A Rollicking Ride Of Merry Music ‘The Award Winning Holiday Album’

Marissa Rosen & Marty Thomas release ‘The Award Winning Holiday Album’

Broadway veterans Marty Thomas (Wicked, Xanadu, The Secret Garden) and Marissa Rosen (Kristin Chenoweth: For The Girls), drop their debut duet album today – a rollicking, rambunctious ride of music and comedy, The Award Winning Holiday Album.

Widely known as ‘Broadway best friends,’ the dynamic duo has been performing together for close to ten years. They met performing in the off-Broadway musical The Big Gay Italian Wedding and parlayed their natural report into a very successful nightclub act.

Pairing comedy with holiday bops, The Award-Winning Holiday Album takes the listener on a (mainly) upbeat musical journey via big band (“Everybody’s Waitin’ for) the Man with the Bag”), groovy 60s pop (Sia’s “Puppies Are Forever”), R&B/Blues (“Please Come Home This Christmas”), and Broadway (“There Is A Santa Claus” from Elf).

Marty and Marissa close out the set with a perfectly pensive and heartfelt “Hard Candy Christmas” from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. The duo are joined by guest stars Christina Bianco, Diana DeGarmo, Melinda Doolittle, Rachel Potter, Alysha Umphress, and Jessica Vosk.

Beginning with their appearance (wink wink)  at the “World Holiday Music Awards,” the new collection is a fun musical frolic perfect for making your holiday season bright.

I chatted with Thomas about the genesis of the project, choices in making the collection “inclusive” of more than just Christmas, how chemistry comes into play when collaborating, and more.

The Randy Report: Congratulations on The Award Winning Holiday Album. You’re already ‘award-winning’ before being released! Most recording artists take their holiday albums straight on down the ‘music lane,’ but you specifically bring the comedy here. How did you come to that approach?

Marty Thomas: All that we’ve had to keep us company during this pandemic is art, hope, and humor. The concept of this album has been an inside joke all year and Marissa and I finally figured out that it was a joke that might be funny to someone else too! The whole award show approach developed organically as we were curating the album. My boyfriend says I laugh at all of my own “dad jokes” more than the rest of the world. If that’s true, I guess I’m okay with that.

TRR: The tracklist is an eclectic mix of holiday tunes. How did you choose the songs?

MT: We definitely wanted to try and steer clear of the same 10 tracks every artist releases on their debut holiday album. We also wanted to represent our individual backgrounds and our love of cabaret and musical theater. We poured through so much music and put a lot of care into narrowing the setlist.

It was very important for me to represent Marissa’s family and their celebration of Hanukkah as well as my celebration of Christmas. There really aren’t a lot of Hanukkah bops out there so I was determined to arrange a disco Hanukkah anthem to get the party started. I found a song by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, tailored it to fit Marissa’s strengths and it quickly became my favorite track on the album.

Six of our besties from around the country all signed on to record remotely and I was able to create my dream arrangement of Dolly Parton’s “Hard Candy Christmas.” This album was incredibly joyful to create.

TRR: You’ve been ‘Broadway best friends’ for so long. How does that rapport come into play when you’re creating something new?

MT: Marissa is one of the hardest working, most creative people I know. I often have to “sell” her on my stupid ideas, but she is always open to putting in the work and creating. We can sort of read each other’s minds musically, and hilariously sound almost identical when singing backup vocals.

We weren’t able to enlist any studio singers for the record because of the pandemic and recorded the entire thing in the corner of my studio apartment. All of the vocals you hear on the record are just the two of us. Our long history of working and singing together really came into play nicely. Also, it was just really nice to get to hang out together, like the good old days before Trump gummed up the works.

TRR:  After a lot of fun upbeat tunes, the final track on the album is “Hard Candy Christmas” from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. The sentiment is a bit melancholy but definitely forward-looking. It feels like that was a conscious choice to end on?

MT: That’s awesome to hear because that’s exactly what I was going for. I imagined it as a very welcomed zoom-call style catch up with our friends from around the country. I’ve always seen that song as a sad, yet still hopeful message. I wanted it to musically represent us comforting each other, supporting each other, and encouraging a bright future. Positivity and vulnerability are hot commodities these days. Marissa and I truly hope someone else out there can relate to the tune.

TRR: This whole album could be a cabaret act in itself. Have you considered turning The Award Winning Holiday Album into a live performance?

MT: ABSOLUTELY! What’s the point of waking up in the morning if the process can’t eventually be turned into a cabaret act!? Lol. I love creating old school albums, intended to be listened to, from beginning to end. My hope is to do a new holiday album and a holiday concert/party annually. If anything positive came from this window of time 2020 gave us, possibly it was the drive and the time to begin a new joyful journey with my best friend.

The Award Winning Holiday Album is available on all digital download/streaming sites now.

You can follow Marty and Marissa on Instagram here.

Take a listen to the terrific ‘finale’ for the album, “Hard Candy Christmas,” below.

Out Music: Tegan And Sara ‘Make You Mine This Season’

Check out the new single from out pop duo Tegan and Sara, “Make You Mine This Season,” featured on the upcoming soundtrack for the Hulu Original romantic comedy, Happiest Season.

According to the film’s official synopsis, “A young woman plans to propose marriage to her girlfriend while attending her family’s annual holiday party. At the party, she realizes her girlfriend hasn’t come out to her conservative parents yet.”

The TV movie, which stars Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Victor Garber, and Mary Steenburgen, debuts exclusively in the U.S. on Hulu on November 25th.

Tegan and Sara’s euphoric, upbeat synthpop track sounds like a perfect fit for a queer holiday rom-com.

You’re the only girl I’ve got on my list
I’ll write your name, I know it’s foolish
But I chase the feeling ‘cus you keep me dreaming
That I could make you mine this season

“For all types of families, music matters more during the holidays than any other time of year,” says soundtrack producer Justin Tranter. “To be given the honor to help create a holiday soundtrack that everyone can enjoy but celebrates LGBTQ talent is an actual dream come true for me! There are LGBTQ artists and/or songwriters on every original song.”

Introducing Your Boo To The Family At Christmastime

The holidays can bring you and your significant-other closer even as you cope with the stress of including them in family events.

The folks at ForHims.com have come up with some helpful tips for that big moment when you introduce your boo to the family:

Tell your parents about your partner:

  • Have a quick meeting with them without your partner to go over your expectations
  • Share your partner’s stories and dietary restrictions and hobbies

Set expectations for your partner

  • Tell your partner about good things about your parents’
  • Talk to your partner about your parents’ viewpoints and what topics to pay attention to

Help your partner be prepared

  • Let them know what your family’s dinner etiquette is like
  • Prepare some answers to some common questions your parents might ask

Exit strategy

  • Arrange a code word or signal with your S.O. beforehand which means, “I need to get out of here now.”
  • Have another commitment in mind that you can use as an excuse for escaping
  • Only commit to visiting for a limited period of time

Final Words: Give it Time

All first-time family meetings with your S.O. can bring some anxiety. But, don’t stress out, have patience and be open to understanding different viewpoints.

(graphic via ForHims.com)

Sean Hayes & Hubby Debut New Holiday Children’s Book

Scott Icenogle and Sean Hayes (image via Simon & Schuster)

Will & Grace star Sean Hayes and his husband, composer Scott Icenogle, are thrilled when they get the call to be substitute teachers – of a kids’ ballet class.

The duo are instructed to put the young dancers through their paces in order to get ready for upcoming performances of the holiday classic, The Nutcracker.

But Sean and Scott soon decide that their mission is to share the true story of how the Sugar Plum Fairy got her wings, which just happens to be the subject of their new picture book, PLUM: How The Sugar Plum Fairy Got Her Wings.

It seems Hayes has loved The Nutcracker since he was just a little kid. He recently told Parade, “When I was a kid, I listened to that record over and over and over again.”

“I memorized every note of every instrument, from every song, in the entire ballet,” he adds. Hayes says the ballet’s story with interesting characters, like The Mouse King, was just too ‘trippy’ for him not to love.

So he and hubby Scott set about to create their vision of the Sugar Plum Fairy’s backstory. In their new book, Plum, a young orphan girl, is sent on an adventure to the Land of Sweets by a mysterious magician.

Overcoming obstacles along the way, young Plum eventually finds herself adopted. Not by a king and queen, but by two Kings, Patrick and Christopher.

Of course, the two funny men can’t just ‘release’ a book. There’s got to be a comedic way to share the news, so here’s the intro video for the new book:

Promoting the new children’s book on Good Morning America today, the couple shares that the book is just the latest collaboration between the married couple.

They also produce a popular YouTube channel titled, The Kitchen Sync, which has garnered over 2.4 million views and been seen by more than 250 million people around the world across social media platforms.

One the most popular is their take on the Barbra Streisand holiday track, “Jingle Bells,” which Hayes describes as “one of the funniest things because she sings it like she’s on cocaine.”

Not to disappoint, Hayes and Icenogle offer their newest Christmas lip-sync, costumes and all, for the Good Morning America audience, “I’m Getting Nothing For Christmas.”

Watch below.

And since it is officially the holiday season, let’s check out the full sugar-rush “Jingle Bells” lip-sync video from Sean and Scott:

Vintage Holiday Treat: The Full 1963 Judy Garland Christmas Show

What could make the holiday season more merry, gay and bright than the full Judy Garland Christmas Show from 1963?

Take the time to sit back and enjoy Judy with her children Liza Minnelli, Lorna and Joey Luft plus guests Jack Jones and Mel Tormé as they weave holiday magic with Yuletide favorites like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” as well as “Little Drops of Rain,” “Over the Rainbow,” and more.

The Advocate has gathered a list of uber-gay holiday specials from artists like Dolly Parton, RuPaul, The Muppets, Liberace and more here.

Watch Judy and company below.

Radio Show: Save Your Money And Your Sanity During The Holidays

Money and sanity saving tips for the Christmas holidays

One of my favorite radio shows to do – HOLIDAY TIPS!

In this episode of The Randy Report on BlogTalkRadio, food editor and lifestyle expert Candi Fox, of Candi & Company, brings lots of tips, tricks and ideas to help you during the holiday season.

Whether it’s saving money, saving time, or saving your sanity – Candi brings lots of new ways to help you out.

Plus, we discuss making sure that your holiday season is exactly that – YOUR holiday season.

Grab your jingle bells and let’s go!

Everyone Likes A Visit From Santa

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Whether you have a dog or not, you will love this!Posted by BenchWarmers on Thursday, December 19, 2013

I do worry about a dog out in the snow covered backyard though…

My dogs are safely inside.