Posts Tagged Billy Joel

Rockers on Broadway 2019 SMASHING SUCCESS!!!

I had the privilege of attending the 26th annual 2019 Rockers on Broadway show at Le Poisson Rouge on Bleecker Street and it was beyond amazing.

The show was created 26 years ago and co-produced by Broadway legend Donnie Kehr along with longtime producing partner Cori Gardner to benefit The Path Fund.

BROADWAY LEGEND DONNIE KEHR LEADING THE ROCKERS ON BROADWAY IN A MEDLEY OF 70’S HITS!

The Path Fund, Inc.® is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting arts education. They support pre-professional training organizations with scholarship and program funding. They also work with aspiring writers to develop new works of music and theater.

This year they chose to celebrate by performing many of the hits of the 1970’s, and it was so incredibly good! Especially if you were around when those songs first came out. The performances weren’t interpretations, you actually thought you were hearing the original rock bands who recorded them.

Bands like Led Zeppelin, Heart, The Stones, Elton John, … you name it. Rock, Funk, Soul, R&B, Pop, and Disco all carved out their place in the music history of the 70’s, and all were represented.

Le Poisson Rouge was absolutely packed but they found me a great seat right in line with the center of the stage, where I got to sit with amazing guitar player, and founder of Iron Smoke distillery Tommy Brunett who played on a version of My Sharona that had everyone out of their seats and dancing. More on that below.

Plus I got to see some of my friends perform like Jeremy Schonfeld and Jay Leslie who got to play saxophone solos with Alexa Ray Joel, Rupert Holmes who did his Pina Colada song, and Keith Carradine who sang as he put it, ” a medley of his hit”, “I’m Easy.”

Then there were kid performers, and I don’t mean to denigrate them in any way by using the term “kid” but one was 9 and the other was 13 and I don’t know what else to call them but incredibly talented kids.

Ethiopian born Mehret Marsh is only 9 but made her Broadway debut in The Lion King, and she is the first African Young Nala on Broadway.

MEHRET MARSH SINGING “SUMMERTIME” IS IN THE LION KING PLAYING YOUNG NALA

Isabelle Gottfried, (no relation to Gilbert, … I asked! LOL) is almost 14 and did a rendition of Elton John’s “Take Me To The Pilot” that also had everybody out of their seats. Unbelievable talent!

13 YEAR OLD ISABELLE GOTTFRIED SINGING TAKE ME TO THE PILOT

Actor, writer, producer Ryan Willard acted as the auctioneer for an auction that offered a lot of back stage access to hit shows and concerts, and he was so good I was glad to be able to tell him so at the after party which was across the street at Carroll Place right on Bleecker. Great food and great ambiance. And Ryan was so good he raised a lot of money for the charity.

And the whole thing was MC’ed by a very funny and really entertaining guy named Ben Cameron who I told could have been a stand-up comic. He said what a lot of people say, that stand-up is too scary, yet he entertained people with humor for the whole three hour show. Not easy to do.

A new super-talent named Sam Behr (a female), considered as a “developing artist” performed during the regular show and then took the stage at the afterparty and stayed on the keyboards until I left around 1:30 A.M. playing requests of any 70’s hit the audience called out to her, and made me feel bad for not practicing the piano enough.

One woman approached me at the after party and asked if I “played”, expecting me to go up on stage. I explained to her that I just looked like a music guy, but that comedy was really my thing. Everyone always thinks I’m in the music business! I wonder why!

I Wonder Why?

The level of talent was just superb, but one woman really stood out for me, Morgan James who was in a body hugging flowered dress and did a song that makes my heart race. Well it was a combination of that song and that dress! (LOL) She did Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” like it came off the album. To this day the opening of that song gives me chills and makes me want to drive really fast! (LOL) It was a truly amazing rendition and I didn’t get to tell her at the after party so hopefully she’ll read this.

THE INCREDIBLE MORGAN JAMES SINGING “WHOLE LOTTA LOVE” THE WAY IT WAS MEANT TO BE SUNG!

One of my favorite songs of all time “My Sharona” by L.A. band “The Knack” back from 1979 was performed by Max Sangerman backed up on guitar by my new friend Tommy Brunett, who I sat with for most of the show.

MAX SANGERMAN FROM SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE ROCKING OUT TO MY SHARONA WITH TOMMY BRUNETT ON GUITAR

Alexa Ray Joel, (Billy’s daughter) did an awesome rendition of New York State of Mind featuring a tenor sax solo by my buddy Jay Leslie. A tenor sax is the closest sound to a human voice and he literally makes that instrument sing! I’m pretty sure Alexa Ray and I share a birthday on 12/29. Unfortunately I didn’t get to tell her that! However, … there’s always next year!

ALEXA RAY JOEL SINGING NEW YORK STATE OF MIND WITH A GREAT SAX SOLO BY JAY LESLIE AND TOMMY BYRNES ON GUITAR

And last but certainly not least Constantine Maroulis came our wearing an outfit that only he could wear, … an Elvis-like white fringed jumpsuit with fringes that came down to the floor, and closed out the show with an awesome rendition of Freddie Mercury’s “Mama, Just Killed A Man” from Bohemian Rhapsody. It was a very fitting close to a star-packed extravaganza, and what an amazingly beautiful voice he has. He hits those high notes like it’s nothing!

As you might be able to tell from what I wrote it was truly an amazing evening. There were so many more performers that I didn’t get to mention but every single one was star quality. Lifetime achievement awards were presented to Broadway star LaChanze, and Grammy Award winning record producer/songwriter Russ Titleman but the truth is that every single performer deserved an award. Can’t wait till next year!!!

Posted in: Jeffrey Gurian News

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Page 6 Review – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and David Blaine

So as one of the new features of Comedy Matters I’m taking stories from Page 6 in the NY Post, the most powerful and influential page in the country, and adding some personal stories about the people I know who were mentioned on the page.

The top story this day was about Mick Jagger going into the studio with a new supergroup including Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics, Damian Marley, Joss Stone, and A.R. Rahman. And also about how pissed he was at Keith Richards for writing unkind things about him in his new book ” Life.”

I only met Jagger once but he has a very special place in my history. First of all, as far as I’m concerned, ( and no one actually knows how far that is! ) the man is a King. To me he’s the best of the best. No one has ever come close and his performance at The Grammy’s this year gave me the chills cause he’s 67, and rocks out better than most musicians in their 20’s. He’s thin and still has the moves that made him famous back in the 60’s.

The man is AMAZING. And thanks to Mick no one ever has to be old. Who ever heard of anyone being 67, and being so hip? Mick Jagger changed the world, and the world’s perception of getting old. Because if HE can do it, so can others. He’s an inspiration. As long as Mick is older than me, I can never get old. I look at him for inspiration.

Now when my kids were little, ( yes, … I have kids! LOL) and we lived in a fancy neighborhood in Westchester, they used to ask me why I couldn’t be like the other Dads. At the time, my hair was way, way below my shoulders, and I was driving a car that could only be described as a “pimp-mobile!” It was a Mandarin Orange Eldorado, with a white Cabriolet top, the big white wall tires, and I totally pimped it out with a Rolls Royce grille, just like the pimps did in the 70’s. The dealer where I bought it told me it had been made for one of the Eisley Brothers, and he decided not to take it, so I grabbed it.

My wife used to say to me, ” We’re Jewish and we live in Scarsdale. Why do I have to drive an orange Cadillac? All the women laugh at me! ” Obviously she didn’t get it! So when my kids said, ” How come you can’t look like the other Dads, my answer was, ” Well you’d understand if I was Mick Jagger!” And their answer was, ” Yeh Dad, but you’re not!”

In all my years of hanging out, I was sure I’d run into Mick, but it never happened until one night at a place called Lotus. I was at a private dinner party, with an actress named Aesha Waks, and right near us, seated with Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone fame was Mick Jagger. I couldn’t believe it. He was like two tables away from me. Because I was a guest at the same party I was able to walk over and introduce myself to him. I actually told him that story about my kids, thinking that he’d think it was really funny, but to be honest, he didn’t seem that amused. And he didn’t ask me for my number so we could keep in touch! (LOL) Maybe he had other things on his mind.

I also met Keith Richards once as well. This was at an event for the Songwriters Hall of Fame awards, and it was black tie and I was with a gorgeous singer I was dating at the time. We were seated at a main table and with my tux and long hair, everyone took it for granted that I was someone big in the music business. To this day when people meet me, many people still think I’m in the music business. ( Even my parents think I’m in the music business! )

Anyway, on this night, three superstars stopped off at my table specifically to say “Hello” to me even though they had never met me before. I guess I looked like the kind of guy you should know, and they didn’t want to slight me. It was Keith Richards, who was there with Patty Hansen, Paul Anka and Billy Joel. I swear to G-d, each one of them stopped by to say “Hi!” and ” Great to see you! It’s been a while.” The girl I was with was absolutely shocked, and said ” No one would believe this! “

Perception is everything in show biz! If you like look a certain way, and carry yourself a certain way, and have a gorgeous girl with you, interesting things can happen! Unfortunately in those days I wasn’t carrying a camera the way I do now. They didn’t have small cameras in those days, and certainly not digital ones.

I missed getting photos with Woody Allen, Salvador Dali, The Beach Boys, and the three musical superstars mentioned above.

Jeffrey Gurian and David Blaine at Denise Rich's Angel Ball!

David Blaine, was also in a Page 6 story the same day, about him hanging out with Ashton Kutcher, who is replacing Charlie Sheen in Two and a Half Men. They were at a restaurant in Manhattan called Indochine. The first time I met David Blaine was also in a restaurant. I don’t recall the name but I know it was on East 21st Street, and I was with the legendary music agent, and long time friend Jonny Podell.

Jeffrey Gurian with Jonny Podell at The Friars Club for the book party for Jeffrey's book, " Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive". The book was based on Jeffrey's writing for the famed Friars Roasts for many years and featured the favorite nastiest jokes from over 250 celebs.

Jonny Podell is known these days as the father of DJ Cassidy who spins at every hot hip-hop party on the planet, whether it’s for Russell Simmons, Jay-Z, or Oprah! He was actually flown to South Africa to spin for one of Oprah’s New Years Eve parties a few years back.
DJ Cassidy at Heffrey's book party at The Friars Club holding a copy of Jeffrey's book, Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive!

D J Cassidy looking at Jeffrey Gurian at a party in NYC, where Cassidy was spinning!

Both Jonny and Cassidy came to my sold-out totally packed, book party at The Friars Club for my book “Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive” and it was written up on Page 6.

Page 6 did a great write-up about Jeffrey Gurian's book party at The Friars Club, with all the names of the celebs that attended!

Anyway, Jonny was representing David Blaine at the time and was also like a mentor to him. We were sitting with Alan Grubman, the famous entertainment lawyer and father of P.R. queen Lizzie Grubman. Jonny asked David to show me some card tricks and the one I remember most is where he asked me to pick a card, look at it and put it back in the deck. Then he threw the entire deck at the window of the restaurant, and the card I picked was stuck to the glass outside of the restaurant looking in at us. I never saw anything like that in my entire life. Even if he would offer to tell me how he did it, I wouldn’t want to know. I prefer to think he has magical powers! He amazed us for quite some time with many different and amazing tricks, but that’s the trick that stands out to me.

I think it was shortly after that that Jonny got him his first huge TV deal for a special. It could have been for about a million bucks if I’m not mistaken. Since then I see David periodically, usually at some fun special event like Denise Rich’s Angel Ball, and he’s even a fan of my short comedy films “The Men Who Series”, about men who do very unusual things, like ” Men Who Take A Pitchfork To The Movies”, “Men Who Enjoy Latin Dancing With Tools”, and “Men Who Dance Alone In Gas Stations After They Close For The Evening.”

Posted in: Celeb Photos, Comedians In The News, Comedy Events, Comedy Matters, Comedy Videos, General Information, Nightlife Events, Page 6 Review, Red Carpet Events

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