Broadway royalty returns to Brooklyn.
On Stage At Kingsborough will play host to Tony Award-winning performer and Brooklyn native Randy Graff as she finally brings “Made in Brooklyn…Bound for Broadway,” a musical celebration of Brooklyn’s own famed songwriters and artists, to the borough.
Graff, who won a Tony in 1990 for her role in “City of Angels,” had been asked to do a cabaret for many years, but she resisted.
“I just kept saying I don’t want to do it,” she said. “I realized that if I did that and had an intimate evening with an audience, you have to have something specific to say and be inspired. The intimacy is so different from performing in a role in a musical on a big stage. I put it off for like 30 years.”
Finally, she found inspiration.
“When the owners of 54 Below, the big nightclub where a lot of Broadway performers who never wanted to do a club act have done their club act, came to me and said, when are you going to do a show,” Graff recalled, “I asked myself what I wanted to say, what moved me to share with an audience.”
As an actor, Graff traveled a lot, and realized that you can take the girl out of Brooklyn but you can’t take Brooklyn out of the girl.
“I had been all over the country and no matter where I went, I always felt like this Brooklyn girl, especially when I lived in Los Angeles for two and a half years,” she recalled. “I felt like a fish out of water and thought there was something to this — no matter where you go, Brooklyn is always in your heart.”
That engendered the idea of performing a show that paid homage to her hometown borough and its talent.
“The cool thing is that every song in the show was written by or made famous by someone born in Brooklyn,” she said. “You really get a taste of some of the great artists that were born here and their work, so it’s sort of a musical history lesson as well.”
Songs from legends Neil Sedaka, Carole King, and Burt Bacharach will be performed.
“You’d be surprised how many composers and artists came from Brooklyn,” she said. “It’s a celebration of the artistry, and me in the middle of it all. I’ll do my hits, musical theater, stuff I made famous from ‘Les Misérables’ to ‘City of Angels.'”
Despite performing the show for three years, this will be her first time doing it in Brooklyn.
“I’m really excited to come to On Stage At Kingsborough because we’ve done this show all over the place,” Graff said. “It’s so special to me. It’s the most personal it’s going to get for me, performing this show in front of my people. I’m excited and the venue is absolutely beautiful.”
So, far the show, which also has Graff tell stories about growing up in Brooklyn and discussing how the area has drastically changed, has been a hit.
“You see the person, not hiding behind some character in a musical. My show is personable and people enjoy that intimacy. I have a fantastic trio behind me,” she said. “There’s audience interaction where they get to sing with me and I do tell stories. The thing that everyone relates to is home and they also relate to the fact that home changes. Brooklyn isn’t the only place that’s gotten trendy.”
On Stage at Kingsborough is also excited to have her perform.
“Tony Award-winner Randy Graff’s show will seem as though it was created just for On Stage At Kingsborough,” said Anna Becker, the executive director. “She brings her immense talent to what is essentially a love letter to Brooklyn and the great stars that have emerged from this amazing borough, including Graff herself. Our audiences will be thrilled to hear the songs Randy Graff sang on Broadway, along with so many Brooklyn musical heroes including, of course, Barbra Streisand!”
“Made in Brooklyn…Bound for Broadway” will be performed on Saturday, April 28 at 8 p.m. at On Stage at Kingsborough, 2001 Oriental Boulevard. Tickets range from $32-$37. For more information, visit www.onstageatkingsborough.org.