WBGO Blog
  • Dee Dee Bridgewater Stars in Lady Day - Benefit for WBGO

    August 1, 2013. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    WBGO Benefit Event Brings Exclusive Broadway Experience as
    Dee Dee Bridgewater Stars in Lady Day
    Jessye Norman, Honorary Chair and Hostess

    Dee Dee Bridgewater, photo by Carol Rosegg
    Dee Dee Bridgewater as Billie Holiday, photo by Carol Rosegg

    Tuesday, September 24, 2013, 7pm
    Times Square’s Little Shubert Theatre
    (422 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues)


    All proceeds from the September 24 preview performance ONLY benefit
    WBGO and The Actors Fund.

    Tony and Grammy Award® winner Dee Dee Bridgewater brings the essence and spirit of the late, great Billie Holiday to the stage this fall. Told through onstage triumphs and backstage personal trials, Lady Day tells the inspired and heart-wrenching story of Billie's attempt at a final comeback performance. Premium seats to this exclusive event will include a pre-show cocktail reception and post-show talk back.

    TICKET PRICES:

    Seating: $88 Ticket Includes post-show talk back
    BUY TICKETS: Visit Broadway Offers
    and use the code WBGO

    Premium Seating: $250 Ticket Includes premium seating (in first 8 rows of theater), pre-show cocktail reception (5:30pm) and post-show talk back
    BUY TICKETS: Visit
    The Actors Fund Store
    or EMAIL: tickets@actorsfund.org
    When emailing or leaving voice mail, please include name, address, phone, number of tickets, and we will confirm your order.

    *Telecharge service and handling fees will apply to purchases of the $88 tickets unless purchased at the Little Shurbert Theatre Box Office in person.

    CALL: 212.221.7300 ext. 133.  Ticket line hours: Monday – Friday, 10 am - 4:30 pm.

    You can pay by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, check and money order payments. All sales are final. Please remember that these tickets are solely for the benefit of WBGO and The Actors Fund and tickets cannot be exchanged, refunded or re-sold.

    Jessye Norman (photo by Carol Friedman)

    Just announced (8/28/13) JESSYE NORMAN will be Honorary Chair and Hostess of the evening!

    David Ayers
    David Ayers
    Jim Cammack
    James Cammack

    Ms. Bridgewater will be joined by David Ayers (Wicked and SILENCE!) in the role of "Robert," Billie Holiday's Manager and newcomer Rafael Poueriet in the role of the "Assistant Stage manager."

    James Cammack, veteran bass player for legendary jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal, tenor saxophonist Ken Hitchcock, who has played for legendary drummers Elvin Jones and Buddy Rich, Jerome Jennings (performer & drummer for Benny Golson and Sonny Rollins) and Bill Jolly (three-time Emmy Award winning pianist/composer/arranger) complete the acting ensemble  in the roles of onstage musicians.

    Written and directed by Stephen Stahl, the musical will make its New York debut having been produced at the Theatre de Boulogne-Billancourt and Theatre du Gymnase Marie Bell in Paris as well as The Donmar Warehouse and The Piccadilly Theatre in London, where it received critical praise and garnered an Olivier “Best Actress in a Musical” Award nomination for Ms. Bridgewater. Produced by Misty Road Productions the show’s creative team also includes Mr. Jolly, who will also serve as musical director.

  • Goodbye Oscar Peterson

    December 27, 2007. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Oscar Peterson

    Oscar Peterson 1925-2007

    Sometimes you're just not ready for a particular artist or a piece of music.

    That was my first experience with Oscar Peterson. I wasn't ready for it. The sound was simply overwhelming. Too many notes. Pianistic pyrotechnics, at least to my inexperienced ears. My comfort zone at that time was the lilting sway of Red Garland, the impeccable touch of Wynton Kelly, the lonely lyricism of Bill Evans. Basically, any piano player that Miles Davis endorsed.

    And Miles was less than kind when it came to descriptions of Oscar Peterson. "Nearly everything he plays," said Davis, "he plays with the same degree of force. He leaves no holes for the rhythm section."

    So I ignored Oscar Peterson for too long. But neglecting Oscar wasn't easy, and it didn't last. He was a prolific performer, and he began to creep into my peripheral vision more and more. He was everywhere. Ella and Louis - check. Diz and Getz - check. Prez and Lady Day - yup.

    I kept getting closer to the source. In 2000, I worked on Jazz From Lincoln Center with Ed Bradley. We recorded a "Duet on the Hudson" from the Kaplan Penthouse in New York. Ray Brown and Monty Alexander. I interviewed them both for the eventual radio show. Ray Brown talked about the great duet record with Jimmy Blanton and Duke Ellington. Then the conversation turned into an Oscar ceremony - his admiration for bassist Oscar Pettiford, and his longtime association with pianist Oscar Peterson. Monty Alexander started in about Nat Cole, and eventually landed on Oscar Peterson.

    I remember a moment during Martin Scorsese's THE BLUES series a few years later. During the episode that Clint Easwood directed, "Piano Blues," Ray Charles gave a ringing endorsement to Oscar Peterson's skill, one that I'll allow you to discover for yourself. Let's just say it contained a fairly colorful phrase that the FCC would not consider "family-friendly."

    Anyway, I owe thanks to Brother Ray for redirecting me to the Oscar Peterson Trio. I dug into those classic recordings of Peterson, Ray Brown, and drummer Ed Thigpen. Boy, do they swing (I know that word is highly charged, so I don't use it lightly). I still haven't heard all of those trio records. But the trio recording NIGHT TRAIN, THE SOUND OF THE TRIO, LIVE FROM CHICAGO, WE GET REQUESTS, VERY TALL, TRIO +1, and the bushel of songbook records are a still a joy to visit.

    One session that comes to mind is the date that the trio recorded with the master arranger Nelson Riddle. They sounded so restrained, or better, so composed. All that finger-breaking technique at Oscar Peterson's disposal, yet he plays some of the most unadorned piano I ever heard him play. The B side of the record ends with Benny Goodman's classic signoff - Gordon Jenkins' "Goodbye." Great stuff.

    Oscar Peterson signed off recently. He played music for a living. He played himself, for us. I'm glad I discovered that.

    Goodbye, Oscar Peterson.