WICKED: 11 Elphabas Unite For The Arts In Epic ‘Defying Gravity’

Clockwise from top – Idina Menzel, Lindsay Mendez, Shoshana Bean, Stephanie J. Block

Eleven “Elpahbas” from the blockbuster musical Wicked unite to support the arts.

This epic “Defying Gravity” features (in order of appearance) Shoshana Bean, Eden Espinosa, Stephanie J. Block, Alexia Khadime, Julia Murney, Lindsay Mendez, Lindsay Pearce, Rachel Tucker, Jessica Vosk, Idina Menzel, and Kerry Ellis.

Excerpted from the virtual concert Shoshana Bean and Friends: An Evening of Broadway, which premiered live on July 13, 2020.

Shoshana organized the event to support and benefit the arts programs at her alma mater, Beaverton High School. Click here for more info and/or donate.

Folks, this is worth hitting play 😉

As the first comment on the YouTube page says, “This is what gay heaven sounds like.”

News Round-Up: April 15, 2019

Some news items you might have missed:

• Now, y’all know the fab Shoshana Bean is back on the Broad Way starring in Sara Bareilles’ Waitress, right? Annnnd, her leading man is the oh-so-talented Jeremy Jordan? Get to the Brooks Atkinson Theater before they be gone. #JustSaying

• A jury sentenced a man to death because they thought he would enjoy being in prison for life because he is gay.

• Dallas police arrested 29-year-old Edward Thomas on a charge of aggravated assault for the brutal beating of a transgender woman. Authorities are investigating whether the brutal attack caught on video should have hate crime charges attached, although gender identity is not a protected class in the state. The video, posted to Facebook, is quite disturbing as Thomas punches the victim over and over as a crowd stood by.

• At Kickapoo High School in Springfield, Missouri, an unnamed student tore down a large hanging sign advertising the school’s Gay Straight Trans Alliance (GSTA). The vandal crumpled up the sign into a ball and dropped it into the crowd below as dozens of students laughed and clapped.

• A 40-year-old man has filed a lawsuit against his parents for throwing away his porn collection that he estimates was worth $29,000.

• Donald Trump has a challenger for the 2020 Republican nomination – former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld has officially declared as a candidate for the Republican nomination for president in 2020.

• Sen. Bernie Sanders has released 10 years of tax returns showing both income and tax rate jumped after presidential campaign, and revealing his millionaire status.

• I could really, really wish to be in Mykonos right now with this guy… 🙂

Music Video: Shoshana Bean & Travis Wall “This Is Me”

Waaaaaiiiiiittt.

You are not ready for this. Stop, drop and scroll down to watch this.

Broadway/recording diva Shoshana Bean teams up with choreographer divine Travis Wall to brings visual life to her acoustic cover of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s “This is Me” from the Hugh Jackman film, The Greatest Showman.

Wall conceived, directed, produced, and choreographed the music video wherein Bean talks Wall through the fears and doubts that life dumps on us.

Wall, like Bean, is a Broadway veteran having made his Broadway debut in the 2000 revival of The Music Man before becoming a major force in the dance world as a fierce competitor on the second season of Fox’s reality dance competition So You Think You Can Dance in 2006.

Bean, of course, starred on Broadway in Wicked as the wicked witch “Elphaba” and brought down the house in Hairspray. She’s since moved on to conquer the music charts with her own R&B/pop albums, touring the country to sold out audiences. I’ve previously written about Shoshana extensively – find more posts about the diva here.

It was only recently that I learned Bean recorded the original demo of “This is Me,” which won the 2018 Golden Globe for Best Original Song. But, with her still strong Broadway roots, it comes as no surprise.

Bonus point for the recording – Proceeds from downloads and streams of the new cover benefit the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

While I enjoyed the song in the context of the film, the powerful point on view here is both Wall and Bean bring their impressive powers to bear on a collaboration where, in my opinion, the song finds its new universal destiny.

Talking about the recording, Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein wrote, “My daughter, Shoshana Bean, takes this song and makes it her own, which means… she makes it OURS.”

Take a look below, and you can download the song here.

Music Review: Shoshana Bean “Remember The Day” From Upcoming Album, Spectrum

Stop, drop and scroll down to hear “Remember The Day,” the first single from uber-pop/R&B diva Shoshana Bean’s upcoming album, Spectrum, due out February 9.

Bean’s three independent solo releases have all topped the iTunes R&B and Blues charts in the US and UK in peak positions including #1. Her 2014 release, Shadows to Light, earned her a Hot Shot debut at #10 on the Billboard Blues charts.

Her body of work is as wide-ranging as her voice. She made her Broadway debut in the original cast of Hairspray on the Great White Way; starred as the first replacement for “Elphaba” in the Broadway mega-hit Wicked. In regional theater, she’s won awards and nominations for starring performances in Funny Girl and the pre-Broadway production of Beaches.

She’s performed sold-out concerts around the world, worked on countless voiceover projects for film and TV, and performed with Ariana Grande, David Foster, Postmodern Jukebox, Brian McKnight, and Michael Jackson.

On her fourth studio album, Spectrum, Bean is living large with her fresh collection of standards and newly-penned songs recorded in the classic tradition of big band.

Drawing inspiration from Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, and Frank Sinatra, Spectrum swings and sways the Shoshana way.

Eighteen – count’em eighteen! – big band musicians kill it on ten tracks arranged by Grammy Award-nominated Alan Ferber.

And then there are the vocals. Lord have mercy.

Bean has long been known for her incredible power and visceral, emotional range. And it’s all on display here.

Every track on Spectrum is a gold, and Bean’s song selection is genius in giving you a little piece of everything in her arsenal of vocal weaponry.

You can trust and believe Aretha would be proud to put her name on Bean’s soulful cover of “With A Little Help From My Friends.”

Totally flipping the script, her Streisand-inspired “If Ever I Would Leave You” is a master class in artful musicianship and restrained passion. Ferber’s subtle, moody arrangement percolates to the perfect boiling point for an evocative emotional meltdown that will leave you breathless.

A soulful “I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You;” a swing-a-ding-dinging “I Wanna Be Around;” and an emotionally raw, closing-time take on “How Deep Is The Ocean” all contribute to sonic bliss.

Listen to her Bond-worthy, backbeat-driven “Remember The Day” below. You’re gonna be glad you did.

You can also check out this live music video performance of “Never Loved A Man” below. #Dang

Shoshana Bean & Postmodern Jukebox Cover Justin Bieber’s “Sorry”

My fab gal pal (and diva) Shoshana Bean teams up with Postmodern Jukebox for this “Vintage Motown” cover of Justin Bieber’s “Sorry.”

I think I finally LIKE the song! Sho gives the tune the vocals it’s been waiting for. (She didn’t replace Adele Dazeem in WICKED for nothing, don’t you know…)

Definitely check out Postmodern Jukebox’s latest album – great listen. Find it on iTunes here.

My Favorite Thing Today: Shoshana Bean “Wind Beneath My Wings”

From the diva herself:

“I have had the pleasure of singing this song every night as Cee Cee Bloom in Beaches the musical all summer long at the Drury Lane. So as our run draws to a close I figured it would be an appropriate finale!”

Here’s the official description of the Broadway bound musical currently doing a try-out run in Chicago at the Drury Lane Theater through August 16th.

“Beaches follows two extraordinary friends through 30 years of camaraderie, laughter and sorrow. Vivacious, outlandish Cee Cee and beautiful, privileged Bertie meet as children and become fast friends. From pen-pals to roommates to romantic rivals, Cee Cee and Bertie’s oil-and-water friendship perseveres through even the most tragic trials. With a touching vulnerability, Beaches exemplifies the triumph of the human spirit and the bonds of sisterhood.”

Music: Matt Zarley “Somebody For Everybody” (feat Shoshana Bean & Jeb Havens)

Award-winning singer/songwriter Matt Zarley releases this acoustic version of his song “Somebody For Everybody” with guest vocals by the fab Shoshana Bean and uber-talented Jeb Havens.

The song began as a uptempo/dance track early in the genesis of Zarley’s hopefulROMANTIC project. But once done, he decided he wanted the tune to have a more subtle setting.

Three terrific musicians here, kids.

“There’s somebody for everybody, you’ve just gotta believe…”

Happy Valentine’s Weekend!

Shoshana Bean Guests With Postmodern Jukebox – “I Want It That Way”

Wicked’s Shoshana Bean guests with Postmodern Jukebox – “I Want It That Way”

My pal Shoshana Bean guests with Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox for this 70s soul cover of the Backstreet Boys hit “I Want It That Way.”

Shoshana has been guesting with PMJ during their Wednesday night residency at Hyde in West Hollywood. Plus she’s hitting the road with the band for shows in Costa Mesa, San Diego and Las Vegas. Click here for PMJ tour schedule.

Shoshana’s new EP called Shadows To Light is out and available now – check it out here.

And find the latest Postmodern Jukebox CD Selfies On Kodachrome here.


Special Screening of short film “hopefulROMANTIC”

George Takei and husband Brad with Matt Zarley and Benjamin Pollack at the LA premiere of "hopefulROMANTIC"
From L to R: Brad Takei, George Takei, Matt Zarley and Benjamin Pollack

This weekend I was invited to attend the first screening of the new musical short film hopefulROMANTIC by award-winning out singer/songwriter Matt Zarley.

Starring Zarley – along with Chuck Saculla, Jolie Jenkins and the uber-wise & wonderful George Takei – the film is a universal story about loving, letting go, and holding onto faith that there’s somebody for everybody. The film is practically dialogue-free with the narrative articulated solely through Matt Zarley and Emmy & Grammy award-winning Andy Zulla’s soulful pop score.

After the film, I moderated a Q&A with the creative team including Zarley, Takei, Saculla plus director Benjamin Pollack and director of photography Chris Ekstein.

I also conducted interviews on the “orange carpet” before the screening where I kept my inner “fan boy” in check as I interviewed openly gay TV legend (and internet wiseman) George Takei – who is EVERYTHING you want him to be and more. Serious honor.

Also in attendance were tons of favorites from the LGBT entertainment world including singer/songwriters Tom Goss and Jeb Havens, Haviland Stillwell of the upcoming Magic Mike XXL, recording artist and Broadway fave Shoshana Bean (who contributes vocals to the soundtrack), “Fashion Police” writer Dennis Hensley and many more.

About hopefulROMANTIC from Matt Zarley:

“When I first started writing the music for this, I was deeply in love. The original plan was to write a simple little EP of love songs. I was so happy and I wanted everyone to know it.

“A few weeks into the process, my relationship ended abruptly without warning. I was devastated. It was hard for me to access a lot of positive loving feelings at the time. Out of that temporary writer’s block, I wrote ‘Constantly’. As I was finishing that song, I began to rethink my project. What was originally gonna be a 5 song EP of love songs suddenly took a turn.

“I had decided to construct a narrative… a journey with music being the guide. Having had an extensive background in Broadway and musical theatre, it seemed natural to finally merge my two worlds together. Much of what I was writing about was also what I was experiencing in real life. Thru this creative journey, I began to heal myself.

“In the end, my faith and belief that there’s someone out there for all of us was restored. Holding onto the eternal cliche that ‘everything happens for a reason’ couldn’t hold more truth for me now.

“I’m convinced that had I not loved as deeply as I did and had I not been so devastated, this project surely wouldn’t have happened. For that, I’m thankful for my once broken heart.”

If the Sunday night audience is any indication, the future looks bright for hopefulROMANTIC. The crowd was clearly with the filmmakers from the opening notes of the driving “I Just Knew,” to the quietly heartfelt “Let Me Let Go,” to the sweeping emotional release of “Hopeful.” As the film credits rolled, the entire audience stood with applause and approval.

Matt is currently submitting the musical short film to film festivals now. Check out the trailer for the film below, along with pics from the evening.

All photos by Nina Prommer unless otherwise noted.

George Takei and Matt Zarley at the premiere of “hopefulROMANTIC”

Cast members Chuck Saculla, George Takei and Matt Zarley with director Benjamin Pollack (hat)

Recording artist and Broadway favorite Shoshana Bean with Matt Zarley

From Broadway and the upcoming “Magic Mike XXL” – Haviland Stillwell

Hottie singer/songwriter Jeb Havens with Matt Zarley
Havens co-wrote one of the songs featured in hopefulROMANTIC with Zarley

Matt Zarley beams on the “orange carpet” at the premiere of his short musical film hopefulROMANTIC

Music hotness in the house! Singer/songwriters Tom Goss (L) and Jeb Havens (L) on the carpet

Interviewing Matt Zarley on the “orange carpet” of hopefulROMANTIC

Interviewing TV legend George Takei (photo: Michael Caprio)

Moderating Q&A after the screening of hopefulROMANTIC

I finally met super-talented singer/songwriter Tom Goss! (photo: Michael Caprio)

With Jeb Havens on the “orange carpet”
I’m a huge fan of the singer/songwriter (and hottie) whose video cover of “Fast Car” went wildly viral recently

Hubby Michael and I on the “orange carpet”

Hiding my inner fanboy as I chat with legend and LGBT hero George Takei (photo: Michael Caprio)

With Matt Zarley at the end of the night