Thursday, December 5, 2013

2013 Interview with Brian Childers

I first reeled with joy in 2007 when Brian Childers starred at the El Portal Theatre in NoHo in a full-length musical about the life of Danny Kaye. Now he's back and presenting his one-man show An Evening with Danny Kaye again at the El Portal for two performances only on December 31.

How many incarnations of the Danny Kaye show have you done? 

Well, since 2000 when Danny and Sylvia started I guess 4 total. There was the original Danny and Sylvia in Washington D.C., The Kid from Brooklyn which toured for over 2 years, Danny and Sylvia 2.0 Off Broadway for 3 years, which I like to call it, and now An Evening with Danny Kaye. Totaling 13 years on and off playing Danny Kaye.

Talk about the trimmed down version at St. Luke's in New York. I know you had a lot of success with it, because it ran for a long time. 

After The Kid from Brooklyn closed in Chicago and there were no further plans for the show, I was approached to bring Danny and Sylvia off Broadway. Feedback over the years for Danny and Sylvia was that there weren't enough of Danny'signature songs. So we did just that, we went back and added songs like “The Malajusted Jester”, “Ballin the Jack”, “Melody in 4 F”, and “Dinah”. We still kept the integrity of Bob Mcelwaine's book and Bob Bain's score, but just inserting these moments is what I believe kept the show running for three years at St. Luke's Theatre in NYC. 

Is the concert you are doing on the 31st based on that show or is it different? If yes, how so?

The show on the 31st is basically just as the title says An Evening with Danny Kaye. The idea behind this show is based on Danny's one man concerts that he toured with for years. It is as if the audience is going to see Danny perform at the Palace, or at the Palladium. It is a bit more updated with some modern projections and video. The evening at its core is Danny performing all of his greatest hits. Of course the classics will be there: “Tchaikovsky”, “Minnie the Moocher”, “Ballin the Jack” but I get to tackle songs I have always wanted to sing. Songs such as "The Gypsy Drinking Song" from The Inspector General, "The Lobby Number" from Up in Arms, and of course songs from White Christmas

 What has attracted you to Danny and his material through the years?

I love the material. The material is just brilliant and a sheer pleasure for any actor to perform. Also, it's very rare when an actor can connect to a performer and his work so deeply. I am privileged to have had Danny come into my life. He has certainly changed it for the better. 

Any future plans for the concert or the Danny show in 2014?

I have performed the show in Washington D.C., South Carolina, and now Los Angeles. My hope is that this show goes all over the country. The show is basically myself and a piano and can be performed in any venue. I also have this not so secret desire to take the show to London where Danny was a hit at the Palladium. It would be a dream.come.true. 

What else have you been up to since we last spoke? You did a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. How was that? What else? What other shows have kept you busy?

Since I last saw you I have been so fortunate. Of course Danny and Sylvia ran for three years and that kept me busy. I did perform at the Hollywood Bowl for three nights with the L.A. Philharmonic as part of the 50 year anniversary of the Dodgers Baseball Team. I performed two numbers and did Danny Kaye's "The Dodger's Song". It was beyond thrilling. I actually sang at Dodger's Stadium for a game. In New York I have been lucky enough to have been a part of some new work and world premieres, concerts and cabarets. I have been blessed to have been so busy. 

Anything else you care to add?

I am so excited to be returning after 5 years to the EL Portal Theatre. I love Peggy (Forrest) and Jay (Irwin) and in a way feel like I am coming back home. 
The new show is directed by Stephen Nachamie with music direction by Jeff Biering. I am thrilled to be working with both as they are very respected in the New York community. Stephen brings fresh eyes to something that I have been doing for so long. He makes me look at Danny's performance with a renewed excitement. 

At the link below, check out our interview from 2008:

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