Monday, October 31, 2011

BroadwayWorld Announces Coleman & Shack

On BroadwayWorld Today.

COLEMAN & SHACK will debut at Don't Tell Mama (343 West 46th Street) Friday, November 11th at 9:15 pm. COLEMAN & SHACK are two-time Back Stage Vocalist of the Year Amy Coleman and GLAAD/Ovation Award-winning Steve Schalchlin (SHACK-lin), composer/lyricist of Off-Broadway's The Last Session and The Big Voice: God or Merman? as well as the song cycle New World Waking, a musical insurrection for peace.

The duo will perform songs from all three of Schalchlin's scores plus a few new songs written by both Coleman and Shack. Steve Schalchlin and Amy Coleman have joined forces to become COLEMAN & SHACK, a new show which not only revisits the music they're know for, but compares and contrasts their personal stories.

A "country preacher's kid," Steve Schalchlin is a longtime AIDS survivor who has extensively documented his odyssey of survival. His pioneering blog Living in the Bonus Round was established in 1996. Intended to be a memoir of a dying man, it has instead become a testament to courage, perseverance and rebirth. Prior to blogging, Schalchlin wrote a series of songs that he now credits for saving his life. These songs provided the bedrock for his award-winning Off-Broadway musical The Last Session, in which he eventually starred after being brought back to life through means of a luck-of-the-draw lottery for a revitalizing new AIDS medication. Schalchlin's other works include the recent New World Waking, which debuted in 2008 at Davies Symphony Hall featuring the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, Women's Community Ochestra, with soloist Jennifer Holliday and actress Piper Laurie.

Amy Coleman has played the lead role of Vicki three times in The Last Session, and it was at that New York audition that she first met "Shack." They were later cast together in several productions. A Jewish girl from Brooklyn, Amy's very New York career was a mix of theater and rock bands, including the role of Janis Joplin in the original production of Beehive at the Village Gate. Schalchlin says, "In The Last Session, Amy tore the roof off every night when she performed ‘Somebody's Friend.' Since then, we kept up a long friendship, always vowing to someday just put a show together on our own. When I moved back to New York City from L.A. two years ago, it all became possible."

C. Todd White, author and cultural anthropologist (Pre-Gay L.A.: A Social History of the Movement for Homosexual Rights) says of GLAAD Media Award and PFLAG Oscar Wilde Award recipient, Steve Schalchlin, "He is a living testament to the healing power of music. He is a national hero, a true role model and inspiration for gay men from east coast to west."
There is a $10 music charge for COLEMAN & SHACK, with a two-drink minimum. For reservations, call (212) 757-0788 after 4 pm or visit

For more information, visit

Read more:

Theatermania announces Coleman & Shack

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Peccadillo/St. Clement's

It feels good to come home to St. Clement's Church,
where Zero Hour made its New York debut.

I like their red banner.
And I can get my airbrush tan next door.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Meet & Greet" for "Man Who Came To Dinner".

Dan Wackerman, the artistic director of Peccadillo Theater Company warned all the cast members at the "meet and greet" today that if they wanted their friends and family to see "The Man Who Came To Dinner," they should tell them to get tickets IMMEDIATELY.

Because it's an Equity Showcase contract, there are limited seats and limited nights, as well as a limited number of days that this can run. An extension is possible on the next higher up contract, but with a cast of 24, it's very complex, economically. So, I'm warning you, reader, that if you plan to see this, get your ticket as quickly as you can. This classic American play -- even though it's one of the most produced plays in the world -- has only been done in New York three times. This is the fourth.

Anne Kaufman Schneider and Chris Hart, the children of Kaufman and Hart.
Yesterday, also, was the "table read," where everyone just read the play out loud for the first time -- and all I can say is that this is an incredible cast.

When I spoke with Chris Hart afterward, he said what he loved was how down to earth these actors are. They bring a realism to their roles already, and we haven't even had the first rehearsal yet.

So, if you think you are going to be in the NY area for the few weeks this is going to run, get tickets now.

I'm gonna judge Santa Claus Dec 12.

I will be the judge. Dec. 12, in the "Miracle on 34th Street, the musical," formerly known by the generic title "Here's Love". And guess who plays Santa Claus? Hint: He once played Zero Mostel and he's currently rehearsing as "The Man Who Came To Dinner."

Here's the letter I received from the director, Jacob Shoesmith Fox:
Mr. Schalchlin, 
I am the Director of the Actors Fund benefit performance of Miracle On 34th Street: The Musical (formerly titled Here's Love) starring Jim on December 12th, and I wanted to offer you the role of Judge Martin Group, a featured character in the second act. The judge feels compelled to see the trial that occurs in the second act to the end, despite the pressure he receives from all sides. He sings in the song "My State". 
If interested we would also like you to appear in the final scene of Act 1 as Mr. Gimble, the owner of the rival department store. The benefit will be held at the St. Luke's Theatre at 308 West 46th Street in Manhattan on the evening of Monday, December 12th. Tony Yazbeck (Chicago, Gypsy) will be playing Captain Fred Gaily, Kimberly Faye Greenberg (One Night With Fanny Brice, Danny and Sylvia, co-founder of is set for the role of Doris Walker and Brian Childers (Danny and Sylvia, co-founder of is set for the featured role of Marvin Shellhammer. Daniel Greenwood, a lead tenor with the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players, will be playing Tammany O'Halloran, a political boss who is close with the judge. There are currently offers out for some of the other roles. Seth Bisen-Hersh will be our Music Director.

Now, how can I turn that down? Is this my first professional acting role not based on a character based on myself? Hmmm. Maybe I could just pretend the judge has AIDS. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday in New York

Today was the kind of spectacularly Fall, brisk, clear delicious coat-weather day that reminds me why I love living in this city.

I walked past the new purple-lit brand new Yotel which is in the "MiMA" building, where the street was just repaved. (Everyone hates that name. MiMA is for Mid-Manhattan). The name Clinton failed, too. Forever, it will be Hell's kitchen.

Walked east on 42nd street to the subway. Not a lot of action on an early Sunday morning in Times Square. It's one of my favorite times to be walking around. Took the 1 train down to Christopher and made it to the Starbucks, which is becoming increasingly more crowded. The comfy chairs were already claimed.

I had a great conversation with a member of the choir who told me he grew up Roman Catholic, but was hired to sing for Jewish services, and had actually converted to Judaism. I told him my stories of singing for Jewish congregations, and how I am of the opinion that they are the same religion, but just don't know it.

The choir at Christ Church, about 14 on a typical Sunday consists mainly of young vocal students -- theater and/or opera, along with a few older veterans. We also, because of people's schedules, have a revolving membership. We sometimes have two guys singing alto. But the thing is that everyone reads really well. We're at the point that when we rehearse the hymns, we can sing them almost perfectly the first time through. Second time through and it's like we've been singing forever.

Today, Mark Janas said, "You do know that this is a very unusual circumstance in a church choir. You don't usually have the luxury of people who can read instantaneously. (We all felt very proud). "Even," he said, "as we move people around from part to part, our voice is very consistent. I think it's time we can tackle some anthems."

And it's true. Our blend, especially in that big church echo, with a truly gifted pipe organist from Finland, is about as good as anything I've ever heard. The several pieces we repeat from week to week are increasingly more subtly dynamic.

But the ensemble, as an entity, has been together long enough that, today, Mark Janas, the conductor felt we were ready for some anthems. And he pulled out "Hallelujah" by Virgil Thompson.

This is a difficult piece of music. It also has sections with serious dynamic phrasing, the kind of stuff you can spend months perfecting. He asked how many had sung it before. Luckily, three or four had.

So, he pulled us over around the piano and we started to sing through it. I stood next to Arn, a guy with a beautiful, seriously trained voice, and we started reading this thing. And we were totally getting it!

I felt sometimes like I was hanging on by the tips of my fingers, but hold on, I did. We all became very excited and Mark brought us back to a section toward the end where the "hallelujahs" get faster and faster, and then crash back down again. The notes are challenging enough, but to know HOW to sing something you're still reading? Almost impossible.

And we did it! Exhilarating isn't the word. To be in the presence of transcendent genius, meaning Virgin Thompson's elegant, propulsive music, is to be in the presence of God. To be singing Virgil Thompson with a group of great singers, being led by a protege of Leonard Bernstein is to be in choral singing heaven. It's both inspiring and humbling.

Oh, to have written that piece! It was like seeing the statue of David.

Mark, Jake and I then went to see "Moneyball." I sure like that Brad Pitt retains all his wrinkles. He was so good in this. And such an interesting story, about how received wisdom about anything is just ripe to be disproved and turned over.

I'm in the process, now, of writing a press release for our New York appearances. So, I'll sign off. Jim comes home tomorrow. I should probably wash the dishes.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sondheim Unplugged (with Jim and Steve) Oct. 30

Here's the official press release:

The 2011 Bistro Award-winning cabaret series


The worlds of Broadway & Cabaret unite to present treasures from Broadway’s most beloved composer, accompanied by piano only!

Following an unprecedented seventeen month run,
 Sondheim Unplugged will close on Monday, November 28

Come help us celebrate our final two performances:
Sunday, Oct 30 @ 7pm
Monday, Nov 28 @ 7pm
Featuring (on Oct 30):
Christina Bianco, Jim Brochu, Joshua Cruz,
 Steven Harrison, Hunter Herdlicka,
Julie Reyburn, Steve Schalchlin, Lucia Spina
& Stephen Wallem
with special guest...
The original Jenny in Company, & the original
 Mrs. Nordstrom in A Little Night Music,
Hosted by Phil Geoffrey Bond
Musical Direction by Mark Hartman
“Sondheim Unplugged is creating something entirely new and worthwhile.
 It has, in fact, given us a hat, where there never was a hat.”
- The Wall Street Journal
Following eighteen sold out shows, the hit cabaret series, SONDHEIM UNPLUGGED,will continue for an nineteenth installment, Sunday, October 30 at 7pm at The Laurie Beechman TheatreSondheim Unplugged is currently celebrating the second year of it’s smash run, having begun this journey of celebrating Sondheim in July of 2010. The series will close, following an unprecedented 17 month run, with it’s 20th performance onMonday, November 28 @ 7pm.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pics of #ows in Times Square.

Didn't realize I had caught the ABC News scroll about the event as I was passing next to it.

The Police have penned everyone onto the sidewalks so traffic can get through.
I was jammed into a crowd and had no way to move until a little Jewish woman with orange hair
got behind me and, using me as a battering ram, pushed us to 44th street

Looking back south toward 43rd street.
This little kid is having blast in the crowd.

New Poster Idea for Coleman & Shack.

Friday, October 14, 2011

New Photo: Coleman & Shack

Finally, Amy and I take a publicity photo. Click to make larger.

Leading "Ex-Gay" Makes Stunning Admission.

"I’ve never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual."
He's not the first to finally tell the truth of these so-called "change ministries," which have been wreaking havoc in the lives (and pocketbooks) of GLBT persons for decades. But to come from someone this prominent is meaningful, reminding me of when the head of Exodus International in England made the exact same admission.

Reported by Wayne Besen, who refuses to let these untruths lie unchallenged.

John Smid’s Stunning AdmissionPosted October 12th, 2011 by Wayne BesenJohnSmidOnDeckB&W(Weekly Column)For decades, John Smid had been the leader of Love in Action, the infamous “ex-gay” ministry that took away the underwear of clients if the undergarments appeared too gay.  The strict Memphis-based ministry also used an egg timer in the bathroom to make sure its clients would not masturbate while showering.
Of all the “ex-gay” ministries this was the most cult-like – with Smid keeping tight control over the social lives of his clients, who paid a pretty penny to live in the residential program.

Actually I’ve never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual.Wow. If the “ex-gay” myth did not work for Smid, then it won’t work for anyone. After all, he had incredible dedication, adhered to a hardcore form of fundamentalism, and enforced a strict cult-like regimen on his charges. Yet, years later, he is faced with the daunting reality that “ex-gay” programs are a Religious Right marketing program, not a legitimate movement..

Middle of the Night Report.

Actually, it's the middle of the morning. I couldn't sleep because a song I've written for Coleman & Shack, the little concert series we've been asked to perform, has taken possession of me and I must rewrite again.


(I guess I'm now Shack. But I should probably spell it with a number. Well, we did it because Amy wants to step away from her "Flamin' Amy" past; like a legit actress hiding her porno days. And my last name is impossible. People have called me "Shack" all my life, anyway. Usually Steve, but I like Shack. It's great on a basketball court. "Hey, Shack! You the kid who likes giving massages to the team?" And it's friendly sounding, and kinda country, which, at heart, is really what I am.).

Problem is that everyone in my family gets called Shack at some point or other by friends. So, I cannot claim it exclusively. One of my brothers sings, so he can be Shack too, if he wants.


This song was just too long, and also has some unearned sentiment. So, after I woke up from falling asleep after Big Bang and partway thru Project Runway -- about 1:30am -- these two verses going over and over in my mind -- I realized I could combine the information in the verses into a single verse.  Condense. Condense. Condense.

 And then I realized, Oh wait. This song isn't about what I thought it was about. It's about this, this new thing I just added. That's why songs are not so much written as discovered. That's why it wasn't "landing" in rehearsal. It wasn't finished. But I'm not troubled.

Even though the change didn't completely fix it, and now it looks like a mess on the page, I feel like I know where I'm headed, and I like the new direction very much, because it accomplishes what I had set out to do from the beginning.


NOV. 1, 2 and 3. ROCHESTER, NY at the Downstairs Cabaret Theatre. (Does anyone there even remember us? We did The Last Session there, together, twice).

 Benefit concert for New Yiddish Rep of New York with very special guests, Rich Bloch and Piper Laurie. Location and Details to be announced soon. $18 suggested. No one turned away.

Nov. 11, 2011 NEW YORK CITY
9:00 PM
DON'T TELL MAMA on 46th St.
$10 plus two drink minimum. (The drinks will help immensely.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Going It Alone - Rehearsal with Amy Coleman

Amy finally gets to sing "Going It Alone."

Caregiver Village, a new social media site.

I received an email promoting a new social media website for caregivers called "Caregiver Village." It's based on the fact that caregivers need downtime. They also need contact with other caregivers.

Many, for their downtime, play games because they require the least amount of effort. You don't have to think. You push a button and it's there for you.

So, the "village" is based on a game that everyone plays complete with avatars and a virtual world, and which has plot-lines that will be extended and written as you follow different characters in the game, all of whom are part of a support group.

A virtual soap opera game.

But while you play the game, you begin to meet other people who are also playing the game. Send messages to each other. Make comments on the behavior of the people in the game. Connect to other caregivers through a story and puzzle related directly to what it feels like to be chained to another human being (or beings) -- a chain that exists whether out of love or duty.

I haven't gone into any of the virtual worlds yet, so I don't know if I'm ready to actually join Caregiver Village. But I am happy to make the referral. There's a free period to let you test it out. Here's the email from Sheila Watson. If you do try it out, please let me know what you think.

As you may be aware, the number of unpaid family caregivers in North America is 50 million and growing every day. I’d like to introduce you and the readers of Living In The Bonus Round to Caregiver Village, an online community designed exclusively for those who provide care for anyone with special needs. Caregiver Village members connect with friends, participate in book clubs with celebrity authors, journal, play mystery games, solve puzzles, and learn valuable information about caregiving. The founders of Caregiver Village have also just put aside a portion of the launch funding to support caregiving organizations. For every person that joins Caregiver Village, they will donate $1 to that persons organization of choice. I've created a page which explains everything:
I would love it if you would join Caregiver Village and let your readers know about it.

Secrets of Success - Radiolab

Lefsetz recommended this Malcolm Gladwell discussion on "genius" and "talent" shows, and the 19th century "myth" of "talent," that it's some innate magical force, on RadioLab.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

RESCUE and the Blessing of the Animals.

If you like this song, a brand new studio recording, produced by Peter Link, is now available for download, along with the sheet music. You will find it here at the website. (And thanks to Jake and Fr. Jeff).