- Monday, December 11, 2023 7:30PM 7:30 PM Buy Tickets
The Sheen Center is excited to announce its 2023 benefit performance Christmas on Bleecker: Celebrating the Reason. With performances by Actor/Singer, Vanessa Williams, Actor/Musician, Frank Shiner, Broadway Sensation, Darius deHaas, The Huntertones, Intstramentalist Louis Cato, and more!
The night will also feature an exclusive presentation of a lifetime achievement award to the incomparable Chita Rivera.
Secure your tickets now for an unforgettable evening of joy and Christmas celebration!
For more information about sponsorship, contact MaryLou Pagano via email at email@example.com or by phone at 212-219-3132 x1378.
Additional Ticket Information
$150 Standard Ticket Includes: Event ticket
$300 VIP Ticket Includes: Pre-show reception with entertainment by Highbridge Voices and post-show reception with the cast
$125 Military Angel Ticket: Purchase a ticket for a deserving veteran
Purchase a Ticket for a Veteran
Become a Military Angel
Purchase a ticket for $125 to the Sheen Center’s Christmas on Bleecker event for a deserving veteran.
A theatrical icon and one of Broadway's greatest triple-threat talents, Chita
Rivera is one of the most nominated performers in Tony Award history having
earned 10 nominations, won twice, and received the 2018 Special Tony Award for
Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. A versatile actress/singer/dancer, her most
recent starring roles include The Visit, the final John Kander/Fred Ebb/Terrence
McNally musical directed by John Doyle and choreographed by Graciela Daniele
on Broadway; the Broadway revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood; the
Broadway and touring productions of The Dancer’s Life, a dazzling musical
celebrating her spectacular career, written by Terrence McNally and directed by
Graciela Daniele and the revival of the Broadway musical Nine with Antonio
Banderas. She trained as a ballerina (from age nine) before receiving a
scholarship to the School of American Ballet from the legendary choreographer
George Balanchine. Chita’s first appearance (age 19) was as a principal dancer
in Call Me Madam. Her electric performance as Anita in the original Broadway
premiere of West Side Story brought her stardom, which she repeated in London.
Her career is highlighted by starring roles in Bye Bye Birdie, The Rink (Tony
Award), Chicago, Jerry’s Girls, Kiss of the Spider Woman (Tony Award), and the
original Broadway casts of Guys and Dolls, Can-Can, Seventh Heaven and Mr.
Wonderful. On tour: Born Yesterday, The Rose Tattoo, Call Me Madam,
Threepenny Opera, Sweet Charity, Kiss Me Kate, Zorba, Can-Can with The
Rockettes. Chita was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President
Barack Obama in 2009 and received the coveted Kennedy Center Honor in
2002. In 2019, Chita performed her solo concert at London’s Cadogan Hall; in
2018 she was honored as a Living Landmark by the New York Landmarks
Conservancy; in 2016 she headlined at Carnegie Hall and in 2015, Great
Performances aired their special Chita Rivera: A Lot of Livin’ To Do, a
retrospective of her extraordinary life and career nationally on PBS. Her current
solo CD is entitled And Now I Swing. Chita’s long-awaited critically-acclaimed
book CHITA: A MEMOIR, was published by HarperOne in April 2023. Her most
treasured production is her daughter, singer/dancer/choreographer Lisa
Vanessa Williams is one of the most respected and multi-faceted performers in the entertainment industry today. Having sold millions of records worldwide, Vanessa has also achieved numerous #1 and Top 10 hits on various Billboard Album and Singles charts: Pop, Dance, R&B, Adult Contemporary, Holiday, Latin, Gospel, and Jazz.
Her critically acclaimed work in film, television, recordings, and the Broadway stage has been recognized by every major industry award affiliate including 4 Emmy nominations, 11 Grammy nominations, a Tony nomination, 3 SAG award nominations, 7 NAACP Image Awards and 3 Satellite Awards. Her platinum single "Colors of the Wind," from the Disney’s Pocahontas, won the Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe for Best Original Song.
A graduate of Syracuse University, Vanessa is a strong advocate for equal rights, especially concerning the gay community and minorities. She was honored with the Human Rights Campaign “Ally for Equality” Award for her humanitarian contributions. Vanessa also achieved a career pinnacle with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007.
Vanessa’s autobiography, “You Have No Idea,” co-written with her mother Helen Williams, was a New York Times Best Seller in 2012. Her recent Broadway credits include co-starring with Cicely Tyson in The Trip to Bountiful, (the #1 play of the 2013 season), After Midnight (2014), and a special limited engagement in Hey, Look Me Over at New York City Center in 2018. Vanessa is currently in Josie Rourke’s City of Angels in London’s West End.
Vanessa is the mother of four - Melanie, Jillian, Devin and Sasha. Her charitable endeavors are many and varied, embracing, and supporting such organizations as Concerts for America, Special Olympics and several others. Vanessa is involved with and committed to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.
Vanessa is one of the world’s most accomplished concert artists, appearing regularly with the most prestigious symphony orchestras in the world, most recently with the National Symphony Orchestra at The Kennedy Center.
Without question, popular performer Frank Shiner (winner of two L.A. Music Critic Awards) has demonstrated his finely-honed ability to put his own unique stamp on classic material previously recorded by others via his sophomore album, LONELY TOWN, LONELY STREET. Turning in stellar performances on songs popularized by such artists as The Rascals, Brook Benton, Sam & Dave, Elton John, Bill Withers and Donny Hathaway, Frank has created a tour-de-force collection of twelve songs from the songbooks of legendary writers such as Randy Newman, Doc Pomus, Isaac Hayes & David Porter and Tony Joe White among others.
“I decided to do ‘blue-eyed soul’ for my second album,” explains the New York resident, using a term that was first coined by renowned black radio personality Georgie Woods in the mid-‘60s when referencing The Righteous Brothers. “I’ve always been intrigued by and loved the genre which has really morphed into including artists like my heroes Hall & Oates, Amy Winehouse and others.”
Indeed, with LONELY TOWN, LONELY STREET, Frank can most assuredly add his name to the list of bona fide ‘blue-eyed soul’ purveyors thanks to his passionate reading of such songs as “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” (written by Al Kooper of Blood, Sweat & Tears, who first recorded it and best known for a 1973 recording by late Donny Hathaway) and “Love Is A Losing Game” from the catalog of Amy Winehouse. Notes Frank, “There is a little Donny Hathaway influence in my singing of that song. I think we brought even more passion to it. I’m a trained Shakespearian actor so I need to have a special focus on the lyrics in my songs. With the song by Amy, well, it’s heart wrenching. I can’t imagine what kind of pain she was going through when she wrote it. It has that feeling of someone who’s ‘lost’ and I well-up nearly every time I sing the song…”
The process of selecting material for LONELY TOWN, LONELY STREET began with Frank collaborating with A&R veteran Mitchell Cohen with whom he worked on his critically-acclaimed 2015 debut album, “The Real Me.” Says Frank, “I call Mitchell a walking encyclopedia of music! He sent me over a hundred songs: I was looking for material that spoke to me on every level – musically, emotionally and from a storytelling standpoint. We finally got down to eleven songs and then my producer Jay Newland (a 10-time Grammy winner known for his work with Norah Jones, Gregory Porter and Ayo among others) suggested “Rainy Night In Georgia” – and bing! We knew that was the last song to record and it’s become one of my absolute favorites on the album: I really analysed it before I sang it. The biggest challenge was to put my own stamp on it because there are so many great versions. I wanted to bring out a deeper meaning: I made a whole story in my head before I sang it…and I thought about the loneliness of someone wandering with no place to go, thinking about the woman he loves…”
LONELY TOWN, LONELY STREET opens with Frank’s melancholy-filled, deliberately sparse reinterpretation of “How Can I Be Sure,” a 1967 hit for The Young Rascals, recorded like the rest of the album “extremely stripped down,” notes the singer. “I wanted even more of a ‘live’ sound than I had on my first record so that it would be more like the sound when I perform in concert. I recorded looking out at the musicians and almost every track is one solid take which creates a continuity and an emotional string which runs throughout the album and that’s what I want people to hear.”
Cut with a group of ‘A’ musicians who often record together (handpicked by producer Newland) that includes keyboardist and arranger Glenn Patscha (who has worked with Roger Waters, Marc Cohn, Bettye Lavette, Sheryl Crow and Willie Nelson among others); guitarist Sherrod Barnes (who’s toured with Roberta Flack and Whitney Houston); drummer Dan Rieser (Marcy Playground, Rosanne Cash, Norah Jones); saxophonist Andy Snitzer (Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones); and bassist Zev Katz (who’s played for dozens of artists including Jeff Beck, Carole King, Lady Gaga and James Taylor), LONELY TOWN, LONELY STREET includes number of standout performances by Shiner such as the title track, a propulsive Bill Withers song (recorded for his second album in 1972): “The rhythm is spectacular and you can’t listen to it without bopping in your seat! It spoke to the whole ‘feel’ of the album and like every single song we selected, it has a beginning, middle and an end. I want to take the listener from A-Z through the story…”
Shiner’s own story as a performer (and in recent years as a recording artist) is atypical: after nearly two decades away from working as an entertainer – “I paid my dues, I fulfilled responsibility as a father, husband, a friend, as a business person and put everything on back burner” – Frank returned to singing following his wife Suzanne’s battle with cancer in 2009. A year later, she encouraged him to sing one night at a local open mic night and the audience reaction – along with that of the bandleader who followed Frank out to the parking lot to almost beg him to become a vocalist with his orchestra – led Shiner back to performing on a regular basis.
Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, growing up in Mountain Top (and from the age of ten, working side-by-side with his late father Francis in the family-owned bakery), Frank’s love for music and theatre first found expression when he was cast in the role of Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, “I finally felt at home when I stood on that stage and heard the audience reaction and felt that energy, I said, ‘ok this is what I want to do.’” In college, Frank briefly began studying law before switching to acting, training in classics by Shakespeare and Moliere and moving to New York, where he would go on to appear in over sixty theatre and television productions and meet “the love of my life” Suzanne, who he married within two years after arriving in New York.
“There were never any regrets,” says Frank of his time away from singing and acting and in 2014, with the release of “The Real Me,” produced by award-winner Gary Katz, Frank reignited on record the passion for music he had never lost personally. Dipping into the catalogs of a diverse range of artists including Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Van Morrison, Roxy Music, Paul Simon and Dr. John. “Feels Like Home,” a Randy Newman reinterpretation, gained considerable airplay in and around the New York area as the premier single from the album (distributed by Universal Music Group) as did “Driving Home For Christmas,” a holiday evergreen written by British singer-songwriter Chris Rea, issued ahead of his debut CD in December 2013, with proceeds going to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in honor of his late father.
Out in October 2016, Frank’s potent reading of another yuletide classic, “Please Come Home For Christmas,” is a prelude to the March 2017 release of LONELY TOWN, LONELY STREET, an album that showcases Frank’s artistry as an interpreter of timeless material delivered with heart and from the soul. “I like to think I stayed true to every one of the songs on the album. Each one has a deep meaning on multiple levels. Take for example, “She’s Gone,” which was originally recorded by Hall & Oates and done by Tavares and Lou Rawls. It’s a cool rhythmic song yet people don’t focus on what the song is saying. I think Lou’s version came closest to relaying the pain in the lyric…what it’s like for the guy having the woman out of his life. Then there’s “Guilty,” a great bluesy song by Randy Newman which is about a guy who’s made a lot of bad decisions and nothing he does turns out right.”
While Frank relishes material written by classic tunesmiths such as Doc Pomus (whose “There is Always One More Time,” a song recorded previously by Johnny Adams is given a bluesy, horn-laced workout), he delves into the Justin Timberlake catalog for “Drink You Away,” offering a slower version that combines elements of soul, rock and blues. “I’m a fan. I think Justin is extremely talented. In my recording, I went vocally ‘over the top’ with it…and I had so much fun with it. The joke is…I am so much not a drinker! As an actor however, I understand someone who is trying to drink someone away and I certainly know people who have. Live, when I perform it, I think this is going to be the highlight of my show!”
Visiting a tried-and-tested soul classic, Frank takes “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby,” the Hayes & Porter song first cut by famed duo Sam & Dave, and brings an intimate flavor to it. “I did it as a duet with (award-winning vocalist) Leslie Mendelson – which has been done before by Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt. Like everything else on the album, it was done live in the studio – and literally, Leslie and I sang looking at each other, picking up on each other’s tones, mirroring each other’s riffs. It was wonderful.” Mendelson also joins Frank to provide background vocals for “I Will Be There,” a Van Morrison song “that has a New Orleans kind of flavor. It’s almost like a ‘Stand By Me’ kind of tune and it reflects how I live my life, as a guy who’s loyal to family and friends.” With “Shine On Through,” Frank pays a rousing homage to Sir Elton John, often considered a pioneer in the world of blue-eyed soul. “It builds into a gospel
song and I can see myself having audience participation when we do the song live, lifting people up…”
That last sentiment is very much at the core of Frank Shiner’s approach to his work as an artist and indeed in life: “After people heard my last album, I got letters and comments from people who knew the story of how I got back into performing sharing how they were inspired to get back to teaching, writing and music, how they have gone back to those things in their later years. If I can be a motivation for other people, what more could I possibly want?”
Asked about how LONELY TOWN, LONELY STREET fits into his career objectives, Frank Shiner smiles: “I don’t think I have a ‘career objective’ as such. I’m loving every second of what I’m doing now. I just want to do more of this…performing and recording, and if this album goes somewhere, well, that’s the cherry on top of the sundae…but I’ve already got the sundae! The greatest compliment I get when I perform is when audience members tell me they can see the total bliss and total joy I have onstage and how I made it fun for them too. The minute I lose that, it’s time to stop.” With the release of an album made with love and delivered with true authenticity and passion, that won’t be anytime soon.
Huntertones brings people together around the globe with fun, imaginative and fearless music. Their high energy, horn-driven sound features genre bending composition and unconventional covers. Every show is a social experience celebrating the joy of music.
Dan White was born in Cleveland, OH, and grew up near Buffalo, New York. He attended The Ohio State University studying music education and jazz performance. During his time in Columbus, Ohio, he met and formed Huntertones and taught a middle school band before relocating to New York City in 2014. White has established himself as a highly collaborative saxophonist and composer currently on tour with Huntertones, Cory Wong, and Kurt Elling SuperBlue featuring Charlie Hunter with recent performances at Bonnaroo, North Sea Jazz Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, and on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Chris Ott is a trombonist, composer, arranger, beatboxer, and multi-instrumentalist based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a founding member of the instrumental jazz/funk group, Huntertones, as well as the brass band, Shag Horns. In addition to his own projects, Chris has shared the stage with Ricky Martin, Kurt Elling, Lake Street Dive, Charlie Hunter, Cory Wong, Umphrey's McGee, O.A.R., and the Late Show Band with Steven Colbert. Recording credits include work with Jacob Collier, the Jonas Brothers, Lawrence, Allen Stone, and hundreds of remote sessions with song writers, film composers, and music producers from around the world. As a composer, Chris is a tw0-time recipient of the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award, and his song "Welcome the Neighborhood" has been featured on NPR's Morning Edition. His compositions and arrangements can be heard on Huntertones 5 studio albums, as well as his 2020 solo record, The 60s Project.
As an educator Chris has presented masterclasses and clinics in schools throughout the country. He's also served as a musical ambassador for the American Music Abroad program presenting workshops and concerts in over 25 countries. Other teaching positions include work with the Miami Valley Jazz Camp, Jazz Arts Group Columbus, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops. Chris hails from Kettering, Ohio and studied Music Education and Jazz Performance at The Ohio State University where he was a 4 year member of The Ohio State University Marching Band. He received a Masters in Jazz Trombone Performance from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and was a member of the the 2010 and 2011 Disneyland All-American College Band. Another side of Chris' musical personality includes playing more obscure instruments like toy trumpets, slide whistles, game calls, percussion instruments, and conch shells. His video “Toy Trumpet Virtuoso” has received millions of views all over the internet!
Jon Lampley has quickly established himself as one of the most exciting multi-instrumentalists in the world. His musical journey began by playing at church on Sunday mornings in his hometown of Akron, Ohio and eventually he made his way to Brooklyn, NY after honing his skills at The Ohio State University. While best known for his soulful playing on trumpet and sousaphone, he’s also a vocalist and songwriter. Lampley is a co-founder of the genre bending band Huntertones. You can see him every weeknight on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert with Louis Cato and The Late Show Band as well as on the road as touring member of the platinum selling rock band O.A.R. If you’re lucky you may even catch Jon playing with real life guitar hero Cory Wong and the Wongnotes.
Jon leads Night Service at the legendary Bar Lunatico in Brooklyn every other month. This project is a joyful combination of original music and arrangements in the spirit of jazz, soul, and gospel. Lampley leads the way on trumpet and vocals and every performance will have you feeling like your being taken straight to church!
Darius de Haas
Darius de Haas is a critically acclaimed singer, actor, concert and recording artist (The NY Times called him “Electrically thrilling”). His Broadway credits include Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Carousel, Rent, The Gershwin’s Fascinating Rhythm, Marie Christine, Shuffle Along and the anniversary concerts of Dreamgirls and Hair (both for the Actors Fund). Other notable theater includes his Obie award winning performance in Running Man, the premiere production (at Papermill Playhouse) of Children of Eden, and Public Works’ As You Like It at the Delacorte . Recently, Darius played the role of “Billy Strayhorn” in the world premiere of Billy Strayhorn: Something To Live For at the Pittsburgh Public Theater.
Notable TV credits include Dietland, In The Life, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel for which Darius is the singing voice of “Shy Baldwin”.
Darius’ concert artist appearances include The Lincoln Center American Songbook (where he created and performed concerts of the music of Billy Strayhorn and Stevie Wonder), Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert w Los Angeles Master Chorale, The New York Festival of Song, Carnegie Hall and many orchestras including the National Symphony, Cincinnati Pops, and The Boston Pops. He has performed and/or toured with such artists as Marvin Hamlisch, Oleta Adams, Roberta Flack, Elvis Costello, Deborah Harry, Rhiannon Giddens and Vanessa Williams. His recordings include his debut Darius de Haas-Day Dream: Variations on Strayhorn, Quiet Please (duo w/pianist Steven Blier), and many Original Cast and Soundtrack Recordings. Darius is a proud founding member of Black Theatre United which serves to educate, empower, and inspire through excellence and activism in the pursuit of justice and equality for all black artists.
In many ways, Louis Cato began growing toward the role of bandleader on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert when he started playing drums at the age of 2. Since then, Cato has become an accomplished singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist — in addition to drums, he plays guitar, bass, various brass instruments and an array of percussion. He released the solo album Starting Now in 2017 (there's another on the way), and he's an in-demand musician whose collaborators have included John Legend, Talib Kweli, A Tribe Called Quest, Jack White, and, of course, Jon Batiste, his predecessor on The Late Show. Among such a wealth of experiences, though, arguably none did quite as much to prepare him for his current gig as playing in Boston-area wedding bands in his 20s. Cato's original music flows from a place of honesty that exudes authenticity and is immediately arresting and recognizable. His best work is surely ahead of him as his artistry grows each day.