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Connecticut Sings David Friedman

On May 7th, I’m honored to be performing “Still Alive”, the song that David Friedman and Kathie Lee Gifford wrote when I was a guest on the TODAY Show in 2011.

david

Get tickets here: Sat 5/7 at 7:30pm

DAVID FRIEDMAN…Composer, Author, Speaker welcomes some of Connecticut’s biggest and brightest broadway stars for an evening of memorable song and conversation.  This event will serve as a fundraiser for the Bijou Theatre and contribute to the 2016 Capital Campaign.  Don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime performance, and opportunity to support a very special jewel in the heart of downtown Bridgeport!

Doors open at 6:30pm, Show starts at 7:30pm

Theatre seats – $35; Table seats – $45

DAVID FRIEDMAN: With multi-platinum recordings, Broadway shows, Disney Animated Films, Television scores, and a teaching and lecturing career that spans the nation, David Friedman is truly someone who has made a major mark in all areas of show business. From “We Can Be Kind” to “Listen to My Heart”, “Help is on the Way”, “We Live on Borrowed Time”, “Trust The Wind”, and “I’ll Be Here With You”, David has written songs of inspiration, love and hope that take on new emotional meaning in these challenging times. After spending several years conducting musicals on Broadway, including Grease, Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Song and Dance, David went to Hollywood where he was the conductor and vocal arranger on such Disney classics as Beauty & The Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. This led to David writing music and lyrics for Disney’s Aladdin and the King of Thieves, scoring three animated television series (Happy Ness, Sky Dancers and Dragon Flyz) and the film Trick, and a 13-year stint as music supervisor and vocal arranger of Broadway’s Beauty & The Beast.

As a record producer, David started his own company, MIDDER Music Records, and wrote for and produced all of the late, great Nancy LaMott’s CDs, including the recently released Nancy LaMott – Live at Tavern on the Green.  A new Nancy LaMott double CD entitled Ask Me Again, hit the Top 20 Billboard Jazz Chart, and a new DVD of 25 of Nancy’s performances has also become a best-seller. The most recent release is a DVD set of 4 performances of Nancy, live, at Don’t Tell Mama in the late 80’s, and both a movie and a book on her life are in development. David’s songs have been sung and recorded by luminaries such as Diana Ross (“Your Love” – Quadruple Platinum), Barry Manilow (“We Live on Borrowed Time” and “You’re There” featured on Barry’s most recent live CD,) Allison Krauss, Petula Clark, Laura Branigan, Kathie Lee Gifford, Jason Alexander, Lucie Arnaz, Laurie Beechman, Lainie Kazan, Leslie Uggams and many others.  David’s multi-platinum selling song “Open Your Eyes To Love” was featured on the soundtrack of The Lizzie McGuire Movie and he wrote the opening song for Disney’s sequel to Bambi, (sung by Allison Krauss) which was released to record-breaking sales.

RAISSA KATONA BENNETT: On Broadway, Raissa appeared as “Christine Daae” in PHANTOM OF THE OPERA & CHESS Concert. First National Tours: CATS (Jelly/Jenny), PARADE (Lizzie Phagan). Recently appeared off-Broadway where she created the roles of “Annie (Mommy) McGrath” in WATER FROM THE MOON at Urban Stages, and “Mother Hawkins” in DEVIL AND THE DEEP for Theatre East, with music/lyrics by Air Supply’s Graham Russell. Well known and active in the NYC Cabaret community, Raissa is a MAC & Bistro Award Winner and has headlined at Feinstein’s, The Metropolitan Room, The Iridium Jazz Club, the Laurie Beechman Theatre and guest starred at 54 Below, Algonquin’s Oak Room and the Rainbow Room, to name a few. Her newest CD, “Another Kind of Light”, is available on Amazon, iTunes & the LML Music label. Her first CD, “What I Was Dreaming Of” is available through her website. She received the 2014 Ruth Kurtzman Benefit Series Award as host/president/producer of the MUSIC AND ART FOR CITY GREENS Benefit Concert Series, a 501c3 dedicated to preserving urban green spaces through free professional art and music events. Raissa lives in NYC & Milford with her husband, Dr. Garrett Bennett, and their 3 tiny rescue dogs: Otie, Phoebe & Molly. www.raissakatonabennett.com

FRANK MASTRONE: Frank grew up in Monroe, CT and earned a BFA from Central CT State Univ . He began singing professionally at JP’s Good Time Emporium in Hartford as a “Singing Waiter.” (really…) A few years after moving to NY (and becoming a heck of a waiter) Frank joined the first national tour of CATS, traveling from San Francisco to Boston. Two years later he was the last person hired to join the original cast of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, making his Broadway debut in what would turn out to be the longest running show in Broadway history. Frank soon took to the road again in the role of Jean Val Jean in Les Miserables, eventually joining the NY company. Off-Broadway was next with TAPESTRY: The Music of Carol King; but the show was short lived and Frank joined a tour of the pop-opera EVITA, as the Tango singer Augustine Magaldi performing in sixty one cities in forty-nine weeks! Frank again landed in New York in BIG: The Musical, based on the hit film. Than JEKYL & HYDE for a nearly four year run and the chance to understudy and perform the title role dozens of times!  One fascinating experience was touring in the hit show MAMMA MIA from coast to coast for over a year “in a mini-van with his wife and infant triplet daughters!”  Other Broadway include SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, CATS, and his recent “triumphant return” (after sixteen years!) to PHANTOM. Frank recently returned from London (escaping only minutes ahead of the volcanic ash cloud!) where he made his Royal Albert Hall debut in the concert version of the Benny Annderson/Blorn Ulvaeus (the ABBA guys) musical KRISTINA (live CD available on DECCA). Other concert appearances include SOUTH PACIFIC (Great performances) and SHOWBOAT at Carnegie Hall, CAMELOT with the NY Philharmonic (Live from Lincoln Center), The Ballroom, Sam’s, The Sands Hotel (Atlantic City), and with the Wallingford Symphony Orchestra. Frank is married to Ramona Spinelli. They now live in Stamford and keep very busy with their now eight year old daughters Livia, Ava and Franki.

JODI STEVENS:  Ms. Stevens most recently earned rave reviews as Hollywood film icon, Marlene Dietrich, in the Off Broadway production of Dietrich and Chevalier. During the run, she completed principal photography on the independent feature film, Pervertigo. Other films include The Funeral and The Narrow Gate. On Broadway she starred in the original companies of Urban Cowboy and Jekyll & Hyde. Off Broadway favorites include, Claire Strider in Under Fire: The Musical, I Can Get it for You Wholesale, Eliot Ness in Cleveland, Body Shop, Antigone: The Musical and 27 Wagons Full of Cotton. Around the country Ms. Stevens has also starred in many regional productions, such as HeavenHelp Us: A New Rat Pack Musical: Harmony: the musical, by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman , Dracula, the Musical by Frank Wildhorn and Christopher Hampton, Annie: the 20th Anniversary, Twelfth Night, The 1940’s Radio Hour, Me and My Girl, Fen, The imaginary Invalid, Come Back to the 5 and Dime, Jimmy Dean. On television she has quest starred in Conviction, Sex and the City, Central Park West, Guiding Light, All My Children and As The World Turns. Vocal Recordings include: her solo album Girl Talk , The Kurt Weill: Centennial, Johnny Mercer’s: Dream (both for The Actor’s Fund), Rodgers and Leonhart (featured guest artist). Jekyll & Hyde (Broadway Cast Album) Her one woman show, A Broad’s Way, is now booked at various locations.

RICHARD WEIDKICH:  Baritone, has appeared with opera companies, symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles, and in musical theatre productions and cabaret.  Dr. Weidlich’s opera highlights include Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Danilo in The Merry Widow, Schaunard in La Bohème, Nerone in Il Coronazione di Poppea, Pacquillo in La Périchole, Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette, Fleville in Andrea Chénier, and Sonora in La Fanciulla del West, among others. Dr. Weidlich co-stars have included soprano Ruth Ann Swenson and bass Jerome Hines.  Orchestral engagements include the St. Louis Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Tucson Symphony.  Musical theatre roles: Harold Hill in The Music Man, Ravenal in Showboat, Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, Nicky Arnstein in Funny Girl, Max Dettweiler in The Sound of Music, the King in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Matt in The Fantasticks, Antipholus of Syracuse in The Boys from Syracuse, KoKo in The Mikado, and others.  Dr. Weidlich holds his Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Arizona and his Bachelor of Arts in Music from Portland State University. In addition to his current teaching at WCSU, he also teaches at the University of Bridgeport, CT, and the Performing Arts Conservatory of New Canaan and maintains a private studio. Mr. Weidlich is a current member of the American Guild of Musical Artists, Actor’s Equity Association, and is currently Regional Governor of the New England Region of National Association of Teachers of Singing.

Click on the date below to purchase your ticket:

Sat 5/7 7:30pm

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