The handsome and polished Klena took to the F/54 stage five years ago opposite Lindsay Mendez, with whom he had shared two awkward girl–jerky guy musical-theater romances (first in Dogfight, then in Wicked). Now the star of Anastasia and the upcoming Jagged Little Pill—to say nothing of his turn as a dimwitted DJ on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt—returns for a solo show that looks back on his California childhood, his reality-TV history and his backstage adventures.
He’s worked with Liza Minnelli, Kylie Minogue and just about every downtown act in NYC. Now composer, pianist and performer Lance Horne hosts his own wild night of singing, drinking and dancing, strip-teasing and bad behavior at the East Village nightlife hub Club Cumming. Expect advanced show-tune geekery and appearances by Broadway stars looking to get down by the piano. Plan on sleeping in on Tuesday.
Part cabaret, part piano bar and part social set, Cast Party offers a chance to hear rising and established talents step up to the microphone (backed by the slap and tickle of Steve Doyle on bass and Billy Stritch at the ivories, plus the bang of Daniel Glass on drums). The waggish Caruso presides as host.
The master sound sculpter's last album, 2016's Love Streams, added manipulated vocals from the Icelandic Choir Ensemble to his textural palette—a reprisal of-sorts of his interest in the country's liturgical spaces as a creative source, having recorded all of 2010's haunting, ground-breaking Ravedeath, 1972 in a Reykjavik church. His newest LP Konoyo strays from Sacrament but retains a fascination with the stately, imposing and monumental, turning toward Gagaku—the music of the Japanese imperial courts. Working with Japanese ensemble Tokyo Gatkuso, Hecker crafts his characteristic magic: carving lush sounds from organic sources that bear little resemblence to the original material. But rather than dense tectonically-shifting atmospheres, here he employs a notably threadbare fabric of interweaving sirens. The emotional terrain of Hecker's soundscapes often escapes easy definition, but the sonic sparsity here more clearly evokes an elegiac melancholy. He continues to draw novel sonic worlds, but the geography is a touch more familiar—his penchant for the uncanny on its most resplendent display. The supporting tour for Love Streams decentered Hecker as a performer, shrouding the audience in a completely impenetrable, eyesight-disabling fog. At this Williamsburg gig, however, he plans to bring members of Tokyo Gatkuso with him—a far more "live" format than we're used to seeing from the producer. Whatever lies in wait, expect to be awe-struck. — Ro S
The high-spirited ex-countess Luann de Lesseps, of The Real Housewives of New York City fame, extends her empire into the world of nightclub entertainment in a cabaret show written and directed by Ben Rimalower, with musical direction by Billy Stritch. She is joined each night by special guests from showbiz.
Though interluding skits playfully frame last year's FM!, Staples' third album, as a "radio takeover, you'll find it no less somber. Remember, this is the guy who rapped on his debut, "You want some positivity, go listen to Common." Nonetheless, the lyrically dextrous Long Beach rapper is a touch more celebratory on this record, amid the sober beats and dusky textures.
Floating electronic beats, meticulously layered samples and dream-pop melodies—sounds like a common synth-pop formula these days, but as Empress Of, singer-songwriter Lorely Rodriguez sounds nothing short of singular. The artist follows her stellar 2015 debut, Me, with another stunner, Us. From the lush groove of "Love for Me" to the moody funk of "When I'm With Him," Rodriguez excercises restraint, leaving ample space in her arrangements to highlight her strong vocals. Across ten expertly deployed tracks, she finds a new softness without losing her music's danceable pulse for a sound that's well matched to her intimate, bilingual missives on romance, friendship and fitting in.
You may be surprised that Nigerian-born and England-based musician Jacob Banks is only 27-years-old. His age certainly doesn't match the impeccable sound of his soulful and mature voice. Immerse yourself in his poetic crooning as Banks performs his latest album, Village, at Brooklyn Steel this February. Encompassing the artist’s familiar foot-stomping, percussion-heavy style, you can bet that his show is going to be a smash.
Years ago, the big story about this Philly guitarist was his return to touring and recording after a brain aneurysm forced him to relearn guitar from scratch. These days, Martino's tale is of a veteran playing like the boy wonder he was in the late ’60s, his fretwork back to its old incendiary self.
Though Larry Owens intends to musically break down some of your favorite ballads and bangers, it's likely he'll lose his mind giving you life at this totally lit stage bonanza. Along with guests Liza Treyger, Marie Faustin, Pooja Reddy, Marcia Belsky, Kiko and Tuna, and the band Heroine, the high-drama, unstoppable stage presence serves diva worship, dancing and wicked arrangements for his own entertainment. Owens could wake the dead with his god-given talent; he's certain to make a lifelong fan of you within seconds.