BIRDLAND presents 14TH ANNUAL engagement "A SWINGING BIRDLAND CHRISTMAS" - starring BLACKHURST, CARUSO and STRITCH - for 5 SHOWS, 12/21-25
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 10:46 am EST 11/20/23

BIRDLAND JAZZ CLUB

PRESENTS

THE 14 TH ANNUAL ENGAGEMENT

" A SWINGING BIRDLAND CHRISTMAS"

STARRING

KLEA BLACKHURST, JIM CARUSO AND BILLY STRITCH

FIVE PERFORMANCES – DECEMBER 21 TO DECEMBER 25

THE DECEMBER 22 SHOW WILL BE

AVAILABLE AS A SPECIAL LIVESTREAM

BIRDLAND JAZZ CLUB will present the 14th Annual "A Swinging Birdland Christmas" – starring vocalists Klea Blackhurst, Jim Caruso, and Billy Stritch – for five performances from Thursday, December 21 to Monday, December 25 at 5:30 PM. The December 22 show will be available as a special livestream, with tickets available HERE. This wildly successful extravaganza has been celebrating the holidays at this historic music room since 2010. In the tradition of beloved seasonal specials, the trio of singers will perform swinging arrangements of "The Christmas Waltz," Kay Thompson's "Holiday Season," "Sleigh Ride," "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm," "Snow," and "It Happened in Sun Valley," among other favorites. The show will also include a musical tribute to Birdland regular Freddy Cole, who was also a holiday tradition. The vocalists will be joined by Steve Doyle on bass and Daniel Glass on drums. The Deluxe Edition of their popular album Christmas at Birdland, produced by Wayne Haun on the Club44 Records label, will be available at the show. There is a $30-40 music charge. Birdland is located at 315 West 44th Street in New York.

Klea Blackhurst is an actress, singer, and comedienne known for her award-winning tribute to Ethel Merman, Everything the Traffic Will Allow. She recently appeared Off-Broadway with Hayley Mills in the comedy Party Face, at City Center Stage 2. She starred as Miss Lemon in the Nashville premiere of The Nutty Professor, directed by the legendary Jerry Lewis and featuring a score by Marvin Hamlisch and Rupert Holmes. She's performed with symphony orchestras and in theatrical productions across the country and abroad including the London Palladium presentation of Jerry Herman's Broadway, with Angela Lansbury, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra tribute to Marvin Hamlisch, 15 Mabel Mercer Cabaret Conventions, New York's Town Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Chicago Humanities Festival and as Ado Annie in the BBC Proms concert of Oklahoma! On television Klea has appeared in Ryan Murphy's "Pose" and "The Knick" on Showtime. She spent two seasons on the IFC Channel comedy series "Onion News Network." Klea recently debuted her new show "One of the Girls: The Words and Music of Jerry Herman" at Birdland Theater.

Jim Caruso is the host of "Jim Caruso's Cast Party," the wildly popular weekly open mic night that has brought a sprinkling of Broadway glitz and urbane wit to Birdland in New York City every Monday night since 2003. Eric Adams, the Mayor of the City of New York, recently proclaimed, "Whereas, I am enormously proud to lead a city renowned as a global capital of the arts, ‘Jim Caruso's Cast Party' has enriched our dynamic cultural landscape since 2003, and on the occasion of its 20th anniversary, I am pleased to recognize the weekly show's tremendous contributions to our performing arts and nightlife sectors." "Cast Party" has been seen at Jazz at Lincoln Center, across the country, and, most recently, on YouTube as "Pajama Cast Party." Jim made his Broadway debut alongside Liza Minnelli in the Tony Award-winning Liza's at the Palace!, singing, dancing and celebrating the music and arrangements of Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers. He has won six MAC Awards and eight BroadwayWorld Awards for his work in nightclubs, performed with the New York Pops in a tribute to Kander & Ebb, with Rosemary Clooney celebrating Bing Crosby, and sang the songs of Hope & Crosby with Michael Feinstein at Carnegie Hall. Jim was honored to sing with Barbara Cook, Lauren Bacall, and a bevy of Broadway stars at President Clinton's First State Dinner at the White House. He also books and produces the "Broadway at Birdland" concert series, and performs regularly with Billy Stritch at Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle Hotel. Jim's two albums, The Swing Set and Caruso Live and In Person, are available online.

Billy Stritch is a pianist-singer who has been a presence on the New York and national nightclub scene for nearly four decades. He began his career in Houston, Texas, where he formed the vocal trio Montgomery, Plant and Stritch. The threesome performed all over New York and Europe from 1983 until they parted ways in 1990. That same year, Billy started his solo performing career. A chance meeting with Liza Minnelli in March of 1991 resulted in her asking him to create vocal arrangements for the record-breaking extravaganza Liza Stepping Out at Radio City Music Hall. In addition to his 25-year collaboration as accompanist and opening act for Liza, Billy toured with the legendary Tony Bennett as his pianist and musical director. A solo entertainer in his own right, he has performed his own shows (including tributes to Mel Tormé and Cy Coleman) in concert halls and nightclubs across the country and his 2022 solo run at New York's legendary Birdland Jazz Club was named Best Jazz Vocal Engagement by BroadwayWorld. Billy is a highly sought after accompanist, currently working with such leading vocalists as Linda Eder, Marilyn Maye, Linda Lavin, Christine Ebersole, and Ann Hampton Callaway. He is the co-writer of the number one Grammy-winning song "Does He Love You" recorded by Reba McEntire and Linda Davis. Lightning struck twice for this song as a new version was released in 2021 by Reba and the legendary Dolly Parton. When he's not on the road, Billy is the pianist for Jim Caruso's Cast Party open mic night every Monday at Birdland and he and Jim hold forth on Sunday nights at Bemelmans' Bar in Manhattan's fabled Carlyle Hotel. During Covid 19, he created his own weekly Facebook live-stream show "Billy's Place", celebrating the great American songbook with songs and stories from his varied career. He has recorded five solo CDs and his latest release Billy's Place (Club44 Records) is a collection of his favorite songs from these online concerts. Follow Billy on Instagram @billystritch.

BIRDLAND JAZZ CLUB will present the 14th Annual engagement of "A Swinging Birdland Christmas" for five performances from Thursday, December 21 to Monday, December 25 at 5:30 PM. There is a $30-40 music charge and a $20 food and beverage minimum. Birdland Jazz Club is located at 315 West 44th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues) in Manhattan. For reservations, please call (212) 581-3080 or visit www.BirdlandJazz.com.

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UPCOMING HIGHLIGHTS AT

BIRDLAND THEATER AND BIRDLAND JAZZ CLUB

Every Monday at 9:30 PM – Birdland Jazz Club

Jim Caruso's Cast Party

"Jim Caruso's Cast Party," a New York institution for two decades, is a wildly popular weekly open mic night/variety show that has brought a sprinkling of Broadway glitz and urbane wit to Birdland since 2003. Called "show-business heaven" by The New York Times and "the gold-standard of open mic nights" by The Wall Street Journal, "Cast Party" presents a potent mix of Broadway stars, jazz swingers and cabaret legends, in addition to new faces and rising talent from every genre. The buoyant, sharp and charming Caruso guides the entire affair, while musical genius Billy Stritch (Liza Minnelli, Tony Bennett) holds court at the ivories and leads the Cast Party Symphony Orchestra (Steve Doyle on bass and Daniel Glass on drums). Eric Adams, the Mayor of the City of New York, recently proclaimed, "Whereas, I am enormously proud to lead a city renowned as a global capital of the arts, ‘Jim Caruso's Cast Party' has enriched our dynamic cultural landscape since 2003, and on the occasion of its 20th anniversary, I am pleased to recognize the weekly show's tremendous contributions to our performing arts and nightlife sectors."

$30 + $20 food/drink minimum

Every Tuesday at 8:30 PM – Birdland Theater

The Lineup with Susie Mosher

"The Lineup with Susie Mosher" is a wild, anything-goes variety show featuring entertainers from the Broadway, cabaret and comedy scenes, ranging from today's hottest headliners to the best up-and-coming stars of tomorrow. Mosher – the noted actress and singer from Broadway and beyond, called "one of those talents you need to see to believe" by Time Out New York – hosts the spontaneous extravaganza every Tuesday, and each Lineup is unique and promises to deliver an unforgettable night of quintessential New York City entertainment.

$20 + $20 food/drink minimum


November 14 (Tuesday) 8:30 PM – Birdland Theater

AC Lincoln

Singer and tap dancer AC Lincoln is a modern day song and dance man, and this outing will find him and his swoon-worthy quintet delighting the audience with swinging renditions of jazz standards and sultry ballads. The native New Yorker was born to jazz singing duo parents Kim and Marion Lincoln Landing on the scene in NYC, AC soon shared the stage with tap dance greats including Buster Brown, Jimmy Slyde, and Savion Glover. He has shared the family stage with his sister, widely acclaimed singer and songwriter Emily King, and has been writing, producing, arranging, and singing his own original music. Lincoln has been both a sideman (The Hot Sardines, Mercedes Ellington, Brian Newman) and band leader, singing and tap dancing throughout NYC and abroad.

$30 tables / $20 bar + $20 food/drink minimum

November 20 (Monday) 7:00 PM – Birdland Jazz Club

Karen Akers – "Water Under the Bridge"

Singer and actress Karen Akers will return with her concert featuring musical director Alex Rybeck. Akers takes a look back at some of the songs that first brought her acclaim in cabaret as well as on Broadway, television, and recordings — works by Craig Carnelia, Maury Yeston, Edith Piaf, and Stephen Sondheim, among other treasures. Akers is one of America's more arresting and successful concert stars. She is the recipient of the 2005 New York Nightlife Award for Outstanding Female Cabaret Vocalist, as well as the 2009 Nightlife Legend Award. Ms. Akers has appeared in many prestigious venues worldwide, including Carnegie Hall and The Hollywood Bowl, as well as the Cafe Carlyle and The Oak Room at The Algonquin Hotel. She has taken her music to the south of France, Russia, and Barcelona's Liceu Opera House. She appeared on Broadway as one of the original stars of the Tony Award-winning musical Grand Hotel. She made her debut on the Great White Way in the original production of Nine, receiving a Tony nomination and a Theatre World Award.

$40 tables / $30 bar + $20 food/drink minimum

December 11 (Monday) 7:00 PM – Birdland Jazz Club

Karen Mason – "Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!"

With Karen's unique interpretations of holiday classics, old and new, the holidays will never be the same. Sassy, brassy, and tinged with confessional monologues, this show includes a slinky arrangement of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," a heartfelt "I'll Be Home for Christmas," and more. The show will be directed by Barry Kleinbort, and features music direction by Christopher Denny on piano, with Tom Hubbard on bass. Mason is the star of Broadway's Mamma Mia!, Wonderland, Hairspray, and Sunset Boulevard, as well as the first US tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Love Never Dies. She is the also the recipient of the 2019 MAC Lifetime Achievement Award. She has graced the stages of Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and The Drury Lane Oakbrook, as well as Royal Albert Hall in London. She has eight albums, including her latest release Let the Music Play, featuring the title song from Paul Rolnick and David Friedman.

$40 tables / $40 bar + $20 food/drink minimum
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