Various Artists | Chip Deffaa's Mad About the Boy: The Festival Cast, Plus Special Guest-Stars

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Chip Deffaa's Mad About the Boy: The Festival Cast, Plus Special Guest-Stars

by Various Artists

This sassy cast recording features stars from Chip Deffaa's original festival production of his classic gay musical revue, "Mad About the Boy," joined by special guest stars from Broadway and Off-Broadway.
Genre: Easy Listening: Musicals
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Let's Misbehave
Jon Peterson
2:14 $0.99
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2. I Ain't Gonna Give Nobody None O' My Jelly Roll
Santino Fontana
1:22 $0.99
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3. Medley: He's so Unusual / Help!
Suzanne Dressler, Kristy Cates & Ellery Bakaitis
2:30 $0.99
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4. My Buddy
Keith Anderson
2:53 $0.99
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5. If Your Kisses Can't Hold the Man You Love
Clark Kinkade & Chip Deffaa
3:34 $0.99
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6. He's My Secret Passion
Keith Anderson
1:27 $0.99
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7. Pu-Leeze, Mr. Hemingway
Clark Kinkade & Chip Deffaa
1:38 $0.99
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8. Come up and See Me Sometime
David Brian Colbert & Clark Kinkade
3:04 $0.99
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9. Beach Boy
Barrett Foa
2:00 $0.99
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10. Do Something
Clark Kinkade & Chip Deffaa
3:13 $0.99
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11. Find Me a Primitive Man
Jamie Laverdiere
2:46 $0.99
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12. Masculine Women and Feminine Men
The "Mad About the Boy" Men
1:21 $0.99
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13. You Need to Be Loved to Be Happy
Clark Kinkade
5:49 $0.99
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14. I'm Crazy for My Baby in a Uniform
Clark Kinkade
2:11 $0.99
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15. Lesbian Madness
The "Mad About the Boy" Gang
3:28 $0.99
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16. The Lavender Song
Kristy Cates
3:41 $0.99
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17. When the Special Girlfriend
Clark Kinkade & Lynelle Johnson
3:44 $0.99
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18. Boy in the Boat
Eric Anthony
2:02 $0.99
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19. B. D. Woman's Blues
Terri White
3:02 $0.99
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20. Prove It on Me Blues
Baby Jane Dexter
3:01 $0.99
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21. Sissyman Blues
Eric Anthony
3:25 $0.99
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22. Mad About the Boy
The "Mad About the Boy" Men
5:53 $0.99
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23. He's a Good Man to Have Around
Barrett Foa
2:01 $0.99
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24. Just Some Guy
Dave Warren
3:18 $0.99
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25. You'd Be Surprised
Clark Kinkade
1:47 $0.99
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26. I Want to Be Bad
Suzanne Dressler
0:34 $0.99
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27. Let's Misbehave (Reprise)
Lynelle Johnson & Richard Danley
3:00 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes


Chip Deffaa’s MAD ABOUT THE BOY: The Festival Cast... plus Special Guest Stars...
The classic gay musical revue! (With musical direction by Richard Danley, Mark Hartman, Sterling Price-McKinney,
D. Jay Bradley, and others)

Musical numbers...

1. “LET’S MISBEHAVE” (lyrics and music by Cole Porter) ... Jon Peterson

2. “I AIN’T GONNA GIVE NOBODY NONE O’ MY JELLY ROLL” (lyrics and music by Spencer Williams and Clarence Williams) ... Santino Fontana

3. Medley: “HE’S SO UNUSUAL” (lyrics by Al Lewis and Al Sherman, music by Abner Silver)/“HELP!” (Leslie F. Moore, Al Sherman, and Johnny Tucker) ... Suzanne Dressler, Kristy Cates, Ellery Bakaitis

4. “MY BUDDY” (lyrics by Gus Kahn, music by Walter Donaldson) ... Keith Anderson

5. “IF YOUR KISSES CAN’T HOLD THE MAN YOU LOVE” (lyrics by Jack Yellen, music by Vivian Ellis) ... Clark Kinkade and Chip Deffaa

6. “HE’S MY SECRET PASSION” (lyrics by Eric Valentine, music by Arthur Young) ... Keith Anderson

7. “PU-LEEZE, MR. HEMINGWAY” (lyrics by Walter Kent and Milton Drake, music by Abner Silver) ... Clark Kinkade and Chip Deffaa

8. “COME UP AND SEE ME SOMETIME” (lyrics by Arthur Swanstrom, music by Louis Alter) ... David Brian Colbert and Clark Kinkade

9. “BEACH BOY” (lyrics and music by Ann Ronell) ... Barrett Foa

10. “DO SOMETHING” (lyrics and music by Bud Green and Sam H. Stept) ... Clark Kinkade and Chip Deffaa

11. “FIND ME A PRIMITIVE MAN” (lyrics and music by Cole Porter) ... Jamie Laverdiere

12. “MASCULINE WOMEN AND FEMININE MEN” (lyrics by Edgar Leslie, music by James V. Monaco) ... The “Mad About the Boy” Men (Keith Anderson, Robert Micheli, David Herzog, Santino Fontana)

13. “YOU NEED TO BE LOVED TO BE HAPPY” (lyrics and music by Chip Deffaa) Deffaa) ... Clark Kinkade

14. “I’M CRAZY FOR MY BABY IN A UNIFORM ” (lyrics and music by Chip Deffaa) ... Clark Kinkade

15. “LESBIAN MADNESS” (lyrics and music by Rick Crom) .... The “Mad About the Boy” Gang (Stephanie Saunders, Samantha Soule, Chad Miller, Timothy Britten Parker, Ellery Bakaitis, Chip Deffaa, Mark Hartman)

16. “THE LAVENDER SONG” (“Das Lila Lied,” music by Mischa Spoliansky, writing under the pen name of Arno Billing, original German lyrics by Kurt Schwabach; English lyrics by John David Lawrence, from a translation by Alan Lareau) ... Kristy Cates

17. “WHEN THE SPECIAL GIRLFRIEND” (“Wenn die Beste Freundin,” music by Mischa Spoliansky, original German lyrics by Marcellus Schiffer; English lyrics by John David Lawrence) ... Clark Kinkade and Lynelle Johnson

18. “BOY IN THE BOAT” (traditional–adaptation by Chip Deffaa) ... Eric Anthony

19. “B.D. WOMAN’S BLUES” (traditional–adaptation by Chip Deffaa) ... Terri White

20. “PROVE IT ON ME BLUES” (traditional–adaptation by Chip Deffaa) ... Baby Jane Dexter

21. “SISSYMAN BLUES” (traditional–adaptation by Chip Deffaa) ... Eric Anthony

22. “MAD ABOUT THE BOY” (lyrics and music by Noel Coward) ... The “Mad About the Boy” Men (Keith Anderson, Sean Flaherty, Adam Barta, Dave Warren, Ellery Bakaitis, Jed Peterson, Timothy Britten Parker, Patrick Rinn)

23. “HE’S A GOOD MAN TO HAVE AROUND” (lyrics by Jack Yellen, music by Milton Ager) ... Barrett Foa

24. “JUST SOME GUY” (Joe Pisapia and Anthony Rapp) ... Dave Warren

25. “YOU’D BE SURPRISED” (lyrics and music by Irving Berlin) ... Clark Kinkade

26. “I WANT TO BE BAD” (Buddy DeSylva, Lew Brown, and Ray Henderson)... Suzanne Dressler

27. “LET’S MISBEHAVE”-Reprise (Cole Porter) ... Lynelle Johnson, Richard Danley, Clark Kinkade

* * *

This album is dedicated with appreciation and respect to Santino Fontana, who has so wondrously fulfilled the potential I saw in him when we first met, back in his student days. No actor working on Broadway nowadays has a lovelier voice, or a brighter spirit.
– Chip Deffaa

* * *

A FEW NOTES ABOUT “MAD ABOUT THE BOY” FROM CHIP DEFFAA....

The late George Burns–who taught me a lot--impressed upon me that audiences will always tell you what works. If you listen to your audience, he’d say, you can’t go wrong.

And audiences told me, from the very first tryout performance of “Mad About the Boy”–a gay musical revue I’d conceived and was presenting as part of the Chip Deffaa Invitational Theater Festival in New York City–that we had something special. From day one, audience response to the revue was terrific. We ran no ads. But somehow, word got around. People–young and old, gay and straight--began packing our little theater on 42nd Street.

I wanted to show that there were gay songs long before Stonewall. That there were songs–unknown to most people today–referencing gay people, being created way back in the 1920s and ‘30s--in Harlem, in Berlin, on Broadway, in London, and in Tin Pan Alley. I drew upon my knowledge of jazz and blues, and musical-theater, and gay history. I picked performers. And I picked songs, from my extensive collections of rare original sheet music and recordings. I threw in some cheeky oldtime numbers that, while not specifically gay in nature, added to the fun. (My first priority has always been putting on a good show.)

What a kick I got out of seeing Baby Jane Dexter–a real force-of-nature, one of my all-time favorite cabaret singers–stop the show, singing Ma Rainey’s vintage lesbian number “Prove It On Me Blues.”

Suzanne Dressler cracked audiences up singing a 1920s pop song, “He’s So Unusual,” about a poor gal who can’t quite figure out why the guy she likes pays more attention to the feller driving the taxi than to her. Keith Anderson, who possesses about as fine a tenor voice as anyone in New York, seemed to define unrequited love, crooning “He’s My Secret Passion.”

When our guys sang “Masculine Women, Feminine Men,” it sounded like that song could have been written for a boy-band that morning–not way back in the Jazz Age.

Broadway’s Kristy Cates–one of the best lyric soprano’s I’ve known–was absolutely inspiring, fiercely singing a Weimar-Germany gay-rights anthem, “The Lavender Song,” that spoke to us all. Just the way she attacked and held the opening words–“Lavender nights...”--stirred me.

That first edition of “Mad About the Boy” was a one-act show, running 50-60 minutes in length.
Joe Franklin raved about it on Bloomberg Radio (“Solid entertainment.... The crowds went crazy!”)

Joey Reynolds came in to see the show, and invited a couple of the performers and me on to his nationally syndicated radio program. There was Baby Jane Dexter, suddenly singing material from the show “live” to Joey Reynolds’s listeners in 200 markets.

Broadway legend Tommy Tune came in with an entourage to see “Mad About the Boy.” And boy! He led the applause that night, telling me afterwards that I’d conceived something unique, and he urged me to expand it to a full-length production. And when Tommy Tune--who’s won 10 Tony Awards and the National Medal of Arts–tells you you’re on to something, you listen

In my theater festival that Fall, I presented more than 25 different productions. “Mad About the Boy” was–along with shows I created celebrating George M. Cohan and Johnny Mercer, and a couple of others–one of the surprise, runaway successes of the festival. I’d dreamed up the show primarily for my own pleasure. I just thought it would be fun to have some performers I really loved singing songs--from the 1920s to the present–celebrating feelings that a guy might have for a guy, or a gal might have for a gal. I didn’t realize that the show would touch a chord for so many people. Tommy Tune–whom I admire as much as anyone in this business--said he’d not just enjoyed the show, he’d learned from it. He asked me if I could find enough material to expand it to a full-length show. I explained I already had enough material for several full-length shows. The hard part had been picking numbers for this brief first tryout.

After the festival, as time permitted, I gathered friends to help me workshop an expanded “Mad About the Boy.” (A long process! I was working on other shows at the same time, too; and life has a way of pulling you this way and that.) I retained the numbers that audiences liked most from our first tryout, and kept adding and subtracting other numbers, until I finally got a mix I really liked. And we began recording numbers.

I wanted to document the singing of our original festival-production performers--such as Keith Anderson, Baby Jane Dexter, Kristy Cates, Suzanne Dressler, Patrick Rinn, Adam Barta–and the contributions of others who’d helped workshop and develop the show--including Dave Warren, David Brian Colbert, Sean Flaherty, Stephanie Saunders, Eric B. Anthony, Ellery Bakaitis. (Big thanks to Chashama–a not-for-profit organization that really goes all-out to help the arts--for their invaluable support.)

I invited others I greatly admired--Santino Fontana, Terri White, Jon Peterson, Barrett Foa, Jamie Laverdiere, Timothy Britten (“Toby”) Parker, Jed Peterson, Lynelle Johnson, Robert Micheli, Samantha Soule, David Herzog, Chad Miller, Clark Kinkade–to work on the recording project. The recordings were made in different studios, with different engineers, with such gifted accompanists--all of whom made valuable contributions, playing “live” for the singers when they were available--as Richard Danley, Mark Hartman, D. Jay Bradley, Sterling Price McKinney. I’m very grateful to all who’ve participated in this labor of love.

Eventually, I mounted the full-length version of “Mad About the Boy” at the 13th Street Repertory Theater–where, happily, it broke box-office records. We’ve also made a cast album with the talented actors from that 13th Street Theater production (Joris de Graaf, John Brady, Cody Jordan, Luka Fric, Benjamin Grier, Michael Knowles, Toby Medlyn, Maite Uzal, Amanda Andrews, Katherine Paulsen, Shinice Hemmings, Al Roths, Mark Blowers, Michael J. C. Anderson), which is being released imminently. I wanted to document their work as well. So now there are two “Mad About the Boy” albums. (The show actually includes more songs than can fit on a single CD; so this CD includes some songs that aren’t on the other CD; and the other CD includes some songs that aren’t on this one.) I’m very happy that these recordings exist.

The performances on this disc pretty much speak for themselves. But I’d like to tell you a little about the performers you’ll hear. There are some very talented people here.

* * *

OUR PERFORMERS...

Jon Peterson gets things started with Cole Porter’s “Let’s Misbehave”--one of my own favorite songs of all time. If you ask me, Jon is as great a song-and-dance man as anyone working today; and I’m glad to work with him any chance I get.

He’s starred in assorted musicals in his native England, came to the U.S. to star as “the Emcee” in the national tour of “Cabaret,” and he went on to cover that demanding role on Broadway. And, for more than 10 years off-and-on, he’s starred in productions of my show “George M. Cohan Tonight!,” which I wrote for him. He’s done the show off-Broadway in New York; in New Orleans; in Los Angeles; in London; in Seoul; and so on. You can hear him on the cast album of that show, and also on such albums of mine as “The Seven Little Foys”; “The Johnny Mercer Jamboree”; “Irving Berlin Revisited”; “Irving Berlin Rediscovered;” and “The Chip Deffaa Songbook.” (As well as on albums of his own.) Jon has been too busy playing “George M. Cohan” for him to appear, as of yet, in a production of “Mad About the Boy.” But I love his work, and keep hoping that will eventually happen.

I think the world of Santino Fontana, who answers “Let’s Misbehave” by singing “I Ain’t Gonna Give Nobody None o’ My Jelly Roll.” He’s impressed me greatly–as both a person and a performer--since he was a teen. He’s achieved success on stage, screen, and television.

He currently co-stars, alongside Rachel Bloom, on the popular TV series “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”; he previously was on the Internet series “Submissions Only”; and he provided the voice of “Prince Hans” for the smash-hit Disney animated motion picture “Frozen.” He has starred or co-starred in numerous stage productions in New York, winning the Clarence Derwent Award for his work on Broadway in “The Importance of Being Earnest,” and the Drama Desk Award for his work on Broadway in “Brighton Beach Memoirs.” To me, he’s got the loveliest voice of any male actor in today’s Broadway community. I never miss his work. And whether, in his stage appearances, he’s sung Sondheim (“Sunday in the Park with George”), Elton John (“Billy Elliott”), Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones (“The Fantasticks”), or Rodgers and Hammerstein (an absolutely perfect “Prince,” co-starring in “Cinderella,” for which he received a Tony nomination), his singing is pure, well-rounded, lyrical-- everything a composer could ask for. He’s also one of very few actors who’s equally effective whether doing straight plays (“Hamlet,” “Death of a Salesman,” “Sons of the Prophet”) or musicals. He recently became the first guest artist ever to appear three times in one year with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. And he’s written a musical, too. I sometimes think he can do just about anything.

I first met Santino Fontana, by chance, when he was just 17 or 18–a high-school student from Richland, Washington, attending the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho. For 14 years I attended that festival–which attracted crowds of 20,000 annually--as a guest of Lionel Hampton, giving lectures on jazz. Of all the many young people I met at the festival over the years, Santino and Chase Baird (who’s made his mark since then as a superb sax player) were the two standouts. Hampton used to tell me that if you had good ears and good eyes, you could spot exceptional talent almost instantly–you could pick up all of the clues seemingly at once.
And when I met Santino Fontana, that was one of the few cases in my life where I sensed his potential instantly.

He had such an unusually attractive speaking voice–the timbre was lovely, and the voice itself seemed musical–you could sense what the singing voice would sound like even before hearing it. (And he won recognition as best male vocalist, in a big competition we had at the festival.) But more than that, the whole gently confident vibe he gave off was so “together”–it reminded me of how I felt when I first met Matthew Broderick–I just knew he could go places. He spoke with me of his admiration for Broadway songwriters John Kander and Fred Ebb, and of his admiration for jazz singer/pianist Billy Stritch. I was amazed that a teen from some town I’d never heard of, from the distant state of Washington, would know all about about Kander and Ebb, and Billy Stritch. We agreed to stay in touch. As soon as I got back to New York, I told Billy Stritch about this impressive, talented teen I’d met. Billy and I took a snapshot together, which I mailed to Santino with the promise from Billy Stritch and myself that if Santino came to New York someday, we’d introduce him to Kander and Ebb. Six years would pass before Santino moved to New York–we stayed in touch in the interim–and I was delighted to see him soon co-starring in his first New York show, “The Fantasticks.” He’s never stopped working. And he’s terrific. It means the world to me that he’s represented on this album. He casually sang one relaxed, jazz-inflected take of “I Ain’t Gonna Give Nobody None o’ My Jelly Roll,” “live,” with Richard Danley on piano–no inserts or overdubs, or do-overs–and that was it. (He always makes it look so easy.) You can hear him sing a number on my “Chip Deffaa Songbook” album, too. I love that voice. And effortless command he has.

Suzanne Dressler, Kristy Cates, and Ellery Bakaitis are great good fun, putting across a medley of “He’s So Unusual” and “Help.” I found Suzanne Dressler in an open-call audition I held at Ripley-Grier Studios; I was impressed by her strong singing voice, her comic timing, and her moxie. At auditions, we always tell the many actors who try out: “Don’t call us; we’ll call you!” I went home after that day’s audition, and before I had a chance to call anyone, I got a call from Suzanne Dressler, asking me how I’d liked her audition. You’re really not supposed to do that--but she’s so talented, I didn’t care. I told her I was casting her to be in two shows of mine at once–“George M. Cohan: In His Own Words” and “Mad About the Boy.” She was a vivid presence in both shows.

Kristy Cates’ clear, strong, warm soprano has enhanced such hit Broadway musicals as “Wicked” and “Finding Neverland.” And she also enjoyed a long stint, starring as “Elphaba” in the Chicago production of “Wicked.” As I type these notes, she’s currently co-starring in “The Marvelous Wonderettes” in New York I love her work. She was a major asset to our first production of “Mad About the Boy”–she rallied the whole cast–and a framed picture of her from that period hangs in my home.

I cast Ellery Bakaitis in both my shows “George M. Cohan: In his Own Words” (you can hear him singing “Harrigan” with Jon Peterson on our album) and “Mad About the Boy.” I gradually built up his part in the first show--which I was writing during rehearsals--and he eventually decided to concentrate strictly on that show. So he left “Mad About the Boy.” But I’m glad to have some recorded reminders of his immensely appealing work. In addition to singing “Help!” on this album, you’ll also hear him on the group numbers “Lesbian Madness” (that’s him, calling out “Lea Delaria!”) and “Mad About the Boy” (“In my English prose...”).

Keith Anderson--who sings “My Buddy” and “He’s My Secret Passion” as featured solo numbers, and is also heard on such group numbers as “Masculine Women, Feminine Men” and “Mad About the Boy”--has done a bit of everything in his career, from plays, to musicals, to the Kennedy Center. He’s sung “The Star Spangled Banner” for the Cubs, toured with Perry Como, narrated the life of Billy Idol for television’s The Biography Channel. He’s got a superb tenor voice, he sings with heart, and I’ll include him in any project I can. He was a star of the original productions of both my “Johnny Mercer Jamboree” and my “Irving Berlin Ragtime Revue” and may be heard on the cast albums of those shows, as well as on such other albums of mine as “The Fanny Brice Story”; “Irving Berlin and Co.”; “Irving Berlin Revisited”; “Irving Berlin Rediscovered”; and “The Chip Deffaa Songbook.” I first saw him in the Off-Broadway musical “Fairy Tales,” just after he’d moved to New York from Chicago, and I bought the cast album of the show just to hear that hauntingly beautiful voice of his. I picked the songs “My Buddy” and “He’s My Secret Passion” for the show “Mad About the Boy” specifically because I knew how great Keith Anderson would sound on them. .

Clark Kinkade–who is such an important part of this project–is one of my favorite younger singers. A terrific voice–a beautiful tone, and spirit; and lots of personality. He’s equally effective whether putting over oldtime numbers (“If Your Kisses Can’t Hold the Man You Love,” “Pu-Leeze, Mr. Hemingway,” and “Do Something”) or new numbers I wrote expressly for the show, such as “You Need to be Loved to be Happy” and “I’m Crazy for My Baby in a Uniform.” Some other wonderful singers (including John Brady, Bailey Cummings, Luka Fric, Benjamin Grier) have recorded my song “I’m Crazy for My Baby in a Uniform,” but no one sings it better than Clark. It’s always a delight to work with him. Clark was in the original cast of my musical comedy “The Seven Little Foys”–in fact I wrote the role he played with him in mind. He sang on the first demo recordings. (College obligations prevented him from being on the actual original-cast album.) He may also be heard on the albums “The Chip Deffaa Songbook” (singing a number with the great Seth Sikes–who, incidentally, prepared the arrangement heard here of “I’m Crazy for My Baby in a Uniform”) and “Irving Berlin Rediscovered.” And Clark will be heard on other albums in my Irving Berlin series (with accompaniment by the great Richard Danley, who plays for him here). He’s a member of the popular vocal group “RANGE a Cappella,” which has sung everywhere from the red carpet at the Emmy Awards to Radio City Music Hall; their YouTube videos get numerous hits. Clark is also the very last voice heard on this album; he’s the one whispering the words “Let’s misbehave” at the very end. I’m glad to give him the last word.


David Brian Colbert, who’s the seductive, deep-voiced singer you hear on “Come Up and See Me Sometime,” is not only a successful singer/actor who’s starred in shows like “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” in assorted US cities, he’s also a produced Off-Broadway playwright (“Confessions of a Liar”). He participated in the first reading of the full-length “Mad About the Boy.” You can also hear him on my album “The Chip Deffaa Songbook.” And he will be heard on future albums in my Irving Berlin series. Give him a song, he’ll give you a complete characterization!

Barrett Foa, who shines on “Beach Boy” and “He’s a Good Man to Have Around,” may be best known to television viewers for playing tech geek/surfer dude “Eric Beale” on the long-running CBS series “NCIS: Los Angeles”–but he’s got solid-gold musical-comedy credentials, having appeared on Broadway in such hits as “Mamma Mia!,” “Avenue Q,” and “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” And he was an irresistible “Professor Harold Hill,” starring in one memorable regional production of “The Music Man” that I saw a year or two ago. (I remember him telling me, when we went to see the last Broadway revival of “The Music Man,” that “Professor Harold Hill” was a role he dreamed of playing.) He’s one of my favorite musical-comedy players–he’s such a winning performer--and I love his interpretations of these songs–the sensitivity on “Beach Boy,” the buoyancy on “He’s a Good Man to Have Around.” He starred, too, in “Buyer & Cellar,” Off-Broadway. He occasionally does cabaret shows, as well, playing top rooms. Watch for him!

Baby Jane Dexter is one of the most honored singers in the world of cabaret. She’s won all of the top awards–the Bistro Award, the Nightlife Award, and–many times--the MAC Award. She has a loyal following that supports her club and concert appearances, and buys her albums. She rarely appears in other people’s shows; she’s too busy doing shows of her own. I was honored that she agreed to be in the cast of our first production of “Mad About the Boy.” She puts her own stamp on anything she sings. And, boy, she’s a killer! I just love her. She really liked doing Ma Rainey’s “Prove it on Me Blues.” (And check out this 1928 advertisement for Rainey’s original recording of this song.)

One time, Baby Jane Dexter came to see another one of my shows. When I spotted her in the audience, I invited her up on stage to sing a couple of numbers, and she did so–a capella, off the cuff–without a moment’s hesitation. And won everyone in an instant. That’s my kind of performer.

Jamie Laverdiere–who puts over so charmingly Cole Porter’s forthright “Find Me a Primitive Man”–is another longtime favorite of mine. I’ve enjoyed his work on Broadway, in shows like “Motown: the Musical,” “The Pirate Queen,” and “The Producers” (where he understudied Matthew Broderick in the co-starring role of “Leo Bloom”). Off-Broadway, he’s graced such musicals as “Rothschild & Sons,” “We the People: America Rocks,” and “Cam Jensen.” He impressed me from the very start of his career in New York, starring in “Young Thomas Edison.”

Lynelle Johnson, whose bright soprano is heard on a couple of numbers, has performed as a soloist at Carnegie Hall in New York, Universal Hall in Berlin, and the Alte Oper in Frankfurt. She’s done musical comedies, operettas, and opera. I’ve seen her on NBC and ABC television. She may also be heard on my albums “The George M. Cohan Revue” and “The Chip Deffaa Songbook.” While I don’t generally permit guests to attend our recording sessions, her pet cat was such a dandy, we occasionally made exceptions for that cat. At the time Lynelle Johnson recorded these numbers from “Mad About the Boy,” she was also “Miss USO”!

Lynelle Johnson and Clark Kinkade really enjoyed recording “When the Special Girlfriend”–and their zest is contagious. On this album’s final number (“Let’s Misbehave-Reprise”), Lynelle and pianist Richard Danley (her former teacher at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy) even got to do some scat-singing together. (Richard Danley, I might add, has worked on many shows and/or albums of mine over the years, including "Irving Berlin's America," "One Night with Fanny Brice," "The Seven Little Foys," "George M. Cohan Tonight!," “Mad About the Boy,” and "Theater Boys." I’m always glad to work with him, if he’s available; as I type these notes, we’ve just finished doing one of my shows in Korea.)

Eric B. Anthony– who does such a masterful job singing such vintage blues songs as “The Boy in the Boat” and “Sissyman Blues”--first impressed me as a member of the original Broadway cast of the musical “Hairspray.” (He’s also been in such Broadway shows as “The Lion King” and “Marp Poppins”–besides turning up in various films, and on TV commercials for Ruby Tuesday’s and Hyundai.) He sings with real feeling, a “period” touch, and lots of warmth; a good guy, a good singer. I remember discussing the project with him and others at my home, hoping he might be available for a future production of “Mad About the Boy.” But he’s always working. I’m proud that he’s won an award from the NAACP for his achievements, too.

I love the authority that the one-and-only Terri White (ably supported by pianist Mark Hartman) projects on the oldtime “B.D. Woman’s Blues.” (“B.D.,” for those who may not be familiar with the terminology, was short for “bull-dyke” or “bull-dagger.”) White has lent that same strength to many Broadway shows over the years, including “Follies,” “Finian’s Rainbow,” “Chicago,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “Welcome to the Club,” and “Barnum.” I’ve also seen her sing at a couple of unforgettable parties hosted by pianist Fred Barton–just casually stepping up to the piano, in an apartment filled with talented Broadway performers, and raising the roof; no one could follow her. She’s a complete show, all by herself. (Incidentally, you can hear another recording by White as a bonus track on the cast album of “Mad About the Boy: The 13th Street Theater Production.”) No one working in the theater today can belt out the blues better than White. And Hartman is a perfect accompanist for her.

Dave Warren, who sings Anthony Rapp’s “Just Some Guy”--with Sterling Price McKinney, who’s music-directed several shows for me, on piano--has a beautiful voice. He co-starred in the first production of my musical play “George M.Cohan and Co.” He was also in my original “George M. Cohan Revue” (and may be heard on the cast album). “Just Some Guy” is my favorite, of all the songs that Anthony Rapp (star of such musicals as “Rent” and “If/Then”) has written or co-written, and I’ve always enjoyed hearing him perform it. (I remember Dave Warren and I enjoying Rapp together one night at a club in the East Village.) Rapp provided us with a lead sheet for the song, and we worked up a piano/vocal arrangement.

Dave Warren, I might add, is also one of the soloists you’ll hear on Noel Coward’s song “Mad About the Boy,” which is a high point of the show. (He’s the one singing “It’s simply scrumptious to be mad about the boy....”) I’d like to give a little background info on some of the other soloists you’ll hear on that big number, which Coward was inspired to write because of his own crush on a real-life male film star of the era.

Jed Peterson has starred in such Off-Broadway musicals as “Hard Times” and “Nevsky Prospect;” he did the national tour of “Cheers”; and has been seen on television’s “Madame Secretary.” He did the first reading of the script that evolved into my show “George M. Cohan Tonight!” He may be heard on my album “The Irving Berlin Songbook.” And he stars, portraying Mr. Berlin himself, on the premiere recording of my one-man show “Irving Berlin: In Person.”

Timothy Britten (“Toby”) Parker–whose work I’ve long appreciated--has been in such Broadway shows as “Wicked,” “Rent,” “The Visit,” “Runaways,” and “The Innocents” (in the last-named with his sister, Sarah Jessica Parker). He was one of the co-founders (as was his brother, director Pippin Parker) of New York’s respected Naked Angles Theater Company. He played a recurring character on TV’s “Law and Order.” His film credits include “Gold Coast,” “Quiz Show,” “The Last Supper,” and “Joey Breaker.” And he’s performed and recorded as a solo vocal artist, as well. In our recording of the song “Mad About the Boy,” Parker gets some of the very best lines (“People I employ have the impertinence to call me Myrna Loy...”), which he delivers with just the right dry, arch tone. (He clearly understands Coward!) The lyrics Parker sings-- so intriguingly conveying a man’s vexing feelings for another man--couldn’t get past the censors in the 1930s. Noel Coward hoped those lines would be heard, but they were suppressed; the general public wasn’t quite ready for such honesty then.

Patrick Rinn, who’s the final soloist heard on the song “Mad About the Boy,” is an alumnus of the Boston Ballet. (I’ve always had a weakness for dancers.) As an actor, he’s had recurring roles on television’s "All My Children" and "One Life to Live”; he appeared as “Rose Garden” in the HBO mini-series "Angels in America”; and he’s performed with “Hearts and Voices” as a member of “The Imperial Court of New York.” In 2014, Rinn was crowned the very first “Broadway's Best in Drag” winner, at an annual benefit for AIDS Service Center NYC. In 2016, he debuted his touching autobiographical one-man show, “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden,” at the Triad in New York City. He’s a “people person,”and it’s good to have people in a cast who can help people bond together. Among his “behind-the-scenes” theatrical credits: he’s worked as a Production Assistant on “Grand Hotel” and as an Assistant Stage Manager for the touring production of “Dr. Dolittle.” I loved his contributions to our first production of “Mad About the Boy.” And the audiences clearly loved it when he’d make his entrance in grand drag, singing, “It seems a little silly for a girl of my age and trade to walk through Piccadilly in a haze of love....”

I’d like to offer a special note of thanks to the multi-talented Rick Crom, who wrote the song “Lesbian Madness.” I’ve always dug his work–whether as a performer or writer. As a singing actor, Crom has appeared in such Broadway hits as “Urinetown” and “Footloose.” He’s sung on my album “Irving Berlin Revisited.” (And I hope he’ll sing on other albums in my Berlin series.) And he’s the creator of the long-running Off-Broadway show, “Newsical” (among other shows).

We had a lot of fun recording “Lesbian Madness.” The first two voices we hear are those of Stephanie Saunders (who was also featured in my show “George M. Cohan: In His Own Words”) and Samantha Soule (who’s impressed me since her student days at Juilliard; she’s been seen on Broadway in “The Philanthropist,” “Coram Boy,” and “Dinner at Eight,” and in about a dozen Off-Broadway shows). And then everybody (including Chad Miller, Ellery Bakaitis, Toby Parker) gets into the act. I got to call out the name of “Kristy McNichol”; our brilliant pianist, Mark Hartman–none better!--got to call out the name of “Marjorie Main.” (Hartman, I might add, is in high-demand as a music director, whether working on theatrical productions in New York City or regionally, or music-directing shows for some of our greatest cabaret singers, such as Natalie Davis and Seth Sikes.)

The actors rounding out our company include: David Herzog (who’s starred in productions of my show “George M. Cohan Tonight!” in London, Edinburgh, New Orleans, and elsewhere); Robert Micheli (from the national tour of “The Drowsy Chaperone.” among other shows); Chad Anthony Miller (an actor and producer whose film credits include “Riley Rewind,” “An Ordinary Family,” and “Night Light”); and Adam Barta and Sean Flaherty (whose credits include pop singing, and videos, and boy-band work, as well as theater). I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with.

Eventually, the full-length production of “Mad About the Boy” opened at the 13th Street Repertory Theater. And that production was very well-received, and drew packed houses. Television producer/host Barry Z devoted an hour-long television broadcast to the show, commenting: "I'm so maaad about the boy myself..... It's a great gay musical history lesson--the best musical revue I've seen in years!" Reviewer Thomas Robert Stevens wrote in “Applause! Applause!”: “There is no better musical playing in New York City this season than ‘Mad About The Boy.’ Chip Deffaa has outdone himself this time....” And I’m looking forward to future productions. But that’s another story, for another time.

Here are the singers who helped launch “Mad About the Boy.” I’m grateful to them all.

– CHIP DEFFAA

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CHIP DEFFAA (writer/composer/arranger) is the author of 16 published plays and eight published books, and the producer of 17 albums. For 18 years he covered entertainment, including music and theater, for The New York Post. He is a graduate of Princeton University and a trustee of the Princeton "Tiger" magazine. He wrote and directed such Off-Broadway successes as "George M. Cohan Tonight!" and "One Night with Fanny Brice." His shows have been performed everywhere from London to Edinburgh, to Seoul. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild, the Stage Directors & Choreographers Society, and ASCAP. He’s won the ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award, the IRNE Award, and a New Jersey Press Association Award. Please visit: www.chipdeffaa.com.

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Playwright/director Chip Deffaa is represented by The Fifi Oscard Agency (attention: Peter Sawyer, President), 1440 Broadway, 23rd Floor, New York, NY 10018, Email: psawyer@fifioscard.com, tel.: (212) 764-1100.

Information on Chip Deffaa’s shows may also be obtained from Chip Deffaa Productions LLC, 50 Quartz Lane, Paterson, NJ 07501-3345, telephone: 973-684-3340; Email: Footloose518@aol.com; www.chipdeffaa.com.

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A note of thanks for the help provided, in various ways, by Carol Channing, Lee Roy Reams, Don Brown, Stephen Bogardus, Alex and Alec Deland, Matthew Broderick, Byeong hyo Son, Jed Peterson, Gabe Beer, You-chul Kim, Younghwa Cha, Abraheem Abdelhaq, Yunis Alibrahimi, Adam Barki, Deborah Deffaa, Max Deffaa, Julia Deffaa, Louis Deffaa Sr., Josh Schaller, Ava Schaller, Lawson Saby, Logan Saby, Lucas Snyder, Donnie and Earl Snyder, Victor Calatayud, Adrian Carbajal, Sukhee Jun, Brick Greenbean, Jessee D. Riehl, the late John Wallowitch, the late Jack Gottlieb, and artist-to-watch Julius “Torreador” Taibor. A special note of thanks to Kelly Briggs and John McMahon, who served as director and music director, respectively, on our first tryout production of “Mad About the Boy” at Café Chashama on 42nd Street, New York City.

“Mad About the Boy” was first presented as part of the Chip Deffaa Invitational Theater Festival in New York City, with support from Chashama (Anita Durst, Artistic Director). It was subsequently developed at Roy Arias Studios and at the 13th Street Repertory Theater (Edith O’Hara, Founder and Artistic Director).

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“Mad About the Boy: The Festival Cast, Plus Special Guests” (p) and © 2016 by Chip Deffaa.

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If you’ve enjoyed this album, you might also enjoy these 17 other Chip Deffaa albums (available from Amazon.com, CDBaby.com, iTunes, etc.): “The Chip Deffaa Songbook”; “Chip Deffaa’s Irving Berlin Revisited: Rare Songs of Love, Loss, and Revenge,” “Chip Deffaa’s Irving Berlin Songbook: Rare and Unrecorded Songs,” “The Irving Berlin Ragtime Revue,” “George M. Cohan Tonight!,” “Irving Berlin’s America,” “One Night with Fanny Brice,” “Irving Berlin: In Person,” “The Seven Little Foys” “Theater Boys,” “Presenting Fanny Brice,” “George M. Cohan: In his Own Words,” “Mad About the Boy,” “The George M. Cohan Revue,” “Irving Berlin & Co.,” “The Johnny Mercer Jamboree,” “George M. Cohan: Rare Original Recordings.”

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Chip Deffaa’s MAD ABOUT THE BOY: The classic gay musical revue


With members of the original festival-production cast, plus some very special guests...

Keith Anderson, Baby Jane Dexter, Kristy Cates, Santino Fontana, Terri White,
Jon Peterson, Barrett Foa, Eric Anthony, Jamie Laverdiere, Suzanne Dressler,
Timothy Britten Parker, Ellery Bakaitis, David Brian Colbert, Dave Warren,
Patrick Rinn, Jed Peterson, Adam Barta, Lynelle Johnson, Chad Miller,
Robert Micheli, Samantha Soule, Stephanie Saunders,
David Herzog, Sean Flaherty, Chip Deffaa

... and introducing Clark Kinkade …

Musical direction by Richard Danley, Mark Hartman,
D. Jay Bradley, Sterling Price-McKinney, and others...

Conceived and produced by Chip Deffaa

“Mad About the Boy” was first presented as part of the Chip Deffaa Invitational Theater Festival in New York City, with support from Chashama (Anita Durst, Artistic Director).

Chip Deffaa Productions
Garret Mountain Records GMRD CDP 0911
“Mad About the Boy: The Festival Cast...”
(P) and © 2016 by Chip Deffaa

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Chip Deffaa’s “MAD ABOUT THE BOY: The Festival Cast...” CDP 0911

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