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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 the much beloved Broadway revival of Meredith Willson’s The Music Man, starring two-time Tony Award®, Grammy Award®, and Emmy Award®-winning star Hugh Jackman as Professor Harold Hill and two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster as Marian Paroo. The album is produced by seven-time Grammy Award® nominee Robert Sher, in partnership with producers Brian Gillet and Huck Walton. The two-day recording session with the complete original cast took place earlier this week at Manhattan Center. Never-before-seen photos of the session can be downloaded here. An official release date for the recording will be announced shortly.

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

The Music Man‘s original Broadway cast recording was released in 1958 and spent a staggering 245 weeks on the Billboard charts. In 1959, the album was awarded the first ever Grammy Award for “Best Original Cast Album.” Its enduring appeal was made plain when it was certified Platinum in 1992 – 30 years after its original release. It is listed at #15 on Playbill’s list of the Best-Selling Cast Recordings of All Time. The song “Till There Was You” was further 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 a lasting and beloved part of their live shows.

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

Bobby Conte

Birdland Jazz Club will present 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 PM. Based on his debut studio album, “Along the Way” is scored by an eclectic array of songs, all re-imagined and orchestrated by conductor/musician and producer, James Sampliner. Featuring a 10-piece band, the show highlights songs from classic Broadway (“Time Heals Everything”), funkified Sondheim (“Everybody Says Don’t”), acoustic folk (“Here, There and Everywhere”), and gospel rat pack (“That’s Life”), to swinging mambo (“She Loves Me”), 90’s 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 expectation and surprise the listener at every turn, all in the service of lyric-driven storytelling. The music charge ranges from $40-$100. VIP tickets guarantees premium seating and meet & greet with Conte following the show. Birdland is located at 315 West 44th Street in New York.

“Along the Way” charts the journey of a not-so-fictional young man slowly ridding himself of his ignorance as he strives to carve his own path in this terrifying world. Through a series of relationships, he reflects on the profound joy, heartbreak and good humor experienced in the pursuit of love, success and connection. He comes to the understanding that it’s not the mistakes that define one’s life, but how that individual chooses to learn, evolve and live on through those missteps out of brutal honesty, unconditional love and kindness.

Bobby Conte made his Broadway debut originating the role of Calogero in A Bronx Tale, directed by Robert De Niro and Jerry Zaks. Other New York Theater: my fair lady (Bay Street Theater); Starting Here, Starting Now (York Theater Company). Regional: Last Days of Summer (George Street Playhouse); all male A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Two River Theater); the world premiere of Ken Ludwig’s A Comedy of Tenors (McCarter Theater Center/Cleveland Play House); three seasons at The Muny, including the regional premiere of Sweater Boys and revised adaptation of Lerner & Loewe’s Paint Your Wagon. Film/TV: If Beale Street Could Talk (directed by Barry Jenkins); “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (Netflix); “Madam Secretary,” “The Code” (CBS). His debut studio album, along the wayis available across all digital music providers.

Tony Dance

54 BELOW, Broadway’s Supper Club and 2022 Tony Awards® Honoree for Excellence in the Theatre, welcomes entertainment icon and Broadway star, Tony Danza, back with his hit live cabaret show, Standards & Stories. His previous performances of him garnered raves, with BroadwayWorld calling it “one of the most enjoyable evenings one can have at 54 Below” (BroadwayWorld). New York Times has also described Tony as “a live wire who tap-dances, plays the ukulele, tells stories and radiates irresistible charm… He exudes the kind of charisma that can’t be taught!” (New York Times). The triple threat returns to Broadway’s Living Room on September 26-October 1 at 7pm. For reservations and information, visit54below.com/TonyDanza.

Tony Danza and his band bring their hit show, Standards & Stories, to 54 Below for a 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 standards from the Great American Songbook, as well as selections from the hit Broadway musical Honeymoon in Vegas (which Danza also starred in), while interweaving stories about his life and personal connection to the music.

Dance has been one of the world’s most beloved and iconic entertainers for over 40 years. Perhaps best known for his starring roles on two of television’s most cherished and long-running series, “Taxi” and “Who’s The Boss,” Tony has also starred in hit films such as Angels in the Outfield, She’s Out of Control, hollywood knightsand Don Jon. Well established as a song and dance man, Tony has also starred on Broadway in The Producers, A View from the Bridgeand most recently received rave reviews for his performance in the Broadway musical comedy, Honeymoon In Vegas, with New York Times calling his performance “sly genius,” and a “career high.” He received an Emmy nomination for his guest spot on “The Practice,” and recently made a special guest appearance on “Blue Bloods.” Danza also has a much buzzed about “Who’s the Boss” sequel in the works, and just wrapped a co-starring role in the upcoming 20th Century Fox feature film, Darby Harper Wants You To Know.

Tony Danza: Standards & Stories plays 54 Below (254 West 54th Street) September 26 – October 1 at 7:00pm. Cover charges are $85, with premium seats for $140-145. There is a $25 food and beverage minimum. Tickets and information are available at 54below.com/TonyDanza. Tickets on the day of performance after 4:00pm are only available by calling (646) 476-3551.

Composer and arranger Dave Slonaker believes that we are in a new Golden Age for big bands, and considering the success of his debut recording, Intrada (2013), he is probably right. Not only was the album nominated for a Grammy for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album, Intrada also received stellar reviews. Jack Bowers of All About Jazz said, “Slonaker´s music is contemporary in the best sense of the word, harmonically sophisticated yet always accessible thanks to an unswerving reliance on time-honored melodies and rhythms. In other words, this is big band jazz that quickens the pulse, swings hard and enhances the tradition.”

Dave Slonaker

Now, on his newest release, Convergency, Slonaker takes all the elements that made Intrada so successful and expands upon them. The title of the album reflects his concept of him. Rather than writing standard big band charts, Slonaker set out to create a large ensemble where each of the remarkable musicians has an opportunity to express their own unique talent, creating a convergence of all the different elements of the ensemble into a unified whole. Slonaker explains, “I love the tonal colors of a large jazz ensemble, and that includes the different colors that band members paint with their solos. When I compose and arrange, I like to create a canvas that allows diverse musicians to express themselves with their own, individual voice.”

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

Slonaker wrote and arranged 10 of the 11 compositions on Convergence. A big part of his job as a Hollywood arranger and orchestrator is to assimilate and duplicate different styles as needed, and all those disparate styles can be heard on this recording. “I’m like a sponge that has absorbed a wide range of influences, from the Jazz Messenger groups and Blue Note recordings of the late 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s to Thad Jones and Bob Brookmeyer to the Yellowjackets and Pat Metheny, but one of the greatest influences on my writing and arranging is undoubtedly Bill Holman,” says Slonaker.

The compositions on Convergency in some way reflect a life journey, which Slonaker explores within the tradition but also with all the possibilities his large jazz ensemble offers. When musicians come together as a group, each of their own life stories intersect, merge, and converge in ways that give meaning to the music.

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