As CEO of Concert Window, my days are full of calls, emails, and conversations, followed by a few hours of monitoring webcasts each night. I don’t have much time to get out. But I’m glad I did this past Thursday night, because I witnessed one of the most incredible hours of entertainment I’ve ever seen.
And so (hopefully) did you – since this was a live webcast from Billy Stritch’s apartment, featuring Billy and his good friend Jim Caruso. If you’re not familiar with Billy, he has performed with Liza Minnelli for years, he has starred in Broadway’s 42nd Street, and he even found time to pen a Grammy-award winning country song. Jim Caruso is a Broadway star of his own, having won a Tony award in 2009 as part of Liza’s at the Palace, and he runs the hit weekly “Cast Party” series at Birdland.
I was lucky enough to tag along to help with tech for Thursday’s show. Christine Lavin was the mastermind behind the show, having done a few successful webshows of her own before urging Jim and Billy to try one themselves.
With us few lucky guests hunkered down in the apartment, the guys sat down at the piano and began to sing, play, and chat with the online audience. Jim mentioned that he was unsure of what to expect – they had never done anything like this before.
Well they had the hang of it within about 10 seconds. Pretty soon they were laughing uproariously at the comments coming in; and I have to say it was a particularly witty audience. People were watching all the way from Hong Kong. As Billy said, “Does that mean they’ve already seen the show?”
I was on the couch, monitoring the feed and making sure everything was running smoothly. I was snapped out of it when Billy hit the first couple notes on the piano. Sometimes you take it for granted why musicians are as well known as they are. And then you hear music like this in person. Every note in the right place… every pause at the right time… both Billy and Jim were operating at another level, where technicalities were forgotten and the music was speaking on a higher plane.
That’s why we all love live music – moments like that. I hope the sheer enjoyment of the evening came through online. Judging by the reviews, it looks like it did!
And here's a behind-the-scenes video that Christine Lavin made:
(Photo credit: Justin “Squigs” Robertson)