ASCAP award-winning writer / producer Chip Deffaa’s new CD “Irving Berlin: Love Songs and Such” – due out December 13 – features Broadway and cabaret personalities such as Betty Buckley, Anita Gillette, Karen Mason, Stephen Bogardus, Steve Ross, Jon Peterson. Seth Sikes, Jeff Harnar, Jerry Dixon, Sarah Rice, Natalie Douglas, Giuseppe Bausilio, Ray DeMattis, Analise Scarpaci, Brian Letendre, Eric Comstock, Bobby Belfry, Matthew Nardozzi, Jack Corbin, Molly Ryan, Michael Townsend Wright, Joan Jaffe, Jed Peterson, Alec Deland, Keith Anderson, Luis Villabon, Dea Julien, Katherine Paulsen, Ryan Muska, Mark Dodici, Will Alvarado, and more, with musical direction by Richard Danley. Grammy Award winner Andy Stein is introduced to the violin.
The album, an outgrowth of the shows Deffaa put on at the venerable 13th Street Theater (artistically directed by Joe Battista), features 28 notable – and, in some cases, never-before-recorded – songs from Berlin. The album – available on Amazon, iTunes, Footlight Records, etc. as a physical CD or digital download – can be pre-ordered HERE!
Widely regarded as the foremost living authority on Berlin music, Deffaa has written six Berlin-published broadcasts, and 15 of the 32 albums he has produced are devoted to Berlin music. Deffaa has produced more recordings of Berlin music than anyone else alive.
“Berlin is the most successful songwriter in history,” notes Deffaa. “In each of the Berlin albums, I try to mix up some old favorite songs that we have received requests for with“ unknown ”numbers that have never been recorded. And we try to have the right singer for each song. I am honored to be able to include masters of their craft like Tony Award winner Betty Buckley, Karen Mason, Stephen Bogardus, Jeff Harnar, Brian Letendre, Keith Anderson, Steve Ross. Anita Gillette, who starred in the latest comedy musical from Broadway to Berlin and is a pure delight on this album, offers us a direct connection to the master himself.
“Broadway veteran Ray DeMattis brings a lifetime of experience to his performance of ‘When I Leave the World Behind’. But I’m no less proud of some of our younger singers, like Analise Scarpaci (currently on Broadway in: “Mrs. Doubtfire”) and Matthew Nardozzi (who won a “Young Entertainers Award” in Hollywood for his work with me. ), who sings beautifully original Berlin ballads. Jon Peterson dazzles with his tap dancing as well as his singing. And Jack Corbin, who has one of the most beautiful voices of any young singer, is truly an artist to watch. “
The performers on the album range from around 18 to 85 years old. “I want to showcase a sample of the talent that is out there. The album features jazz / cabaret artists – like Eric Comstock and Molly Ryan – whom I have enjoyed for years. The unrivaled Steve Ross – as the New York Times calls ‘The crown prince of the cabaret’ – performs Berlin waltzes, painful with nostalgia, as only he can. Natalie Douglas offers the best – and most sincere – version of Berlin’s “Yiddisha Nightingale” that I have ever heard. Finishing this album during the pandemic was not easy. But I’m thankful that we have some of the best singers performing these timeless songs. We want to do well with Mr. Berlin. This album has the strongest line-up of all 32 albums I’ve released to date. Many of my favorite artists are here. “
Slau Halatyn is the sound engineer for the album. Frank Avellino did graphic design. Steve Garrin, Tyler DuBoys and Jesse D. Riehl share the production credits. The album is dedicated to Betty Buckley. The official release will be in two weeks. But copies can be pre-ordered now HERE.