We're on the edge of forever


I don't want to let another minute get by
They're slipping through our fingers, but we're ready to fly
The night'll be our cover and we'll huddle below
We got the music in our bodies and the radio 
 -Jim Steinman, "Faster Than the Speed of Night"


On November 21st 2015, I experienced a fantastic performance of Jim Steinman songs entitled Paradise Found: The Lost Songs of Jim Steinman directed by Pat Cerasaro at 54 Below in New York City. I had previously been to the same venue for Total Eclipse: The Music of Jim Steinman, also directed by Pat in May; you can read my blog about that show here.

I arrived in New York around 5:00 that evening and met up with my parents. We took a side trip to the World Trade Center observatory. Being 100 floors up is quite a thrilling feeling, to be up so high that even skyscrapers like the Empire State Building look small.

Photo credit: Ben Miller
Photo credit: Ben Miller
After returning to the ground, we adjourned to the Three Monkeys bar to meet up with fellow Jim Steinman fans for dinner and drinks before the show. People had come literally from all over the world, and it was great to finally meet several online friends in person.

Photo credit: Brent Miller
Photo credit: Brent Miller
While waiting in line to get into 54 Below, I had the opportunity to chat with famed TV director (and Instagram star, to the Internet savvy) Kim Friedman. We became friends after I uncovered some lost materials related to Jim's 1973 musical More Than You Deserve, which she directed.


Photo credit: Ben Miller
Finally the staff allowed everyone to enter 54 Below and take our seats. Jim Steinman was already there having dinner, but he graciously made time for a quick chat and to sign the photo we took together in May. I also talked to Barry Keating about some plays he directed at Amherst College. He likes to call me "the historian," which I clearly consider an official title considering it comes from the man who played the character "The Historian" in Jim's play "The Dream Engine." :-)

Photo credit: Laurie Miller
Shortly after ordering three scoops of 54 Below's delicious gelato, the lights dimmed and the show commenced. Tyce Green opened with "Left in the Dark," a song originally from Jim's solo album Bad for Good and later covered by Barbra Streisand. He followed that up with three songs from Meat Loaf's Dead Ringer album: "I'll Kill You If You Don't Come Back," "Everything Is Permitted," and "More Than You Deserve," which was also the title song from the aforementioned 1973 musical. "I'll Kill You If You Don't Come Back" is a great song that was never performed live until now, and ended up being my favorite performance of the evening. Tyce had previously dominated "Bat Out of Hell" at Total Eclipse in May, and is quite the vocal powerhouse.

After Tyce finished singing "More Than You Deserve," a TV screen near the stage came on and played a video message from Meat Loaf, who couldn't attend because he had a concert in Rhode Island that night. It was a very sweet gesture.

Next up was Imari Hardon to sing an old song "Orphan River" from the April 1973 workshop version of More Than You Deserve, the original recording of which I had unearthed a mere two months ago. Below is the relevant page of the workshop script housed at the New York Public Library.

Photo credit: Ben Miller
Mike Schwitter took the stage next to sing "Surf's Up." I had previously seen Mike perform in Uncharted: The Songs of Sara Bareilles at 54 Below in July. It takes a rare voice to be able to perform a song with the high range of "Surf's Up," but Mike was up to the task. I love this song and it was amazing to see it live.

Jessica Hendy, who heated up the room back in May with "Holding Out for a Hero," returned this time with another Bonnie Tyler song, "Faster Than the Speed of Night." After that, she and Mike Schwitter did a rousing duet of "Dead Ringer for Love" which spanned the venue's entire floor space, including drinking shots mid-song.

Photo credit: Brent Miller
Following that, the band exited the stage and Greg Sullivan entered to perform solo piano/vocal versions of "It Just Won't Quit" and "No Matter What." For the former, he brought out a roll of sheet music that was literally as tall as him, as a humorous jab at the lengthy nature of Jim's songs.

The surprise performer of the evening was Sheridan Mouawad, who is currently starring in the exploratory lab version of the upcoming Bat Out of Hell stage musical, who sang "Heaven Can Wait." Well, perhaps a surprise to everyone except me, since I'm the one who got her in contact with Pat when he mentioned to me that he wanted to work with her.

Photo credit: Brent Miller
The surprise song of the evening was "Nothing" from the Swedish musical Garbo, sung beautifully by Jessica Hendy in its original English lyrics, which had never been performed live anywhere before. What a treat!

Next Tyce returned to the stage and brought with him Karine Hannah to sing "Not Allowed to Love" from the unproduced Batman musical. Karine sang on the original demo of this song, and she made it sound as splendid as she did back then.

Tyce exited and Karine continued on with a stripped-down and shortened version of "Tonight Is What It Means to Be Young" from Streets of Fire, followed by "Braver Than We Are." Jim and Karine had planned to do an album together a few years ago, with this song on it, but it never materialized. So to see her perform it live was absolutely fabulous.

Then Karine exited and the mighty Tyce returned once more to close out the night with the epic song "For Crying Out Loud," which Jim himself has called his favorite.

At the end of "For Crying Out Loud," director Pat Cerasaro took the stage to say a few words, and the first person he thanked was me for finding "Orphan River." Excuse me, what? That's right, little old me got thanked by name at a Jim Steinman show, in the same sentence as Jim himself! I still can't believe it.

After the show, I made sure to go talk to Sheridan Mouawad, because we'd been chatting online and I wanted to finally meet her in person. She thanked me for getting her in contact with Pat. She is so sweet and I can't wait to see what becomes of the Bat Out of Hell musical.

Photo credit: Ben Miller
As I was getting ready to leave, Tyce walked by and we took a photo together with Pat.

Photo credit: Jon Bremner
A large group of us adjourned to the Characters bar across the street for post-show antics. Pat was selling posters signed by the cast, so I bought one and it is gorgeous. I ended up staying out until 4:00 AM, which is not something I normally do. I still don't know how I managed that!

Photo credit: Jon Bremner
Photo credit: Ben Miller
I returned home the following day. My flight was delayed, but that allowed me to see a magnificent sunset. I want to thank EVERYONE who I met at Paradise Found; I'd do it by name but I'd inevitably miss someone. What an awesome night!


Photo credit: Ben Miller

Comments

Brandon Martin said…
Thanks for the detailed review. I would have loved to have gone to this show. Any bootlegs of the English version of Nothing from Garbo?
Markus Funk said…
Great review Ben! And so nice to meet you in person Mr. Historian! Now it's time to follow is to Germany for one of the Tanz shows in Berlin or Munich next year!
AG Awesome said…
Fantastic review. I am so glad you enjyoed it and had such a special time. Seems like some really awesome songs were performed as well!! Wish I could go to one of these shows someday. Maybe Ill finally be able to meet some of the fine people Ive chatted with online over the years between FB and the Rockman.

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