Posts Tagged ‘rock’


“It’s My Party” at the Theatre

April 9, 2010

A guest blog by Marketing & PR Intern Alex Smith

Young girls across America belted out the words “it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to” at some point in their lives. Whether it was with girlfriends, or alone singing into their hairbrushes, something about the song sympathizes with the angst of young love. In my experience, “It’s My Party” played a large part during my 16th birthday party. After all, “Johnny” leaving hand-in-hand with “Judy” is devastating at that age. Lesley Gore recorded “It’s My Party” in 1963, but every girl to sing it since continues to prove that the song is timeless.

“It’s My Party” was nominated for a Grammy Award for rock and roll recording. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. Other Lesley Gore hits include “Judy’s Turn to Cry” (the sequel to “It’s My Party”), “You Don’t Own Me,” “She’s A Fool,” and “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows.” These and other singles made it to the top of the charts in the mid 1960s.

Besides chart-topping hits, what does Lesley Gore have in common with Michael Jackson? Well, no, there is no punch line. The answer is a fact: Quincy Jones. That’s right, one of the most famous producers in American music. Thriller may be the source of much of his fame now, but Quincy Jones worked with Lesley Gore first. He helped discover the 16-year old and produced “It’s My Party.”

On Saturday, May 1, those who used to sing the relatable song in their bedroom mirrors will have the chance to sing along once more, this time with Lesley Gore when she performs as part of Richard Nader’s Sold Gold Rock and Roll Show.


“Backstage Access” – From The Belly of The Beast Part 2

December 10, 2009

By Larry Dember, State Theatre Director of Production

Once upon a time a long long time ago, I lived in a town called Massapequa.

Many famous people have hailed from the land of the Pequas such as: Jerry Seinfeld (my sister was in Hebrew school car pool and graduated with him), Neil Diamond, the Baldwin’s (their Dad was my football coach/social studies teacher), Twisted Sister, Eliot Eastman (the Cars guitarist), the Baldinger Brothers (Pro football players) , Andre Eglevsky (ballet dancer), Carlo Gambino, John Gotti, Steve Guttenberg, Marvin Hamlisch, Ron Kovic (I played in a band with his brother Jack at the New York Times 4th of July release party for his brothers book, Born on the Fourth of July), Bob Nelson, Helen Slater (spent a couple of Thanksgivings with her at her cousin Hunt Bresky’s house), and of course, all three of the Stray Cats.

I was in a band with Lee (Leon Drucker) Rocker in high school but we kicked him out because he was not a great bass player and had a bad attitude (I hear things have not changed). James McDonnell, aka “Slim Jim Phantom” is the drummer for the Stray Cats and was in an original jazzy band that beat my band in the Nassau County finals of the battle of the bands. Great drummer. A founding member of that band was Brian Setzer. It was my pleasure to present him in concert last week here at the State Theatre in New Brunswick.

When Brian was a young teen he would take guitar lessons at my buddy Ralph Agresta’s (nationally accomplished guitarist/songwriter/teacher/vocalist) music store. We all knew Brian was different and very, very skilled, even at 16. I remember going over his house one day and he had just come back from Brooklyn shopping for guitars and he had bought a Dan-Electro double neck bass and six string. Another week, he came into school with his hair dyed bright orange. Back then he was playing the hell out of Zeppelin, Queen, Bowie, and Deep Purple. He was a rock god on guitar. One day in our senior year I was sitting in the little theater at school watching auditions for the Senior Variety show and Brian took the stage with his band and sang “Communication Breakdown” and “Ziggy Stardust”. I was so blown away from the energy and talent exhibited. It is a feeling that I get whenever I see a real virtuoso. His band played the show and dressed like Kiss and rocked the house. In the next years, I had the pleasure of jamming with him at a party and some late night basement jams. He was doing a lot of hard rock and was putting together a punk band called Bloodless Pharaohs. Not my taste at all and we went our separate ways. Mine was the business side of music, his was the UK and reinventing Rockabilly, playing with Robert Plant, touring the world, selling millions of records and winning three out of 7 Grammy nominations.

It must be about 15 years since I saw Brian out at a trade show in California. Last week when I sat with him in his dressing room and we talked about old friends, girlfriends, and jams I told him how proud all of us non-celebrities from Massapequa are of him. He was very humble and gracious as always. You can see in his face that he has led a fun packed life, playing thousands of shows all over the world. It took all my power and restraint not to remind him my band Starfire beat his band in the Massapequa High School Battle of The Bands in 1977. So what he sold millions of records and won 3 Grammys. I didn’t want to rub that old wound in his face, especially before he took the stage for an amazing night of music to a packed house.


A Brief Q&A with Michael Cavanaugh

July 14, 2009

A brief Q&A with musician Michael Cavanaugh, the original Piano Man in Broadway’s Movin’ Out on his upcoming tour and his new CD, In Color

How long have you been playing the piano? And did you always want to play the piano? I have been playing since I was 7. My parents purchased a piano for my Mom and immediately loved it and started playing. When I showed up to my first piano lesson I played “It’s still Rock & Roll to me”. Then my first lesson was something like “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” I wasn’t that interested. I wound up being a poor piano student.

How did it feel to be hand-picked by Billy Joel to star in Movin’ Out?
It was unreal. It was the kind of thing I imagined when I was a kid.

Can you tell us about your new album In Color?
My new CD was one of the greatest experiences I have had making music as we teamed up with producer Rob Mathes and have some great originals as well as some interpretations of some classic songs by Billy Joel, Led Zeppelin, Pete Townsend, Bob Dylan, and others. We also received a great distribution deal so it is available at iTunes,, as well as Best Buy and Borders. I will be out front after the show at the State Theatre signing CD’s too!

What’s has been your most memorable performance? What town/city was it in?
There have been many, if I had to pick a few, I would pick playing on stage with Billy Joel in Cleveland, Ohio (my hometown) during one of his shows. Others of note would be the first symphony performance I did with the Indianapolis Symphony because they had such belief in the project and that first night was incredible. And obviously my first night on Broadway was pretty special 🙂

What are some of the bands/artists that you are listening to right now?
The Beatles, John Mayer, Daughtry, The Eagles, The Who

Would you ever consider performing on Broadway again?
Who knows, I never say never. For now, I have many other projects that I am working on. A new symphony show (Generations of Rock-n-Roll), a new Vegas show (hoping to debut this fall), as well as a tour in the Far East. I plan on having a long career so you never know.

Michael Cavanaugh performs with a full band at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ on Thursday, July 16 at 8pm.

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW(7469) or visit Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace.


Rocking Opera Like No Other Group – East Village Opera Company

February 26, 2009
Opera? Rock? How about Opera rocked? Yes, music fans, there is a new genre of music where 300 year old arias are being re-imagined and re-worked as Rock songs. And the group leading the way is East Village Opera Company. With their leather pants and kick-ass performances, East Village is making waves across the music industry with their unique and explosive new sound. They even have the Grammy nominations to prove it! And, classical and rock fans alike are loving it!
Check out the video below and see for yourself!

East Village Opera Company performs live at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ, on Friday, April 3 at 8pm.

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW(7469) or visit

Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace.