Thursday, January 16, 2014

How did it go last night?

Steve Schalchlin and the Bonus Round (Boy) Band
Stephen Anthony Elkins, Bill Goffi and Jake Wesley Stewart.
Thanks to Stephen Elkins, Jake Stewart and Bill Goffi , last night I got to fulfill an all-time fantasy I've had since coming to New York. And that was to sing my songs with full harmonies coming from my own band to a packed -- and I do mean PACKED -- house (whew!) at the Metropolitan Room.

 And we even almost had a rehearsal this time! (Okay, it was an hour beforehand and all we did was jam on the harmonies, but still...).

People have been asking how it went. So, let me put it this way.

If I told you how good the night was, especially with Jim Brochu in top form, tearing down the house as the audience roared with laughter and then raised the roof singing along as the townpeople in River City ("Trouble" from the Music Man) it would sound like I was boasting.

 Last week, I was the beggar with his hand out, pleading PLEADING for people to buy tickets to my little show. (11 reservations as of last week). And today, I’m a braggart, as I remember a whole audience with their eyes beaming, crying and laughing and singing along with me.

People who I’ve met socially because of Jim’s recent theater successes said, “I didn’t know you were such a good songwriter!” Or “I didn’t know you could play the piano so well!” or “I didn’t know you could sing!”

They didn’t? Haven’t I been trumpeting myself for the past 17 years in the bonus round? Me, I thought it was the best show in New York City. A momentous and game changing night. As my friend, songwriter Dave Morrison said, this was my throwdown. The greatest night of live entertainment in history.

 No. I am not a reliable critic.

 Ask Rick Hinkson, who sees every show in New York. Ask Harvey Evans, a beloved legend of Broadway who should get a Tony just for being who he is, who beamed at me all night. Or Michele Mais, or Brian Dorais who brought his soon to be a star daughter, Danika-Margaret Dorais, or Andy Gale or Peter Napolitano. Or Danny Whitman from Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS or his husband, writer and director, Robert Bartley or the group the drove in from Boston just to be there.

 And my again gracious guest, who actually bought his own tickets, Dr. Bruce Dorsey, the man who created Crixivan, which rounded out the cocktail that saved all our lives, creating the path to the better drugs we have now -- who should have his statue in Greenwich Village Park.

 To all of us singing "Lazarus Come Out, “ celebrating our continual rebirth, as we endure things, get over them and move on. Ask my beloveds Bernard Furshpan and his wife, Joanne Camilleri-Furshpan, with their eyes full of tears.

 To sing "How Do You Fall Back In Love" with Jim, who I fall back in love with every single day, when I'm not hating him. They asked me if I would want to do it again.

 The answer is "Any day. Any time.”

 It was a celebration of life. When I do this, I actually get healthier. And last night, I felt a radiant joy on my grinning face because a crowd of joyfully radiant faces were grinning back me. This appreciation for life was multiplied exponentially in the hearts of every single person there.

 They weren't watching the show. They WERE the show. We were ALL the show.

And the guys sounded fantastic. (We’re thinking we may have to record a band version of the “Tales from the Bonus Round” album.)

 Sean Strub, whose memoirs were just published, told me it was time to write my book.

And the truth is I’m writing the book every single day. We all are. Didn't Elvis Costello put this in a song?

This is the book. Life is the book.

You can try to write it, but as every author will tell you, at some point, the characters take over and you just go along for the ride.

On the 25th, I will be back in Olympia, Washington, home of one the best unfolding tales from the bonus Round. Where I played John Lennon’s IMAGINE Piano. Where I’ll sleep on a bed in the home of artists and writers, Alec and Gabi Clayton, surrounded by art in their ramshackle hippie house with the cats, and I’m gonna feel so loved and snuggled.

And I’ll sing the song about their son, Bill Clayton, who committed suicide at age 17 after a gay bashing.

And we’ll raise money for PFLAG-Olympia and Pizza Klatch, a teen support group. And the Olympia Gay Men’s Chorus is gonna swoop in from the house, and the Righteous Mothers are going to sing with me. And I’ll get to be the folk singer I am.

 How did it go last night? Doesn’t matter. It went how it went. It was the best night of my life. It was the best show in New York City. You can quote me.

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