In the before times, I got the opportunity, thanks in no small part to the wonderful Doug Shapiro (pictured above in the coffee cup attire), to be an off-stage singer for the opening number of what is now called The Red Bucket Follies, a fabulous fundraising event by the theatre community for those in the theatre community. I did three of those before I finally was able to join the other wonder Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS puts on, The Easter Bonnet Competition. In this event, Broadway (and off-broadway, touring, and affiliate organizations) compete in fundraising, but also with sketches and musical or dance numbers as well as bonnets: great big, beautiful Easter Bonnets.
The last time they did the Bonnet live was 2019, so it was such a thrill to be able to bring it back and be part of it once more. It was so great to join friends old and new as an offstage singer not only for the opening number, but also for the winning Phantom sketch (which included Phantom alum). And then, I got to return as a "bonnet walker". If a show doesn't have sketch, they'll have someone walk their bonnet for the Bonnet Parade mid show. I got to walk a bonnet in 2019, representing Revolucion Latina, but this year, not only did I walk it, I built it!
After years of helping build puppets and lanterns with Processional Arts Workshop, my husband offered to put those skills to use for The Easter Bonnet. We weren't sure we'd hear back at all, assuming all the shows' props or costume departments would be all over this, but then we got an email: could we build a bonnet for a show. And not just any show, but for Broadway sensation SIX. My son LOVES this show and was thrilled to be able to be part of the design process. Jeff, Ben, and I figured out a design, the show gave us fabric from the costumes to use as accents, and thus, using Coro-plast and hot glue, the "Crowning Glory" was born. It may not have won Best Bonnet, but I heard the cast jumped up and down when they saw it, so that is quite enough for me. :)
And it doesn't hurt to share the stage with Aaron Harrington of Little Shop of Horrors, Doug Shapiro, and J Harrison Ghee, and sing with James Jackson, and Howard McGillan among others. Hence the title of this post.
To see more about the event, including video with a soundtrack of the offstage singers(!) click HERE.
If you want to know more about, and donate to, Broadway Cares and all the good work they do, click HERE.
So, Binder wanted to mash up this one song with Butch Walker's "Can We Just Not Talk About Last Night", but realized that it was not going to work. THEN, Binder went to a brunch, brought up our plight to a couple of the folks there and one of them said, "Shallow," as in DUH. And then Charlie Puth came out with one heck of a breakup album which includes the song "Smells Like Me". After far too long, there was time to finally put it all together and thus, the "mashup of shame" was born. And you can check it out, HERE.
It's official. A few weeks back I got the offer and now I can start talking about it! I will be traveling up to Tamworth, NH at the end up June to play Mother Superior in Nunsense at the legendary Barnstormers Theatre. I am SO excited to head up there to do this show, and not just because I will have access to Rosie's Diner. The cast is exceptional and this is going to be a very good time. Come on UP June 30th-July9th and get up to some Nunsense with us!
Speaking of some fun and silliness, I got to be part of Emily Winter's fab fundraiser for Shelter Chic animal shelter, ONE LINER MADNESS. Well, I was the seeing eye human for Eric Vetter as he got to compete. 64 comics compete to win with one liners and it is amazing to watch comics work that special skill.
Before that, I had the pleasure to sing at The Rigano Songbook's 9th Annual Ides of March Extravaganza which featured new voices and new music and after several years got to bring back their song Five Months which will literally make you laugh and make you cry.
In the meantime, I've been at New York Medical College in service to budding doctors as a standardized patient, and I had a whirlwind trip to Boston with my son (Newbury Comics Forever!).
This weekend, it's all about Holy Week. We will have a gorgeous Good Friday service tonight starting at 5:30 featuring the Easter part of The Messiah and closing with a mashup put together by my partner in mashup crime, the inimitable Richard Binder. Doug Shapiro, Brian Long, Binder and I - aka Shlongdersuze- will sing this piece and...it should be seen. Catch it live at Madison Avenue Baptist Church or stream it on the Tube of You at MABCNYC's channel.
And hey, if you could use this merry, mixed, mezzo for your project, hit that 'contact' button and let's talk!
Peace ☮️ ✌🏽
When not pandemibaking...
I have finally started a website! I just got these beautiful new headshots done by L Morgan Lee of BLUEphotography, and at last have a place to display them.
I've also been getting this self-tape thing DOWN. Madison Avenue Baptist Church, with whom I've been the alto for going on twelve years, like most churches, has gone virtual, so we are making videos of solos and hymns for the time being. (Someday, I'll release an outtake reel.)
There've been other opportunities, as well, for practicing this process: virtual choir and concert videos.
I've been lucky enough to work with Prospect Theatre Company and, thus, was asked to be part of their lovely video featuring Peter Mills' tune "Two Buoys". (I come in with the alto part and drums>)
Next, a dear friend - a jazz musician and choir director, presently living in Italy - started up Singers Without Borders and asked me to be part of this uplifting number: How Can I Keep From Singing?
Lastly, The Rigano Songbook asked 42(!) of their closest friends to help out with this wonderful song about an all too relevant and growing segment of our lives as we try to communicate with proper social distancing: Screen To Screen
The Rigano has a concert planned for 3/13...and then the world shut down. But far be it for them to not have a show. Yes, the Ides of March Extravaganza is now the Ides of APRIL and will be in virtual form. When those videos go up, I'll be sure to share here.
In the meantime, contact me here if you would like me to be part of YOUR virtual - and/or, eventually, LIVE - project.
Alexandra de Suze is a singer, actor, drummer who also writes a bit and occasionally makes silly videos