PLAYBILL PLAYLIST: The Pop Show's Tonya Pinkins, Kyle Dean Massey and Jarrod Spector Pick Their Favorite Elton John Tunes
By Michael Gioia
Tony Award winner Tonya Pinkins, Kyle Dean Massey and Jarrod Spector are among the performers set for The Pop Show, which will launch with a tribute to Elton John, at Birdland. In anticipation of the May 27 cabaret, the trio pick their favorite Elton John tunes as part of Playbill.com's Playbill Playlist series.
For the first Pop Show, Pinkins (Jelly's Last Jam, Play On!), Massey (Next to Normal) and Spector (Jersey Boys) will be joined by Tony winner Len Cariou (Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music), Christopher Jackson (In the Heights), Leslie McDonel (American Idiot), Natalie Douglas, Van Hughes (American Idiot) and Daniel Quadrino (Bye Bye Birdie).
Created and produced by John Capo, The Pop Show is part of the Broadway at Birdland series at Birdland Jazz Club. Musical direction is by Brandon Sturiale.
Proceeds from the Elton John evening will benefit The Trevor Project. In anticipation of the concert, Playbill.com asked Pinkins, Massey and Spector to pick their favorite tunes by Grammy-winning singer-songwriter John and tell us why they made the list.
Upcoming concerts will celebrate musical styles from "Motown to hip hop, 70s soul to 90s grunge and everything in between."
Each concert will feature The Pop Show Band and Singers, comprising Mike Rosengarten, Cody Owen Stine, Brandon Sturiale, Adam Wolfe, Melanie Brook, Melanie Burg, Clint Carter and Eric Day.
For more information, visit PopShowNYC.com.
Tonya Pinkins: "Bennie and The Jets" I was 11 years old when it came out. It must have been what people felt when they heard the Beatles. There had never been music like it before. It's the song of my adolescence.
Kyle Dean Massey: "That's What Friends Are For" Okay...it's a group number that he didn't even write. But this was probably my first favorite song — I had the 45. I was only 5 years old when it came out!
Jarrod Spector: "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" His best cut off his best album (in my not-so-unique opinion). I think this is quintessentially Elton John...poetic, provocative, imagery-laden lyrics, infectious melody, beautiful and often simple piano fills, and sung with fantastic range.
Tonya Pinkins: "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" I am drawn to lyrics first. This lyric is uniquely specific to my personal experience and it's a gorgeous melody.
Kyle Dean Massey: "Elaborate Lives" I spent many hours driving to and from college belting this one out.
Jarrod Spector: "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues" I started playing the piano as a kid and this tune was an anthem for any and all of my unrequited grade school crushes.
Tonya Pinkins: "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" Another song that is an indelible marker of my adolescent memories.
Kyle Dean Massey: "Rocket Man" I used to play this on the piano over and over in junior high. I'd sing along if no one was at home.
Jarrod Spector: "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" The depth of this song is even greater when you know that Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics about Elton. One of EJ's great vocal achievements — sadly he doesn't do it in the original key much anymore.
Tonya Pinkins: "The Bitch Is Back" Because I am.
Kyle Dean Massey: "Your Song" I always loved this one, but 'Moulin Rouge' made me fall in love with it all over again.
Jarrod Spector: "Tiny Dancer" Just because. Really, does this one need a reason? One of the songs that really make you wish you were alive in 1971.
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