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25: A Premature Retrospective gets its first official review.

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Thanks to Theater Pizzazz!

"...these two charmers were retrospecting through a totally refreshing evening with some great material."

"Blake Zolfo self-confidently lures an audience in."

"Mr. Zolfo proved himself to be not only sweetly funny with a strong, beautiful voice, but a guy who holds back a little and sticks with the emotional truth of a moment."

“'He Was Too Good to Me' (Shirley Horn) and ”Manhattan” (Sara Bareilles)—“I’ll tiptoe away so you don’t have to say you heard me leave”—were subtle and riveting."

"A strong vocal team... beautiful harmonies."

"The concept was clear: Blake, 25 years old, is too young to retrospect and Steve, on piano and vocals, sardonically supported the retrospective. But along the way, one realized that in our Justin Bieber world, 25 is older than 15; and our culture is good at assigning failure at any age."










Playing Music.

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Though I do read music, I hate playing scores. My mind sees the notes that comprise the chord on a page and will fight to play anything except those actual positions, preferring to find my own chord spellings. However, entering rehearsals on this show with Blake Zolfo -- they've asked us to return next month, May 25th -- I dutifully tried to learn how to play music he brought in. Particularly, his tap number, "What's The Point?", by John Kander and "Dreamscape" by Stephen Schwartz. Lots of notes on those pages. I drilled and drilled every morning, wanting Blake and Andy Gale, our director, to be proud of me. Wanting to get them "right," as if John and Stephen would be there in the room grading me. (If I hit all the notes, do I get an "A"?). But, to be honest, in rehearsal, I sucked. By having to stick so closely to the score, all the life was drained from my performance. It's just not how I play. So, finally, in a desperate attempt …

BroadwayWorld announces Friday night's show

Worst Song Title Ever

Last night at dinner with our friend, Mary Jo Catlett, who is in town for the opening of "Hello Dolly" with Bette Midler, the waiter told us of the most romantic moment he had with his new beau: When the boyfriend said, of the site where they met,

"I'm gonna delete my account for you. Would you delete yours?"

Our waiter responded to him, "Yes! I had already decided to delete mine!"

And now a year has gone by for them.

As a songwriter, I'm sitting there thinking, "I would delete my account for you," is the worst idea for a song hook ever.

Blake and Steve at the Metropolitan Room on April 21.

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Come have fun with us!

Blake Zolfo & Steve Schalchlin in
25! A Premature Retrospective

A cabaret directed by Andy Gale

April 21, 2017
7pm
The Metropolitan Room
34 W. 22nd St. NY NY
Phone: 212-206-0440

LINK FOR TICKETS

Frederick Douglass, Rise Up!

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Recorded live. St. Clement's Episcopal Church, NYC, Sanctuary Choir. Vocalist: Steve Schalchlin. Music & Lyrics by Steve Schalchlin. Video by Jim Freeman & Steve Schalchlin. Fr. Jeff Hamblin, priest. Darryl Curry, Minister of Music.

Frederick Douglass and Religion.

A week ago, we sang the Frederick Douglass song I wrote. The video will be available soon. And just when I thought I was done...

I performed a speech of Frederick Douglass' in church this past Sunday. I hadn't planned it. It was the speech about slavery and religion -- and how the religious leaders of the time -- so blithely accepted discrimination with a Biblical defense. And I spent the whole week memorizing it.

Christian leaders were on the forefront of maintaining this cruelty. But... many were not.

He used Christianity as one of his main sources for arguing, logically, for the end of slavery. He also knew the Constitution and used it in his arguments. He was a devout Christian.

So why bring up slavery and religion? Aren't we nicely over it? I can tell you why. It's in the DNA of our country and our faith. Until I read Douglass, slavery wasn't real to me. Yes, I had seen images of floggings, etc. I understood the human physical suffering.

It's the mental a…

Frederick Douglass Tribute.

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On Sunday morning, Feb. 19 at 11am, we will attempt to bring Frederick Douglass into the beautiful chapel at St. Clement's Church with a new composition I've been working on. (Our choir is a highly trained, world class choir with magnificent voices and Broadway credits. I'd be a fool to not use them. I'm so excited. If you're planning to come, come early because we'll be in the tiny chapel rather than on the stage in the main theater).

For weeks, I have been obsessing over this great man, reading all his speeches and rereading his autobiographies. I feel wholly inadequate to the task, so I will have to pray for his spirit to rise up and guide me -- and us.

But the only way I truly know how to learn about him is to listen to his words as I say them aloud in my work sessions. Listen to the meticulously careful way he allows his deeply felt, pain and anger to be expressed. Graceful, humble, hilarious, truthful, gentle, unrelenting, credible, sometimes with sarcas…

Jim & Steve at 54 Below on Valentine's Day.

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Love songs and stories by real life Broadway couples, Jim and Steve included, at 54 Below.

February 14, at 7pm and 9pm.
Use code IHEAR5 for $5 off main dining room cover charge.

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Rise Up, Frederick Douglass.

The autobiographies of Frederick Douglass are FREE.

They are also be the most harrowing, the most lovely, the most forgiving, the most thrilling and the most important books I have or ever will read about the American experience.

Ten years ago or so, while trolling through the "free books" online, randomly enjoying all this new accessibility, I found them. I had heard of Douglass, but like most people, I knew very little about him. I wasn’t researching anything. They were free! That was the promise of this new connectivity.

They weren't easy to read because, at the time, the only copies I could find were photos of the pages in a low-rez pdf.

If you've seen or read "12 Years A Slave," it was nothing compared to what Douglass endured. And then he was friends with Abraham Lincoln.

Born in a shack, naked for much of his early childhood. Illegal for him to be taught. Torn from his mother, who hiked miles every night to hold him just…

Prospero's Kidney Stone.

In class yesterday, I was doing a speech from Prospero which evoked deep feelings of mortality. It all felt so intense, I had to leave class after doing the scene.

But, actually, I was passing a kidney stone. I think I'm still passing it. I know the little tickle well. Thankfully, I'm not in pain. Just discomfort, like when you kind of sit on one of your balls and it didn't hurt so much as just cause a lingering ache, and you can't quite find a way to sit that doesn't feel like you're squeezing it again.

So today, I must drink lots of lemon water and convalesce. And pee.

Violence of the Tongue.

Ridicule of your opponent is strictly forbidden in a legitimate peace movement. #MLK called it Violence of the Tongue.

This is why it's ineffective in persuasion.

#MLKday #peace #nonviolence #resistance #soulforce