There's hardly an adult anywhere in the world who wouldn't recognize at least some of the music of Motown.
The R&B label changed the course of music in the United States and made household names of Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and The Jackson 5. Now, the man who created Motown — Berry Gordy — is headed to Broadway to tell his version of how it all began.
When the stage lights go up at Chicago's Goodman Theatre on Monday evening, more than 20 high school students will each have a moment to step into the spotlight and perform a monologue from one of the plays written by the late August Wilson. Chicago's contest is one of several regional finals that strives to introduce students to the Pulitzer Prize winner's work. It's also a lead-up to the national August Wilson Monologue Competition that will be held on Broadway later this spring.
Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 1:15 pm
Gregory Porter's new album, Liquid Spirit, is out this week from Blue Note. Porter is making his career in a time-tested way. With two Grammy-nominated albums from a small label named Motema Music and a lot of touring — international touring — now he's gotten himself signed to a major labor.
On this JazzSet, Porter's singing at the annual Strings of Autumn International Music Festival in Prague. The Czech audience loves him! Applause between songs is running a minute or more.
I've been listening to two very good new albums led by drummers. After learning that both men are in their early 70s, I can't help but wonder how I process that fact in what I hear.
"Killer" Ray Appleton (b. 1941) and Barry Altschul (b. 1943) practice different styles. But they both came of musical age in the hard-bop era, spent many years living in Europe and eventually returned to New York. In other words, they've each got a lot of experience.
Twenty years ago, theatrical clowns Bill Irwin and David Shiner collaborated on a Broadway show called Fool Moon — a giddy mixture of slapstick, improv and audience participation that proved such a success that it came back to Broadway for two more runs and toured both the U.S. and Europe. Now Irwin and Shiner have put together a new show called Old Hats, and it's been receiving rave reviews off-Broadway.
Irwin and Shiner's rubber-faced, loose-bodied clowning hasn't gotten easier over two decades.
Boston-based R&B singer-songwriter Jesse Dee has opened for concerts by soul legends Etta James and Al Green, among others. Released last month, his debut album On My Mind, In My Heart is an energetic collection of funky, feel-good grooves.
Many music lovers know Juan de Marcos González as the man who teamed up with guitarist Ry Cooder to create Buena Vista Social Club. But González was busy celebrating the history of Cuban music long before Cooder arrived on the scene.
Concurrently with the Buena Vista project, González was recording an album with his own band, The Afro-Cuban All Stars. The orchestra now contains expatriate Cuban musicians, young and old alike, from around the world.
Laura Osnes appears in the title role of a new Broadway production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's <em>Cinderella</em>. Though her career began unconventionally, she's already had considerably conventional success.
Credit Carol Rosegg
The <em>Cinderella</em> revival includes the original music from the 1957 televised production, with a completely new, modern script. Osnes says she hopes to stay in the lead role for at least a year.
This weekend, a new adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein television classic Cinderella opens on Broadway. It stars Laura Osnes, the ingenue of the moment. But Osnes' career path has had an unusual trajectory.
Six years ago, the then-21-year-old was newly wed and fresh out of Minnesota. She landed on Broadway in the lead role of Sandy in a revival of Grease. It's not surprising that that show, about teenagers, would cast unknowns in the leads, but how she and her co-star, Max Crumm, got there was unconventional, to say the least.