The Jeff Blumenkrantz Songbook PodcastAuthor: Jeff Blumenkrantz
26 May 2019

The Jeff Blumenkrantz Songbook Podcast

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Hear live recordings of the songs from the Tony-nominated composer's new songbook.

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    At Sea - sung by Santino Fontana

    Special Episode #12: In anticipation of the upcoming release of the cast recording of Encores Off Center’s production of God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater starring Santino Fontana, I bring you a podcast  episode featuring Santino himself! I had the privilege of playing a small role in the show, so I got to watch Santino at work, and he is truly a brilliant artist. You’ll hear me acknowledge him in this episode, and although it sounds like I’m praising a mere ability to memorize quickly (one of my pet peeve compliments), what I meant and didn’t quite articulate was that he seemed to arrive at a full and complete performance, i.e. emotional depth, sense of humor, facility with the language and music, almost immediately with no ostensible effort. It was pretty amazing. And for the record, the name of the complicated song he nailed in the cast recording is “A Firestorm Consuming Indianapolis.”

    Rosewater aside, Santino has graced many a Broadway production, including Billy Elliot, Brighton Beach Memoirs, The Importance of Being Earnest, Cinderella, and Act One. Additionally, he is probably best known for his performance as Greg in the CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and as the voice of Prince Hans in Disney’s blockbuster film Frozen. But for me, first and foremost, he'll always be Aaron from the web series Submissions Only.

    In this episode, Santino sings “At Sea,” a song from the abandoned show Hashi, a piece on which I collaborated with Beth Blatt. Loosely based on the Pollyanna story, the young, recently orphaned boy Hashi has been sent to live with his Aunt Barb, a single, hardened New York City working woman. In this song, Barb’s ex-boyfriend and upstairs neighbor Ben is back on a break from the cruiseline doctor job he accepted directly after their breakup. In a conversation with Hashi, Ben reflects on his choices over the past few years. (FYI, the sheet music and piano accompaniment track for "At Sea" have just been added to my online music store.)

    As for Santino, he is tireless! Here's what he has coming up:

    On July 21 and 22, he'll be performing in a concert with Laura Osnes and Ted Sperling in Chicago
    On July 28 he'll be doing a concert version of The Music Man with his wife, Jessica, in the Poconos
    From August 12-20, he'll be appearing on the Broadway on the Rhine River Playbill Cruise

    Also look out for him in some upcoming episodes of Mozart in the Jungle, returning to play yet another title role, Mozart himself!

    This episode was recorded on April 20, 2017.

  • Posted on 13 Jul 2017

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    Nothing's Gonna Change - sung by Carmen Cusack

    Special Episode #11: Five years later!! Here I am again with a new episode and an extra special guest star, THE bright star of Bright Star, Carmen Cusack! Carmen exploded last season with her highly acclaimed Broadway debut as "Alice Murphy" in Steve Martin and Edie Brickell's musical, garnering every lead-actress-in-a-musical nomination that exists. 

    While Bright Star did mark Carmen's Broadway debut, it certainly wasn't her first theatrical outing. Her career began in the UK, including such star turns as Christine in Phantom, Fantine in Les Mis, and then back in the US on the national tours of Wicked as Elphaba and South Pacific as Nellie. Add in regional gigs playing Annie in First Wives Club, Mother in Ragtime and Dot in Sunday in the Park... and you've got a seriously impressive resume! 

    Since Bright Star closed, Carmen has kept busy with numerous concert gigs and a one-woman play, Do This, at the Gulfshore Playhouse. Coming up are appearances at the Kennedy Center for a Pete Seeger tribute on April 15th, a solo show at 54 Below on April 16th, and a concert with me (!) at the Axelrod Arts Center in Deal, NJ on May 20th!

    Today's selection is a "trunk song" from yet another one of my abandoned musicals, Hashi, on which I collaborated with Beth Blatt. Hashi was loosely inspired by Pollyanna, i.e. a hardened, spinster aunt gets custody of the newly orphaned child of her estranged sister. In our version which takes place today, the aunt, Barb, is a 40something, single NY businesswoman with no time for parenthood, and instead of a niece, Hashi is her nephew, born and raised in Africa and Asia by Barb's free-spirited, hippie sister. Barb has just learned she will have to take custody of the boy, who arrives the next day. With no information about him and his life, she speculates on how "Nothing's Gonna Change."

    This episode was recorded on March 20, 2017.

  • Posted on 01 Apr 2017

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    My Heart Was Set on You - sung by Sutton Foster

    Special Episode #7: It's been so long since I've done one of these episodes that I omitted a word from my intro! (Did anyone catch it?) I'm thrilled to welcome back the incomparable Sutton Foster. Not just a ridiculous talent, but also one of the warmest, most generous people with whom I've had the privilege of collaborating.

    Sutton is currently giving a stellar performance as Princess Fiona in the musical Shrek, but only through January 24, 2010, so if you haven't seen her in it yet, get moving! With one Tony Award and three Tony nominations under her belt, she is one of Broadway's great leading ladies, infusing everything she does with her idiosyncratic charm, humor, and heart.

    Sutton is here to sing "My Heart Was Set on You," the song I wrote for her wonderful debut CD, Wish.

    A new activist, Sutton has been outspoken in her support of Marriage Equality and has sponsored a bus to take people to the National Equality March in Washington DC this weekend. Check out Sutton's video for the organization Broadway Impact.

    Coming soon is her eponymous website, a concert tour, and a teaching stint at NYU! Those lucky kids!!

    To see what kind of soup I served her from my Jeff and Martha cooking project (a la Julie and Julia), visit my blog!

    This episode was recorded on October 9, 2009.

  • Posted on 29 Dec 2016

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    Mayday! M'Aider! - sung by Michael Winther

    Month Upon a Time, Episode #12 (May): It's the final installment of my yearlong song cycle! I did it! And I have the perfect guest with whom to complete the cycle, someone who knows a thing or two about song cycles himself: Michael Winther! I've known Michael since the early 90's, when we were Plaids at the same time (but never in the same production). Since then, Michael has had quite a distinguished theatre career, bouncing between musicals and plays, including the Broadway productions of Artist Descending a Staircase, Damn Yankees (with me!), 1776, The Crucible, Mamma Mia (with last month's guest Dee Hoty!), and most recently, 33 Variations.

    But the reason I think of Michael when I think of song cycles is that he was at the center of a very distinguished one, Songs from an Unmade Bed, which began as an offhanded idea from the very talented lyricist/librettist Mark Campbell and blossomed into a theatre piece that became part of The New York Theatre Workshop's 2005 season, earning Michael a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance!

    His interesting collaborations continue, most notably My Coma Dreams with Fred Hersch, the brilliant jazz pianist and composer, and When We Met with another previous podcast guest, Sally Wilfert!

    The inspiration for this month's song comes from Brett Lowell, who gave me so many great ideas this month that I had to narrow it down. I particualrly liked his idea of incorporating "Mayday!," the distress signal, into a song about how in May, thoughts turn to love, etc. Add to that my own fascination to learn that "Mayday!" springs from the French, "[Venez] m'aider!" and the next thing I knew, there was a samba! (Special thanks to Caroline Bergonzi, David Turner, and Marcy Scott for their help with the French translation.) What a fun way to end the project!

    In closing, I'd like to express my gratitude once again to Bradley Kaye for the adorable Month Upon a Time logo, to all the wonderful singers who lent their time and talent to my songs, and to all of you who offered up ideas for songs each month. 

    Don't forget, if you want to perform any of these songs, they're available as sheet music in my online music store.

    Until the next episode...

    This episode was recorded on May 28. 2012.

  • Posted on 30 May 2012

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    There Has to Be a Reason - sung by Dee Hoty

    Month Upon a Time, Episode #11 (April): Remember last month when I said I wanted to do something special to celebrate my 50th podcast episode? Well, I'd say I hit the jackpot with a visit from the very special Dee Hoty!

    I've been a big Dee Hoty fan since seeing her as Alaura in City of Angels, and she has never disappointed, giving standout performances in every show she graces. And she has seemingly graced them all! Between her work on Broadway and in national tours, regional theatre, and summer stock, I'm pretty sure Dee has played every leading lady role ever written, and then some. Dee is one of those actors' actors: she'll camp out on Broadway for years in big shows (did I mention she's received three Tony Award nominations?), but then she'll also pursue those labors of love, like The Transport Group's The Audience (which happens to be the only time Dee and I have appeared in the same playbill).

    After years of saying "We should do something together," what a treat for me to get to hear her sing my little April song.

    This month's idea comes from an old friend and fellow Plaid, Richard Roland, once actor, now director, whose one-word suggestion was simply "Taxes." (For the record, there were multiple people who suggested taxes, but Richard was officially the first. Thanks to everyone who sent ideas! One more month left... I'm going to miss that process, you guys!)

    FYI, my love affair with Dee Hoty continues into May, when she will be performing (along with Drew Gehling, Sarah Stiles, and recent podcast guest Dee Roscioli) in my upcoming concert, Trunk and Disorderly: Songs from the Deep, Dark Trunk of Jeff Blumenkrantz. Did I mention that I won the Fred Ebb Award this year? Well, as part of my prize, they're sponsoring a concert of my songs on May 14 at 6:30 at the York Theatre. Seating is limited, so I can't offer you seats outright, but if you want to come, please put yourself on the waiting list by filling out the form on the other side of this link, and I'll let you know ASAP if we can accommodate. (FYI, there is no charge.) 

    This episode was recorded on April 27, 2012.

  • Posted on 30 Apr 2012


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