Posted on January 7, 2019 at 11:19 pm

On New Year’s Eve, I said goodbye to 2018 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, where Kate Baldwin and Ashley Perez Flanagan sang a ravishing version of my song “Singing You Home,” with Kent Tritle conducting the orchestra, and an audience of more than 3,000 New Yorkers grateful to have survived that tumultuous and exhausting year. Now: on to the business of a new start and a new determination! So what better way than to share the SubCulture stage with the very definition of Joy, my friend and collaborator, the mostly blonde Betsy Wolfe?

We got Betsy playing a wide variety of characters – Lucille in Parade, Marian in The Bridges of Madison County, both women in Songs for a New World, Robin from The Connector, and naturally two songs from her triumphant Cathy in The Last Five Years. Of course, I also wrote a character NAMED BETSY, so she had to do that. But whatever character Betsy puts on, no matter how skillfully and thoroughly she inhabits these diverse women, she is always entirely, endearingly Betsy, the wisecracking California gal with a glittering soprano and all the humanity and heart in the world. Also a complete dork. (This is the kind of woman who chose to make her entrance in “This Is Not Over Yet” by strutting Beyoncé-style through the audience.)

I finished a new song on Friday morning, an a cappella chant called “Too Long” that the whole crowd sang along with me; and I offered up a version of “It’s Hard to Speak My Heart” from Parade that allowed Todd to stretch out for a glorious solo.

We also did lots of material from How We React and How We Recover, played some nice long solos, paid tribute to my mentor Hal Prince (who was sitting in the audience with his family), and laughed a lot. Which sounds like the perfect way to start a New Year.

Too Long (world premiere, 2019)
Melinda from How We React And How We Recover (2018)
I Love Betsy from Honeymoon In Vegas (2014)
BETSY: Anywhere But Here from Honeymoon In Vegas (2014)
BETSY: Cassandra from The Connector (2016)
BETSY: Stars and the Moon from Songs for a New World (1995)
It All Fades Away from The Bridges of Madison County (2014)
Fifty Years Long from How We React and How We Recover (2018)
Invisible from How We React and How We Recover (2018)
It’s Hard to Speak My Heart from Parade (1998)
JRB & BETSY: This Is Not Over Yet from Parade (1998)
BETSY: Another Life from The Bridges of Madison County (2014)
JRB & BETSY: I’d Give It All For You from Songs for a New World (1995)
BETSY: I Can Do Better Than That from The Last Five Years (2002)
BETSY: A Summer In Ohio from The Last Five Years (2002)
Wait ‘Til You See What’s Next from How We React and How We Recover (2018)
All Things In Time from How We React and How We Recover (2018)

Join us for our next concert on February 11, featuring special guest Lillias White! Tickets available right here!

JRB: piano, vocals
Betsy Wolfe: vocals
Randy Landau: electric and upright bass
Todd Reynolds: violin
Gary Sieger: electric and acoustic guitars

Credits:

Photos, as you know by now, by the amazing Erika Kapin.