BWW Exclusive: Parlor Night Strikes Again with Michael McElroy, Broadway Inspirational Voices and Broadway's Finest!
Written by Marisa Fratto
Parlor Night strikes again! Were you there for the latest Broadway pop-up party?
This time, the intimate evening was hosted at the luscious Upper East Side townhouse of John Demsey (Group President of Estée Lauder). Demsey's home with its rich hues, magnificent art collection adorning the walls, and second floor living room was once home to Montgomery Clift in the early 1960s and was the hangout for luminaries such as Marilyn Monroe and Marlon Brando. So, it was only fitting that John's home embraced the second installment of Parlor Night to benefit Broadway Inspirational Voices Outreach Program.
So what happens at this little Broadway speakeasy of sorts?
At Parlor Night, you experience legends up close and personal. A throwback to the days of Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli opening their homes and inviting their friends for good food, drinks, and song.
This past Monday evening, guests had the chance to witness epic performances and chat with bonafide talents likeChris Miller and Nathan Tysen (who shared a song from their Broadway bound new musical TUCK EVERLASTING), and some just happened to sing a crystal-clear rendition of "Meadowlark," like Liz Callaway who left the audience with some serious goose bumps.
Talent included: Julia Murney, Liz Callaway, Leslie Odom Jr., Randy Graff, Marc Kudisch, Nathan Lee Graham, composers Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen, as well as a handful of members of the Broadway Inspirational Voices led by Michael McElroy, who also hosted the evening along with Angela Robinson (Tyler Perry's THE HAVES AND THE HAVE NOTS). Performers were accompanied (quite flawlessly) by Isaac Harlan on piano and Chris Parker on guitar.
The night was about storytelling.
These performers weren't there for the money notes (although there were many) but rather to connect with the audience; a rare vulnerability one gets to experience that close. It's the stuff of once-in-a-lifetime memories.
And what makes the evening even more truly unique is the mission. To change children's lives - one living room at a time. And this vision, dreamt up by Di Ana Pisarri and Schele Williams, is exactly what's being done. It's simple: one Parlor Night equals one children's music program in New York City.
Each performer shared, in some way, just how critical having a school music program was for, not only their career pursuit, but for their life.
And it's not just about creating the next generation of performers, but creating theatre patrons and supporters of the arts - future generations waiting outside the stage door to meet the person who made high school a little more bearable.
The performers also shared their love for Michael McElroy and his never-ending commitment to bringing music to the next generation. A beautiful moment occurred when Leslie Odom Jr. (HAMILTON) shared how Michael inspired him and took him under his wing as a young performer when he joined the cast of RENT at just 17 years old.
And when Michael lead the members of BIV (they performed a blow-the-roof-off rendition of "Sunday" from SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE), you could instantly feel the deep connection within this group, the sincerity of Michael, and the brilliance and commitment he brings to everything he does.
So how can you get in on all the magic happening in living rooms across New York City and maybe catch Mark Kudisch's stellar rendition of "Dulcinea" on guitar or BIV's Shayna Steele, Danielle Lee Greaves, and Chris Dilly's singing McElroy's gorgeous arrangement of "Oh Holy Night" (sure to get you excited - maybe for the first time - about the inevitable snowfall coming our way soon)?
You need to get on the list!
And who doesn't want to hear Julia Murney give a whole new meaning to WEST SIDE STORY'S "Maria" by making the audience think about the first time they said their child's name? Or Randy Graff whose knockout performance allowed the audience to imagine our own "Alfie" within?
Parlor Night will continue to be hosted at different homes with different performers, so if you'd like to attend (you must be on invite list) or HOST an evening (have a piano that needs playing?), please visit ParlorNight.com to be a part of the wonder.
You don't want to miss it.