Neil Diamond: 50th Anniversary

Singer, songwriter, performer, Grammy winner, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, music legend and icon are just a few ways to describe the incredible Neil Diamond. Diamond is celebrating a music career milestone – his 50th anniversary; a music career that has helped shape the music world.

How better to celebrate such a magnificent milestone than with fans on his 50th Anniversary Tour and with the release of his 50th Anniversary collection, a 3-disc set containing a selection of fifty songs spanning his remarkable music career which include “Solitary Man”, “Sweet Caroline”, “America”, “Heartlight”, “Red, Red Wine”, “Brooklyn Roads” and “Pretty Amazing Grace”, just to name a few.

Diamond has a truly remarkable and recognizable voice that has surpassed the test of time. I’ve had the pleasure of attending several of Mr. Diamond’s concerts, including his 50th Anniversary Tour and without a doubt, his shows do not disappoint. Diamond puts on a two plus hour show that will have you on your feet, singing along and just having a fun & wonderful time. Diamond’s band is amazing and includes members that have been with him for forty years.

Congratulations to Neil Diamond on reaching this incredible milestone and for taking all fans along on this incredible, ongoing journey.

On Broadway: Waitress

Waitress tells the story of Jenna, a waitress and pie maker working at a small town diner trying to find a way out of an unhappy marriage and a chance at a fresh start and new life.

Jenna’s life soon becomes further complicated by an unexpected pregnancy and an affair with her new doctor; but a pie baking contest in a nearby town may give Jenna her chance for a start at a new life.

The broadway musical is based upon Adrienne Shelly’s 2007 film “Waitress”, book by Jessie Nelson with music & lyrics by singer/songwriter and six-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles.

The show is an inspiring, captivating, relatable and touching story that will take you on a full, emotional journey topped with just the right touch of humor and reminds us that we shouldn’t settle to just be happy enough but to find our own true happiness.

Sara Bareilles, making her Broadway debut, currently stars as Jenna taking over the lead role from Jessie Mueller, who starred in the role since the show’s debut. Bareilles takes the stage for a limited ten week engagement (thru June 11th).

Bareilles and the entire ensemble cast put on a stellar performance (with some truly incredible vocal performances). The band is fabulous and the crew does a fantastic job keeping pace with all the moving parts of the show.

Waitress is currently playing at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in NYC. For more information on the show, check out the official site at the link below:

http://www.waitressthemusical.com

On Broadway: On Your Feet!

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On Your Feet! tells the story of Gloria & Emilio Estefan from their early meeting to their modern-day success. The show takes you on a journey through the ups and downs, highs and lows, challenges and struggles they faced, personally and professionally, on their rise to fame.

It is an emotional and inspirational story that touches on the impact and importance of family, life struggles & cultural barriers, the battle to rise above stereotypes, perseverance in the face of adversity and how love, passion, dedication, determination, family and a strong support system can help you overcome the darkest of times and reach higher than you could ever think possible.

The show has a fantastic ensemble cast and incorporates many of Gloria’s hit songs including Rhythm Is Gonna Get You, Conga, 1-2-3, Reach, On Your Feet and more. The show will touch your heart, make you laugh, cry, sing along, dance, and most importantly, get you up On Your Feet!

On Your Feet! is currently playing at the Marquis Theatre in NYC with Ana Villafañe and Ektor Rivera in the lead roles as Gloria and Emilio; respectively. Villafañe has played the role of Gloria since the show’s opening and Rivera took over the role of Emilio from Josh Segarra in July 2016.

On Your Feet! is truly a must-see.

For more information on the show, visit their official site below:

http://www.onyourfeetmusical.com

Doctor Who: A Fond Farewell To Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor and showrunner Steven Moffat

Series/Season 10 of Doctor Who kicked-off last night on BBC One (UK) & BBC America (US) marking the beginning of the end for Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor. Capaldi took over as The Doctor following Matt Smith’s departure at the end of series/season 7. Smith’s 11th Doctor regenerated at the end of the episode “The Time of the Doctor”.

Smith filled the role of The Doctor for three series/seasons (5-7 plus Christmas Specials) originally joined by Karen Gillan (Amy Pond) & Arthur Darvil (Rory Williams) and later by Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald) who played The Doctor’s companions.

Capaldi has filled the role of The Doctor for the last two series/seasons (8-9 plus Christmas Specials) with this 10th series/season being his third and final. Capaldi’s Doctor was joined by Jenna Coleman’s Clara Oswald through the end of last season. Pearl Mackie joins Capaldi this season as Bill Potts, The Doctor’s latest companion.

While Capaldi’s Doctor was a change from Smith’s Doctor (which was to be expected), Capaldi filled the role exceptionally well and gave The Doctor his own unique characteristics, personality and traits while remaining true to the overall essence of the character and the Doctor Who franchise. It was also a joy to see Capaldi’s 12th Doctor interact with and be joined by frequent Doctor Who recurring characters including Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra), Catrin Stewart (Jenny Flint), Dan Starkey (Strax), Jemma Redgrave (Kate Stewart) and Alex Kingston (River Song) to name a few.

From the teasers and previews, series/season 10 is sure to be quite an adventure for The Doctor and his new companion, Bill, with fans wondering how the 12th Doctor will meet his ultimate demise and who will take over as the next Doctor.

Series/Season 10 also marks the departure of current Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat. Moffat took over for Russell T. Davis in 2009 as Doctor Who showrunner and will hand over the reigns of the show to Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall at the end of this series/season. Moffat has taken Doctor Who to new heights and taken fans on quite a journey during his tenure as showrunner. Moffat and Capaldi’s departures from the show will surely be bittersweet.

Experimenting with GarageBand: One Year Later

It’s been over a year since I started experimenting with Apple’s GarageBand, initially playing around with smart instruments using the auto-play control and eventually building up to creating, editing, arranging & producing full tracks in GarageBand using only smart instruments on auto-play and royalty-free Apple loops (both included with GarageBand).

While I don’t expect to win any awards for any of these tracks nor do I intend to be an award-winning composer by any degree, I will say that this has been a truly fun, rewarding & educational experience. I am extremely pleased with all the tracks that have been created & produced over the past year.

Jam Sessions Collection

The Jam Sessions collection is a “preview” of the kinds of tracks that can be created using GarageBand’s smart instruments on auto-play. When using the auto-play control in conjunction with smart instruments, you can access a series of preset chord progressions. The chord progressions will vary depending on your key/chord selections and the smart instruments you choose. How you edit, arrange, and utilize these smart instrument chord progressions in your own tracks is completely up to you and is only limited by your own creativity.

The Jam Sessions collection is not only a collection of “preview” tracks; it also serves as the building block for the forthcoming On The Road collection. Many of the chord progressions previewed in the Jam Sessions collection are incorporated into the On The Road collection.

Check out the Jam Sessions collection below:

Countdown, Discovery & Countdown Revisited

GarageBand also includes a library of royalty-free Apple loops which you can similarly use to create your own unique arrangement or get more sophisticated and throw in some smart instruments on auto-play.

Countdown & Discovery were the first two tracks I created, edited, arranged and produced in GarageBand using royalty-free Apple loops and smart instruments on auto-play. Countdown became one of my favorite tracks that I ended up revisiting the track and arranging a new version, Countdown Revisited.

Check out Countdown, Discovery & Countdown Revisited below:

DreamWorks’ Trolls

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DreamWorks’ Trolls is a fun, enjoyable, lighthearted animated musical comedy film for the entire family.

In the film, the Trolls are small, colorful, lovable creatures that are in a constant state of happiness. Trolls sing, dance, hug and are just absolutely positive creatures. In contrast, the Bergens are large creatures that can never find happiness and are of the belief that their one and only source of happiness is achieved by eating a Troll. Each year, the Bergens hold a Trollstice, a festival where the Bergens eat Trolls to experience happiness.

The Trolls, led by King Peppy, manage an escape from Bergen Town and the Bergens, and find a new home where they remain safe and hidden from the Bergens for twenty years until their new home is unexpectedly revealed and discovered.

In a race against time, Princess Poppy (King Peppy’s daughter) with the help of Branch (a gray, grumpy Troll) return to Bergen Town to save their fellow Trolls. Of course, no story is complete without some twists & turns, secrets revealed and touching, emotional moments and Trolls is no exception.

The film features the voices of an all-star cast including Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Russell Brand, James Corden, Gwen Stefani, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, John Cleese and more. The soundtrack features a collection of fantastic, feel good and touching songs and the film reminds us about the true source of happiness. Trolls is definitely a movie to see!

Happy 20th to Elvis Duran & The Morning Show

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Nationally syndicated radio morning show, Elvis Duran & The Morning Show celebrates its 20th Anniversary on the air this year. Over the course of this week, the show takes a journey down memory lane looking back at some of the highlights from the show over the past twenty years.

Over the years, the show has only gotten bigger and better due to the positive energy and atmosphere of the show, the unique style of the show, the comradery between the members of the morning show (past & present, in front of the mic & behind the scenes, on & off-air), and in no small part, because of Elvis Duran. Elvis Duran will be getting his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2017.

Elvis Duran & The Morning Show is a show that connects with its fans, listeners and audience treating them more like an extended family than simply as listeners. The show touches on topics that span across the spectrum and is not limited solely to music and entertainment. There is no other morning radio show like it.

Happy 20th Anniversary to Elvis Duran & The Morning Show and to the next 20 years!

Elvis Duran & The Morning Show can be heard on Z100 (WHTZ), an iHeartRadio station in New York weekdays from 6am to 10am ET, on iHeartRadio affiliated stations across the country, on iHeartRadio.com and on the iHeartRadio app. For more information about the show, visit www.elvisduran.com.