I’ve Come to Sing a Song About Hope

Out on Broadway: The Third Coming has come to an end. We closed the show tonight. I never thought in 1996, when I created the first Out on Broadway, that twenty-one years later, we would still feel the need for a show like this. But we do still need it.

This has been a deeply personal show for all of us. These five actors and I all live openly gay lives, but it’s so empowering, so gratifyingly defiant, putting our gay lives and emotions and challenges and insecurities and joys onstage, insisting that the Others aren’t in fact Other at all.

I’m monumentally proud of this show of ours. It didn’t sell out like the first two editions, and we’ll never know if that’s because the gay community is more a part of mainstream culture now, because Will & Grace happened and is about to happen again, because there’s so much more cool theatre in town now (including the Fringe Fest, Ragtime, In the Heights) than there was twenty-one years ago, or because we’re still rebuilding our audience after our move a year and half ago.

Whatever the reasons, we spent very little on this show, so it won’t hurt us financially. Plus our audiences really loved our show. The word I heard most often in the lobby after performances was “wonderful.” People both straight and gay found so much to connect to in these amazing theatre songs and in the honest, heartfelt performances of our five actors.

The critics all agreed…

“If you’ve ever been in love with musicals, don’t miss this show.”
– Richard Green, TalkinBroadway

“Brassy, sassy, tender, and touching.”
– Lynn Venhaus, OnSTL

“A wonderful evening of musical theatre.”
– Kevin Brackett, ReviewSTL

“A celebration of life and love for all.”
– Jeff Ritter, Critical Blast

“An easygoing mood, favoring sophistication over splash.”
– Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Well-disciplined velvety voices.”
– Keaton Treece, St. Louis Limelight

“A collection of songs which underscore the ever-changing musical vitality of Broadway.“
– Mark Bretz, Ladue News

Keith, the only actor to appear in all three editions of our show, was scared shitless this time because I gave him three comedy songs. "I’m not funny!” he whined. “No,” I replied, “You’re honest.” And he is, and so his comedy songs were really funny, but also really rich and truthful and human.

More than anything, I just feel profoundly proud and grateful. Putting a song list together for a revue or concert is an art, and through the first two OOBs and the five concerts we’ve done at the Sheldon, I’ve gotten better and better at constructing an evening of songs.

The guiding principle for the show has always been Dignity. Since the first edition all those years ago, there were just two rules. We didn’t mock any orientation, or each other, and we didn’t sing about how hard it is to be gay. Our OOB shows have always been about our shared humanity, more than anything else, the idea that a love song written for a hetero couple really doesn’t change at all if two men sing it instead. (I hate the Broadway Backwards events in NYC. It’s not “backwards.”)

It was a genuine privilege to work with these five amazing members of our gay community, Ken Haller, Keith Thompson, Sean Michael, and Mike and Dominic Dowdy-Windsor (and our token straight guy, our music director Nate Jackson).

I am beyond grateful that I get to run a company like New Line, that I get to create theatre pieces like Out on Broadway, and that St. Louis audiences keep coming back for more. Thank you, St. Louis, for believing that what we do is important to you. I am a very, very lucky guy. Thank you.

I’ll leave you with OOB3C’s penultimate number, “Everything Possible,” by Fred Small, one of two non-theatre songs in our show, one of the few songs that has appeared in all three editions of Out on Broadway. This is why we did the show.

We have cleared off the table, the leftovers saved,
Washed the dishes and put them away.
I have told you a story and tucked you in tight
At the end of your knockabout day.

As the moon sets its sails to carry you to sleep
Over the midnight sea,
I will sing you a song no one sang to me;
May it keep you good company.

You can be anybody you want to be.
You can love whomever you will.
You can travel any country where your heart leads,
And know I will love you still.

You can live by yourself, you can gather friends around,
You can choose one special one;
And the only measure of your words and your deeds
Will be the love you leave behind when you’re gone.

Some girls grow up strong and bold;
Some boys are quiet and kind;
Some race on ahead, some follow behind;
Some go in their own way and time;
Some women love women, some men love men;
Some raise children, some never do.
You can dream all the day never reaching the end
Of everything possible for you.

Don’t be rattled by names, by taunts, by games,
But seek out spirits true.
If you give your friends the best part of yourself
They will give the same back to you.

You can be anybody you want to be.
You can love whomever you will.
You can travel any country where your heart leads,
And know I will love you still.
You can live by yourself, you can gather friends around;
You can choose one special one.
And the only measure of your words and your deeds
Will be the love you leave behind when you’re gone.

And now onward to Lizzie, directed by our associate artistic director Mike Dowdy-Windsor. We start rehearsals Monday. Another wild, awesome adventure. I’ll keep you posted.

Long Live the Musical!
from The Bad Boy of Musical Theatre http://newlinetheatre.blogspot.com/2017/08/ive-come-to-sing-song-about-hope.html

Bonnie McKee Offers Up A Satisfying Warning With Chilly New Single, ‘Thorns’!

At last: Bonnie McKee is back at it (again)!

Following the release of her superb 2015 Bombastic EP, which came with a music video for every single track – from “Bombastic,” “I Want It All,” “Wasted Youth” and “Easy,” the pop master-crafter has returned today (August 18) with a brand new song to kick off a new chapter: “Thorns” – And she’s seriously serving, but probably not in the way you were expecting.

“I wanted to do something unexpected. Everyone has heard my signature fun, bright, splashy pop bops, now it’s time for them to get a taste of my darker side,” Bonnie said in a statement about the song. Yupp, on “Thorns” the “American Girl” diva strays far away from her giddy, glittery pop roots and delivers a slow-building, super chilly electro-pop banga, which, if anything, feels like a natrual progression from the Bombastic EP.

I got, I got thorns/ Wear them like a crown, yeah/ I got, I got thorns/ You should know by now, yeah/ I got, I got…,” Bonnie warns before the song suddenly dives into a thrilling, stuttering breakdown of glitchy vocals and electronic beats on the hook: “That’s what you get when you pick a rose/ That’s what you get when you pick a rose/ Thorns/ That’s what you get when you pick a rose/ Easy to love but I’m hard to hold/ Thorns…

The song without a doubt knocks a little bit harder than what we’ve heard from her in the past, yet it’s still instantly recognizable as the stuff of Bonnie McKee the artist. Welcome back girl!

“‘Thorns‘ is kind of an unapologetic proclamation that I’m not always a ray of sunshine, and that my sometimes aloof demeanor can be misinterpreted as rejection or being cold. On the contrary, I’m quite vulnerable, but I am a complicated, multidimensional woman and that can sometimes be intimidating for people,” Bonnie told Billboard. “I have always been told that I can be a bit, how should I say… prickly? [Laughs] I think of myself as generally warm and generous with my love, but I am guarded on a deep level and that can make people feel uncomfortable and uneasy. I’m more logic driven and less emotional, which can sometimes throw people off. It’s not on purpose, I genuinely can’t help it.”

“Thorns” by Bonnie McKee is also available on Apple Music and Spotify!

from Jon ALi’s Blog http://jonalisblog.com/2017/08/18/bonnie-mckee-offers-up-a-satisfying-warning-with-chilly-new-single-thorns/

‘Broken Glass’: Rachel Platten Returns With An Unexpected, Empowering Dance Throb!

I feel it changing/ I can taste it/ I’m on the wave and I won’t waste it/ I have been patient/ But I’m not waiting anymore,” she declares…

And so begins the next chapter for Rachel Platten, 2015’s breakout star whose debut single “Fight Song” became a colossal commercial and inspirational success — peaking at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and selling 2.5 million copies. It was basically the theme song for 2015.

It’s been a year and a half since the 36-year-old singer-songwriter dropped her album Wildfire, so now, it’s time to begin anew – and “Broken Glass” is our first taste of what’s to come from her second major-label album. Co-written alongside Jarrad Rogers and Nate Cyphert, and produced by powerhouse Norwegian production team Stargate, “Broken Glass” marks a sonic shift from Rachel‘s usual shtick, and also serves as one of her finest songs to date.

Boldly charging into mainstream trend-hopping territory, Rachel lays her signature soaring chops atop a pulsating, shimmering dance beat that carries on the island-lite sound that’s dominated the singles charts over the last year.

Yet while the beat is thoroughly Top 40, the base is still very much Rachel with just a little Sia influence, featuring empowering lyrics (“I’m gonna dance on broken glass/ On broken glass/ And I’m gonna make that ceiling crash/ That ceiling crash“) and the singer’s signature stomp-chanting. The result? An undeniably infectious earworm that could very well redefine Rachel if she plays her cards right. What do you guys think?

“Broken Glass” by Rachel Platten is also available on Apple Music and Spotify!

from Jon ALi’s Blog http://jonalisblog.com/2017/08/18/broken-glass-rachel-platten-returns-with-an-unexpected-empowering-dance-throb/

Aly & AJ Demand Your Full Attention On ’80s-Tinged Comeback Single, ‘Take Me’!

The Aly & AJ comeback is now in full swing, and I honestly couldn’t be more thrilled.

After its accidental (“unfinished”) release on June 2nd, the former Disney Queens have finally revealed their brand new single “Take Me” in all of its wonderful, full finished glory.

While the sister-duo technically (briefly) returned back in 2014 as 78violet with their first single in five years, “Hothouse“, “Take Me” marks the return to their namesake duo, the one which brought us classic pop-rock classics like “Rush,” “No One,” and most importantly “Potential Breakup Song” from their still iconic 2007 album Insomniatic.

Take Me” is a blissful, ’80s-tinged rush of Aly and AJ‘s signature swooning that is equal parts shimmer and sass, as the girls confidently demand your undivided attention. “When you gonna take me out?/ Make a move and make it now/ When you gonna take me out?,” the girls shout across the striding synth-pop pulsations.

Like “Bullseye” off of Insomniatic, “Take Me” sees Aly and AJ unapologetically being aggressive in their come-on game: “I know that you would want it/ If I could sink my teeth into you/ First you gotta ask me out!” A welcome return to form after a less thrilling foray into folk-pop with the grungy, “Hothouse.”

Infectious pulsations. Dreamy crooning. Catchy melodies. This is exactly where Aly & AJ needs to be, they truly came through.

“Take Me” is also available on Apple Music, Google Play and Spotify!

from Jon ALi’s Blog http://jonalisblog.com/2017/08/18/aly-aj-demand-your-full-attention-on-80s-tinged-comeback-single-take-me/

Little Mix Team Up With CNCO For Official ‘Reggaetón Lento’ Remix!

Given that Luis Fonsi, Justin Bieber and Daddy Yankee‘s “Despacito (Remix)” has become the biggest Spanish-language hit on the Billboard Hot 100 since “Macarena,” and its just two weeks shy of tying the record for the all-time longest running #1 hit (“One Sweet Day” by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men), it’s pretty safe to say there’s a demand for reggaeton-pop right now.

So naturally, never being one to miss an opportunity for a cash-in, Simon Cowell has arranged for his La Banda telly talent show winners, Latin boy band CNCO, to team up with the ladies of Little Mix to capitalize on the whole thing with a brand new remix of their Latin American smash, “Reggaetón Lento (Bailemos)“! In case didn’t already know, “Reggaetón Lento” translates to “slow reggaeton.”

Yup – Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Jade Thirlwall and Jesy Nelson have hopped on an official remix of the tune, trading mostly (new) English verses with the boys – Christopher Vélez, Richard Camacho, Joel Pimentel, Erick Brian Colón and Zabdiel De Jesús – across the reggaeton throb.

Sure, it’s a little bit of desperate-cito move, but I’m certainly not mad about it – the remix is fire!!

“Reggaetón Lento (Remix)” by CNCO x Little Mix is also available on Apple Music and Spotify!

from Jon ALi’s Blog http://jonalisblog.com/2017/08/18/little-mix-team-up-with-cnco-for-official-reggaeton-lento-remix/

Shania Twain Embraces The Fighter In Her On ‘NOW’ Single, Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed’!

It’s a Shania Summer!

The legendary country singer has officially chosen the second single from her upcoming album NOW (due out on September 29th): “Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed,” which she just performed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday evening (August 16) and previously performed on Today, during her mid-June concert on the show.

Shania says “the fighter in [her]” is responsible for the track. “I was thinking of a boxer taking a swing, or a baby first coming out with his eyes and fists closed,” Shania expressed in a statement. “They can’t even see yet and they’re swinging with their eyes closed.”

I’m swingin’ with my eyes closed / Got my hair down / A wide-open road / I’m swingin’ with my eyes closed / Only God knows how far it goes…,” Shania croons on-top of the blaring horns, foot stomps, soaring strings and island-inspired beats.

Unlike the devastatingly heartbreaking feel of “Poor Me,” “Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed” is a purely, signature Shania tune. Ya dig?

“Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed” by Shania Twain is also available on Apple Music and Spotify!

from Jon ALi’s Blog http://jonalisblog.com/2017/08/18/shania-twain-embraces-the-fighter-in-her-on-now-single-swingin-with-my-eyes-closed/

Miley Cyrus Reaches Dreamy New Heights With New Single, ‘Younger Now’!

Change is a thing you can count on… and for Miley Cyrus, that change means growing up, even if she feels “so much younger now.”

Earlier this week, the “We Can’t Stop” hit-maker announced that the title track of her sixth studio album, Younger Now, would be released as the official follow-up to “Malibu” following her absence from the 2017 Teen Choice Awards. “To my dearest fans & all of those watching… I want to say thank you from the very bottom of my heart for presenting me with #TheUltimateChoiceAward!,” Miley wrote on Instagram. “I am beyond bummed I couldn’t make it to the show as I had every intention of being there to accept and celebrate this honor! I created an unrealistic schedule for myself which leads me to this announcement! I’ve been tryin to keep the secret but I can’t hide it any longer! My new single / music video #YoungerNow will be dropping this Friday, Aug 18th & I am sooooooo EXCITED to share it with all of you!”

And today (August 18), along with the gorgeous artwork and tracklist for the anticipated LP, Miley has dropped off “Younger Now,” as promised, along with its accompanying music video.

Younger Now” instantly plays out like a clear shining highlight from the upcoming LP, and Miley and her signature full-bodied vocals are, of course, the undeniable force driving the song’s folky-tinged greatness: Those infectious relaxed melodies in the verses (“Feels like I just woke up/ Like all this time I’ve been asleep?“) and that joyride of a chorus, which soars through the speakers like a nostalgia-evoking, leave-all-your-worries-behind anthem catered perfectly for a liberating windows-down, hands-in-the-wind late night drive.

No one’s day is the same (oh, oh)/ You know what goes up must come down (oh, oh)/ Change is a thing you can count on (oh, oh)/ I feel so much younger now (oh, oh),” Miley declares across the dreamy acoustics and propulsive drum beats. It’s hardly anything life-changing and bit cheesy, yes, but there’s something quite euphoric about it. The Miley we see today seems like a very happy and sure of herself Miley. I quite like it.

1. Younger Now
2. Malibu
3. Rainbowland
4. Week Without You
5. Miss You so Much
6. I Would Die for You
7. Thinkin’
8. Bad Mood
9. Love Someone
10. She’s Not Him
11. Inspired

“Younger Now” by Miley Cyrus is also available on Apple Music, Google Play and Spotify!

from Jon ALi’s Blog http://jonalisblog.com/2017/08/18/miley-cyrus-reaches-dreamy-new-heights-with-new-single-younger-now/