It’s been six years since Brad Zimmerman has picked up a ratty dishcloth or taken an order from a customer — well, except for his one-man-show where he re-enacts it all.

Born in Bergen County, N.J., Brad Zimmerman started out in a rather large Jewish population. He is proud of his roots and says that it was “a great place to grow up,” according to an interview with Jweekly.com. In the same interview, Brad says that he and his family followed the Jewish traditions, and that after going through it all, “I [Brad] loves being a Jew.”

Aside from being a proud Jewish young man, Brad was also a very talented athlete throughout his middle school and high school careers. In  college, however, he took a turn in the opposite direction when he discovered his love of acting. After graduating, he moved to New York City to chase after this new dream, to which he could only hope would one day become reality.

Little did he know, he had many hard times waiting for him before he would make it big.

Through the repetition of every order taken, every rude customer, and every flick of the wrist as the international sign for “Check, please,” Brad Zimmerman has found some comic relief to it all. He is able to do something that many of us are unable to do — make fun of the long and difficult times that he has been through to get to where he is now.

Brad started his acting career as a waiter, as so many had done before him. On top of memorizing lines for auditions, he was memorizing the daily specials for each night that he was waiting tables.

When Brad realized the intimidatingly long times ahead of him in order to break into Broadway, he stepped back and decided to take a new route — stand up. In the early 1990′s Brad began to work hard at perfecting the craft of stand up comedy, and eventually started landing great jobs, including his role as the opening act for Joan Rivers and the late George Carlin. In addition to this, Brad Zimmerman was finally becoming a regular at New York comedy clubs, and people would file in to see his well-known and hilarious acts.

Everything came full circle when Brad landed an acting role in one of the best shows of all time, “The Sopranos.” In addition to this, he also received roles in soap operas such as “Loving” and “All My Children.” His ultimate dream was finally becoming reality, and to top it off he had achieved a second dream along the way that he had never initially intended.

Just like any true actor, however, Brad Zimmerman could not diverge from his theatrical roots any longer. In his one man show, “My Son, The Waiter; A Jewish Tragedy,” Brad is able to show off how he can combine his comedic and acting skills beautifully into one show that will not only entertain, but will also touch the heart of anyone who knows what it is like to have a dream.

Through every awful experience at the restaurant, to the endless conversations with his disappointed mother, the audience watches Brad with his extraordinarily clever and lighthearted sense of humor as he re-lives some of the worst times he has seen in his life thus far.

According to Jweekly.com, Brad Zimmerman’s favorite quote that got him through these tough times, was, “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken,” said by Oscar Wilde. Brad went on to say, “That’s what I do. I’m just being me.”

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She’s singing at the Grammy’s on February 10, then she’s singing live on stage at the Kate on February 16!

Audiences at the Kate will be experiencing 60 years of living history when the legendary gospel/rhythm and blues singer Mavis Staples takes the stage on Saturday, February 16.

A native of Chicago, Mavis joined her father, Roebuck “Pop” Staples and her siblings Cleotha, Yvonne and Purvis, in the early 1950’s as part of The Staple Singers, which became the most popular and influential spirituality-based singing group in the United States. In the early 1960’s, through their close association with the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., they became a leading musical force in the civil rights movement. The Staple Singers were also instrumental in popularizing the burgeoning folk music revival of the period, championing the work of such up-and-coming artists as Stephen Sills and Bob Dylan, who once asked for Mavis’ hand in marriage. (She declined.)

In 1965, “Pops” wrote the song “Freedom Highway” for the historic march fromSelma,Alabamato the state capital,Montgomery. Mavis today explains that she is “still marching that highway.”

The inspiring and moving music of The Staple Singers struck a chord with the country’s young people who were coming of age in the late 1960’s. Their songs made the top 40 charts eight times between 1971 and 1975, hitting number one twice and seeing their popular holiday song, “Who Took the Merry Out of Christmas” reach number two.  They continued recording through 1984 with their final album, “Turning Point,” which featured the group’s last top 40 hit, a cover of the Talking Heads’ ‘Slippery People.”  The group was embraced by a new generation after their song “Respect Yourself” was used by Spike Lee in his film, “Crooklyn.”  In 1999, Mavis and the family were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

A year later, however, following the unexpected death of “Pops” Staples, Mavis gave up singing. It was her devoted younger sister, Yvonne, who encouraged Mavis to return to her music in 2004, which started one of the most productive, creative and acclaimed periods of Mavis’s entire career, which continues up through the present day. Not only has she released four albums of gospel, spiritual and civil rights songs since then, including one produced by Ry Cooder, Mavis Staples has been invited to record with any number of artists from a wide range of musical genres. As a result, her voice can be heard on albums by such diverse artists as Salt ‘N Pepa, Ray Charles, Nona Hendryx, George Jones, Natalie Merchant, Los Lobos, Dr. John, Delbert McClinton and Johnny Paycheck. Her duet with old pal Bob Dylan, “Gotta Change My Way of Thinking,” was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals category.

She continues to tour with her own band, which includes as a back up singer, her supportive and talented sister, Yvonne.  It’s not unusual for established musicians such as Bonnie Raitt to climb up on stage to perform a number or two  Mavis is so respected by her peers that she served as a judge for the third and seventh annual Independent Music Awards which recognize outstanding independent artists. She was invited to perform at the Kennedy Center Honors in tribute to Sir Paul McCartney and sang at John Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear inWashington,D.C.  Folksinger John Gorka, when he recently appeared at the Kate, performed his song, “When You Sing,” that he wrote to celebrate the great joy and love of Mavis’ music.

Mavis won her first Grammy in 2011 in the Best Americana Album category for “You Are Not Alone,” her groundbreaking collaboration with Wilco’s Jeff  Tweedy, which not only harkens back to Mavis’ work with the Staple Singers, but contains original compositions by Randy Newman, Allen Touissant and Tweedy himself.

At age 73, Mavis Staples continues to excite audiences and receive rave reviews. She’s recognized as being at the peak of her talents and has been called a performer who delivers “wall to wall joy.” Her appearances never fail to bring her audiences to their feet due to her infectious enthusiasm and riveting spirituality.

Let’s hope the Kate has made a special effort to secure the roof for the night of Mavis’ appearance, because believe me, Mavis and friends are going to make every effort to raise it right up.

 

See you at the Kate!

Karen and Andrew

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Audiences at the Kate will be experiencing 60 years of living history when the legendary gospel/rhythm and blues singer Mavis Staples takes the stage on Saturday, February 16.

A native of Chicago, Mavis joined her father, Roebuck “Pop” Staples and her siblings Cleotha, Yvonne and Purvis, in the early 1950’s as part of The Staple Singers, which became the most popular and influential spirituality-based singing group in the United States. In the early 1960’s, through their close association with the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., they became a leading musical force in the civil rights movement. The Staple Singers were also instrumental in popularizing the burgeoning folk music revival of the period, championing the work of such up-and-coming artists as Stephen Sills and Bob Dylan, who once asked for Mavis’ hand in marriage. (She declined.)

In 1965, “Pops” wrote the song “Freedom Highway” for the historic march from Selma, Alabama to the state capital, Montgomery. Mavis today explains that she is “still marching that highway.”

The inspiring and moving music of The Staple Singers struck a chord with the country’s young people who were coming of age in the late 1960’s. Their songs made the top 40 charts eight times between 1971 and 1975, hitting number one twice and seeing their popular holiday song, “Who Took the Merry Out of Christmas” reach number two. They continued recording through 1984 with their final album, “Turning Point,” which featured the group’s last top 40 hit, a cover of the Talking Heads’ ‘Slippery People.” The group was embraced by a new generation after their song “Respect Yourself” was used by Spike Lee in his film, “Crooklyn.” In 1999, Mavis and the family were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

A year later, however, following the unexpected death of “Pops” Staples, Mavis gave up singing. It was her devoted older sister, Yvonne, who encouraged Mavis to return to her music in 2004, which started one of the most productive, creative and acclaimed periods of Mavis’s entire career, which continues up through the present day. Not only has she released four albums of gospel, spiritual and civil rights songs since then, including one produced by Ry Cooder, Mavis Staples has been invited to record with any number of artists from a wide range of musical genres. As a result, her voice can be heard on albums by such diverse artists as Salt ‘N Pepa, Ray Charles, Nona Hendryx, George Jones, Natalie Merchant, Los Lobos, Dr. John, Delbert McClinton and Johnny Paycheck. Her duet with old pal Bob Dylan, “Gotta Change My Way of Thinking,” was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals category.

She continues to tour with her own band, which includes as a back up singer, her supportive and talented sister, Yvonne. It’s not unusual for established musicians such as Bonnie Raitt to climb up on stage to perform a number or two Mavis is so respected by her peers that she served as a judge for the third and seventh annual Independent Music Awards which recognize outstanding independent artists. She was invited to perform at the Kennedy Center Honors in tribute to Sir Paul McCartney and sang at John Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in Washington, D.C. Folksinger John Gorka, when he recently appeared at the Kate, performed his song, “When You Sing,” that he wrote to celebrate the great joy and love of Mavis’ music.

Mavis won her first Grammy in 2011 in the Best Americana Album category for “You Are Not Alone,” her groundbreaking collaboration with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, which not only harkens back to Mavis’ work with the Staple Singers, but contains original compositions by Randy Newman, Allen Touissant and Tweedy himself.

At age 73, Mavis Staples continues to excite audiences and receive rave reviews. She’s recognized as being at the peak of her talents and has been called a performer who delivers “wall to wall joy.” Her appearances never fail to bring her audiences to their feet due to her infectious enthusiasm and riveting spirituality.

Let’s hope the Kate has made a special effort to secure the roof for the night of Mavis’ appearance, because believe me, Mavis and friends are going to make every effort to raise it right up.

See you at the Kate!
Karen and Andrew

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It’s a story right out of Broadway legend. Aspiring performer Betty Lynn Buckley arrives in New York fresh off a bus from her native Fort Worth. She proceeds to a previously scheduled audition and several short hours later lands a principal role in a new Broadway musical – all in one day! The rest as they say is history.

She followed up her Broadway debut in 1776 with memorable turns in Pippin and the London company of Promises, Promises, and subsequently became a household name as Abby Bradford in the hit television series Eight is Enough. She branched out into film, notably singing the Academy-Award winning film’s title song, Tender Mercies, and playing Harrison Ford’s kidnapped wife in the thriller Frantic. But it is on stage and in concert that Betty Buckley has cemented her reputation as one of the most innovative and powerful popular vocalists of our time.

From her Tony Award winning role in the musical Cats, the song Memory has virtually become Buckley’s signature tune. But she’s been responsible for equally stunning moments in such shows as Song and DanceTriumph of Love, and Drood on Broadway and Gypsy in regional theater.  She had the honor of being selected by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber to play Norma Desmond in both the London and Broadway productions of Sunset Boulevard. Her shattering performance in the legendary Broadway production of Carrie has contributed to the work’s cult status among theater lovers around the world.

She continues to sell out concert halls, supper clubs and cabarets as eager fans thrill to the range and scope of Buckley’s remarkable vocal capabilities. Never one satisfied to rest on her laurels, Buckley has collaborated with some of the best arrangers and musicians in the business, offering new and exciting versions of contemporary classics and beloved standards. She’s even now putting the finishing touches on a collaboration with legendary musician and producer T Bone Burnett, a friend from her home state, which she hopes to release in early 2013. In more recent years, she has become an in-demand educator both in the Fort Worth area where she now raises competitive cutting horses on her ranch and in New York, where her master classes are always filled to capacity.

Her ability to impress an audience with her vocal command and to stir a plethora of emotions have made Buckley a singular presence on the concert stage. As she prepares to release a new album Ah, Men! The Boys of Broadway later this August in which she performs songs originally written for some of the musical theater’s most famous male characters, Buckley stops by The Kate on August 2nd for a rare, intimate performance that will showcase her unique talents. It promises to be an evening you will not soon forget. As was said back in the days when Buckley was embarking on her distinguished career, prepare to be “blown away.”

– Karen and Andrew
See you at The Kate!

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Singer-songwriter Tom Rush has emerged as a particular favorite of audiences at the Kate, who are set to welcome him once again on Saturday evening, July 28, as the famed artist returns for his third engagement.

This is Rush’s 50th year in music and he plans to finish out this anniversary year with a return to Symphony Hall in Boston on Friday, December 28, timed with the reissue of his 1981 release, “Tom Rush: A New Year,” recorded live at that venue. He’s alo reissuing his debut recording, “Live at the Unicorn.”

Rolling Stone has credited Rush with ushering in the era of the singer/songwriter drawn from his studies in English literature at Harvard University and his early performances at Cambridge’s famed Club 47 (now Club Passim). In the late ’60′s, he introduced and popularized the works of Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Jackson Browne, while a generation later he did the same again for such artists as Nanci Griffith, Alison Kraus, Shawn Colvin, and Maura O’Connell.

Rush continues to tour and enjoys unprecendented popularity today, thanks in part to his viral video on YouTube, featuring his version of Steven Walters’ “The Remember Song,” which has received over 5.9 million hits thus far.

To check out one of Rush’s previous engagements at the Kate, visit the Vimeo website and search “Tom Rush.” And be sure to purchase your tickets for his upcoming concert now.

– Karen and Andrew
See you at The Kate!

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