This week, Ira spoke with Bob Anderson. To listen to the interview click below.
Bob Anderson is starring in “FRANK –The Man. The Music” in The Palazzo Theater at The Palazzo® Las Vegas. The show honors the life and music of Frank Sinatra, and features a 31-piece orchestra under the musical direction of Vincent Falcone.
Taking audiences on a musical journey through the legendary crooner’s timeless hits, “FRANK – The Man. The Music.” highlights three distinct areas of Sinatra’s career: the recording studio, television specials, and personal appearances. The authentic concert recreation marks a return to the era of Las Vegas glitz and glamour that the singer made famous.
Anderson moved to Las Vegas from Detroit at the age of 22 and got his start performing with Nancy Sinatra as a singer in her show at the Sahara Hotel and Casino. When Sinatra took him with her for a performance on the “The Merv Griffin Show,” Griffin discovered his ability to recreate the voices of others, a skill that made him a regular on nearly every talk and variety show in the country. Anderson went on to have his own showroom in Las Vegas for more than a decade and in 2002 was inducted into The Casino Legends Hall of Fame.
This week, Ira spoke with Tony Butala. To listen to the interview click below.
Tony Butala, is the original and founding member of The Lettermen. The group will be performing at the South Point March 20-22.
The one change Butala would have made in the 50 plus year career of one of the most popular vocal groups in history is a surprising one. “We chose the wrong name!” he exclaims. “In the late 50’s, when you started a vocal group and wanted to stand out from the crowd, all you had to do was use a novel new name that would give your group a unique look and image.” “If you are a new group in today’s world and want to get noticed, you have to dye your hair purple or pink, multi-pierce your face, ears and tongue, and even then you may not be different enough to get any notoriety.”
The Lettermen name first appeared in February 1958 on the marquee of the Desert Inn Hotel Resort Showroom in Las Vegas Nevada, where Butala, Mike Barnett and Talmadge Russell performed in the record-shattering revue, “Newcomers of 1928,” which starred big band leader Paul Whiteman, silent film comic Buster Keaton, singers Rudy Vallee and Harry Richmond, film star Fifi D’Orsay and the sneezing comedian Billy Gilbert.
The vision of The Lettermen was of three very strong soloists who also had the ability and showmanship to perform and entertain an audience, but who also had the discipline needed to be group singers. The sound they came up with was a sound between the big band vocal groups such as the Modernaires, Pied Pipers, Mills Brothers, Four Freshmen and the early R&B rock groups such as the Ink Spots, Flamingos and the Platters.
They have continually recorded, and formed their own Alpha Omega Records in 1979. Some of their newer CD albums, now numbering over 75, are: “The Lettermen – Favorites,” “The Lettermen – Best Of Broadway,” “The Lettermen – Live In The Philippines,” their holiday CD “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” and their 2010 release “The Lettermen — New Directions.”
This week, Ira spoke with comedian Jim Breuer and singer Barbara Cook. To listen to the interview click below.
With more than 20 years of stand-up comedy experience, Jim Breuer, who will be performing at the South Point Hotel and Casino March 13-14, remains one of today’s top entertainers. Named one of Comedy Central’s “100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time,” Breuer is one of the most recognizable comedians in the business.
Even as a young student at Valley Stream Central High School in Long Island, NY, Breuer knew he wanted to be a stand-up comedian. After spending several years working comedy clubs across the country, he settled in as a regular on the New York comedy club circuit. After being in New York for only seven months, Breuer landed a gig on the nationally syndicated show, “Uptown Comedy Club,” where he spent two seasons. Later he appeared on ABC’s “Home Improvement” starring funny man Tim Allen, before making his big break which came in 1995 when he joined the cast of NBC’s legendary “Saturday Night Live.” During his four years on SNL, Breuer quickly became popular for his original character “Goat Boy” and his dead-on impressions of actor Joe Pesci.
Following his success on SNL, Breuer starred alongside Dave Chappelle in the cult favorite film “Half Baked.” He has since appeared in the popular films “Zookeeper,” “Dick,” “Titan A.E.” and “Beer League.” On the small screen, Breuer hosted MTV’s popular “Beach House” and VH1’s “Web Junk 20.” His other television appearances include “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” and “The Marriage Ref.” Breuer is also a frequent guest on the Howard Stern Show.
In 2008, Breuer set out for his “Breuniversity Tour” with his 85-year-old father and a film crew. The footage that was captured blended together to create “The Jim Breuer Road Journals,” which showcased what life is like on the road with a comedian and his father. Videos from that tour also sparked the making of his documentary “More Than Me,” which was shown at the 2009 Montreal Film Festival. In July of 2009, Breuer’s one-hour Comedy Central special “Let’s Clear the Air” premiered with topics that included what “success” really is, his SNL days and life with his elderly parents, his wife and his three daughters.
In 2011, Breuer embarked on a national tour with three of the country’s top comedians, Dave Attell, Bill Burr, and Jim Norton, for “The Anti-Social Network” tour. That same year, Breuer’s acclaimed autobiography, “I’m Not High: (But I’ve Got a Lot of Crazy Stories about Life as a Goat Boy, a Dad, and a Spiritual Warrior),” was released on paperback. In the memoir, Breuer sheds light on his early struggles, his rise to fame and the many lessons he’s learned along in an extremely funny, yet personal and touching way that fans have never seen before. Up next, Breuer will be working on his new highly anticipated one hour comedy special, an addition to a heavy metal comedy album.
Barbara Cook, who will be performing in Cabaret Jazz at the Smith Center, March 13-15, has audiences around the world for more than 50 years. Considered “Broadway’s favorite ingenue” during the heyday of the Broadway musical, Miss Cook then launched a second career as a concert and recording artist soaring from one professional peak to another.
Whether on the stages of major international venues throughout the world or in the intimate setting of New York’s Café Carlyle or Feinstein’s at the Regency, Cook’s popularity continues to thrive – as evidenced by a succession of seven triumphant returns to Carnegie Hall (the most recent being her celebratory 85th Birthday concert) where she made a legendary solo concert debut in 1975 , and an ever-growing mantle of honors including the Tony, Grammy, Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics Circle Awards, her citation as a Living New York Landmark and her induction into the Theatre Hall of Fame.
The recipient of a 2011 Kennedy Center Honors, in 2010 Miss Cook returned to the Broadway stage after a 23-year absence, and was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance, in the musical Sondheim on Sondheim, directed by James Lapine, for the Roundabout Theater Company.
In 1974, Cook began a creative partnership with musical arranger, accompanist, composer, dance arranger and conductor Wally Harper, a shining model of artistic collaboration and enduring friendship, which lasted for nearly thirty-one years until his death in 2004. Numerous recordings mark the journey of this unique partnership, beginning with Barbara Cook at Carnegie Hall, a live recording of their legendary 1975 Carnegie Hall debut, now freshly re-released by Sony Records. A subsequent engagement at Carnegie Hall in September 1980 was captured on It’s Better With a Band, produced and arranged by Mr. Harper. Ms. Cook and Mr. Harper traveled the world together and performed a number of times at the White House – for Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton.
In September 1985 Cook appeared with the New York Philharmonic as Sally in the renowned concert version of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies. She also recorded Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel and The Disney Album for the MCA record label. Nominated in 1986 for an Olivier Award for her one-woman show at London’s Albery Theatre, Ms. Cook received the Drama Desk Award in 1987 for her Broadway show A Concert for the Theatre. In October 1991 Cook’s appearance as a featured artist at the Carnegie Hall Gala Music and Remembrance: A Celebration of Great Musical Partnerships underscored her commitment to two important causes: the advancement of the performing arts and support of AIDS research. Miss Cook was one of the only American performers chosen to perform at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival in the fabled Sydney Opera House. Musical America selected her as their 2007 Vocalist of the Year, the first pop singer to be so honored by this classical performing arts organization.
This week, Ira spoke with David Osborne. To listen to the interview click below.
Matt Kazam stars in “40 Is Not The New 20” which explores in a one-man comedy production, how much the world has changed in the past 40-plus years.
Kazam is a veteran comic with 25 years of experience who has entertained at all the nation’s top comedy clubs, casinos and theaters. He has performed stand-up comedy more than 6,000 times in 45 states and seven countries and at more than 1,000 corporate and private events.
Growing up in New York City, he started performing shows for family and friends at the age of three, but it wasn’t until graduating college at George Mason University with a degree in finance, that Matt finally took the plunge as a full time stand-up comedian.
He has made numerous television appearances on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” Fox’s “Big Red Couch,” Comedy Central’s “Stand-Up Stand-Up,” VH-1’s “Fools For Love,” TLC’s “Two For Vegas,” The Discovery Channel’s “Lux List,” WGN’s “The Bob & Tom Show” and has served as the opening act for Chris Rock, Pauly Shore, Kevin James, Robin Williams, DL Hughley and Drew Carey.
Besides performing stand-up comedy, Kazam has taught stand-up comedy classes at the Washington DC Improv’s Comedy School and has been a guest lecturer at The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, where he provides continuing education programs in the areas of public speaking and humor for some of the country’s leading thinkers, professionals and artists. He is also the creator of the seminar “Stand Up And Public Speak” and recently expanded his corporate training programs adding a sales training seminar called “Stand Up & Sell.”