Monday, November 28, 2011

Miracle on 34th Street, The Musical -- Artwork

Theatrical Gems presents Miracle on 34th Street, The Musical by Meredith Willson
with Jim Brochu as Kris Kringle, plus Kimberly Faye Greenberg, Tony Yazbek & Rachel Resheff
(and yours truly, Steve Schalchlin, as the Judge).

A Few Pics from the Weekend Previews.

David Staller of The Shaw Project, Jim Brochu & Robert Osborne of Turner Classic Movies.

Jim Brochu receives copy of rare photograph from Anne Kaufman Schneider.
It's of her father, George S. Kaufman with Alexander Woollcott,
upon whom the character of Sheridan Whiteside (Brochu) was based.
The show has now played to full houses at three previews. Doing a classic 40s comedy like this takes precision and style, which can only really be discovered in front of audiences. So, a few little hiccups here and there aside, the cast is terrific, but now the real adjusting begins. It's just part of the process and it's arduous, but necessary.

Today is a day off, so I'm gonna keep Jim warm and pampered today. Next week, the critics begin to arrive.

Friday, November 25, 2011

TheaterMania Interviews Jim Brochu

Jim is interviewed by TheaterMania.

TM: Do you have specific memories of this play? 
JB: Well, I have another connection with The Man Who Came to Dinner. My mentor was David Burns, who played Banjo in the original production.

Thanksgiving Dinner with Friends.

Steinbeck was guarding the door.
He finally let us pass when we promised to bring leftovers.

Rick Stockwell at his carefully decorated table.

Jim Brochu, Rick Stockwell, Ira Denmark
(Ira is in "The Man Who Came To Dinner" with Jim.)

Jim and me on Thanksgiving 2011.
Rick and Ira made a gorgeous turkey, stuffing, and lots of extras. So, I ate until I popped.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

My Thanksgiving Prayer -- Free Download from SFGMC

My Thanksgiving Prayer

In gratitude to all.

Happy Thanksgiving.

 Jim Brochu as Sheridan Whiteside just as they are about to broadcast the Christmas radio program.
Yesterday, I took "unofficial" snapshots during the dress rehearsal of "The Man Who Came To Dinner" and it just feel holiday-ish. It's an absolutely gorgeous production. And the fact that it's in a tiny theater inside a church, you are right onstage in the middle of the action. Some of the best character actors in town are in this. Official opening is December 4. Tickets at The Peccadillo website.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Olympia Concert Jan 27-28

I will be appearing with The Righteous Mothers, a hilarious and wonderful band of singers and songwriters in Olympia, Washington on Jan. 27-28, 2012 at Traditions. (Here's the graphic I designed for our concert).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Actors Temple Benefit was a Triumph

Jim and I had a blast singing for the event last night. We did a medley from The Big Voice: God or Merman? and the response was overwhelming. All the other performers were begging me for sheet music.

I love when that happens.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Press release for Actors Temple Benefit.


The Best of Broadway & Cabaret will come out in support of the Actors Temple, (est. 1917) on Sunday, November 20, 2011 at 7 PM. This theater district historic landmark (339 West 47th Street) has fallen on hard times in recent years & is in dire need of help. According to event producer, Randie Levine-Miller, "Part of the sanctuary ceiling fell down just after Yom Kippur. Thank God, no one was hurt. I said to our wonderful Rabbi, Jill Hausman that we should once again get the theatrical community to come out & do what they did for the temple last year -- so this has just become our second annual benefit!"

Performers generously donating their time & talent include: Brent Barrett, Anna Bergman, Jim Brochu, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, John DeMarco, Jackie Hoffman, Lisa Lampanelli, Sue Mathys, Sidney Myer, Jill O'Hara, Brad Oscar, Lee Roy Reams, Steve Schalchin & Rena Strober. Michael Lavine will musical direct. Producer Levine-Miller will also host the event.

Tickets which are totally tax deductible are $125 for the concert only; $250 which includes a VIP/Cast After-Party at Tony's di Napoli Restaurant; $500 which includes the VIP After-Party as well as brunch at the NY Friars Club; $1,000 Benefactor ticket includes VIP/After Party, Brunch at the Friars Club plus a Leaf on the Actors Temple Tree of Life. Carol Ostrow, theater producer & group sales executive is underwriting the VIP/Cast party.

For ticket information, contact: or call 212-362-3616 or send check to The Actors' Temple, PO Box 2620, New York, NY 10108 -- Credit Cards also accepted. Tickets held at the door.
Legendary members of the congregation included: Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Red Buttons, Eddie Cantor, Sophie Tucker, George Jessel, Al Jolson, Sandy Koufax, Jack E. Leonard, Joe E. Lewis, Tony Martin, the Ritz Brothers, Edward G. Robinson, William B. Williams, Shelly Winters, Henny Youngman, amongst many others.
# # #

Broadway & Cabaret salute... The Actors Temple

As you may know, Jim and I "opened" the Actors Temple, a historic temple in the Times Square area, as an Off-Broadway house with "The Big Voice: God or Merman?" We will be performing a medley of songs from Big Voice in tribute. And look at the other stars on the bill! If you know anything about the Broadway and Cabaret scenes, you will know these names. And if you don't, then just find a way in and be prepared.


Digital Executives Excited, Optimistic About Google Music |

At an event in Los Angeles on Wednesday the company unveiled a new MP3 store that is integrated with its existing cloud storage service. The company showed off social features that allow purchased songs to be shared with friends, and it debuted a new platform for independent artists that allows them to sell music without a middleman. 
But most notable aspect of Wednesday's announcement was the very fact that such a major company is now intimately involved in digital music and working with rights holders. "It's positive to see that level of investment coming into the music industry," Merlin CEO Charles Caldas tells 
"The launch of Google's music service is a good thing, a very good thing," TuneCore CEO Jeff Price says via email. Price believes Google is helping shift the focus from the label to the artist. "The goal here is to allow artists to get heard, shared, discovered and paid. I am thrilled to have TuneCore be in a deal with Google."
Written by Glenn Peoples, Nashville.
Business Matters: Digital Executives Excited, Optimistic About Google Music |

Thursday, November 10, 2011

REMINDER: Coleman & Shack, Fri. Nov. 11, Don't Tell Mama 9:15PM

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

Read more:

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

I've Lost My Husband to Meredith Vieira.

Jim Brochu pondering a show biz question.

My friend Bud wrote:

Meredith loved Jimmy and hung onto to him every chance she got and what a big kiss !!!

It's true. She was a giddy school girl in love!

And the Raisin dance!

And he felt totally mortified that a question about a playwright stopped him.

He said on the way home, "I feel so stupid. Neil Simon wrote a play about Chekhov called 'The Good Doctor.' I knew this! And now I'm sitting here thinking about what they're going to say about me on All That Chat. I'll get crucified." I told him no he wouldn't. That people might poke at him and laugh a bit, but everyone knows that the tension of the moment -- in the spotlight -- drains the brain of all its blood.

He said, "It's truly like an out of body experience. The board with the questions is really big, and your brain doesn't quite take in what it's seeing. Not like a home."

Ah, but this question! Like Einstein forgetting how to do simple math. And it's a secret we've been keeping ever since it was taped back in October. The shame, the humiliation.

(One person there noticed it and made a comment, but then said it wasn't meant in a catty way.)

On the other hand, you can't argue with this:

As for his performance on air, I think he's really likable, totally at ease with himself, funny and engaging. 

As good a stage actor as he is, he's TERRIFIC on camera. He's spontaneous and witty. Come on, big time producers! Youse gots a star here, ripe for the picking!

He hated the beard, though. He needed it long and kinda ragged for "Zero Hour" (which he did in San Francisco that month). Now it's trimmed back a bit for Sheridan Whiteside, the most perfect role ever for Jim Brochu. (He gets to sit in a chair the whole time, devising chaos).

Jim Brochu in Times Square yesterday.

One friend was amazed at how well he knew the rules of the game, and how quickly he made his mind up on the questions. Well, Jim loves games. And he has watched "Millionaire" relentlessly.

It occurs to me that his love of games has changed both our lives (I love games, too).

It was through Backgammon that we met Lucille Ball. It was through charades that he sang along with Liza Minelli, with Stan Freeman -- or was it Michael Feinstein? -- on the piano.

People genuinely like Jim. He laughs easily and has a fantastic sense of humor. I think it comes from always about around witty, educated adults when he was young. He picked up the old school art of conversation, which is really about being at ease with yourself and keeping things light and joyful.

Of course, my side of the story is that I make Jim likable by being the sweet little Baptist boy which leavens the blackout cake of the New York Brooklyn boy.

And yes, when they asked me how I "was," my true answer was, "TERRIFIED!" Oh, my gawd, I was gripping my hands together tightly, and they were sweating. My heart was thumping. And I was so proud of him. He really came off as intelligent and fun.

BTW, Meredith sent him a HAND WRITTEN NOTE.

Okay, Miss Vieira, I'll be keeping a close eye on you. I know you said you're coming to see "The Man Who Came To Dinner." Bring it on, bitch!

Jim Brochu, Steve Schalchlin, Meredith Vieira at the end of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire."

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Rochester Diary.

NOV. 4, 2011 FRIDAY
On the train back from Rochester

Amy and I are sitting in the coach class cabin and I can’t find my video camera, which I know I brought on board because I took some pictures using it. Dammit. Even went back to our seats -- we changed because there was no wifi on our car. Too bad, cuz there’s none here, either. Will post when I get home.

 We’ve just done three shows in Rochester and have met a guy named Eddie Urish, who was on staff at Downstairs Cabaret Theatre, who directed the show. Eddie is from Peoria and had come to Rochester to work with Chris. We got him to help us with the show and he really brought it to life.

Amy and I began our journey last Monday at 1pm from Penn Station. I took the “magic” bus, the one that goes down 9th ave. and takes an eastbound turn on 34th st. I kept waiting for Amy and waiting for Amy, finally giving up when they called the train, only to find her already ahead of me in line. The 6-hour trip up was nice and relaxing -- and beautiful with all the leaves in their fall colors.

The wifi was working the whole time, so I played Words With Friends, and was able to cheat a lot using the Scrabble page. Doesn’t help. I lose every game anyway.

We were put into HAL (House At Lyndhurst), a rather spartan arrangement, but fine for short term lodging. On our way to the house, we dropped by the grocery store and bought items -- apples, cottage cheese, turkey, pita chips, oatmeal,, Truvia, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, two broiled chickens and a few other odd items. This is my first time in HAL rather than HAL2. I think HAL is a bit nicer.

I set about washing dishes and making us some lunch. There are six or seven others in the house in various rooms. They’re doing a show called “Disenchanted” or something like that. So, I decided to be the dishwashing fairy, and clean up after everyone else until we leave to see if they miss me when I'm gone.

The lighting designer, Greg, had just gotten there that day, and our stage manager, Hannah, was also new. We kind of ran through the show to set the lights and stuff. But we didn’t know what we were doing, so it really helped to have Eddie's eyes out front.

 One thing we came away with was a group of pictures shot by a self-described "amateur" photographer -- Van Meter. They’re just terrific, so I’ve been spending this trip designing a new poster design for us.

One nice thing that happened was being taken out for a steak dinner -- the calamari had corn meal batter, which tasted weird to me, but I still enjoyed the meal and the conversation. On our way out the door, there were two guitarists standing there. I hadn't heard them. So, I approached them and sang, “Helpless”. Then Chris Burley -- who was in TLS with us there at the Downstairs Cabaret Theatre back in 2002 -- grabbed one of the guitars and we did “Moondance.” That was fun.

Oh, and I never did find my video camera.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Our New Graphic.

On the way in from Rochester, I put this together with photos taken during our performances by Van Meter Photography.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

More Coleman & Shack photos from Rochester.

PHOTOS: Coleman & Shack in Rochester

Brent Barrett, Steve Schalchlin, Lisa Lampanelli, Jill O'Hara, Brad Oscar Set for Actors Temple Benefit -

Brent Barrett, Jim Brochu, Steve Schalchlin, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Jackie Hoffman, Lisa Lampanelli, Jill O'Hara, Brad Oscar Set for Actors Temple Benefit -

The Nov. 20 concert, which will be held at the Actors Temple, is currently scheduled to feature the talents of Brent Barrett, Anna Bergman, Jim Brochu, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, John De Marco, Jackie Hoffman, Lisa Lampanelli, Sue Mathys, Sidney Myer, Jill O'Hara, Brad Oscar, Lee Roy Reams, Steve Schalchlin and Rena Strober. Show time is 7 PM.

A host of Broadway and cabaret talent will join forces for an upcoming musical celebration to benefit the Actors Temple.