Mister D: This country boy has never quite met anyone like Mr. Richard Jay-Alexander before and probably never will again. My hero…my dreammaker! 🙂 But enough about me….Richard is a bundle of positive energy…he’s had hit Broadway shows, worked with Midler, Streisand, Benadette Peters, Andrea McArdle, Debby Boone…the list goes on and on. He directs, he, produces, he writes, he acts…he makes me sick (in a complimentary way!!!) Anyway, I thought all of you BetteHeads should know how much this man works and how much he is loved by so many, especially in the theatre community.
Currently Mr. Alexander is working with Greek Tenor Mario Frangoulis, who has his U.S. debut at CITY CENTER this Friday, May 20th, in NYC. Please check his site out at: www.mariofrangoulis.com
Recently, while in Australia, he re-kindled his friendship with singer, actor David Campbell (who has a very popular radio show) and they’ll be working together in the Fall. David is son of the legendary Jimmy Barnes ( Mister D: I know all you Aussies know Mr. Barnes. Wow, what a voice!)
He has had a killer few years with Bette…helping to bring her KMB to life, and at the same time, putting on other shows and getting more rave reviews, like the one below:
Review: Debby Boone (Feinstein’s at the Regency; 150 capacity; $60)
Presented inhouse. Musical director, arranger, piano, John Oddo. Opened and
reviewed May 10, 2005. Runs through May 21.
Band: Tony Kadleck, Mark Vinci, Peter Calo, Jay Leonhardt, Joe Cocuzzo.
Photo: Bruce Glikas
By ROBERT L. DANIELS
A flowery bouquet and a silver framed photograph of Rosemary Clooney graces the grand piano at Feinstein’s at the Regency these evenings. The familiar voice of the late singer is briefly heard in the verse to “Blue Skies” as a prelude to “Reflections of Rosemary,” a cabaret tribute in song performed by Clooney’s daughter-in-law, Debby Boone.
Boone’s debut at the club revealed an attractive vocalist in a well-structured hour of song.
Opening night nerves might have been glimpsed showing at the seams, but the lady sang with confidence and an alluring sense of dedication to the material.
Avoiding the obvious roll call of Clooney hits like “Tenderly” and “Come on-a My House,” Boone chose a selective group of songs by Cy Coleman, Irving Berlin and Cole Porter. Among the prizes was a bounding, uptempo take on “You’re Gonna Hear From Me,” by Andre and Dory Previn, and a lushly gorgeous song by Marc Blitzstein from the doomed 1959 tunertuner “Juno,” a show that was staged by Boone’s father-in-law, Jose Ferrer. The song, “I Wish It So,” summoning dreams of a better life, was braced by Boone with an enveloping pensive warmth.
Both Clooney and Boone shared a crush for Chet Baker, who was recalled with “Time After Time,” the Jule Styne-Sammy Cahn movie tune introduced by Frank Sinatra in “It Happened in Brooklyn.” A tight muted trumpet solo by Tony Kadleck accented Boone’s sensitive reading of the song.
In addition to Clooney there were tributes to Boone’s grandfather, country legend Red Foley, with Hank Williams’ tears-in-your-beer lament “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” and to Ol’ Blue Eyes with Rodgers & Hart’s breakfast
blues “It Never Entered My Mind” and “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning.” Boone frames the torch tunes with watery-eyed subtlety.
Still another salute goes to Clooney pal Bing Crosby, the crooner who advised lyricists to avoid the traditional endearment “I love you.” Boone links a trio of film tunes by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke to illustrate the point. The essence of romance could not be better defined than as heard in “But Beautiful,” “Moonlight Becomes You” and “Like Someone in Love.”
Most of the songs are packaged in Boone’s Concord CD “Reflections of Rosemary.”
The singer was backed by a crack compliment of musicians including Clooney’s original rhythm team pianist-arranger John Oddo, bassist Jay Leonhardt and drum master Joe Cocuzzo. All were on hand in 1999, when Clooney opened Feinstein’s plush venue.
Mister D: Here’s part of an interview with Ms. Boone on working with Richard. Funny, he treats me the same way!!! LOL
Boone: First of all, he has the most interesting ideas. And, he has this amazing ability to humiliate you and encourage you at the same time. [Laughs.] It’s wild. I’ve just never been through something like this where he busts me for little habits that don’t serve me, and he’ll mime them back to me, and I’ll go, “Oh my God, that’s what I’m doing? That’s what I look like!” [Laughs.] And then he’ll go, “Well, let go of that, you don’t need that. Do this.” And then you do what he’s asking you to do, even if it feels awkward, and you find this whole new comfort level, and he’s so supportive. He’s building me up as he tears down the stuff I don’t need anymore. I’m finding it just exhilarating.
For the whole interview: Click Here
Love, Mister D
Mister D: Mr. Alexander has also had the honor to participate in the celebration of Stephen Sondheims’s (think Bette’s “Gypsy”) 75th birthday:
In celebration of STEPHEN SONDHEIM’S 75th Birthday Legacy Recordings introduces RCA VICTOR BROADWAY MASTERWORKS with 4 of the greatest musicals of all time!
Now…the vast catalog of RCA Victor musicals gets remastered and expanded starting with 4 classic Sondheim musicals!
All titles feature bonus tracks, in-depth liner notes from producer/writer Richard Jay-Alexander PLUS all the extras you’ve come to expect from the Broadway Masterworks series – complete cast listings, rare photos and more!
In stores May 31st! The CD’s are:
Into The Woods
Merrily We Roll Along
Sunday In The Park With George