"Boys' Night Out: Songs
for Lovers" is an evening of songs in the pop-Broadway genre, featuring
Nicky Paraiso, the "Cultural Minister" of The Club at La MaMa E.T.C.,
and David Friedman, the Broadway conductor and arranger of many Disney classics.
The evening is emceed by Julie Halston, the comedienne, Downtown heroine and
more recently, Broadway leading lady.
The idea of the evening
was that Paraiso and Friedman had gone to Stuyvesant High School together,
but never had a chance to appear together until now, and that Julie Halston
was nice enough to throw in with them. Such is the way shows are sometimes
made Downtown. As Ed Rubin (New York Theatre Wire) wrote in his review of
"Rebel Without a Pause," the long-running show of The Club this fall,
"Nicky Paraiso, a performance artist and a fine musician in his own right,
knows talent when he sees it. And all he has to do is turn to his friends,
which in no small way is what the East Village has always been about."
Friedman has written songs of inspiration, love and hope, including
"We Can Be Kind," "Listen to My Heart," "Help is on
the Way," "We Live on Borrowed Time," and "I'll Be Here
With You," that take on new emotional meaning in these troubled times.
After spending several years conducting musicals on Broadway, he went to Hollywood,
where he was conductor and vocal arranger on such Disney classics as "Beauty
& The Beast," "Aladdin," "Pocahontas" and "The
Hunchback of Notre Dame." This led to his writing music and lyrics to Disney's
"Aladdin and the King of Thieves," and to scoring three animated television
series and the film "Trick." As a record producer, Friedman started
his own company, Midder Music Records, and wrote for and produced all of the
late, great Nancy LaMott's CD's. He has collaborated with Kathie Lee Gifford
on three albums, "Born For You," "Goodnight Angel" and "Party
Animals." Friedman's Christmas Oratorio, "King Island Christmas,"
written with Deborah Brevoort, is being filmed for PBS Great Performances, and
his musical, "Nicolette & Aucassin," is slated for Broadway this
year. A new review of Friedman's songs, entitled "Listen To My Heart,c"
completed a successful run at the Lyric Stage in Dallas and will be showing
up in cities around the world. A new songbook and CD of his music are also
in the works.
Paraiso, the well-known Filipino-American actor, musician and performance
artist, became Cultural Minister of The Club at La MaMa this season and is
responsible for its surge of musical programming. He has also been a prolific
actor at La MaMa since 1979. Paraiso was a member of Meredith Monk/The House
and Vocal Ensemble (1981-1990), touring extensively throughout the US, Europe
and Japan. He has also worked with Jeff Weiss and Carlos Ricardo Martinez since
1979 and was an actor and musical director in "Come Clean" and the Obie-winning "Hot
Keys." He is also affiliated with Yoshiko Chuma and the School of Hard
Knocks, with whom he has appeared in four major productions since 1988. His
solo play, "Asian Boys" (1994), was co-produced by Ma-Yi Theatre Ensemble
and P.S. 122 and excerpts of it have been published. He has also been a frequent
performer with Ma-Yi Theatre/NATCO. Paraiso's awards include a 1987 Bessie and
a NYSCA Performance Art Initiative Grant. He was nominated for the prestigious
Cal Arts/Alpert Award in 1998. His films include "Book of Days," "Fresh
Kill" and "Jeffrey."
Halston was recently seen on Broadway in "The Women," which
will be shown on PBS this Spring. Off-Broadway, she was seen in Eve Ensler's
wildly successful "The Vagina Monologues" and the recently acclaimed
production of "Saved or Destroyed," directed by Craig Lucas. She was
a founding member of Charles Ludlam's now-legendary company, Theatre-in-Limbo,
and co-starred with Mr. Busch in "Vampire Lesbians of Sodom," "The
Lady in Question," "You Should Be So Lucky" and "Red Scare
on the Sunset," for which she received a Drama Desk nomination. Ms. Halston's
own one-woman show, "Julie Halston's Lifetime of Comedy," received
an Outer Critics Circle Nomination and led to a CBS development deal. She has
had featured roles in many films including "Small Time Crooks," "Joe
Gould's Secret," "The Juror," "Dottie Gets Spanked"
and "Addams Family Values." She is recipient of four MAC awards for
solo comedy performance and her voice can be heard on numerous radio commercials.