A Change is Gonna Come

16 10 2014

Shortly before I left for Little Rock, I was asked to sing at The Year of James Baldwin, a 90th birthday celebration of the life and legacy of the legendary writer.

The celebration was held at the National Black Theater which also hosted a reading of excerpts from “The Fire Next Time” by a series of amazing artists including Micki Grant, George Faison and Woody King Jr.

In attendance were members of the Baldwin family! The event was inspiring and moving.

After Memphis closed, I came back to New York and hit the ground running by performing two songs during a New York City appearance by the Rev. Dr. William Barber II. The video above is one of those songs. You can see Dr. Barber behind me on the right.

The Rev. Barber is the spiritual leader of the Moral Mondays movement and North Carolina’s Forward Together movement. He’s a powerful speaker, encouraging Americans to fight for moral justice in politics, regardless of party affiliation. The event was organized by Auburn Theological Seminary.

A year ago last Spring, the Rev. Barber helped organize a march in North Carolina that has since grown into tens of thousands of people of all faiths in several states.

I kinda feel like James Baldwin, who gave voice to those struggling with society’s distinctions between race, sex and class, would approve.





Memphis Rocks Little Rock!

5 10 2014

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It’s time to lose the day!

Those are the words that start the song “Underground” from Memphis the Musical. I recently had the pleasure and honor of appearing as Delray in the Arkansas Repertory Theater production of that show!

The show was fun and funny and moving, and everyone involved had a great time. But more than that, audiences left genuinely moved and energized by the story, the music and the amazing singing.

It was a blast to work with that creative team and those actors, and it was truly an honor to bear witness to Jasmin Richardson and Brent DiRoma sing and act every day for two months. Special hats off to director Lynne Kurdziel Formato, who assembled a terrific group of people who loved doing the work and sharing that story with the public.

While we were there, in Little Rock, we took a group trip to Central High, where we walked in the footsteps of the “Little Rock Nine” and came face to face with the history of school desegregation. The trip was potent to us, as we worked on a musical about racial tensions and changing social norms.

We also got along famously, and made some new life-long friendships. These days I’m back to auditioning and working on the craft, but I’m definitely better for the experience.

Above is the rather epic photo taken at a photo shoot before the show opened by Little Rock photographer John David Pittman. He also took this one of me and our leading lady, Jasmin.

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Allegro!

11 04 2014

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COMING UP: I just got cast in a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical! I’ll be appearing in “Allegro” at the Astoria Performing Arts Center in May. It’s such a cool play — clearly ahead of its time — and hasn’t been done in its entirety in New York in more than 50 years.

It’s also a joy to work once again with APAC Artistic Director Tom Wojtunik, and this amazing cast of talented people. I play Ned Brinker, and am also a member of the “Greek chorus” that brings the audience into the inner thoughts of the lead character, Joseph Taylor, Jr.

The show runs from May 1 through May 17. We have each been given a special code to get discounted tickets if you come during the first weekend. So follow the link HERE to buy your tickets and use the code “perryt” to save!

Tickets are already selling, so don’t dawdle!

I’d love to see you at an upcoming show, so don’t be a stranger!

Tony





The Road So Far!

3 04 2014

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The Road So Far…

It might be Spring!

Hopefully it’s not a false alarm, but it seems the snow has finally abandoned us. I feel like we’ve all spent months being cold and wet! But warm weather is on the horizon!

And even bad weather hasn’t stopped it from being a busy and fulfilling first quarter of 2014!

Here are just a few highlights:

I was featured vocalist for The West Village Chorale’s winter concert in February. What a terrific group of people! Artistic Director Michael Conley programmed an evening of eclectic, interesting songs, and gave me an opportunity to put my own personal stamp on songs by Coldplay, Queen and Gary Jules. It was a smashing success, and the house was packed!

I then had the pleasure of performing one of Mr. Conley’s original songs! The tune comes from a musical he’s writing. He’s hoping to have a reading of the show this summer, and I’m hoping to be in it!

I also performed in a Purim show for the National Yiddish Theater – Folksbiene. The story of Esther was given delightful musical treatment by using familiar Gilbert and Sullivan melodies, and was presented in English and Yiddish.

More recently, I had the pleasure of appearing in a reading of Carver: Don’t Underestimate A Nut, which was produced by the legendary Negro Ensemble Company. I portrayed George Washington Carver in the musical, which was written by award winning actress/author/composer Micki Grant, and was directed by the amazing Nora Cole. And what a terrific group of people with which to share the stage!

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Happy 2014!

8 01 2014

Happy New Year!

The best way to celebrate the New Year every day is to share our blessings with others. I was fortunate enough to have the chance to do that this past weekend, performing the song “I’ll Follow You” during a worship service at Judson Church.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to make art, and to share it with others. It is my hope that whatever blessings you are carrying, you will take a moment and share them too.

I have a few things on the horizon: Later this month, I will be appearing in a staged reading of Brian Arthur Brown’s play, Three Testaments: Shalom, Peace, Salam. The play, based on dramatic sections of his book “Three Testaments; Torah, Gospel and Quran”, will be read at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 22, in the Loft Salon at Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South.

I’ve got at least one other play reading and a concert planned in the coming months, and the possibility of not one but two different recording projects could make for a very exciting spring.

In the meantime, I am putting 2013 squarely on my gratitude list. Appearing in “The Bonus Army,” traveling North America singing with “Soul to Soul”, continuing to workshop Leslie Lee and Charles Strouse’s “Martin”, narrating a comedy podcast, appearing in a short film, performing a set of original music for Bailout Theater, taking audition classes and improv classes — It was my honor to work and play and perform with so many talented artists.

And I’m grateful for all of you, who keep me growing and pushing forward on this path!

Tony





2012: The Year of Favor!

5 01 2012

I’ve personally declared this year to be one filled with favor and blessings and prosperity. And wattaya know, it’s starting out right in keeping with that theme!

I’ve got a couple of busy weeks ahead, and that’s a blessing. And it includes performing with some of my favorite people!  

First up, the talented Zalmen Mlotek is doing a couple of songs with me for the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center’s 2012 Kick-off Party. The event is being held Jan 7, at Romemu in New York City, 165 West 105th Street at Amsterdam Ave. It starts at 7. I’ll probably be on around 8.

My good friend David Weisberg is executive director of the Freedman Center, so it will be great to see him again

Unfortunately I’ll only be on for a short while, since Zalmen and I have a private function to perform at later that evening. But there will be some very gifted musicians there, including Rabbi Greg Wall, Chana Rothman and Etta Abramson.

Next up, an expert from the Soul to Soul show will be performed at Symphony Space in NYC (Broadway and 95th Street) as part of the Jewish Community Center’s “Artists Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.” The Free event on Jan 16, will also feature a keynote address by Rev. Dr. Suzan D. Johnson Cook, Juel Lane performing choreographer Bridget Moore’s “Remembrance of Things Past,” and vocalists Neshama Carlebach and Reverend Hambrick.

Then, on Jan 18th the entire Soul to Soul will come to The Metropolitan Room!  We’ve got some new songs, some new arrangements, and the lineup of Broadway veteran and opera star Elmore James, Israeli-born singer-songwriter Magda Fishman and me, accompanied by a four-piece klezmer-jazz band led by Zalmen Mlotek. I’ve long wanted to perform at that venue, having seen many amazing artists on that stage. I hope to see many of my cabaret friends there!

If you don’t know about Soul to Soul yet, you will soon. There’s a great promo video here: http://youtu.be/SZEMPgm7ORM.

Later in the month, an Equity 29-hour reading of Allen and Pat Harris’ “Cross That River” and then February includes Soul to Soul in Florida, an appearance at Judson’s Valentine’s Day Cabaret/Dance Party, and a short run of Five Guys Named Moe, also in Florida.

In all, a great beginning to a fantastic year! Hope to see you at one of these events!





November update!

6 11 2011

I am so blessed to have had a great season of work! I’ve had the Joy of working with some terrific people, and I’m looking forward to what comes next! Thanks to everyone who supported these projects. I love seeing y’all at a show! Here is a sampling of the past few months:

  • Five Guys Named Moe at Mason Street Warehouse.
  • Martin: A New Musical at the Kraine Theatre, by Charles Strouse and Leslie Lee, produced by the historic Negro Ensemble Company.
  • Cross That River at the O’Neill Cabaret and Performance Conference.
  • Soul to Soul in NYC and at the International Yiddish Theater festival in Montreal, produced by the National Yiddish Theater — Folksbiene.
  • The Last Word, a reading of a jazz musical.
  • Dreamgirls, a concert version performed for ReVision Theatre.

I also want to let you know I’ve uploaded a video that shares the demo of the song Cutman from Cutman: A Boxing Musical. I had the pleasure of recording this demo a few years back for Drew Brody the composer. The pictures are from a variety of shoots, including this summer’s production of Five Guys Named Moe.

The video is below:








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