New York’s Town Hall, the 92nd Street Y Theater. She presented Marilyn Maye, “Her Way”, A Salute to Sinatra – her fifth appearance at 54 Below, April, 2015 – an 8-day engagement was received by standing-room-only audiences.
Celebrate the New Year with the Birdland Big Band at their week-long residency! Come out for a week and celebrate the New Year with the Birdland Big Band Directed by David DeJesus! Every Friday, and for two headlining weeks a year, the “BBB” roars into action playing a thrilling and original mix of jazz, funk, Brazilian, Latin and world music for sold-out audiences. Featured weekly guest artists drop-in from television bands (David Letterman, Saturday Night Live) and pop music touring bands (Rob Thomas, Rod Stewart). Come see for yourself why Time Out New York called the BBB, “a completely unique experience… there isn’t another band like this anywhere,” and yelp.com proclaims, “if you hear one band in NYC make sure this is it… and prepare to be blown away!” Saxophonist David DeJesus has been on the New York City Jazz scene since the late 90’s and has established himself as a key player in numerous bands in various genres. In Jazz, David has performed with the Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Mingus Big Band, the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Stars, and Jimmy Heath’s Big Band along with many others. In Latin Jazz and Salsa, David has shared the stage with Ruben Blades, Larry Harlow, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Arturo O’Farrill and Tito Rodriguez Jr. Currently, David is the leader of the Birdland Big Band, a member of the Grammy nominated Bobby Sanabria Big Band, and the Legendary Ron Carter’s Great Big Band. On top of his busy performing career, David has long been involved in education. Having taught at major conservatories including Manhattan School of Music, New York University, and the New School, David is proud to currently be a Professor of Jazz Studies at Purchase College where he directs the 18 piece Purchase Latin Jazz Orchestra, coaches student combos and instructs Jazz Arranging classes.
Birdland favorite Champian Fulton returns with a weekend residency in the Theater! Birdland fan favorite, pianist-vocalist Champian Fulton returns to Birdland with her trio for, “Christmas with Champian.” Champian, along with , drummer Fukushi Tainaka and bassist Hide Tanaka, swing their way through a set of jazzy holiday classics including, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm,” “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” “The Christmas Song,” and more. With 14 albums to her credit, Champian is considered one of the most gifted pure Jazz musicians of her generation. Among her multiple awards she was recently named Pianist and Vocalist of 2019 by Hot House Magazine Readers Poll. Today her piano and voice skills are widely recognized by peers and critics as possessing distinction and sophistication. From North America to Europe, Africa to Australia, Champian’s swinging style and charismatic performances have made her a guardian of the legacy of Jazz.
A Swingin Birdland Christmas returns for its THIRTEENTH year from December 20-25 at 5:30 each night! Klea Blackhurst, Jim Caruso & Billy Stritch in “A Swinging Birdland Christmas” Returning to Birdland for the THIRTEENTH Consecutive Year Since 2010, “A Swinging Birdland Christmas” has been a wildly successful extravaganza celebrating the holidays on the stage of the historic music room. This year, “A Swinging Birdland Christmas,” starring Birdland regulars Klea Blackhurst, Jim Caruso and Billy Stritch will perform a limited engagement of six performances, Tuesday through Sunday, December 20 – 25. All shows are at 5:30pm. The trio is also releasing a Deluxe Edition of their popular cd, “Christmas at Birdland,” produced by Wayne Haun on the Club44 Records label. 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,” “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm,” “Snow,” and “It Happened In Sun Valley,” among other favorites. The show will also include a musical tribute to Birdland regular Freddy Cole, who was also a holiday tradition! The singers will be joined by Steve Doyle on bass and Daniel Glass on drums. KLEA BLACKHURST is an actress, singer and comedienne known for her award-winning tribute to Ethel Merman, Everything The Traffic Will Allow. Most recently she appeared Off-Broadway with Hayley Mills in the comedy, Party Face, at City Center Stage 2. She starred in Hazel during its world premiere production at Drury Lane in Chicago, as Dolly Levi in the highly acclaimed Fiftieth Anniversary production of Hello, Dolly! at The Goodspeed Opera House and as Miss Lemon in The Nutty Professor, which premiered in Nashville, directed by legendary comedian, Jerry Lewis and featuring a score by Marvin Hamlisch and Rupert Holmes. Klea also played Rose in Drury Lane Chicago’s production of Gypsy, garnishing rave reviews in 2012. She’s performed with symphony orchestras and in theatrical productions across the country and abroad including the London Palladium presentation of Jerry Herman’s Broadway with Angela Lansbury, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra tribute to Marvin Hamlisch,, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, 15 Mabel Mercer Foundation Cabaret Conventions, New York’s Town Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, New York’s 92nd Street Y Lyrics & Lyricists, The Chicago Humanities Festival and as Ado Annie in the BBC Proms concert of Oklahoma! in London’s Royal Albert Hall. In addition to regular appearances at New York’s famed Birdland, Klea’s nightclub engagements include tributes to the Broadway career of composer Vernon Duke at the Café Carlyle with a subsequent sold-out engagement at Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater and “Dreaming of a Song: The Music of Hoagy Carmichael,” a collaboration with Billy Stritch. On television she has appeared in Ryan Murphy’s Pose and The Knick, on Showtime. She spent two seasons as former prosecutor, Shelby Cross, on the IFC Channel comedy series, Onion News Network. She’s done the requisite Law and Order: SVU, spent a week on Sesame Street and was a musical guest on The Rosie O’Donnell Show. JIM CARUSO 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. Caruso has won six MAC and nine BroadwayWorld Awards for his sold-out New York shows at Birdland, the Algonquin Hotel; 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. He was 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 nineteen years, he has hosted a Monday night showbiz bash at Birdland called “Jim Caruso’s Cast Party.” That open mic/variety show has been seen at Jazz at Lincoln Center and Town Hall in NYC, and in theaters and clubs across the country. During the pandemic, he stormed the internet with 72 episodes of “Pajama Cast Party,” showcasing hundreds of performers from Kristin Chenoweth to Isaac Mizrahi and Chita Rivera. He croons regularly with Billy Stritch at Bemelmans at The Carlyle Hotel, and his recordings include “Christmas at Birdland,” “The Swing Set,” (both on Club44 Records) and “Caruso: Live and In Person” (LML Records). BILLY STRITCH is one of the premier singer-pianists on the New York and national jazz and cabaret scenes. He began his career in Houston, Texas, where he formed the vocal trio Montgomery, Plant and Stritch. The trio performed all over New York and Europe from 1983 until they disbanded in 1990. A chance meeting with Liza Minnelli in March of 1991 resulted in her asking him to create vocal arrangements for the record-breaking extravaganza Liza Stepping Out at Radio City Music Hall. In addition to his 25-year collaboration with as accompanist and opening act for Liza, Billy recently toured with the legendary Tony Bennett as Tony’s pianist and musical director. A solo entertainer in his own right, he has performed his own shows (including tributes to Mel Tormé and Cy Coleman) in concert halls and nightclubs across the country. Billy also serves as music director for such leading vocalists as Marilyn Maye, Linda Lavin, Linda Eder, Christine Ebersole and Paulo Szot. He is the co-writer of the number one Grammy-winning song “Does He Love You” recorded by Reba McEntire and Linda Davis. Lightning struck twice for this song as a new version was released in 2021 by Reba and the legendary Dolly Parton. When he’s not on the road, he is the pianist for “Jim Caruso’s Cast Party” night every Monday at New York’s legendary Birdland Jazz Club and he and Jim hold forth on Sunday nights at Bemelmans Bar in Manhattan’s fabled Carlyle Hotel. During Covid-19, he created his own weekly Facebook live-stream show “Billy’s Place”, celebrating the Great American Songbook with songs and stories from his varied career. He has recorded five solo CDs and his latest CD release “Billy’s Place” (Club44 Records) is a collection of his favorite songs from these online concerts. Follow Billy on Instagram @billystritch.
GRAMMY nominated Monty Alexander returns to Birdland from December 20-24 with two sets each night! From Kingston, Jamaica, his hometown, Grammy nominated pianist Monty Alexander is an American classic, touring the world relentlessly with various projects, delighting a global audience drawn to his vibrant personality and soulful message. A perennial favorite at Jazz festivals and venues worldwide and at the Montreux Jazz Festival where he has appeared 23 times since 1976, his spirited conception is one informed by the timeless verities: endless melody-making, effervescent grooves, sophisticated voicings, a romantic spirit, and a consistent predisposition, as Alexander accurately states, “to build up the heat and kick up a storm.” In the course of any given performance, Alexander applies those aesthetics to a repertoire spanning a broad range of jazz and Jamaican musical expressions—the American songbook and the blues, gospel and bebop, calypso and reggae. Documented on more than 75 recordings and cited as the fifth greatest jazz pianist ever in The Fifty Greatest Jazz Piano Players of All Time (Hal Leonard Publishing), the Jamaican government designated Alexander Commander in the Order of Distinction in 2000 and in 2018 The University of The West Indies bestowed him with an honorary doctorate degree (DLitt) in recognition of his accomplishments. https://www.montyalexander.com/
Michael Kanan returns to the Birdland Theater for one night only! The mission for The Michael Kanan Trio is clear: swing! Whether playing their own compositions, jazz classics, or a selection from their vast repertoire of standards, the trio plays melodies that sing and rhythms that dance. The group is always engaged in a three-way conversation in which and any of the instruments might suggest a new direction. Pianist Michael Kanan and bassist Neal Miner have been playing together in New York for over 30 years, and for the last 11 years have been in the group of vocal great Jane Monheit. Guitarist Greg Ruggiero completes the trio with his rich, warm sound and lyrical style. The group has a telepathic rapport creates a sound both historic and very much of the moment. They often perform at Mezzrow, the famous Greenwich Village club, where they made two live recordings. The trio also performs at The Django (in the Roxy Hotel), and Birdland. They also performed twice at Weill Hall (the recital room at Carnegie Hall) as part of the Sophia Rosoff Series presented by the Abby Whiteside Foundation. Michael Kanan hails from Boston, Massachusetts where he first began to play the piano at age 7. He started improvising at the keyboard early on, and by age 10 he was listening to jazz. His first instructor was pianist Harvey Diamond, a student of jazz innovator Lennie Tristano. During his years at Boston College, Michael had the opportunity to perform with several jazz masters including Tal Farlow, Lee Konitz, Al Cohn, and Alan Dawson. After graduating college and doing some freelance work around Boston, he moved to New York in 1991 to study with another Tristano student, the pianist Sal Mosca. He established himself in New York, playing and recording with Kurt Rosenwinkel, Mark Turner, and Jorge Rossy, among others. He also developed a growing reputation as a vocal accompanist. In 1996, he joined the band of legendary singer Jimmy Scott, touring the US, Europe, and Japan and recording 4 CDs. In 2001, Michael became the accompanist and arranger for one of today’s most celebrated vocalists, Jane Monheit. With Ms. Monheit’s group, he has toured all over the world and made many recordings and TV appearances. Their professional relationship continues to this day. As a sideman Michael has worked all over New York at venues large and small, including The Blue Note, Birdland, Iridium, Dizzy’s, Smalls, Mezzrow, and many others. For 10 years Michael has had a weekly gig at Arturo’s – another legendary Greenwich Village spot. He has accompanied horn players like Warren Vaché, Ted Brown, Larry McKenna, Joe Magnarelli, and vocalists like Annie Ross, Gabrielle Stravelli, and Lucy Yeghiazaryan.
Join us for Karen Mason’s Christmas Special here at Birdland at 7pm! Birdland will present the return of Karen Mason for her legendary Christmas show on December 19 at 7pm. “Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!” is more than a holiday concert. With Karen’s unique interpretations of old and new holiday classics, the holidays will never be the same. Sassy, brassy, and tinged with confessional monologues, this show includes a slinky arrangement of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” a heartfelt “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” and many more. With Direction by Barry Kleinbort; and Musical Direction by Christopher Denny on piano and Tom Hubbard on Bass. Karen Mason was recently seen playing Mrs. Marsh on Ryan Murphy’s “Halston” on Netflix. On tour, was last seen as Madame Giry in the North American premiere of Love Never Dies (Andrew Lloyd Webber’s epic sequel to The Phantom of the Opera). On Broadway, she starred as The Queen of Hearts in Wonderland and originated the role of Tanya in Mamma Mia! (2002 Drama Desk nomination as Best Actress). Her other leading roles include Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard on Broadway and in Los Angeles for three years; Velma von Tussel in the Broadway company of Hairspray; “Monotony” singer and Mazeppa in Jerome Robbins’ Broadway. In regional theater, Karen starred in Chasing Rainbows (Paper Mill Playhouse), A Christmas Story as Miss Shields; White Christmas (St. Louis Muni Opera); Side by Side by Sondheim (Coconut Grove Playhouse in Florida); Gypsy (Sundance Theatre in California); Company (Huntington Theatre in Boston). Off-Broadway, she won the Outer Critics Circle Award for her performance in And The World Goes ‘Round. She is a 14-time MAC Award winner, and was the recipient of the 2019 MAC Lifetime Achievement Award. She also won 3 Bistro Awards. Her eight recordings include the single “It’s About Time,” written by Paul Rolnick and Shelly Markham; her 2009 MAC Award-winning Right Here/ Right Now, The Sweetest of Nights, When the Sun Comes Out, Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!, Better Days (featuring the 1998 Emmy Award-winning song “Hold Me”); and Not So Simply Broadway. Also, Wonderland (original cast); the film Jeffrey (Varese Sarabande); Wonderful Town (JAY Records); the cast album of And The World Goes ‘Round (RCA Victor). www.karenmason.com Karen Mason in “Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!”
Birdland welcomes Edmund Bagnell to the Theater on December 12 at 8:30! Birdland Theater is proud to announce that violinist/singer Edmund Bagnell will bring “Home For The Holidays” to the stage on Monday, December 12 at 8:30pm. The countdown to the holidays is on, and through music and humor singer and violinist Edmund Bagnell shares his heartfelt and humorous recipe for a perfectly imperfect holiday season. Edmund will be joined on stage by musical director and pianist Mark Hartman and special guest Lisa Boccuzzi. Edmund Bagnell is a diverse artist, having performed as an actor, violinist, singer, and 1st violinist and singer in the internationally touring string quartet Well Strung, which released three chart topping albums in the classical crossover genre and performed live three times on the “Today Show.” As an actor, Edmund was cast as Tobias Ragg during his senior year at NYU in the 1st National Tour of John Doyle’s staging of Sweeney Todd, which lead to a wide variety of acting roles in NYC and across the country. In 2019, to rave reviews he premiered and toured internationally with his solo one man show, “He Plays the Violin.” In 2020, he released his first solo album, “Christmas at Home,” which was included on several best of lists including USA Today. This past summer, Edmund debuted his second solo show, “Happy Days Are Here Again,” and in the fall he released a new EP, “The Road,” which includes the original songs The Water and The Road. Edmund has an active tour schedule that brings him across the country and internationally. Visit edmund-bagnell.com to learn more.
Join Carole J. Bufford in the Birdland Theater for two sets each night! Vintage Pop! travels by decade, from the 1920s to the 1980s, exploring how the style and sound of pop music developed over the years. With exciting, fresh takes on these multi-generational songs, expect an evening of powerhouse vocals, fun stories behind the music, and Bufford’s inimitable delivery of songs you love and perhaps a few new discoveries. Featuring music originally made famous by Judy Garland, Sophie Tucker, Louis Armstrong, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, The Animals, The Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Sting, Tina Turner, Prince and more! Carole J. Bufford has become one of the most sought after performers on the American vintage pop and cabaret scene. Her shows, including “speak easy.” (featuring the Grammy Award-winning Vince Giordano & The Nighthawks), “Come Together,” and “You Don’t Own Me,” earned her rave reviews from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Times (UK). She currently tours with her solo shows as well as with symphonies all over the country. Carole is also the recipient of BroadwayWorld’s Vocalist of the Year and the recent Gold Medal winner of the American Traditions Vocal Competition. www.carolejbufford.com “Her voice, bright yet sensual, soared…Bufford threw herself into each number; her exuberance and sense of humour won us over from the outset.” -Clive Davis, The Times (UK) “The real thing: you know it when you see it…The way her voice, with its blues inflections, cut a swath, leaving nothing standing, tempts me to describe her with groveling hyperbole as an earthier, more acerbic 21st-century Barbra Streisand.” -Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Come celebrate the Lazlo Gardony Trio recording release with us at the Birdland Theater! On his new recording, pianist Laszlo Gardony presents “a confluence of musical styles in a highly interactive trio setting, where Laszlo’s Central European folk roots come to the fore alongside his lifelong love of jazz standards and his youthful infatuation with ’70s prog-rock. It’s where Bartok meets Monk and King Crimson, filtered through Gardony’s unique prism and expertly interpreted by his longtime simpatico rhythm tandem of bassist John Lockwood and drummer Yoron Israel. And he calls it New Prog Jazz.” (Bill Milkowski)
NYTB is live again with one-hour performances of Keith Michael’s The Nutcracker! Please join us for the joyful return of your most favorite holiday tradition at Florence Gould Hall. Tickets on sale NOW! A one-hour ballet perfect for ages 3 & beyond! From clockwork imps to a luminous owl that flies above the audience, mice dressed in polka dots and dancers dancing with huge chopsticks, this timeless, re-imagined classic bursts with energy and excitement. This holiday ballet, danced to Tchaikovsky’s beloved score, is set in Art Nouveau style circa 1907 with innovative choreography by long-time NYTB choreographer, Keith Michael; set design by Gillian Bradshaw-Smith; and costumes by Resident Costume Designer of the Metropolitan Opera, Sylvia Taalsohn Nolan. Held at the intimate Florence Gould Hall where your child will feel like part of the story from any seat. "The magic stays with us well beyond the hour." -Huffington Post "What’s more, the choreography is musical and inventive—and fun." -The New York Observer