GHOSTLIGHT RECORDS, a division of Sh-K-Boom Records, is partnering with Warner Jazz for the worldwide release of the new CD from acclaimed singer, actress, comedian and author LEA DELARIA. The Live Smoke Sessions â€“ recorded in concert at the popular uptown Manhattan jazz club last fall â€“ will be released online and in stores on September 9. The disc features special guest performers Gil Goldstein on piano, Seamus Blake on saxophone and BBC â€œJazz Singer of the Yearâ€ Ian Shaw on vocals.
After two innovative CDs reinventing Broadway tunes (2000â€™s Play It Cool) and rock and punk songs (2005â€™s Double Standards), Lea turns her considerable talents to her first recording focused on timeless pop standards. But these classic songs like â€œDown With Love,â€ â€œNight And Day,â€ â€œLove Me Or Leave Meâ€ and â€œCome Rain Or Come Shineâ€ have never sounded so fresh and alive. â€œI styled this CD on the old school live recordings,â€ Lea comments. â€œIt is my hope that this CD will take you back to 1948 and the Village Vanguard. So please let me invite you to mix a cocktail and enjoy a smoke while you sit back and soak up the swing.â€
The Live Smoke Sessions also includes a jazz reworking of â€œPuffâ€ from the Michael John LaChiusa musical Little Fish and the Lester Young jazz favorite â€œJumpinâ€™ With Symphony Sid.â€
As a part of her busy fall schedule, Lea will appear in dual roles on the ABC-TV daytime drama â€œOne Life To Liveâ€ starting in September (one character, the psychic Madame Delphina, was labeled â€œWhatâ€™s Hotâ€ in Soap Opera Digest). She will celebrate the CD with a return to the New York jazz club Smoke for two Mondays, September 29 and October 6; and at the 606 Club in London on November 9. Her long-running weekend show at the Art House in Provincetown, Massachusetts runs through September 6.
LEA DELARIA has distinguished herself in every form of entertainment that she touches: jazz musician, Broadway diva, actor, writer and stand-up comic. Itâ€™s easy to see why Ben Brantley of The New York Times describes Lea as, â€œEvery inch a star.â€ Her first jazz album, Play It Cool, was released on Warner Jazz in 2000. Hailed by the Times of London as â€œBest Jazz Album of 2001,â€ it featured the single â€œThe Ballad of Sweeney Todd,â€ which remained at #1 on Jazz radio in the states for two months.
Q Magazine commented â€œLea DeLaria is blessed with one of the most beautiful voices aroundâ€, while Time Out claimed â€œthe gal can certainly swingâ€, and the Guardian summed her up as â€œtalks like a coffee grinder, and sounds like a cross between Ella Fitzgerald and a Broadway diva.â€ Her second album, Double Standards â€“ which debuted on the Billboard Jazz Chart at #6 â€“ received rave reviews in the UK and US press; the tracks â€œCall Meâ€ and â€œPhiladelphiaâ€ get regular radio play on both sides of the Atlantic.
Lea has appeared in concert at Carnegie Hall, Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center, Town Hall, Chicago Symphony, Royal Albert Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Royal Festival Hall, among many others. She has headlined at the New York City JVC Jazz Festival, London Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival and the 50th Anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival Tour, in addition to appearing at the Playboy, Montreal and Long Beach Festivals.
The first openly gay comic to appear on national television in the United States (Arsenio Hall, 1993) from this point forward she has toured the world with her one-of-a-kind blend of cool jazz and in-your-face comedy, often creating stirs (The United States Congress officially â€œcriticizedâ€ Lea in 1993) but always winning accolades (Muff Diva â€“ â€œBest of the Festâ€ in Edinburgh, 1993 and DeLightful DeLicious, DeLaria â€“ Best Live Performance, Back Stage Bistro Award, 1999).
Lea has recorded two live comedy albums (Bulldyke In A China Shop and Box Lunch) and developed specials for HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central, CBC, and WNBC 4, including work for which she received a 1994 regional Emmy Award (â€œThe World According To Us, Lifetime). She has created strange characters for daytime soaps (â€œOne Life To Liveâ€), Primetime (â€œWill & Grace,â€ â€œFriends,â€ and believe it or not, â€œMatlockâ€) and has appeared on every talk show from NBCâ€™s â€œTodayâ€, â€œChef Du Jourâ€ on The Food Network, â€œThe Rosie Oâ€™Donnell Show,â€ ABCâ€™s â€œPolitically Incorrect.â€ She’s even the voice of Helga on the dark comedy cult hit â€œThe Oblongs.â€
The small screen gave way to the big screen for Lea as she plays bit parts in major motion pictures like The First Wives Club and Sgt. Bilko, but more often leads in independents like Rescuing Desire, Mercury In Retrograde, Homo Heights, Edge Of Seventeen (for which her version of Irving Berlin’s â€œBlue Skiesâ€ won a 1999 GLAMA Award for Best Jazz Performance) and Fat Rose and Squeaky (playing the title role opposite Academy Award winner Louise Fletcher and four-time Emmy Award winner Cicely Tyson).
Like all singing comics Lea’s greatest desire was to stand downstage center and hold a Broadway audience captive. Her dream came to fruition in 1997 with The Public Theater’s revival of On The Town. Directed by two-time Tony Award winner George C. Wolfe in the role of Hildy she stopped the show eight times a week and received Obie, Drama Desk, Theater World and Fanny Awards. She returned to Broadway in 2000 to play â€œEddieâ€ and â€œDr. Scottâ€ in The Rocky Horror Show. She has also been featured as â€œJoyâ€ in Rodgers & Hammersteinâ€™s Cinderella at New York City Opera, â€œMama Mortonâ€ on the National Tour of Chicago, and Off-Broadway as â€œCinderâ€ in Little Fish, â€œWinnieâ€ in Happy Days, and â€œJaneâ€ in The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, a role written especially for her by Paul Rudnick.
Her book, Leaâ€™s Book Of Rules For The World, was released by Dell Book in 2000.
It is a standing practice in the theatre that a ghostlight â€“ a floor lamp holding a single bare light bulb â€“ be lit on stage after everyone has left for the night, so that the theatre never goes dark. In the same spirit, Ghostlight Records, created by Sh-K-Boom co-founders Kurt Deutsch & Sherie Rene Scott, ensures that music of the theatre by composers old and new will always be enjoyed. Ghostlight Records honors the past while shining a light toward the future. Ghostlight Records was honored with a special 2006 Drama Desk Award for dedication to the preservation of musical theatre through cast recordings, as well as Grammy Award nominations for Best Musical Show Album: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Hair (The Actorsâ€™ Fund Of America Benefit Recording), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and most recently The Drowsy Chaperone. Other recent recordings include the original cast recording of Legally Blonde, Martin Short â€“ Fame Becomes Me, High Fidelity, See What I Wanna See and Bernarda Alba by Michael John LaChiusa, Irving Berlinâ€™s White Christmas, Patti LuPoneâ€™s The Lady With The Torch and LoveMusik. Ghostlight Records is distributed by Razor & Tie Entertainment. For more information, visit www.GhostlightRecords.com or www.sh-k-boom.com.