PLAYBILL PLAYLIST: Pop Show's Will Chase, Julia Murney, Matt Shingledecker Pick Their Favorite Billy Joel Songs
By Michael Gioia
Tony Award nominee Will Chase, Julia Murney and Matt Shingledecker are among the performers set for the July 29 installment of The Pop Show at Birdland Jazz Club, which will spotlight the music of Grammy Award winner Billy Joel. In anticipation of the concert, the trio pick their favorite Joel tunes as part of Playbill.com's Playbill Playlist series.
Benet Braun will musically direct the concert, which will feature Chase (The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Aida), Murney (Wicked, The Wild Party), N'Kenge (Motown The Musical, Sondheim on Sondheim), Jill Paice (A Little Night Music, Curtains, The Woman in White), Shingledecker (West Side Story, Rent), A. J. Shively (Unlock'd, La Cage aux Folles), Ron Bohmer (Ragtime, A Little Night Music), Christian Macchio (lead vocalist of Captain Jack), vocalist William Blake, singer-songwriter Samia Najimy Finnerty and "American Idol" contestant Erika Van Pelt.
Created and produced by John Capo, The Pop Show — part of the Broadway at Birdland series — celebrates the work of various pop songwriters.
In anticipation of this month's featured artist, Playbill.com asked performers Chase, Murney and Shingledecker to share their favorite Joel tunes and tell us why they made their list.
Tickets range $30-$35, with a $10 food/beverage minimum. Birdland is located at 315 W. 44th Street. Visit PopShowNYC.com.
Will Chase: "She's Got A Way" Just love the honesty and simplicity of the lyric — an homage to this woman — and just the list of things that make her special. Then, that bridge where he says, "I get turned around"...the music follows suit and is suspended in mid air.
Will Chase: "She's Always A Woman" For all the opposite reasons why I like "She's Got A Way"… It's an honest appraisal of a grown woman, an independent woman, and the speaker loves it. He loves all her contradictions, and they make perfect sense to him, and she belongs to him (at least he thinks so!).
Will Chase: "Piano Man" A great story song that you just know comes from someplace real; an artist who pours his heart into his craft, stuck at the bar playing for Davy and a cast of characters who just want some entertainment. Brilliant.
Will Chase: "Big Shot" Used to love this song as a kid. Great guitar riff at the beginning, then the listener is launched into this first-person bashing aimed at the listener (him or herself), or at least a one-sided conversation we're privy to. And then that half time funk chorus — just badass.
Julia Murney: "Only The Good Die Young" It was one of "my songs" with my first love — I can still remember he and I dancing like crazy people when they played it at the Sigma Chi formal. Just sweaty fools.
Julia Murney: "Say Goodbye To Hollywood" That drumbeat. That drumbeat commands that you turn up the car radio immediately. The live crowd will scream until you do.
Julia Murney: "Summer, Highland Falls" The song that launched 1,000 yearbook dedications and that first made me recognize great storytelling in pop songs. (Also, see: "I've Loved These Days." I'm cheating with another song, and I don't care!)
Julia Murney: "You're My Home" Been listening to it on a loop of late, as I'm singing it at a friend's wedding. And, the lyrics and lilt of the tune are so romantic.
Julia Murney: "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant" A three-act extravaganza with kickin' piano parts. And sax parts. And clarinet. And maybe even an accordion. And Brenda and Eddie. C'mon.
Matt Shingledecker: "The Longest Time" In high school I led a barbershop quartet called The Quarter Pounders, which has been around for decades, and our favorite song, though not barbershop, was "The Longest Time." We made tens of dollars singing it on the streets of Charleston, SC.
Matt Shingledecker: "New York State of Mind" As a proud resident of New York City and State, how could I not count this as a personal favorite?
Matt Shingledecker: "Piano Man" Easily one of the best songs ever, and I happen to be a bit of a piano man myself.
Matt Shingledecker: "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" I love food as some of you might know from BwayBites.com, and who doesn't like Italian. So come on down to Birdland for a bottle of red and/or white to hear some covers of one of the best singer/songwriters of all time.
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