We've just made a cast album / concept album for "The Seven Little Foys" (released by Original Cast Records). This musical comedy has gotten such great reviews in its engagements in Connecticut and New York, we decided we wanted to make a CD, which is available for purchase here:
Michael Townsend Wright and the cast of the New York Fringe Festival production. (This photo and all other production stills on this page by Maryann Lopinto.)
We're hoping this album will help us a get to the next level--a regular, ongoing New York theatrical run. In the summer of 2011, we launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds so that we could make the album.
On September 21st, 2011, we met our fundraising goal! (Big thanks to our 84 backers!) We successfully raised the needed sum, and began the process of recording the CD.
Making early demo decordings (precursors to the actual album): engineer Jason Steffan, with Peter Charney, Alyssa Campochiaro, Jack Saleeby.
Our Seven Little Foys CD is now available! If you'd like more information about this album, or might like to purchase a copy, please click here:
If you'd like more background info, here is a link to our Kickstarter page. You can watch a little video, to help learn more about why we wanted to make the album. (Our thanks to Domenic Del Carmine, who produced the video.)
Based on actual events, "The Seven Little Foys" tells the story of entertainer Eddie Foy, who took his seven high-spirited kids into vaudeville with him. Touring the country, after the death of his wife, Eddie Foy and his kids learned the real meaning of family.
The CD includes enduringly popular songs that were introduced or popularized by Eddie Foy (pictured at right) and his kids, such as "Chinatown My Chinatown," "Row Row Row," and "Moonlight Bay," as well as zesty new originals written by Chip Deffaa, such as "Struttin'," "One More Christmas," and "Someday."
From left to right: Devon Eddy, Michael Townsend Wright, Tyler DuBoys, Chip Deffaa, Alex Craven, Ben Orlando, Bailey Cummings, Emily Bordonaro, Jillian Wipfler, Peter Charney, Maxwell Beer
The cast on the album includes: Michael Townsend Wright, Beth Bartley, Jon Peterson, Devon Eddy, Jillian Wipfler, Maxwell Beer, Tyler DuBoys, Emily Bordonaro, Peter Charney, Bailey Cummings, Zack Riopelle, Ben Orlando, Emma Czaplinski, Emme Pepe-Winshell, and Alex Craven, with Richard Danley as musical director, plus Andy Stein on violin. Maryann Lopinto (who took the production photos on this page) is our photographer. And Slau Halatyn is the recording engineer. We recorded the album at Dubway Studios and Be-Sharp Studios, in New York City. Howard Cruse created our graphics and logo. Frank Avellino has provided additional design work.
This is a good family musical, with lots of heart--a show that works equally well for audience members young and old. There aren't too many musicals like that around.
Chip Deffaa is the executive producer of this CD.
Our deepest gratitude to our co-producers, Dennis and Darleen Reid, Keith Anderson, and Louis P. Deffaa Sr.; and to our associate producers, Donnie Snyder and Andrea Oberheiden / www.aj-images.com.
Many thanks to our backers, without whose generous support this forthcoming CD would not be possible:
Roger Gindi, Amy Duncan, Agnes Dann, Elyse Derman, Bob Diamond, Judy Hennessey, Peter Dagger, Chuck Prentiss, Elaine Zimmer, George A. Golden, Don Brown, Dale Young, Dixie Melquist, Paul Mendenhall, Greg Irwin, Ira Goldberg, GailMaureen Ferraro, Joey G. Treggor, Peter Michael Marino, Kelly Feenan, Geri Reichgut, Linda Phillips, Susan Alcott Jardine, Joe DiLeo, Solomon Singer, Les Novitsky, Michael May, Deborah Grisorio, Ross Dodwell, Greg, Toni, Josh and Ava Schaller....
Our thanks, as well, to: Joseph Shapiro, Sharon A. Wilcox, Confetta Ras, Byron Eddy, Jaye Maynard, Paul Cornett, Lyle Ressler, Merrilee Trost, Dottie Wade, Tony Babino, Lauren Bianco, Sheila R. Riddle, Greg Bloomfield, Mark Satzman, Richard Faytak, Karen Ricciardi, Jan Nelson Miller, Ernie Page, David Lefkowitz / www.totaltheater.com, Gregory S. Andriate, Cindy Zweibel....
Our thanks, too, to: Laura Matson Hahn, Jackie Stubbs, Stevie Holland, Keith McElwee, Jon Lutyens, Lawrence Leritz, Jim Bleikam, Michelle Malik, Susan L. McCabe, Bob Koch, Ronni Richman Gerstel, Michael Sottile, Dennis Day/DDay Media Group Inc., Jan Hernstat, The Jolson Society / www.Jolson.org, Terri Hinte, Tom Gavin, Joanne Mezzatesta, Jerry Castaldo, Ray Marsilio, Sandra Holiday / The Anita Priest Whispering Angels Memorial Scholarship Foundation Inc., Abigail R. ("Susan") Mills, Carl Kissin, Jerry Wichinsky....
Our thanks, also, to: Patrick Shank, John Wilwerding, Maria Judge, Jack Schiff, Marilyn Bojanowski, Sandy Denmark, Deb Deffaa, Max Deffaa, Julia Deffaa, Ciaran Sammon, Cindy Womack, Shari L. Greer and John T. Greer, Richard J. Jenkins Jr., Maryann Lopinto, Karen Kelly....
We're very grateful to all of you for helping make this dream become a reality!
Our Seven Little Foys CD is now available! If you'd like more information about this album, or might like to listen to sample tracks, or purchase a copy, please click here:
Michael Townsend Wright, Alex Craven, Devon Eddy, Bailey Cummings, Emily Bordonaro, recording at Dubway Studios, NYC
Jack Saleeby, Devon Eddy
Our thanks, too, to all of the terrific performers--from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Florida--who've helped us develop this show.
Peter Charney, Tyler DuBoys, Jillian Wipfler, Max Beer
Want more background info? Here is a link to our Kickstarter page. Check out the video, produced by Domenic Del Carmine, incorporating stills and footage by Maryann Lopinto, along with clips from television's "Barry Z Show."
Emily Bordonaro, Peter Charney, Zack Riopelle, Max Beer, Bailey Cummings
Beth Bartley, Michael Townsend Wright
Chip Deffaa is delighted to have Michael Townsend Wright and Beth Bartley--pictured above and at right--reprise their performances as Mr. and Mrs. Foy for this recording. Deffaa wrote the roles with these two seasoned pro's in mind. Both have many credits in stage, TV and film.
Michael Townsend Wright and Beth Bartley as Mr. and Mrs. Foy in the New York Fringe Festival production of "The Seven Little Foys"
Michael Townsend Wright, Ben Orlando, Devon Eddy
Jillian Wipfler--seen in the the photos at right and below--plays "Mary Foy." She has been part of our "Seven Little Foys" project since the very first readings of the script, and the first production. She's been part of the evolution of the show. It makes us very happy she's singing on our cast album.
Emily Bordonaro, Peter Charney
No one's more dedicated or dependable than Emily Bordonaro and Peter Charney (seen in the photo at left). Emily came to this particular recording session in NYC directly after finishing a matinee performance of "Little Women" in Hartford. The character she plays in "Little Women" dies in that musical; but no sooner had Emily finished dying at the theater in Hartford, she hurried to New York--filled with life--to record for us.
Chip Deffaa, Emily Bordonaro
As for Peter Charney... he not only has been part of the "Foys" show from the very start, he actually contributed a couple of the lines!
When he's not helping us record "The Seven Little Foys," you'll find Tyler DuBoys performing all sorts of places (including dancing at New York's prestigious Joyce Theater), and teaching classes in tap and in anti-gravity yoga. As of this writing, he's the youngest certified instructor of anti-gravity yoga.
DuBoys has performed in touring musicals, including "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," "Anne of Green Gables," and "The Radio City Christmas Spectacular." Since 2007, he's been a member of the Connecticut-based dance company "In Motion." He was also featured on the premiere recording of Deffaa's show "Presenting Fanny Brice."
We're happy to have Devon Eddy and Ben Orlando working on our "Seven Little Foys" cast album. They had previously appeared together in "42nd Street" at the Palace Theatre in Waterbury, Connecticut.
Ben Orlando, Devon Eddy
Devon Eddy has studied for years with Broadway pro Scott Wise (who's enlivened such shows as "A Chorus Line," "Damn Yankees," "Fosse," and "Movin' Out"). He's been a part of the "Seven Little Foys" project since the very beginning. Ben Orlando joined the project after doing readings for a couple other shows of Deffaa's, in Connecticut and New York.
Bailey Cummings--who's shown here helping record our "Seven Little Foys" cast album in New York City--is, as of this writing, appearing in the play "Writer's Cramp," directed by Ed Bassett Jr., at Connecticut's Phoenix Stage Company. Deffaa invited him to join this project after seeing him in "West Side Story" and other plays at the Thomaston Opera House.
Zack Riopelle, Max Beer, Bailey Cummings
Here's Zack Riopelle, hitting the high notes with grace and ease--and, even more important, great feeling--at one of our "Seven Little Foys" cast-album recording sessions at Dubway Studios, in New York City.
We had to interrupt one of our "Seven Little Foys" cast-album recording sessions when we discovered that the great Maxwell Beer's hand was mysteriously bleeding, and he had no idea why.
Opinions in the studio differed as to the significance of this bleeding. Was it perhaps some kind of Supernatural sign? ... Or had he cut it on the sharp edge of the music stand?
Whatever the case, he cleaned up nicely and went on with his singing.
That same week, Max was at the Friars Club, attending a special screening of a new film he's starring in, "Jeremy Fink & the Meaning of Life," and taking questions from the audience, along with the film's writer/director Tamar Halpern, and Wendy Mass, who wrote the book upon which the film is based.
Chip Deffaa, Joe Franklin, Zack Riopelle, Max Beer
In the photo above: The one-and-only Joe Franklin (WBBR Bloomberg Radio) visits with cast-members from our "Seven Little Foys." Joe's career on radio got its start in the 1940s, and his TV talk show made the Guinness Book of World Records for being the longest-running talk show in American TV history (43 years), with the most guests. (over 250,000). Joe has said such nice things on the air about our musical comedy "The Seven Little Foys" ("I have rarely been so riveted to a stage.... This is what show business is really all about!"), we were glad he got to meet some of the talented actors (Zack Riopelle, Maxwell Beer) who are busy making the cast album now.
We're delighted that we've been able to get Emma Czaplinski down from Plymouth, New Hampshire to record for our "Seven Little Foys" cast album.
At Dubway Studios, NYC. From left to right: Richie Arthur, Michael Townsend Wright, Bailey Cummings, Emily Bordonaro, Chip Deffaa, Alex Craven, Max Beer
Our recording engineer, Slau Halatyn (seen in the photograph below, working with Jillian Wipfler), has great ears. He happens to be legally blind. But he's earned an international reputation in his field. We're glad to be working once again with him; he previously served as the engineer for our premiere recording of "Presenting Fanny Brice."
Jillian Wipfler, at the microphone, with recording engineer Slau Halatyn
Making the album has taken a good while, because we've had to work around the availability of the artists. Some of the kids were only available during school breaks. (And some of the kids have also been busy doing plays, or film or TV work.) And we had to catch our adult actors in between gigs that sometimes took them far afield. We managed to record Jon Peterson, for example, on a brief hiatus between performances of shows he was doing in Milwaukee and Las Vegas. And Beth Bartley had engagements with a play which took her from Provincetown, Massachusetts to Oxford, Mississippi.
Emily Bordonaro and Emmie Pepe-Winshell
Recording the album actually took far longer than writing the script. Chip Deffaa notes: "The script of 'The Seven Little Foys' practically wrote itself. I never wrote a first draft of a script more quickly. I had been thinking about the Foys for years, and had learned quite a bit about them. But I had no particular plans to write anything about them. Then one night, I woke up from a curious dream. In the dream, Royal Coachmen had shown up at my home, and put me into a waiting carriage, which went down this lane at breakneck speed. We were approaching 'Eddie Foy Park,' which was near where I lived as boy in New Rochelle. I woke up from the dream, jotted down those details, and the date and the time--2:12 a.m., February 26th--and then, still feeling the energy of the dream, began writing the script. Within a few weeks, it was done.... If I need to recharge my batteries, sometimes I'll just go back to Eddie Foy Park."
Eddie Foy Park, New Rochelle, NY
Plaque in Eddie Foy Park, New Rochelle, NY
Jon Peterson, Chip Deffa in the recording studio
We're thrilled to have Jon Peterson on this album. Chip Deffaa wrote the role with Peterson in mind.
Peterson has starred in various shows of Deffaa's, most notably "George M. Cohan Tonight!"--which has been a success Off-Broadway in New York, and in numerous other cities as well.
And Peterson has played great roles in assorted other shows in New York and London, from "Cats" to "Cabaret."
Performers Michael Townsend Wright and Jon Peterson, with recording engineer Slau Halatyn
Devon Eddy, Bailey Cummings, Emily Bordonaro, Peter Charney
Chip Deffaa, Jillian Wipfler, Michael Townsend Wright
Emily Bordonaro, Emmie Pepe-Winshell
Richard Danley, whose piano has been heard everywhere from New York theaters to Carnegie Hall, is the album's music director; Justin Boccitto, whose choreography has enlivened shows in New York and on tour, has provided choreography and tap-dancing. Both of these in-demand pro's have worked on many projects with Deffaa--most recently the Off-Broadway success "One Night with Fanny Brice."
Andy Stein, whose violin graces selected tracks on our "Seven Little Foys" CD, has been heard on Grammy Award-winning albums he's recorded as a member of the bands "Asleep at the Wheel" and Vince Giordano's "Nighthawks."
A highly respected artist, he's worked with many of the greatest names in jazz, classical, pop, and rock, including Wynton Marsalis, Itzhak Perlman, Tony Bennett, Paul McCarney, Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Paquito D'Rivera, and Phil Woods. We're thrilled to have this Grammy-winning musician on our album.
Andy Stein, recording with us at Be-Sharp Studios, NYC.
Jon Peterson and Michael Townsend Wright, rehearsing a number in the recording studio