Birdland has announced the third year of "A Swinging Birdland Christmas," starring Birdland regulars KLea Blackhurst, Jim Caruso and Billy Stritch. This will be a limited engagement of 6 performances, Friday, December 21 through Tuesday, December 25. All shows are at 6pm, except for the Monday and Tuesday, with 7pm and 10pm shows.
In the tradition of beloved seasonal specials, Blackhurst, Caruso and Stritch will perform swinging arrangements of "Christmas Waltz," Kay Thompson's "Holiday Season," "Sleigh Ride," and "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm" among other favorites. The singers will be joined by the Birdland Jazz Quartet (Stritch on piano, John Hart on guitar, Paul Gil on bass, Carmen Intorre on drums) and Special Guest Jazz Violinist, Aaron Weinstein.
KLea Blackhurst was recently seen starring in the Nashville production of The Nutty Professor, directed by Jerry Lewis. She was also seen on television, featured as Shelby Cross, former prosecutor and hypercritical pundit on the IFC Channel comedy series, "The Onion News Network." Her vast theatre credits include Rose inGypsy, Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes, as well as the role of Debbie, the perpetually enthusiastic drummer in the original Off Broadway production of Oil City Symphony. Blackhurst is best known for her acclaimed tribute to Ethel Merman, "Everything the Traffic Will Allow," that has been charming audiences and critics alike nationwide since its New York debut in 2001. Among many accolades, this production earned her the inaugural Special Achievement Award from "Time Out New York" magazine. The recording of Everything the Traffic Will Allow was named one of the top ten show albums of 2002 by Talkin' Broadway.com.
Jim Caruso recently made his Broadway debut alongside Liza Minnelli in the Tony Award-winning smash hit Liza's At The Palace!, singing, dancing and celebrating the music and arrangements of the late, great Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers. For his nightclub work, Caruso has won six MAC and two BackStage Bistro Awards for his sold-out New York shows at Birdland, the Algonquin Hotel, and Arci's Place; and has also performed in runs at the Gardenia and Cinegrill in Los Angeles, The Vic Theater in Chicago, Libby's in Atlanta, the Colony Palm Beach Hotel and the Connaught Room in London. He sang with the New York Pops in an all-star tribute to Kander & Ebb at Carnegie Hall, and returned to "The Hall" in a tribute to Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, hosted by Michael Feinstein. Jim and his vocal trio, Wiseguys, were invited to sing at President Clinton's First State Dinner at the White House, and celebrated Bing Crosby in concert at Carnegie Hall with Rosemary Clooney. For the past eight years, he has hosted a Monday night showbiz bash called "Jim Caruso's Cast Party," which was honored with a New York Nightlife Award, as was his Broadway at Birdland concert series. His new cd, "The Swing Set," was released on January 11, 2011.