Music News: Hugh Jackman The Music Man, Bobby Conte, Tony Danza and Dave Slonaker

The producers of The Music Man announced today that Accidental Jacket Entertainment will release the official cast recording of Meredith Willson’s beloved Broadway revival. The music man, starring two-time Tony Award®, Grammy Award® and Emmy Award® winner Hugh Jackman as Professor Harold Hill and two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster in the role of Marian Paroo. The album is produced by seven-time Grammy® nominee Robert Sher, in partnership with producers Brian Gillet and Huck Walton. The two-day recording session with the full original cast took place earlier this week at Manhattan Center. Unpublished photos of the session can be downloaded here. An official release date for the recording will be announced shortly.

The album is produced by Steve Shultz and co-produced by Marc Levine, Evan McGill, Patrick Vaccariello and David Garfinkle.

The music manThe original Broadway cast recording was released in 1958 and spent a staggering 245 weeks on the Billboard charts. In 1959, the album received the first-ever Grammy Award for “Best Original Cast Album”. Its enduring appeal was highlighted when it was certified Platinum in 1992 – 30 years after its original release. It is ranked No. 15 on Playbill’s list of best-selling cast recordings of all time. The song “Till There Was You” was immortalized in popular culture by none other than the Beatles, who included it on their second album (1964’s Meet The Beatles!). It was the only musical theater song the band ever recorded and became an enduring and beloved part of their live shows.

One of the most universally cherished treasures of American musical theatre, The Music Man was an instant hit when it premiered on Broadway in December.

Bobby Conte

Birdland Jazz Club will feature Bobby Conte – currently playing the role of PJ in the Broadway revival of Company – in his acclaimed solo concert “Along the Way” on Monday, August 15 at 7:00 p.m. Based on his debut studio album, “Along the Way” features an eclectic array of songs, all reimagined and orchestrated by bandleader/musician and producer James Sampliner. Featuring a 10-piece band, the show features songs from Broadway classic (“Time Heals Everything”), funkified Sondheim (“Everybody Says Don’t”), acoustic folk (“Here, There and Everywhere”) and rat pack gospel (“That’s Life”), swinging mambo (“She Loves Me”), 90s R&B (“Me and Mrs. Jones”), Brahms meets Berlin (“How Deep Is the Ocean?”) and Steely Dan meets Pasek & Paul (“Along the Way”). Conte strives to subvert expectations and surprise the listener at every turn, all in service of lyrically driven storytelling. Music fees range from $40 to $100. VIP tickets guarantee premium seats and a meeting with Conte after the show. Birdland is located at 315 West 44e Street in New York.

“Along the Way” traces the journey of a not-so-fictional young man who slowly sheds his ignorance as he strives to carve his own path in this terrifying world. Through a series of relationships, he reflects on the deep joy, heartbreak, and good humor felt in the pursuit of love, success, and connection. He comes to understand that it is not the mistakes that define his life, but how that individual chooses to learn, grow, and live through those missteps out of brutal honesty, unconditional love, and kindness.

Bobby Conte made his Broadway debut creating the role of Calogero in A Bronx Tale, directed by Robert De Niro and Jerry Zaks. Other New York theater: my lovely lady (Bay Street Theatre); Start here, start now (York Theater Company). Regional: Last days of summer (George Street Playhouse); All males A funny thing happened on the way to the forum (Theatre of the two rivers); the world premiere of Ken Ludwig A comedy of tenors (McCarter Theater Center/Cleveland Play House); three seasons at Muny, including the regional premiere of Boys jersey and revised adaptation by Lerner & Loewe’s Paint your wagon. Cinema/Television: If Beale Street Could Talk (directed by Barry Jenkins); “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (Netflix); “Madam Secretary”, “The Code” (CBS). His first studio album, Along the wayis available from all digital music providers.

Tony Danza

54 BELOW, Broadway’s Supper Club and 2022 Tony Awards® Honored for excellence in theatre, welcomes entertainment icon and Broadway star Tony Danza back with his hit cabaret show, Norms and stories. His previous performances have garnered praise, with BroadwayWorld calling it “one of the most enjoyable evenings one can have at 54 Below” (BroadwayWorld). The New York Times also described Tony as “a lively thread who tap dances, plays the ukulele, tells stories and exudes an irresistible charm…He exudes the kind of charisma that can’t be taught!” (The New York Times). The Triple Threat returns to the Broadway show September 26-October 1 at 7 p.m. For reservations and information, visit54below.com/TonyDanza.

Tony Danza and his band bring their hit show, Norms and stories, at 54 Below for limited engagement. Combining timeless music with wit, charm, storytelling, and a dash of soft shoe and ukulele performances, Danza performs a selection of his favorite Great American Songbook standards, plus selections from the hit musical off-Broadway. Honeymoon in Vegas (which Danza also starred in), while interweaving stories about his life and his personal connection to music.

Danza has been one of the world’s most beloved and iconic artists for over 40 years. Perhaps best known for his starring roles in two of TV’s most expensive and longest-running series, “Taxi” and “Who’s The Boss”, Tony has also starred in hit films such as Outfield Angels, She’s out of control, Hollywood Knightsand Don Jon. Well established as a man of song and dance, Tony has also performed on Broadway in The producers, A view from the bridgeand recently received rave reviews for her performance in the Broadway musical, Honeymoon In Vegas, with The New York Times calling his performance “sneaky genius” and “career-high”. He received an Emmy Award nomination for his guest starring role on “The Practice” and recently made a guest appearance on “Blue Bloods.” Danza has also been talking a lot about the “Who’s the Boss” sequel in the works, and just wrapped up a co-starring role in 20th Century Fox’s upcoming feature film, Darby Harper wants you to know.

Tony Danza: Norms and Histories plays 54 Below (254 West 54th Street) from September 26 to October 1 at 7:00 p.m. Cover charge is $85, with premium seats for $140-145. There is a $25 minimum for food and beverages. Tickets and information are available at 54below.com/TonyDanza. Day of show tickets after 4:00 p.m. are only available by calling (646) 476-3551.

Composer and arranger Dave Slonaker thinks we’re in a new golden age for big bands, and given the success of his debut recording, Intrada (2013), he’s probably right. Not only was the album nominated for a Grammy for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album, but Intrada also received rave reviews. Jack Bowers of All About Jazz said, “Slonaker’s music is contemporary in the best sense, harmonically sophisticated yet always approachable through an unwavering reliance on age-old melodies and rhythms. In other words, it’s big band jazz that quickens the pulse, swings hard and reinforces tradition.

Dave Slonaker

Now, on its latest release, Convergency, Slonaker takes all the elements that made Intrada so successful and expands on them. The title of the album reflects its concept. Rather than writing standard big band charts, Slonaker decided to create a large ensemble where each of the notable musicians have the opportunity to express their own unique talent, creating a convergence of all the different elements of the ensemble in a unified whole. Slonaker explains, “I love the tonal colors of a great jazz ensemble, and that includes the different colors the band members paint with their solos. When composing and arranging, I like to create a canvas that allows diverse musicians to express themselves with their own individual voices.

Convergency musicians are a Who’s Who of Southern California’s top players. Slonaker has known several of them for 30 to 40 years. Having worked in Hollywood for over thirty years, he is considered one of the finest arrangers and orchestrators in film and television. His credits are extensive, including blockbusters such as Spiderman, Men in Black, Alice in Wonderland, and Air Force One, among many others. On television, his work can be heard on a few different series of Star Trek, JAG, and Murder She Wrote, to name a few. While working in film and television has its perks, as a composer and arranger with unique concepts, Slonaker has a strong need to express himself through his own compositions.

Slonaker wrote and arranged 10 of the 11 compositions on Convergency. Much of the job of a Hollywood arranger and orchestrator is to assimilate and duplicate different styles as needed, and all of those disparate styles can be heard on this recording. “I’m like a sponge who has absorbed a wide range of influences, from Jazz Messenger bands and Blue Note recordings of the late 50s, 60s and 70s to Thad Jones and Bob Brookmeyer to the Yellowjackets and Pat Metheny, but the one of the biggest influences on my songwriting and arrangements is definitely Bill Holman,” says Slonaker.

Convergency’s compositions somehow reflect a life journey, which Slonaker explores in the tradition but also with all the possibilities offered by his large jazz ensemble. When musicians come together as a group, each of their own life stories intersect, merge and converge in ways that make the music meaningful.

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