It’s a busy July for Broadway and concert performer Liz Callaway, with the star having just returned from shows in Europe, now being celebrated by the Long Island Musical Theatre Festival (LIMTF) later this week and then scheduled to record a new live album at the Metropolitan Room on July 28.
Billed as, “Our Time,” the iconic song from Callaway’s first Broadway role—in Merrily We Roll Along (1981)—the festival will bring together students to both honor Callaway, as well as provide them with an opportunity to perform with her at the Adelphi Performing Arts Center (July 23, 8PM).
“It’s sort of a tribute to my career which is amazing,” Callaway said. “I’ve never had anyone do anything like that before. The kids [participating in the festival] are going to do songs from shows I’ve done and I’m going to be joining them on a couple of numbers… and then I’m going to [perform] a few songs on my own. It’s going to be a really neat concert.” Among the shows Callaway has been a part of include Miss Saigon (original Broadway cast, playing the role of Ellen), Cats (as Grizabella), Baby, Merrily We Roll Along, and the famed concert version of Follies, which also featured Carol Burnett, Barbara Cook and Elaine Stritch, among others. Callaway has also enjoyed an illustrious career as a solo recording, concert and voiceover artist, most notably as the singing voice of Anastasia in the animated feature by 20th Century Fox.
Among the songs that will be presented in the “Our Time” celebration will be “I Chose Right” from Baby, which Callaway will sing with the son of original cast member, Philip Hoffman, who happens to be a participant in the LIMTF program.
“It sound like a really great summer theatre program for these kids,” Callaway said, something that she hold in high-regard as a trained performer who went on to critical-acclaim and mother of son, Nicholas Foster, is following in similar footsteps. He’s even performed alongside his mother at multiple venues including Broadway supper club, 54 Below.
“It’s interesting,” Callaway shared, “I have found lately that I’ve been doing a lot more master classes… [and] even though I’m by no stretch of the imagination a real teacher, I enjoy working with younger people and just passing on my philosophy of singing and it’s very rewarding. It’s nothing I really thought about doing [before] but I enjoy it.”
Although Callaway hasn’t performed on Broadway since 2003, and yet has done some shows regionally (including starring as Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard with the Pittsburgh CLO in 2012), she’s travelled the world with solo and symphonic concerts, and has continued to amass a wide range of fans. Therefore, when unable to see her live, their only access to her work is through online videos and her numerous albums, the last of which (non-holiday recording) was in 2009. It’ll provide an exciting opportunity for all of her fans then to have a new album from Callaway, which will be recorded live in part at NYC’s Metropolitan Room on July 28 and released in November.
Titled “The Essential Liz Callaway,” Callaway explains the genesis of this album as, “there are some songs that I have wanted to record that I haven’t, but there’s also so many songs that I have on different albums and some of my albums are not available anymore,” she said. “I do so many concerts and I was thinking ‘boy it would be great if I could have an album that has the best of Liz and some of my most popular recordings and favorite arrangements.’ If I could have it all on one disc that would be great.”
Like her last release, “Merry and Bright,” a holiday EP released in 2013, Callaway is self-producing the album and says she’s, “really enjoying the entrepreneurial side of my career right now. My goal is to do more recordings now. Instead of doing a new recording every six or seven years [it is] to try and be a little more prolific with recordings. I think by doing it myself, that’s the route I’m interested in taking right now.”
But for fans thinking how can “The Essential Liz Callaway” be contained on a single album? Could a box set be in the works? “I thought about that,” Callaway said. “A friend of mine suggested I do a whole anthology and just put [in] everything I’ve ever recorded plus new things. I’ve got so many trunk recordings of things and demos and whatever. Someday that might happen too. I actually have a few different ideas for some recording projects that I want to do in the next two to five years. Hopefully I’ll come up with a lot more new albums, which will make everyone happy, including me.”
For more information and tickets to the “Our Time” concert as part of the Long Island Musical Theatre Festival on July 23, visit www.LIMTF.org. For more information about Liz Callaway’s upcoming performance and live album recording at the Metropolitan Room on July 28, visit www.metropolitanroom.com.