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When You Care

You can only lift the darkness when you care
Either you love or you don't
Either you will or you won't
You don't need an explanation
You can only make a difference
You can only lift the darkness when you care

Those words were written by John Bettis for Steve Schachlin and Jim Brochu's current off-Broadway hit musical, The Last Session, which has its final performance on Sunday, March 1. "When You Care" is the uplifting closing song of the show and it's Steve's message to the world. He's currently out on tour at various universities and colleges throughout the country, however, you can catch him at his only New York City appearance on Saturday, February 28th, at "Twirl" (208 West 23rd Street) where he will give a concert at midnight. Doors open at 11, no host bar, no cover. Donations will be accepted and the proceeds go to charity. Joining Steve will be the cast of The Last Session and a special guest appearance by Ruth Warrick of All My Children.

Noel Garrett is inviting everyone to this midnight concert as it's dedicated to the life of Marie Garrett. For more information you can call (212) 708-7835. Sounds like a great night to me. Go see the show and then head on downtown and party with the cast til the wee hours!

Strike Up The Band opened the Encore series at City Center and once again delivered an outstanding evening of musical theater. Back in 1927, because of its anti-war sentiment, the show folded on the road. With a completely revised script the show opened on Broadway in 1930 at the Times Square Theater and ran for 191 performances. The Gershwin score includes such songs as "I Mean to Say" and "I've Got A Crush on You." I can just imagine that orchestra pit back then with the Red Nichols Orchestra with musicians including Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Jimmy Dorsey, Jack Teagarden and Gene Krupa, all of whom made their marks in the Big Band era of the 30's and 40's.

At City Center yesterday Melinda Hesbacher attended and I asked her for her thoughts on the 70 year old musical. Here's what she had to say. "For the first time in my life I had the chance to experience the "old fashioned" musical. Strike Up The Band is everything Broadway is said to be - a rousing score full of showstoppers and wonderful dancing, a book that has the audience screaming with laughter and a cast that performs it all to perfection. The satire of a war begun over cheese doesn't have the same effect as it did 70 years ago, but it still had the audience laughing out loud and tapping their toes. Nothing but pure entertainment. The only down moment of the afternoon was the absence of Jere Shea. That disappointment didn't last long since his replacement was the talented Jason Danielly, last seen on Broadway in the title role of Candide. I was also pleased to see Ross Lehman and Kristin Chenoweth in supporting roles. Ross replaced Mark Linn-Baker in Forum last year and was possibly the best Hysterium since Jack Gilford. Kristen was last seen on Broadway as Prescious in Steel Pier. and she reminds me a bit of Bernadette Peters in Dames At Sea. I hope we see both these talented performers returning to Broadway soon. Overall, it was a wonderful performance."

Well, looks like Encores has done it again! If you live in the New York area, a subsciption is a must as tickets are very hard to come by. The perfomers work for scale to keep the costs down and the best thing is that you get to see shows that are rarely performed. All I want to know know is when are they going to do Carrie?

The Olivier Awards will be given out on Tuesday, Feb. 16th. They're the West End's equivalent to the Tony Awards. In the musical category Chicago and Lady In The Dark received most of the nominations, however, Chicago is not directly competing as it's a revival. Still, the Kander & Ebb musical may pick up some awards for Outstanding Musical Production, Best Actress in a Musical (Ruthie Henshall, Ute Lemper - both nominated), Best Actor in a Musical (Henry Goodman), Best Director (Walter Bobbie), and Choreography (Ann Reinking). Lady In The Dark is vying for the American Express Award for Best New Musical among others. Its biggest competition is Beauty and the Beast. Odd name for an award. Guess AmEx is a sponsor.

Auctions/Benefits BC/EFA is having their Teddy Bear auction today which we told you about a few columns ago. On Tuesday, Ron Dennis will play a benefit called Don't Grab The Gowns Until You See The Gurney at the New York Theater Workshop down on E. 4th Street. Anyone who has ever listened to the OBC of A Chorus Line knows Ron as he sang "Gimme the ball, gimme the ball." The evening is dedicated to Michael Bennett. Ron posted the announcement on our "All That Chat" forum about a week ago so this is just a friendly reminder to head on down on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 8 P.M. Information is available by calling (212) 674-4848.

Over on E-bay, the internet auction, I'm having great fun auctioning off Playbills. Already, I've sold three Phantom 10 Playbills and they're fetching over thirty dollars. Head on over if you'd like to bid as the proceeds go to charity. Among the Playbills are Where's Charlie from 1949 and I Am A Camera from 1952 which is the play that Cabaret is based on.( Use keyword Playbill' for your search and you'll find them.

Tidbits Cabaret cancelled the first two preview performances. Theater wasn't ready. Seems like they didn't have the seating set-up. This is one HOT ticket as it's the talk of the town!...Very good word of mouth on the revival of The Sound of Music which stars Rebecca Luker as Maria. Some score changes due to the impact of the film. Added will be "I Have Confidence" and "Something Good" replaces "An Ordinary Couple." ...Jackie, at the Belasco Theater, is in its final two weeks and is then London bound

Very clever ad in the Sunday Times with the quote "Is somebody there? Answer me!" White letters on a black box and that's it. No show title mentioned. If you head over to the listings you'll find the title of the show which stars Marisa Tomei, Quentin Tarantino and Stephen Lang. The thriller, Wait Until Dark, previews March 27th at the Brooks Atkinson.

Forget about going to see Linda Eder at Town Hall in her one night gig. It's SOLD OUT...

Along with today's column, you can also read Christina's World where she visits June Moon, Sound Advice and Michael Reynold's fourth installment of Broadway Bound.

And remember, You can only lift the darkness... When You Care!

See you Thursday!

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