Caroling for a Cause

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Broadway stars come out to raise money for AIDS with annual album

The Fifteenth volume of Broadway’s “Carols for a Cure” CD is available now and this year’s edition is another show-stopping collection of holiday music. A fabulous mix tape of seasonal songs, this 2-disc anthology featuring performers from original Broadway cast productions riffing on holiday classics. There are parodies, such as “Carol of the Boots” by the company of the Tony Award-winning Kinky Boots, and traditional chestnuts, such as “The First Noel” performed by the cast of The Lion King. There is even a terrific rendition of Adam Sandler “The Chanukah Song” by the cast of The Soul Doctor, the short-lived show about the singing rabbi, Shlomo Carlebach.

On the phone from her home in New York, Lynn Pinto, who produced the CD, spoke about the albums, which have raised millions of dollars over the years for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.”

“It began when I was working on a production of The Sound of Music. I was dating the sound guy, and we were going to put a CD together of just the nuns in the show performing holiday songs for friends and family. We did a sweet recording, and then decided to get a bunch of professionally packaged CDs and do it for Broadway Cares. We were surprised at how much money we raised. The following year, The Sound of Music had closed, so we had the idea to have each show contribute a song.”

While Pinto has music directors coordinate, who is going to sing what, she gives the performers plenty of freedom to be creative. “I don’t dictate what they can or can’t do,” she said, adding, “It’s my job to get them on board and make them sound great.”

And sound great they do. The Chicago track, “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” is done in the style of an old-time radio sketch; the Motown songs, “Deck the Halls, It’s Christmas/Come on Home” feature the performers who play Smokey Robinson and Gladys Knight in the show. “That was done on purpose, to showcase the style of the show,” Pinto observed.

The performers have the pipes, and “Carols for a Cure” gives them the chance to flex muscles that don’t necessarily use doing the same show eight times a week. One highlight of the CD is by Julie Foldesi from the show Newsies. She performs the original song “Take Me to Manhattan in December.”

Pinto acknowledged, “It’s a beautiful track that the singer wrote herself. It was so touching for her to coordinate this and make it happen.”

Pinto also was pleased that Reeve Carney, Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, recorded “A Savior is Born” two days before he left the show’s company.

Then there is Perez Hilton, who became involved in “Carols for a Cure” last year, and wanted to perform again this year, even though he wasn’t in a current production. His track, “Perez’ 2013 Holiday Dishlist,” has the gossipy blogger singing about all the great shows on the Great White Way.

Pinto gushed, “Perez loves Broadway and wants to be a part of it. We thought he’d be way too busy to do this, but he did it--and he really did his homework.”

Broadway’s Carols for a Cure, Volume 15 can be ordered for $23 from broadwaycares.org, or by calling 212-840-0770 x 238 Mon-Fri 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 BC/EFA has raised more than $225 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.

Broadway Cares awards annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide and is the major supporter of the social service programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative, the Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic, The Dancers’ Resource and the Stage Managers’ Project.Gary M. Kramer


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