On Stage: ‘Company’ returns to local stage

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times


There’s a new show in town that’s not really a new show. The original production was in 1970 but this will be the first time this show has played Philadelphia.

Now through December 10, The Kimmel Cultural Campus and The Shubert Organization is presenting the Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s and George Furth’s “Company” at the Forrest Theatre.

Winner of five 2022 Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival, this is the revival’s premiere in Philadelphia as part of the 2023-2024 North American tour starring Britney Coleman as Bobbie. The Kimmel Cultural Campus, as a member of the Independent Presenter’s Network, was a producer of the original Broadway revival production and shares in the Tony Award win.

The tour follows the critically acclaimed, sold-out engagement in London’s West End and Tony Award-winning run on Broadway. The most honored musical of the 2021-2022 Broadway season is directed by three-time Tony Award winner Marianne Elliott (War Horse, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Angels in America).

“Company” is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth. The original 1970 production was nominated for a record-setting 14 Tony Awards, winning six. “Company” was among the first book musicals to deal with contemporary dating, marriage, and divorce, and is a notable example of a concept musical lacking a linear plot.

In a series of vignettes, “Company’ follows Bobbie, a single woman, interacting with her married friends, who throw a party for her 35th birthday.

Furth wrote 11 one-act plays planned for Kim Stanley. Anthony Perkins was interested in directing and gave the material to Sondheim, who asked Harold Prince for his opinion. Prince said the plays could be a good basis for a musical about New York marriages with a central character to examine those marriages.

In the early 1990s, Furth and Sondheim revised the libretto, cutting and altering dialogue that had become dated and rewriting the end of act one. This synopsis is based on the revised libretto.

“Company,” the musical comedy masterpiece about the search for love and cocktails in New York, is turned on its head in Elliott’s revelatory staging, in which musical theatre’s most iconic bachelor is now a bachelorette.

At Bobbie’s 35th birthday party, all her friends are wondering why isn’t she married? Why can’t she find the right man? And why can’t she settle down and have a family? As Bobbie searches for answers, she discovers why being single, being married, and being alive in the 21st-century could drive a person crazy.

This smart musical comedy, given a game-changing makeover for a modern-day Manhattan, features some of Sondheim’s best loved songs, including “Company,” “You Could Drive a Person Crazy,” “The Ladies Who Lunch,” “Side by Side,” and the iconic “Being Alive.”

Sondheim and Elliott collaborated to update “Company,” bringing Bobbie’s array of friends and lovers into the 21st century.

Paul is waiting patiently for his fiancée Jamie to get over his frantic wedding day jitters. Sarah and Harry try jujitsu to keep their marriage alive. Joanne is on her third husband with younger man, Larry. Peter and Susan seem to have the perfect marriage, until perfection proves impossible.

Jenny and her square husband David can’t understand Bobbie’s perpetually single status and are not shy about telling her. All while Bobbie juggles three men — sexy flight attendant Andy; small-town boy Theo trying to find his way in the big city; and P.J., the native New Yorker who is more in love with his hometown than Bobbie.

“Company” began preview performances on Broadway on March 2, 2020, and, following the shutdown, resumed previews on November 15, 2021. The production was in previews when on November 26, 2021, Broadway suffered the devastating loss of the titan of the American musical, composer Stephen Sondheim.

This production of Company was the last Broadway production of his work that he saw to fruition before his passing at the age of 91 on November 26, 2021. “Company” played its final performance on Broadway on July 31, 2022, having played 300 performances.

The National Tour opened on October 8, 2023, at the Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady, New York and is slated to close on August 18, 2024 at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, California.

The tour is led by Britney Coleman, who understudied Bobbie in the 2021 revival. Other key roles are Judy McLane as Joanne, Will Blum as David, James Earl Jones II as Harry and Javier Ignacio as Peter.

“I saw a couple revivals of ‘Company’ and I enjoy this revival very much,” said Judy McLane, during a recent phone interview. “It’s an old show. You’ve all heard the songs.

“This show is a younger cast – a little crisper, a little fresher. The set is equivalent to Broadway.

“‘Company’ is a hard show to have a through line. A lot of the show takes place in Bobbie’s mind. It’s not a linear play.

“My scene is in a nightclub – where Joanne is not comfortable.”

Joanne and Larry take Bobbie out to a nightclub, where Larry dances, and Joanne and Bobbie sit watching, getting thoroughly drunk. She blames Bobbie for always being an outsider, only watching life rather than living it, and also persists in berating Larry.

She raises her glass in a mocking toast, passing judgment on various types of rich, middle-aged women wasting their lives away with mostly meaningless activities. Her harshest criticism is reserved for those, like herself, who “just watch.”

“My character is very New York City snobbish,” said McLane, who studied musical theater at Ithaca College. “Joanne is fun – and dangerous.

“When she is vulnerable, she attacks first. You don’t want to be her target.”

The show almost seems like it could be a television sitcom.

“It comes down to relationships,” said McLane.  “It looks at different kinds of couples. It’s very relatable.”

Video link for “Company” – https://youtu.be/qd3ztClLQr0.

“Company” will run now through December 10 at the Forrest Theater.

Ticket prices start at $58.

While “Company” is very non-linear, there is another show that just opened locally that is nothing but linear.

The Candlelight Theatre (2208 Millers Road, Arden, Delaware, 302- 475-2313, www.candlelighttheatredelaware.org) has just begun the run of its final show in 2023 – Christmastime favorite and iconic movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The show is running now through December 23.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is a 1946 American Christmas supernatural drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra. It is based on the short story and booklet The Greatest Gift self-published by Philip Van Doren Stern in 1943, which itself is loosely based on the 1843 Charles Dickens novella, “A Christmas Carol.”

The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up his personal dreams in order to help others in his community and whose thoughts of suicide on Christmas Eve bring about the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody. Clarence shows George all the lives he touched and what the world would be like if he did not exist.

Today, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is considered to be one of the greatest films of all time and among the best Christmas films. It was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and has been recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best American films ever made. It was No. 11 on the American Film Institute’s 1998 greatest movie list, No. 20 on its 2007 greatest movie list, and No. 1 on its list of the most inspirational American films of all time.

Capra revealed that it was his favorite among the films he directed and that he screened it for his family every Christmas season. It was one of Stewart’s favorite films.

In 1990, It’s a Wonderful Life was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being deemed as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

The story starts on Christmas Eve 1945 in Bedford Falls, New York, with George Bailey contemplating suicide. The prayers of his family and friends reach Heaven, where guardian angel second class Clarence Odbody is assigned to save George in order to earn his wings.

Clarence is shown flashbacks of George’s life. He watches 12-year-old George rescue his younger brother Harry from drowning, leaving George deaf in his left ear. George later prevents the pharmacist, Mr. Gower, from accidentally poisoning a customer’s prescription.

In 1928, George plans a world tour before college. He is reintroduced to Mary Hatch, who has been enamored with him since childhood. When his father dies suddenly, George postpones his travel to settle the family business, Bailey Brothers Building and Loan.

Avaricious board member Henry Potter, who controls most of the town, seeks to dissolve it, but the board votes to keep the Building and Loan open if George runs it. George acquiesces and works alongside his uncle Billy, giving his tuition savings to Harry with the understanding that Harry will run the business when he graduates.

Harry returns from college, married and with a job offer from his father-in-law, and George resigns himself to running the Building and Loan. George and Mary rekindle their relationship and wed. They witness a run on the bank and use their honeymoon savings to keep the Building and Loan solvent.

Under George, the company establishes Bailey Park, a housing development surpassing Potter’s overpriced slums. Potter entices George with a $20,000/year job but realizing that Potter’s true intention is to close the Building and Loan, George rebuffs him.

On Christmas Eve 1945, the town prepares a hero’s welcome for Harry, who, as a U.S. Navy fighter pilot, was awarded the Medal of Honor for preventing a kamikaze attack on a troop transport. Billy goes to Potter’s bank to deposit $8,000 of the Building and Loan’s money. He taunts Potter with a newspaper headline about Harry, then absentmindedly wraps the cash in Potter’s newspaper. Potter finds and keeps the money, while Billy cannot recall how he misplaced it.

With a bank examiner reviewing the company’s records, George realizes scandal and criminal charges will follow. Fruitlessly retracing Billy’s steps, George berates him and takes out his frustration on Mary and their children. George appeals to Potter for a loan, offering his life insurance policy as collateral. Potter scoffs that George is worth more dead than alive, refuses to help, and phones the police.

George flees Potter’s office, gets drunk at a bar, and prays for help. Contemplating suicide, he goes to a nearby bridge. However, before George can jump, Clarence dives into the freezing river, and George rescues him. When George wishes he had never been born, Clarence shows George a timeline in which he never existed.

Bedford Falls is now Pottersville, an unsavory town occupied by sleazy entertainment venues, crime, and callous people. Mr. Gower was imprisoned for manslaughter because George was not there to stop him from poisoning the customer. George’s mother does not know him.

Uncle Billy was institutionalized after the Building and Loan failed. Bailey Park is a cemetery, where George discovers Harry’s grave. Without George, Harry drowned as a child, and without Harry to save them, the troops aboard the transport ship were killed. George finds Mary, now a spinster, and when he grabs her and claims to be her husband, she screams and runs.

George flees back to the bridge and begs Clarence for his life back. The original reality is restored, and a grateful George rushes home to await his arrest. Meanwhile, Mary and Billy have rallied the townspeople, who come into the Bailey home and donate more than enough to cover the missing money.

Harry arrives and toasts George as “the richest man in town.” Among the donations, George finds a copy of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” a gift from Clarence and inscribed, “Remember, no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings!”

When a bell on the Christmas tree rings, George’s youngest daughter, Zuzu, explains that “every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.” George looks upward smiling and says, “Atta boy, Clarence!”

The production at the Candlelight features Jared Calhoun as George Bailey, Molly Hofstaedter as Mary Hatch and Paul Weagraff as Clarence Odbody.

“What I like about George is that he’s a very human character,” said Calhoun, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from his home in Haddonfield, New Jersey.

“He wants to do good – to do the right thing even at a great personal sacrifice.”

Calhoun, whose main day job is as a standardized patient at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, is now in his 13th production at the Candlelight Theater.

In health care, a standardized patient is an individual trained to act as a real patient in order to simulate a set of symptoms or problems. Simulated patients have been successfully utilized for education, evaluation of health care professionals, as well as basic, applied, and translational medical research.

Some of his previous roles at the theater in Arden have been Max Detweiler in “The Sound of Music,” Sam Carmichael in “Mamma Mia!,” Max in  “Lend Me a Tenor,” and Luther Billis in “South Pacific,” for which he won a prestigious and coveted Barney Award.

“My first role was Jeff Douglas in ‘Brigadoon’ back in 2018,” said Calhoun, a native of Fredericksburg, Virginia, who earned a B.A. in acting at Liberty University.

“George Bailey is my favorite role. Candlelight does mostly musicals and a few dramas each season. ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is more a contemporary drama. I really had to shift my mindset about how I approached this role. It’s just a genuine human emotion.”

Playing George Bailey includes having to deal with an iconic role immortalized by the late, great Jimmy Stewart.

“Jimmy Stewart – those are very big shoes to fill,” said Calhoun. “Nobody can be Jimmy Stewart. Max (director Max Redman) said – we don’t want Jimmy Stewart. We want George Bailey not Jimmy Stewart.

“Where I get closest to him is having a speech pattern which is very similar to Jimmy Stewart – for example, elongated vowels. When I find their voice, it helps me get in character. This time, it helped me develop the character more.

“With ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ the biggest challenges are two things., The first is the emotional depth you have to go to. It’s a Christmas movie but it starts with a man on a bridge contemplating suicide. For the second, early on Max said he was catching me acting.

“This is just the genuine story of a man and what he is going through. We wanted to show the genuine person.”

The story of George Bailey is a story familiar to many, many people.

“The show is public domain, so it’s been performed a lot – everywhere. This show is our own production. A lot of lined do come directly from the movie. And some moments have to be portrayed in a different way. It is ultimately a period piece.”

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is running now through December 23 at the Candlelight Theater with shows on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees.

Tickets, which include a buffet meal, beverages, dessert, and free parking, are $71.50 for adults and $33 for children.

Popa Chubby made his Gulf Coast Records label debut with a new album, “Live at G. Bluey’s Juke Joint NYC,” which came out in September.

Popa Chubby, one of America’s modern-day blues-rock/blues masters, will make another return visit to the area when he headlines a show at the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) on November 30.

“I just put out a double live album,” said Popa Chubby, during a phone interview last week from a tour stop in Bradenton, Florida.

“It came out in September. We’ve been touring the double album ever since.

“It’s been in the Billboard Top 10 for the last six weeks. It really is a good record – one of the best I’ve done. There’s two hours and 20 minutes of music and all were songs requested by fans.”

Popa Chubby’s most recent previous albums were “Prime Cuts: The Very Best of the Beast from the East,” “It’s a Mighty Hard Road,” “Tinfoil Hat,” and “Emotional Gangster.”

“I toured ‘Emotional Gangster’ for a year and got great responses,” said Popa Chubby. “It was suggested to me to do a ‘Best of’ so I decided to play a live ‘best of’ to a studio audience.

“This is something different – something not done before. I don’t think that anyone did a ‘Best of’ fan requested.

“I had two nights of playing for a studio audience. It wasn’t recorded at a theater or a club. It was two nights live at G. Bluey’s Juke Joint.”

GB’s Juke Joint is a full-service recording studio and event space in Long Island City, Queens located by the East River just across midtown Manhattan. It features analog and digital capabilities, a vast collection of instruments, microphones, and vintage and modern gear.

“It was an invitation only event – friends and family,” said Popa Chubby. “I played songs from all my albums. Luckily, I have a really good band and it all came together pretty easily.”

Popa Chubby’s stellar “Beast Band” features Mike Merritt on bass (Conan O’Brien, Billy Gibbons); Mike Dimeo on keyboards (Johnny Winter, Tommy James); and Stefano Giudici on drums.

“It was remarkable,” said Popa Chubby. “We had two nights of shows to pick from when putting the album together. Everything was perfect. The band was an important part.

“The shows were in November in Long Island City at an amazing sound stage. We also shot a five-camera video for our YouTube website. I’m just giving the videos away.”

In 2019, the veteran rocker just released another ‘Best of’ album — “Prime Cuts – The Very Best of the Beast from the East.”

With a career spanning more than 30 years, Popa Chubby delivered a hand-picked anthology of 15 tracks from his prolific and ever-expanding catalogue. “Prime Cuts” reflects Popa’s choice of the best of his best — tracks that keep the Chubby legacy fresh and the fans happy.

“I went all the way back and picked the best stuff from my last 38 records,” said Popa Chubby. “There were two criteria. First, I had to really like the song. Second, it had to be music the fans request.

“A lot of it was easy. A a lot came down to the fans – ‘Sweet Goddess of Love and Beer,’ ‘Angel on My Shoulder,’ ‘Light of Day’ – give the people what they want.

“They were all original album tracks, but some were alternate mixes. I did a lot of re-mastering. There were also two new tracks – and a Christmas song. It took a couple months to put it all together. It just came out at the end of November.”

Popa Chubby’s two prior studio albums were “The Catfish” in 2016 and “Two Dogs” in 2017.

“I never stop recording,” said Popa Chubby. “I recorded ‘Two Dogs’ right after I finished making ‘The Catfish.’ I’m working on my next album now. I’m starting to come up with new ideas. I want to do something original.

“I have a studio in my home. For D.I.Y. stuff, I use ProTools. My studio is filled with vintage stuff – RCA mics, old compressors and vintage guitars and drums.

“I have a background in recording. I worked as an engineer, and I started out working with tape. It’s all digital now — but I have an analog way of getting in and an analog way of getting out.

“When I was working with Tom Dowd, a legendary engineer, he was so happy to go to digital instead of tape. He explained that each time the tape goes over the (recording) head, it loses particles.”

Finding time to get in the studio is a luxury for Popa Chubby.

“I’m never home,” said Popa Chubby. “It seems that I’m always touring a lot. The progression of my career has been slow and steady. I like to give people real music. The best music for me comes from not making music. It comes from me jamming with myself.

“On this tour, we’re playing the new double record in its entirety – and there are some surprises. From start-to-finish, it’s over two hours.”

Video link for Popa Chubby — https://youtu.be/axnycInQKGo.

The show at Sellersville will start at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $25 and $40.

Other upcoming shows at the Sellersville Theater are Joan Osborne on December 1, Rachel Feinstein on December 2, Anthony Nunziata on December 3, Jared James on December 5 and Pokey LaFarge on December 6.

Jamey’s House of Music (32 South Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne, 215-477-9985, www.jameyshouseofmusic.com) will present a very special event – the Grand Opening of The Littler Gallery

Doors for Gallery Opening Soiree and Happy Hour discounts on food and drink open at 6 p.m., followed by Guest Vocalist Khadijah Renee at 7 p.m., and the Open-Mic Jazz Jam with the Dave Reiter Trio at 8 p.m.

Music inspires in many ways, primarily through sound — but also visually through the medium of the visual arts.

In order to honor the fullness of music’s impact on our lives, Jamey’s has added gallery space at its venue to display the artistic creations of those who devote themselves to music through painting and photography.

The exhibits not only extend the palette of the artists, who in most cases are also musicians, but allow guests at musical events to experience a fuller sensory impression of the all-encompassing beauty inspired by music during normal hours from Thursdays through Sundays.

The Little Gallery mounts rolling monthly non-exclusive exhibitions of anywhere from six to 40 works and hosts an opening night for the artist at the earliest Thursday Jazz At Jamey’s night featuring live jazz by the Dave Reiter Trio and guest musicians from 8-10 p.m. There is no charge for admission.

The kitchen is open with a full dinner menu selection, and the Conshohocken Brewing Co bar is open as well, with happy hour food and drink discounts from 6-7 p.m.

The first exhibitor will be David Reiter, whose photography show, “Close Up — A Musician’s Perspective,” will run for the month of December, with an opening soiree on November 30 at the Thursday night Jazz At Jamey’s.

For more than 50 years, Reiter has been capturing the spirit of life in images taken around the world. He’s been a street photographer since his high school years, making artful and often ironic images that tell stories about his subjects. He also makes the occasional image that’s totally devoid of meaning but is just plain fun to view.

Over many years of processing film and printing his work in various darkened rooms, he progressed through better equipment and facilities until digital imaging became good enough to adopt. He’s been exclusively digital since 2003, an easy adoption once he accepted that there’s as much work in digital imaging as there is in emulsion-based photography.

Reiter is a past winner of Philly Photo Night (a juried competition run by the Photographic Society of Philadelphia in years past) and has exhibited at shops and galleries around the Delaware Valley for many years.

Khadijah “Renee” is a jazz songstress in the vein of the Great Ladies of Jazz. Her resonant tones remind you of the ladies who paved their way through the male dominated syncopated instrumental ingenious sounds of Be-Bop and Classical Jazz from as early as the 1950′s. If you close your eyes while listening to her, you may hear reminiscent echoes of Sarah, Ella, Billie, Nancy, Dinah and Gloria.
Khadijah is a contralto whose range is deep and sweet at the same time. She has been performing jazz since the late 80′s in and around the Tri-State area. Khadijah is always accompanied by the best musicians the area has to offer. She has been recorded live at the East Coast Jazz Festival now called the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival in Maryland and heard on WRTI 90.1 Jazz Radio.
Born and raised in Chester, Renee currently lives and works in Philadelphia, where the jazz audiences there accepted and adopted her as their own. A former member of the Delaware Council of Jazz Advocates, she recently graced the stage of their tribute to Clifford Brown at the Delaware School of Music with a rendition of Sassy’s “September Song.”

Video link for Khadijah Renee — https://youtu.be/c74l3jLvyNQ.

On December 2, the headline act will be Deni Bonet.

A few days ago, Bonet was sitting in the Suwarnabumi Airport Thailand in Bangkok, Thailand, waiting for flights to bring her back home to New York City.

Now back in the states after two weeks in Thailand and Cambodia, Bonet has no time to be weary – no time to give in to jet lag.

Bonet has concerts scheduled for Horn’s Hook Tavern in Manhattan on Friday night, Jamey’s House of Music on Saturday night, and the New City NY Public Library on Sunday.

Bonet, who played Jamey’s earlier this year, is making a return visit just before the holidays – and she’s bringing along a new holiday song.

“Can’t Wait To See You On Christmas” is the first writing collaboration between Americana duo, Deni Bonet and Chris Flynn. Inspired by an improvisation that was captured by a fan at a gig, they’ve written a catchy, upbeat Christmas song that taps into the energy of the title track of the movie, “That Thing You Do!”

Here’s the link to the holiday single — https://linktr.ee/denibonet.

Bonet takes the violin to places most musicians don’t even dream about – and gladly takes listeners along for the ride.

Bonet will be taking the audience at Jamey’s along for the ride – a thrilling ride that spans musical genres and gets audience members out of their seats.

Bonet can rock a violin like nobody’s business and writes memorable songs that make you want to listen again and again. For years, Bonet has been honing her craft as a violinist, singer, songwriter and performer. Her style ranges from pop to roots rock to new folk.

On her latest album, “Bright Shiny Objects,” she delivers ultra-high voltage, genre-defying brilliance, with pure classical training and precision playing.

“Bright Shiny Objects” was recorded in New York City with the cream of New York musicians, including Liberty DeVitto (Billy Joel’s drummer of 30 years), Graham Maby (Joe Jackson), Shawn Pelton (SNL, Rod Stewart), Will Lee (Letterman, Mick Jagger), Steve Holley (Paul McCartney), Ben Butler (Chris Botti) and Matt Beck (Matchbox 20). This is Bonet’s first all-instrumental album and it shows off her skills as a virtuoso violin player, composer and arranger.

“I’ve had a very interesting career,” said Bonet, during a phone interview Wednesday evening from her home in New York City.

“I grew up in northern Virginia – Woodbridge – and got a full ride to West Virginia University.

“Right out of school, I got on Mountain Stage. I was part of the original cast. A cool thing – I went back recently as a full guest.”

Bonet first came to widespread attention as a founding member of National Public Radio’s premier music show, Mountain Stage, where she built a following as a member of the broadcast’s house band along with singing and playing in her own right and backing up artists as diverse as the Indigo Girls, Richard Thompson and Allen Toussaint.

In the 90s, Bonet relocated to London, where she worked with alternative rock legend, Robyn Hitchcock, including a series of concerts as a duo that won praise from USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe. She played on Hitchcock’s album “Moss Elixir,” and even appeared in the Jonathan Demme concert film, “Storefront Hitchcock.”

Eventually, Bonet decided it was time to go solo.

At Jamey’s, Bonet will be performing with her musical partner – guitarist Chris Flynn.

“I do play with a band occasionally,” said Bonet. “Since the plague hit, I go out mostly with Chris. It’s a duo. He’s not a side guy. We have a chemistry.

“We hooked up a few years back. I was asked to plat the New York Irish Rock Review show at City Winery. I was in the house band and Chris was the musical director. The second year I did it, we hung out a little more and I asked him to do a gig with me. From then on, we started to work together. We’ve played Carnegie Hall four times.”

After moving to New York, Bonet released an initial EP (titled, simply, “EP”) and then her full-length debut, “Bigger Is Always Better.” The disc, which featured guest appearances from Hitchcock and The Soft Boys’ Kimberly Rew (writer of Katrina and the Waves’ classic hit “Walking On Sunshine”), garnered rave reviews.

Bonet has hosted her own cable TV show, “Duets With Deni,” a combination of music and chat featuring a series of all-star guests, which was the subject of a rave Billboard feature. She has performed highly regarded showcases at CMJ and SXSW, and took her act on the road with Lilith Fair.

And she’s remained one of the most in-demand session players and sidewomen around, adding her violin to albums by an impressive variety of artists — from the introspective Sarah McLachlan to techno-metal band Gravity Kills — and making TV appearances on The Today Show, SNL and Late Night With Conan O’Brien.

As she established herself as a solo act, Bonet impressed artists like Patti Smith, Lisa Loeb, Gin Blossoms, Cracker, Midnight Oil, The Saw Doctors, Fairport Convention, Marshall Crenshaw and Kansas, all of whom have invited her to open their shows. She spent several years touring the globe as the violinist in Cyndi Lauper’s band.

“I spent a couple years touring with Cyndi and that was a lot of fun,” said Bonet.

Bonet, a true globetrotter, also had a fun time in Zanzibar.

“I went to Africa – to Tanzania – on safari,” said Bonet. “It was on my bucket list. I was in Zanzibar for a week.

“On the next-to-last day, I met some musicians at a traditional dinner. I jammed with these musicians, gave a workshop to teachers, and performed a mini concert.

“They asked me to come back and do a residency. I got a nice size grant and went back to Stone Town for a month. I spent three-and-a-half weeks teaching rock-and-roll, songwriting and violin.”

In January 2020, Bonet returned to Zanzibar to record original music with local Tanzanian band Stone Town Rockerz which will appear on her new album, to be released later this year.

“I wanted them on my new album,” said Bonet. “The track we did together is called, “All Around the World Music Is Love.”

“When I started making the new album, I called in favors. Some of the musicians who played on the album were Will Lee, Andy York, Leland Sklar, Shawn Pelton and most of the Spin Doctors.”

Bonet plays the violin like no other. Although classically trained, Bonet quit the classical world because she hated having to wear black and sit still.

“I approach it more like a guitar than a violin,” said Bonet.

Bonet is also known for her signature bright blue violin.

“I was originally given the guitar from the company — Barcus-Berry – when I was touring with Cyndi,” said Bonet. “They gave me violins in every color. Blue is the one that sounds the best.”

Audience members at Jamey’s will be seeing blue but not feeling blue when Bonet rips into her intense solos.

‘We tend to do a mix of songs with vocals and instrumentals,” said Bonet. “Our most recent album, ‘Bright Shiny Objects,’ is our first all-instrumental album – sand it rocks. Chris and I both sing and we’ll be doing songs from all my albums.

“When people leave our shows, they feel really good.”

Video link for Deni Bonet – https://youtu.be/7vHjx4Lp5Pw.

The show at Jamey’s on December 2 will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.

On December 1, the show at Jamey’s will feature Stew Cutler and Friends with special guest Jesse Loewy.

Born and raised in The Bronx, Cutler picked up the guitar at an early age, and proceeded to teach himself. By the age of 19, he had landed his first gig with Blues legend Z.Z. Hill. Fast forward four decades, this NYC musician has had an extensive recording career, with seven albums to his name. Additionally, he has recorded and/or performed with some of the world’s greatest musicians including Wilson Pickett, Eddie Floyd, David Sanborn, Mike Stern, and Percy Sledge.

Accompanying him on organ will be Judd Nielsen, a native of New York, and current resident of Philadelphia. Nielsen has had an extensive musical career spanning for many years, which include working with world class musicians including Trombone Shorty, Walter Wolfman Washington, and Lee Fields, among many others.

Chicago born musician, Bill McClellan, is a current resident of Brooklyn, and will be playing drums. His musical career includes working with Casandra Wilson, Michael Hill’s Blues Mob, Oliver Lake, and Henry Threadgill.

Special guest guitarist/vocalist Jesse Loewy will also be joining them for the evening. Loewy has worked with Marcus Miller, David Bromberg, Al Chez (former trumpet player for the Late Show with David Letterman), and Lonnie Shields.

Their musical repertoire for the evening will consist of a variety of original material derived from Cutler’s recording projects, along with some covers.

Video link for Stew Cutler — https://youtu.be/iQIHCYwQZFg.

The show at Jamey’s on December 1 will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.

On November 11, Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) will have Antje Duvekot with special guest Kathy Moser on November 30 and A Not So Silent Night on December 2.

Elkton Music Hall (107 North Street, Elkton, Md., www.elktonmusichall.com) will present Steve Forbert on December 1, Kendra Morris on December 2 and Jon Spencer on December 4.

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