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“Hereafter Musical” explores what happens when a loved one dies from the perspective of both the living AND the dead.
“Hereafter Musical” explores what happens when a loved one dies from the perspective of both the living AND the dead.
264 backers pledged $61,250 to help bring this project to life.

Bill Persky Comes On Board As Director, Major Hollywood Figure Takes Us To Our $60,000 and 80's Rock Star Makes Us A Profit!

It’s A Numbers Game

We have good news and we have bad news. The good news is that this will be the final mass mailer in awhile! The bad news is that it will be a long one. But trust me, it’s well worth it. When we started this whole Kick Starter campaign on July 27th, the idea of setting a goal of $60k seemed ridiculous (and the idea of achieving that goal was just plain crazy talk). In fact, Kick Starter recommends that you set a target dollar amount that is less than half of what we set. They know from experience what works and what doesn’t.  But we really had no choice. There was no way we could put on our show for lest than $60k. And while that number is not an arbitrary number, we sort of backed into it. We knew we needed a 199-seat theater in NY for two weeks. The going rate for a theater rental of that size is about $10k per week so there’s $20k right there. The show will have eight actors, three singers in the choir, a five-piece orchestra, two stagehands, a director and a dance captain. Let’s call those costs about $20k per week so that’s another $40k. Oh look, this all totals to $60k and we haven’t even factored in lighting, sound, scenery, marketing, rehearsal space etc.!!! But we figured if we at least hit our target number, we’d scramble to make it work (including kicking in my own money to make up the difference which I’ve been doing for the past six years). Wait, the sound you hear is my wife Debbie screaming “Noooo”! But truth be told, there was an unspoken “Who are we kidding?” vibe in the beginning. I mean, how could we possibly sell $60k worth of tickets for a show that is not even in production yet? [Dramatic pause] Boy, were we wrong. As you can see by the photo below WE MADE IT!!!!!!!


This feels like that moment at the end of “A Chorus Line” when the actors have been told they made the cut and the director is telling them all of the details about what’s to come but they’re kind of not listening because they are all beaming with pride. That’s how our entire company feels like right now (but without the Capezios).

We Are Not Done Yet!

Even though we hit our goal there are still PLENTY of tickets available. The “ticket window” closes at 2am tonight. So if you haven’t pre-purchased your tickets yet, this will be the last time that you will be able to get the “Hereafter Musical” Kick Starter Package of Ticket, CD and T-shirt for one low price of $50 (when did this become PBS???) And after you’ve made your purchase keep checking to see how we’re doing (drink plenty of coffee, it’s going to be a long night)! WE ARE LOOKING AT MID TO LATE APRIL FOR OUR TWO-WEEK RUN. We will lock in those dates asap and when we do, we will coordinate with you the exact dates that you will be attending. We cannot wait to repay your generosity with what we know is going to be an amazing show.

Be Careful What You Ask For…

Yes we are THRILLED that we hit our goal. But now the real work begins. Guess what Frankie and I will be doing for the next six months? Thanks to the amazing response to our campaign, 271 people purchased 1017 tickets, 726 CDs and 515 T-shirts. We will be busy packing and shipping out the CD and T-shirts over the next few weeks. We should have everything out by the end of October. In addition to that, I will be making 98 “pledge fulfilling” phones calls, hosting 23 lunches and hosting 12 screenings of the infamous “Debbie Tapes”. This involves showing 15 minutes of intimate home video of me trying to impress Debbie thirty years ago in my tighty whities. I have seller’s remorse!!! We may have to give those 12 people their money back!

So How The Hell Did We Do That?

$60k is a lot of money. We did have several incredibly generous supporters who purchased large blocks of tickets, but by far the most popular premium was the $100, two ticket/CD/T-shirt package. We knew that to be successful, we needed to sell lots of those. And even though we have a huge mailing list, this whole Kick Starter thing can be somewhat complicated on several levels. If you expect people to buy something (especially tickets to a performance) you usually are working with actual dates and a simple transaction process. As we’ve mentioned before, lots of folks had problems with “cookies” which kept them from ordering. There are also some folks who still don’t get what we’re trying to do with the pre-selling of tickets (and we don’t blame them)! So here we were, just days before the deadline, thousands of dollars short of our goal (many thousands) when I get a message that the boss wants to see me. Now when I say boss, I don’t just mean my boss, I mean everyone’s boss. The “capo di tutti capo”. The boss of all bosses (in a totally legal way!) Leslie is the President and Chief Executive Officer of CBS Corporation. A true TV legend who among other things was the driving force behind classic TV shows like; “Friends” and “ER” (in the same season!) when he was the head of Warner Brothers TV. Not to mention his complete re-boot of CBS when he came here in 1995. His accomplishments at CBS are so long that to list them all would require it’s own web site so I’ll link to that here. So suffice it to say that I get a little, what’s the word I’m looking for, “anxious” when he calls. We’ve worked closely together for fifteen years but this is a pretty busy guy. He runs the company!!!! I was wracking my brain as to why HE would be calling ME. It couldn’t be about the 7th floor-bowling league meeting that night because he’s on a different floor. I took a deep breath, made the sign of the cross and called. He took my call right away (now I’m even more scared). Then the rest of what he said had me so dazzled that I had an out of body experience. But not a cool one where I astral planed to different lands but one where I was just a few feet away, looking at myself. No wait; it was just my reflection the mirror. But from what I can remember, he said that he’d heard that I was short of my goal and he wanted to make up the difference! He asked me what the amount was and I stammered it and he said that a check from him to “Hereafter” would be ready shortly. And I swear, it felt like I could have said any number and he would not have batted an eyelash (and the number I gave him was quite high!) I took the express elevator to his floor and to quote Harry Chapin’s great line from the song “Taxi”…”I stuffed the bill in my shirt”! And as I walked away from his office with the weight of the world off of my shoulders,  it finally dawned on me what CBS stands for…Check for Broadway Show!!! Thank you Leslie for your incredibly generous support and for taking us to the magic number that even we said we’d never hit! And thank you for adding a good five years to my life…whew!

And Another Thing…

In week full of amazing milestones for our show here’s another great one. It took 271 people to pre-purchase tickets so that we could make our goal of $60k. And it only took one person to help us pass it and represent what will be many, many years of “profit”. And we couldn’t think of a better person to have that honor then the one and only David Pack! Fans of our show already know that David is from the great band Ambrosia. They also know that he covered one of the songs from our show (Talk To Me”). Thank you David!


This Is Show Business Not Show Fun!

So let’s take a moment to acknowledge some more special people. For any show to be properly work shopped and prepped for off-Broadway, you need more than to just sell tickets. You need investors or as Broadway likes to romanticize them, “angels”. And apropos of our show, we have two great angels who backed us early on; Joe Poletto and Louis Maione. These two guys put up some up some serious angel money (and they expect it back and then some!). They and are on board as Executive Producers along with me for this next run. They are both at the top of their respective fields (which for some strange reason they won’t let me in on). They believe in our show and will help me mount the best production that your money (and theirs) could buy. I am very excited to be working with them. Though I am worried that the combination of the names Favale, Poletto & Maione on the poster will get us on the FBI’s organized crime watch list. This is the first time I am are taking in outside money so as a precaution I have employed the services of two people; super entertainment lawyer Steve Mark and super accountant Shelly Fried.  This is just in case Joe and Lou form an alliance against Frankie and I. Steve is such a good lawyer he once successfully sued himself. And Shelly still works with an Abacus…I think I’m in great hands!

Remembering DJ Wheeler

It is sad to think that it took the death of someone I didn’t even know to set me on this path to the creation of “Hereafter Musical”. Simply put, if DJ Wheeler doesn’t die then there is no show…something I would gladly trade in. I read about DJ’s passing in our local paper. He died on November 21st, 2003. His story moved me and rekindled memories of the loss of my two brothers, years earlier. My heart went out to DJ’s parents and especially his two sisters. The loss of a sibling is hard to describe. In most cases you have a situation where the parents are so rightfully consumed with grieving for their child, that the siblings have to find their own way. I wanted to reach out to them but couldn’t because I didn’t know them. Shortly after the accident, I was driving my son to soccer practice when I noticed roadside memorial that DJ’s friends set up where the accident occurred. I would pass it back forth every weekend cause it’s a heavily traveled road and I couldn’t get the image out of my head. Over time I was inspired to write a song called “Nineteen” as a sort of release. Before I knew it, I had written sixteen songs about what life is like after someone dies from the perspective of both the living and the dead. Several years later, I finally got to meet DJ’s amazing family through mutual friends and had the honor of playing them the music from the show. It was very special night and we have since become good friends and they have attended every showcase. And through them, I also got to know DJ and what a great son and brother he was. His sisters Alison and Erin speak at high schools every year about the dangers of drunk driving as part of the “Rude Awakenings” program. And bringing things full circle, the three of us made a music video that celebrates DJ’s life and features “Goodbye” (one of the songs from the show). Joanne Wheeler [DJ’s mom]: whenever I listen to "Goodbye" I cry…but that's a good thing…it lets me know I can still feel."

Roll Call Tease For Week Seven

Three of this week’s pledgers are related to a fictional character from the show, one of them wrote a book with me that currently sells for .49 cents on Amazon (plus $2.00 shipping!) and one of them spent a wild weekend with me in Lake George.

Meet The Creative Team…Major Announcement!

Over the past six updates you’ve met the cast and the characters they play. Now let’s meet the people behind the show…these are the ones without whom with there’d be no how! And we are going to start off with a bang!!!


There’s a newspaper term called “burying the lead” which is exactly what I am about to do here. Frankie and I have had a legendary, creative mentor working with us for the past three years (did you guys really think we were that good on our own!!). We are SO excited to announce that the director of Hereafter Musical’s off-Broadway run will be none other than the legendary, FIVE time Emmy Award winning writer and director, Bill Persky! For those of you on this email who know Bill, enough said. For those of you who don’t, Bill is THE perfect captain to steer this ship. And he’s not just a director here. He’s someone who has invested many hours of his time in helping us develop the story and the characters. Every change that he has suggested has made the show measurably better (and some of the changes were very painful for us to make)! And now, as our director, he will be able to bring the figments of Frankie and my imagination to life. Bill won two Emmy Awards for the “Dick Van Dyke Show” where he wrote some of their most classic episodes. He co-created “That Girl” for Marlo Thomas and then went on to produce and direct over 100 episodes of “Kate & Allie” (where he won the Emmy for directing). In addition to being one of TV’s top writers, he also owns one of the most legendary streaks in TV. From 1975 to 82 he directed 22 television pilots, of which 16 were put on the air as series, (including "Who's The Boss?" and “Lotsa Luck”). Bill has worked closely with some of the greats (including Julie Andrews AND Orson Welles). His comedic instincts are stellar (obviously) but the thing makes him so special as a human being (and for this project) is his heart and his sensitivity. He brings so much of that to his work and we are so excited that we will have front row seat as he helps our little show find it’s legs. We could not be in better hands. Frankie on working with Bill; To herald Bill's many accolades from the years of television I, and all of us, grew up laughing with and quoting lines from even today would be easy. But Bill is not easy. He is complex. He is Kind. He is thought provoking. He is generous. He is fascinating. He is one person that with his pedigree could sail off and retire, relax and enjoy the fruits of his masterful mind. Instead, this man set aside many hours of his days, listening to our many, many rewrites patiently-never criticizing, but just merely making sensible suggestions that we would ponder and then often times, utilize. If I had limitless time and no worries as to what would pay my rent, I would rent a roaring fire, have the finest brandy in a snifter with its expensive legs making their way down the crystal, and beg Bill to tell me stories until I passed out. That is how much I love Bill Persky.

Meet Bill Hindin [Musical Director]

Bill is on the very, very short list of people that we can only say is a key member of the thing we call “Hereafter Musical”.  Without Bill’s patient role as the music director, song whisperer, music arranger and go to guy for every musical thing we do live, we’d be nothing more than a pipe dream. His extensive background in musical theatre and his encyclopedic knowledge of the American songbook has been a godsend to Frankie and I. And his music skills are second only to his humanity (I know, it sounds like he’s getting the Nobel peace prize). But it’s true. The way he balances his hectic life, the way he takes care of his family and they way he takes care of us (his musical family) is such an inspiration. And now after living with the show for three years with just piano, Bill will get to bring all of this beautiful music alive with the little orchestra he will be putting together for our run. He is a true musical genius and his piano work on the demos is rich and multi layered (just like Bill). Frankie on working with Bill: To hear Bill put it, when he first walked into Vinnie's office, he saw me and my dear friend Francesca, sitting there, and he said, "I'm gonna love this Job!". Well, after 3.5 years, I can say with complete certainty, it is I who love this job and a large part of it has to do with Bill Hindin.  Not only is he a fantabulous musician, he is a "Song Whisperer" hear him say it, he will often tell you he knows friends that are far better players, musicians, etc....but it's so much more than being a good musician. It's a chemistry and understanding that can't be taught. It is an intangible that is either there or it's not. That's what Bill has. Combine that with the fact that he is one of the most compassionate and fascinating human beings I have been so fortunate to now call friend, he is an enigma. A rare and special talent that WE are the lucky ones, not Bill.

Take a listen to some of Bill’s best work from the show. These are all instrumental versions so that you can truly appreciate what he’s done.


Meet Frankie Keane [Book Writer, Vocal Arrangements, Additional Music & Lyrics]

We already know about Frankie’s role as one of the stars of our show [as Anita]. But she is so much more than that. She is both my writing and music partner in every aspect of the show. Her vocal arrangements are my favorite parts of the songs. One of the funniest songs in the show (“The Toe Tag Tango”) was co-written by her. Her intricate background vocals are layered throughout every demo and sound like an angel’s choir. Some of the biggest laughs in the show come from her very unique sense of humor. Her dedication of time and talent to a project that has yielded very little in the way of financial security is something I will never forget. And the fact that she set aside her ego and took her vocal tracks OFF of one of her own character’s songs (“Someday”) because she felt knew there were three singers that could do a better job just shows how important this project is to her. And her original vocals were excellent! Take a listen for yourself.

Meet Vinnie Favale [Book Writer, Music & Lyrics]

Frankie on working with Vinnie: One paragraph won't give me near enough time to sum up 3.5 + years of working with Vinnie P. Favale.  As we often joke, but now I'm beginning to actually buy into, we share a brain. When I first met Vinnie, I remember thinking to myself, "is it possible to meet someone as off the wall crazy as me?" After all this time, I realize, it was. It's hard to believe that an email sent to the wrong address that finally found its way to me, would result in many days and nights of collaboration, which would eventually end up as what we now call, "Hereafter". If I had to pick one word that would describe Vinnie, (although it would be very limiting!) it would be Generous. It's not easy when you have an idea for a show and have been nurturing it close to the vest like an only child, when someone like me comes along with approximately 3,000 ideas that are so far fetched you really want me to take a long walk off a short pier. But instead, Vinnie (who from this point further shall be referred to as, "the poor man"), listens to each one patiently, and actually sees the core of my idea and makes it work.  This poor man has spent countless hours listening to me say, "Wait!! wait!!! hear me out, I have one more idea!!" and actually figures out a way to "give me what I want" as he puts it.  And now, 3.5 years later, I've come to see the full extent of this generosity when my ideas and the many voices in my head have not only been patiently listened to, but now have been allowed to come to life in "Hereafter".  To trust someone with one's child is the highest compliment, and to this, I say, I am humbled.

Meet Eric Garner [Music Consultant].

Eric’s title as music consultant to our show is an understatement and does not to justice to what he truly means to our show and to me personally. Eric is the first person I turned to when I made decided to write this musical. I first met Eric when he covered one of my songs (“Restless, Restless”) for a Howard Stern contest. What he did was totally original (he just used the lyrics) and I was an instant fan. I reached out to him to tell him how great his version was and we became fast friends. I felt an instant bond and when I told him that I wanted to write a musical and I needed someone to help me translate my music and lyrics into demos he said yes before I could even finish the sentence. You can also check out his amazing body of work here. Frankie on working with Eric; I have never had the honor of actually meeting Eric but I feel such a connection with this fabulous talent. I know that before I came along, Eric was the man who believed in Vinnie and his dream of making "Hereafter" a reality. It is with his instrumentals that the fully realized songs gave life. So when you find yourself humming a song that you can't shake out of your head from the show, there is a good chance, Eric has a large part to do with it. 

His magic is all over the soundtrack and his original demos are still some of my favorites. He plays all the instruments and sings on every one of these songs. Take a listen.


Family, Arrangements, Engineering & Voices From Heaven

These are some very very special people who have each made (and continue to make) major and lasting contributions to our show.

Debbie, Jonathan & Brooster Favale – Simply put, without the rock solid support and emotional backing (and financial!) of my wife Debbie, my son Jonathan (and don’t laugh…my dog Brooster) this project would never exist. I not only have Debbie’s unconditional support, she has actually allowed me to use her and her mother’s story (which is a huge part of the show). I won the lottery when I married her!

The Fried Family - This family is the first family of Broadway to us. They run the box office at every show we've done. And they help me manage the endless paperwork involved in keeping a production like this going. And their work will only increase now that we've made our goal...boy do we owe them. Thanks Marcia, Shelly, Randi, Michele & Archie!

Jenna DiMartini – Jenna has literally grown up with the show. I met her through my son Jon when they were in high school. She is an accomplished actress (she did a three-year stint on “All My Children” until her character was abducted by aliens). She has a GORGEOUS voice and has not only sung in every single one of our performances since 2006 but she also was there when many of the songs were written. Here is a beautiful, acapella performance of Jenna singing “Goodbye” shortly after it was written followed by her recent cover of Big Star’s 13”. We are so lucky that she is in our lives.

Dani Donadi – Dani is a very special musician. I can count on two fingers the amount of times we have been in the same room. Yet together we have made some beautiful music over the years. He orchestrations on some of the songs have truly captured the soul of what we are trying to do here. And his work performance on “Talk To Me” still resonates after five years!!! Here is a sample of his genius work on our show.

Amy Baer – Amy is a new member to our creative team. She has done sooo much beautiful work in such a short amount time that I can only imagine the amount of magic we will make together. Take a listen to these two orchestrations for “Waiting” and “Space & Time Reprise”…they are stunning. We love “Waiting” so much that we will be shooting our first music video to this song in February. 

Danny Aiello – What more can I say about this Oscar nominated actor who has been a true angel to our production other than a heartfelt thank you. He’s participation casts such a HUGE halo over our project. Has already contributed so much of his talents and continues to do so to this day. His covers of “Talk To Me” and “Heart & Soul” are two of the most popular videos on our Youtube channel. And he just recorded a new version of “Talk To Me” for his new CD! Here’s a sneak peek! We love you Danny.

Francesca Vannucci – Francesca is an amazing talent and holds a very special place in our hearts. Frankie, Bill and I spent two glorious weeks together three years ago in a burst of creativity that she was a big part of. We actually haven’t spoken in over a year because we are both so busy (and also because I’m an idiot who really should be making more time for special people like her). This is a great video of Francesca and Frankie (with Bill on piano) performing the first demo of “Life & Death”. We love you Francesca.

Alan Kalter – That voice from G-d that you hear at the beginning of “Life & Death” belongs to Alan Kalter. His contribution to our show as both the “Narrator” and “Robert Welby” is immeasurable and we are so honored and excited to be working with him on this show.

Sandra Huff – Sandra has been part of our company for years. Her voice lifts the voices of our choir every single time we do a live performance. And as far as I’m concerned, her performance on “Someday” is one for the books.

David Cooper – One of the true heroes of our many incarnations. Some people know him as Frankie’s boyfriend. Lots of people know him as the gifted writer who has more books in the pipeline than Stephen King. His latest on Jack Youngblood is excellent. But I know him for one thing and that’s for being an incredible friend, supporter and wise council on every area of our show (and our lives now). You’ll come for Frankie and you’ll stay for David.

MP Kuo – Last but not least is out brilliant engineer MP. You have no idea what goes into recording these demos. MP is THE gatekeeper of the hundreds of voices in Frankie’s heads, our large cast and hundreds  (thousands) of hours of session work. Her attention to quality and details is outstanding and if she ever leaves us, we’re just gonna fold up the tent and join her. Frankie on working with MP; Patience is a virtue. Such an overused expression if you ask me..but in this case, she warrants every example of that phrase. A good engineer is nice. A great engineer is rare. MP is a GREAT engineer.  It is more than a job for her. She has taken "Hereafter" to a level we could have only dreamed about, sacrificing her own time to make everything sound as good as she can make it with her Golden ears. From this MIA (made in America) singer, to my MIC (Made in China) engineer, I am so thankful for your selflessness. You make us all sound better!!

Unsung Heroes [And Heroes Who Sing]

This is a long list of people of have lent their great talents to our show over the years. Some have been with us since the beginning and some have just joined us. The nature of theater lends itself to people coming in and out of your life. Schedules don’t always match, characters in the show get killed off, people get other shows etc.… But the one thing they all have in common is that they very talented and they are part of our growing. And if I’ve left anyone off this list I promise I will make it up to you!

Muriel Remo - Muriel is a new member of our family. She just recorded two songs with us and we are thrilled to have her with us!And we love Gabby and Gil too!

Samuel Zanger - Anyone who has seen our videos or come to our website has seen the beautiful illustrations that Sam has done for us. His work was the first time I saw our characters come to life. We are looking forward to working with Sam again as our show develops.

Charity Dawson – There was a point in the show’s history (for like fifteen minutes!) that we had an angel character! And Charity brought it to life beautifully.

Mike Zdeb – An oldie but a goody. A high school friend of Jon’s who lent his guitar talents in the early days of demos!

Heidi Torvik – Julliard trained flautist who was the first to record the memorable intro to “Lost”.

Kimball Gallagher – Excellent piano and violin player who performed on the demo of “Goodbye”.

Elizabeth Stallmeyer – Super talented photographer who has documented our show over the years with some beautiful photos that we will treasure forever.

Vito Catalano – Another amazing photographer who makes a career of shooting (with a camera!) Presidents, heads of states and us!

Lisa Orban – A truly special person and talent. Lisa was there from day one. She sang on so many demos and contributed so much to the songs early development that her smile flashes before me when I hear many of the songs. She was actually going to play one of the characters in the early days but we killed that character off (the character was already a ghost character!). A true gem who made us feel like we had something special even when we had so very little.

Mike Stallmeyer – Wow…Mikey!! Mike is a very close family friend. He also went to school with my son (I know, the “Hereafter Musical” backstory is starting to sound like Glee meets the Disney Channel. But if you knew Mikey’s talents you wouldn’t be surprised why I worked with him. He played on so many demos and was there when we work shopped many of the earlier songs. The only thing that got in the way of us spending more time together on the show was a little thing called NYU! We owe Mikey a huge debt for his contributions.

Jon Harris – By day, Jon is a major exec at Sara Lee. In his spare time, he possesses this amazing, soulful voice that I tapped into for two memorable demos.

Mariel Larsen – Another stunning singer. Muriel worked with us in the early days on a few demos. She’s an amazing jazz singer whose work you must listen to.

Sue Kiley – Sue is such a special member of our company. She wqas the first person to sing the title song shortly after it was written. She has been part of many recording sessions and live performance and is our go to person when we need excellence. A beautiful, pure voice (and person!)

Eddie Crosby – Eddie is Sue’s son and gave a memorable performance on one of our recordings. If he focused on music as a career you would all know him the way we do.

John Titta – Before there was anyone else on Hereafter there was John Titta. John had a HUGE part in work shopping several songs from the show. His imprint is on sveral numbers to this day. And if he weren’t one of the most successful music publishers in NY, he would have played an even bigger part of this show.

Diane Leung – Diane is a Juliard trained musician who lent her considerable talents to development of the songs “Talk To Me”, “Goodbye” and “Hereafter”.  Diane is a true talent.

Anthony Papandrea – We met some great musicians through Anthony (whose not so bad himself).

Lynn Shaw – When I first met Lynn she was a Broadway producer who was about to expand into TV. I was a TV guy with a dream to create a Broadway show. Her guidance in the early days was priceless and is still much appreciated to this day.

Leila Nelson – Leila and I go back to day one in the development of the show. We worked on some of the earlier numbers together and she was the first to sing “Lost”. She’s a very special person and I’m lucky to have worked with her when I did.

Steve Bartlow – Steve is our lifesaver. He’s a family friend who just so happens to be a great actor and singer! When the one of our actors dropped out at the last minute for our concert, Steve stepped right in and did an awesome job.

Jonathan Cerullo – This guys does it all! Acting, directing, choreographing! He is an amazing theater resource and we are lucky to know him.

Emily Stern – Emily sang for us on an early demo of “Hereafter”. A beautiful voice and an amazing spirit.

Roman Naziov – This guy is available at all hours, regardless of the weather or traffic conditions to get us from one place to another for six years running now! It helps that he lives in his car!

Janille De Guzman – This person is our secret weapon. She’s a recent addition to the family and she ain’t going nowhere. If she tries to get away we will find her!

Mary Cole – This is the real boss of things. Mary keeps all the aspects of my life coordinated and does it with the most beautiful smile. I know for a fact that people are just calling me so that they can talk to her (it’s true!).

Emily Comisar – Another new member to our family, Emily is a theater major from Northwestern who knows more about what we’re doing than we do some of the times!

Lauren Cartelli – Lauren did an awesome job stage-managing one of our concerts and gave us a glimpse of what it’s like to be organized!

Stephen Benson – Stephen was one of the first outside musicians that Bill brought in and also gave us a glimpse of how great our music will sound like when performed with a band!

Kristine Johnson – By day she anchors the evening news on WCBS and in her spare time she hosts our concerts! Our words sound so much better when she says them!

John Moss – John’s a special part of our company. He originated the roll of our psychic Jason for six sold out shows last year (and on short notice!)

Don Johanson – John was the reader of our debut showcase last year. John’s energy and talents were a big part of that success.

Allison Seidner – Allison is a super talented cello player and her performance of two of the numbers from the show at our last reading were the first time we heard those songs live and all we could say is…wow!

Bill Shuman – Bill was our reader at the last showcase and also did an amazing job.

Patti Mariano – Wait, another reader! Why can’t we hold on to these readers!!!! Like I said earlier, it’s the nature of theater. People come and go and we are lucky to have had Patti.

Lorraine Serabian – A true Broadway legend. She made her debut in Kander & Ebbs “Zorba” and was nominate for a Tony. She originated the role of Sypie in an earlier version of our show. An amazing actress with a beautiful voice.

Scoop Slone – Scoop originated the roll of Eddie at an early workshop. He truly brought Eddie to life to his infectious, lovable, high-energy performance.

Pat Barry – We have spoken about Pat before. He was instrumental in the early development of our show. He’s still very much a huge part of our company and we can’t wait to make more music with him in the future!

Apolonia Davlaos – Talk about Angels! Apolonia was instrumental in making our first showcase a success (she worked at the theater where we died the shows). And thanks to her, we met Amy (our orchestrator) who is now also a big part of our company. Thanks Apolonia.

Andrea Andert – Andrea was part of our chorus for our very first showcase. It was a huge showcase and she did us proud.

Mara Milkis - She played a beautiful violin solo on an early version of one of our songs.

Richard Weinstein – A very gifted artist, Richard did our first poster. You’ll see his work when we premiere off-Broadway in the spring.

Liz Allison – Another beautiful voice (and soul) that we were lucky to work with. The only thing that goy between us was geography!

Karen Bernod – Karen’s performance of “Someday” and at our first reading and second concert is etched in stone. A great talent and we’re luck to have access to her brilliance. Karen is the first singer in the video.

Carol Dennis – Talk about legends. Carol is the voice you here on Bob Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody”. Carol starred on Broadway in “Huckleberry Finn” and “Color Purple” Carol’s performance on our song “Someday” is legendary! She’s the third singer in the video.

Shana Wiersum – Shana was a huge help at one of our concerts and is a true theater lover.

Jim Josselyn – Jim was a big part of some of the earlier studio demos we made. If we had the luxury of more time together we’d be writing a ton of songs. We did write one great song together called “Samantha’s Song”. Jim wrote the music and I did the lyrics and we are both very proud of it!

Ramsey Norman – Ramsey is another high school friend of Jonathan’s who played drums on an early demo. An excellent drummer and a great guy!

Cliff Shwarz – A true friend. Cliff engineered some of the earlier demos from the show and (we’re talking like six years ago) and we still play those versions.

Bill Riley – Bill is a world-renowned vocal coach to the starts and we were so lucky to have him with us in the early days.

Eddie Davis – Eddie is a key man on our team. He was a big part of making our live sound so good during our first showcases.

Ivy Ermert – Ivy is THE make up person you want to work with. She is so much fun to work with that we’re going to hire her even when we don’t have a show. She’ll just follow us around and tease our hair!

Mitch Kaplan – Mitch was in the room the very first time that Frankie and I worked together. We had an amazing time together and once again, geography keeps us apart!

Marni Nixon – I know that I throw the word legend out there a lot but it’s not bragging if it’s true. Marni is THE voice you hear singing for Deborah Kerr (“The King And I”), Natalie Wood (“West Side Story”) AND Audrey Hepburn (“My Fair Lady”). You have been lip-synching to her beautiful voice for the past fifty years!!! And she sang one of our songs! This is a video of her and Frankie work-shopping “Goodbye”!

Tom Ruff – Tom engineered all of our live concerts and is still a big part of our family. With Tom on our team we are in excellent shape…everything sounds better filtered through his hands!

Raphael Rodriguez – Raphael was a huge part of our first few concerts. There were lost of moving parts and he ran them all so smoothly!

Rohit Sang – Rohit is a force of nature. He has helped us in so many ways with the show that I can’t list them all here. But when the “making of” is produced, he’ll be all over it!

Brittany Sager – Britt has done lots of theater production for someone so young. Frankie and I brought her on for a workshop we did and she was great to work with. But I think we scared her away cause she was in the room when Frankie and I had our first big blow up! Come back, Britt, Frankie and I made up!

Roll Call Of Thanks For Week #7

Katkat – Ok we are going to start off with a bang. We have no idea who Katkat is. We have no idea what a Katkat is. All I do know is that it’s wreaking havoc on my spell check. But we are so grateful for the pledge we are telling Microsoft Word to not only ignore it but to add it to our dictionary! Thanks Katkat!

Mel Hagopian – Mel is a returning customer! She loved supporting our show so much that she came back for more! Can you imagine when she actually sees it? She may end up buying all the tickets!

Stephanie and Lilli Balik – These guys are related to the Sypie character in our show. I know it sounds weird to say someone is related to a fictional character. Maybe they’re not even real themselves. Wait, what if this whole thing is made up and we’re all just characters in someone else’s story? If that’s the case then I demand a re-write!!! Thanks guys, you are the best family that anyone could ever marry into!

Eddie Brill – OK, this guy is so funny that he gets paid for it. He’s that funny! If you’ve ever been to a Letterman taping he’s the guy that hosts the pre-show. And if your lucky enough to be his friend he’ll actually come to your house at 11pm and warm you up for the broadcast.

Tom Ruff – Tom is one of the best sound engineers around. I met him on the bus going into work one day and we’ve become very good friends. We graduated from a bus relationship to a working one when he sound engineered our very first workshop AND our first live concert. He’s actually part of our team so I have no idea why he’s buying tickets…unless he’s scalping them! Thanks for always being there for us Tom.

Adam Gold – It’s a shame that Adam lives so far from me cause he’s a great guy, old friend (he’s about 95) and he always makes me laugh. He’s taken to calling our show “Springtime For Hereafter”! Trust me Adam, you’ll love it!

Jeffrey Tucker – I met Jeffrey through work and his support has bee amazing. We don’t even talk that much but he’s always there every time we do a show. Thanks Jeffrey…my resolution is to spend more time with you!

Domenica Da Silva – I love the name Domenica because it means Sunday. And I love the name Da Silva because it means “from Silva”…now if I only knew what it meant we’d have something! Thanks Domenica!

JP Saunders – I don’t think I know this person. I’m guessing that he or she owns a brokerage house or is a one-person law firm. And I think JP may be British. I wonder if JP knows James Bond?

Samantha Drazin – Sam and her family have been HUGE supporters of our show. They’ve seen us live a bunch of times. Thanks for the longtime support!

Fred Graver – Fred and I should really know each other better. We’ve only been together a few times but I’ve always liked him and admired his work. We know lots of the same people, we’ve both worked at the same places at different times (Letterman where he won three Emmy awards and MTV) and I think we’re on each other’s call list for the alarm company. Everyone that I know, who knows Fred says he’s the greatest guy. I wonder what they’re saying about me! Thanks Fred!

Art Bell – We go back so far that we actually wrote a comedy book together about this new thing called “the internet”! The book was called “Websigthings” and you can still get a copy at Amazon for either $48.99 or a $1.00!

Susan M. Burke – At first I didn’t know who Susan was. Then someone reminded me that we spent a weekend together at Lake George! There was another couple involved and no we didn’t sleep together….well ,we did sleep together but not in the same bed…wait, we were in the same bed but not at the same time (we took shifts). Now she’s married…hmmm something tells me the sleeping arrangement is a lot more interesting now!

Meghan Riley – This name sounds so familiar it’s killing me. It’s the kind of names that people choose for characters in books and TV shows. I may not know her but I’m really good with tracing names to homelands and if I had a farm I’d bet that she’s Jewish.

Tom Keaney – Now Tom is someone that I do know. He’s another one of my friends that sits in a dark room for an hour with me. We laugh together, we cry and every once in awhile we form a prayer circle. If your in a jam Tom is your go to guy…he’s the MacGyver of the PR world!

Walter Kim – Walter is part of two well-known couples. By day he’s one half of the Walter and Jay team that keeps us live on the Internet. And in his non-working time he takes second billing as part of the Nancy and Walter team! Thanks guys!

Mark M. – Here’s another person we don’t know (or at least we don’t think we know Mark). I wonder if M is his middle name and the “period” is his last name? Kind of like Prince.

Jim Josselyn – Jim is a great guy (notice how everyone is a great guy…even the girls?) Jim is an excellent musician and has been part of our team for years. We also wrote a great song together called “Samantha’s Song”.

Kelli Raftery – Kelli is one of the coolest people I know. She’s funny, she’s beautiful and she has the best stories. Someone should just follow her around with a tape recorder and write a book. Thanks Kelli!

Javier Damien – I love saying Javier’s name. It makes me feel like Antonio Bandaras when I say it. Try it, you’ll see. You just can’t stop…watch; Javier, Javier, Javier. Thanks Javier (there I said it again!)

Laura Lackner – Here’s another great name. I love alliterations except “Keeping With The Kardashians”. Exactly what are we “keeping with” them (and why are we keeping it with them in the first place! Sorry Laura Lackner for my digressing dissertation (there goes another one!) Thanks Laura!

Kim Izzo-Emmet – Kimmie and I have been “work married” for the past 15 years. She’s just like a wife; she laugh’s politely at my jokes in public, she has to apologize for me all the time and she makes sure that have an umbrella when I go out for lunch. This is starting to sound like that old Geritol commercial (“my wife, I think I’ll keep her”). I made Kimmie sign a pre-nup before we tied the work not. I’ve got 25 years of office supplies that she’s not getting her hands on!

Duncan – We don’t know Duncan. If don’t even know if Duncan has a last name. But Duncan is such a cool name that I don’t think he needs a last name. Thanks D!

Cindy Guardiola – Speaking of work wives, Cindy is my ex work wife. We were work married for many years at Comedy Central. We split up in 1996 but have remained friends. We do share custody with a file cabinet that we adopted years ago. Look, I’m on fumes here…it’s a long list of names and I’m making lame jokes about office supplies! Cindy deserves better! Don’t tell Kimmie, but I still love you…meet me in the mailroom.

Robert & Joyce Feinberg – I haven’t seen these guys in such a long time. I can’t believe we ae at the point where people have to pay to see me! I feel like Wlliam Shatner at a Star Trek convention!

Iris Burke – Iris is also related to the Sypie character in our show. She’s real-life Sypie’s niece. Her son is a super talented drummer (he’s in Brad Paisley’s band). Thanks Iris and Ed…couldn’t ask for better cousin-in laws!

Stephen Hildebrandt – I know Stephen pretty well but mainly through my blackberry. We even use the blackberry to communicate when we are in the same room. No one write LOL the way he does. And you should see how clever he is with making faces out of punctuation marks. Here’s one he just showed me this one    *<|:o)>  I think its Santa Clause!

Ben Hasler – We don’t know Ben! But if he had a Broadway show, we’d invest in it as well!

Heather Huttes – Heather is another “re-pledger”. Either oer fans are suffering from short-term memory or they know something we don’t…wait, I just figured it out…tax write off!!!! We’ll take it! Thanks (again) Heather!

Donna Dees – I’m in alliteration heaven when I say Donnas name. It’s up there with Lois Lane! Donna upped her pledge from three weeks ago. I’m glad our subliminal (up) marketing (your) plan (pledge) is working (buy) so (more) tickets.

Karyn Karmin – I swear to G-d that I am not making these names up. That’s three alliterations in a row!!! Here’s another one that just rolls off the tongue! I know Karyn a long time. I’ve been trying to get her to drop the “y” and go with the “e” like everyone else! Thanks Karyn.

Pat O’Keeffe – Pat and I go back a long way. We go back so far that we don’t even communicate by email (it’s too impersonal). We are old school and we fax each other all the time. Every once in a while we’ll communicate using quilt writing instruments. But the odd thing is that all of her communication to me is in numbers and not words. I think she’s speaking in code and when I crack it, I will write her back immediately! Thanks Pat!

Jude Brennan – If I had a sister it would be Jude. Only a sister would put up we the things she has to put up with! Thanks Jude.

Teresa Snider-Stein – Teresa and I have several interesting connections. We worked together for many years at Letterman where she was a costume designer (she even dressed me once!). She left there a few years ago to teach theater at Brooklyn College, which is where I went to college! We’re a lot like those freaky similarities between JFK and Lincoln! And get this, Teresa and I both had Vice Presidents whose last name was Johnson!


We’ve Reached $55,997 In Five Weeks!!!

September 16th, 2011


How Can We Miss You If You Won't Go Away!

We're baaack!!! Well it's been almost two weeks since our last update. We'd like to think that maybe the extra time off would make you all pine for another update. I said "we'd like to think" but of course we don't believe that! But we do think it was worth the wait because we are proud to announce that as of this writing, between the pledges online and the checks in hand, we are at: $55,997.52! We are oh so close to our goal. We are so shocked and awed by the response to our Kick Starter campaign that we are expecting scud missiles to hit us at any minute. We don't want to jinx ourselves because we are still not there yet, BUT let's play the what if game. IF we hit the $60k goal of ticket sales we are now looking at a two-week run in late March/early April. We thought November was going to be an option but that was only if we made the $60k in the first week (I know, what were we drinking). We don't know the exact two weeks yet but you will have ample time to choose dates from the 12-14 shows we'll be performing (again IF we hit our goal). We are heading into the studio this week for a marathon recording session to complete the "Hereafter Musical" demos that we guarantee you will love. The term demos is misleading because the fact is this will be the most awesome demo CD you will ever hear. And it will be a collector’s item for sure because we are only producing a limited amount.  IF we hit our goal they will ship mid to late October (along with the T-shirts). If we don't hit our goal then Frankie and I will flick the CDs like Frisbees at each other's head until we're both numb from the realization that we have a thousand singing coasters!

Roll Call Tease For Week Six

One of these people slept with Frankie and didn’t like it…in fact they said it was sleeping with a corpse.  One of them almost kept me from marrying my wife. One of them had an intimate moment with President Bush that involved him doing a "reach-around" on her (there's video proof) and one them has regular sessions with Frankie and I where he gets paid to be extremely graphic with us!

Last Weeks Addendum's & Corrections!!!

Dana Diver - In last weeks roll call we didn't know who she was. Then she sent a sweet note reminding us. I’m an idiot (again) because of course, now I remember her. I should have remembered just from her cool name! Dana Diver could be a private eye in a Mickey Spillane novel with a name like that. Thanks was only a few times but I DO remember!

Helen, Brian And The Awesome Rafferty Family - Helen, what are you doing!! Your doubling your ticket pledge!!! Do you know something we don't? Is it the “red wine-free style”!!! Are we really that good? Damn we better be now.

Heather Tobin – Heather puts the “chic” in “Psychic”! She just doubled her pledge from a few weeks ago. She can see into the future and she predicts a hit!!!

Mario Rupps – Mario was one THE first person we didn’t know who pledged for tickets.  Now he has just doubled down! Can you imagine what he’ll do when he finally meets us?!

Maria Pope - True story. Maria was the last person in the honor roll last week because I do them in the order they come in. And for some reason, a lot of last week’s pledges were colleagues I had worked with for many years. So I went for the running joke type thank you instead of the touchy feely kind with her. Now in my defense I was tired (have you seen the number of people pledging!). So a few days ago I was in a meeting with Maria and Sheila (who also pledged last week). And Maria stops the meeting to announce that I was all gushy over Sheila and my acknowledgment of her was pre-functionary at best. And she was right. I hemmed, I hawed, I groveled and then I remembered she wrote a check. She was one of those cookie people who could stop a check in a heartbeat!!! And her check was size-able...she bought enough tickets to take the Chilean miners to opening night! I recovered long enough to promise her the best write up ever (which also gave me enough time to cash her check)! So how do you solve a problem like Maria? Here we go.... Maria was born in a manger (wait, no that's too biblical). Maria, I just met a girl named Maria (nah that's too Sondheim). Wait, I've got it. And this is joking! George W. Bush once cleaned his glasses on her pashmina (behind her back...I swear.... click on this link to see for yourself!). She is an awesome mom but I think her kid’s afraid of me! Stay tuned for next week's roll call and pray that you don't see her name here again (unless of course she ups her pledge!!!!).

Meet The Cast - Meet The Characters [Part 4]

Meet Frankie Keane [Anita]  - Ok, big revelation here.... a HUGE revelation. There are TWO Frankie Keanes!!  And I'm not talking about the fact that she's one of the leads in the show AND also one of the co-creators (sorry I mean creators!) Apparently Frankie had a life BEFORE "Hereafter Musical"!!!  I am stunned. I thought her life started when we met in 2008 (I know that would have meant she was one tall infant) but that's not the case! Maybe there are two Frankie’s because she comes from Chicago (the second city…get it…twos!!!). She's accomplished so much for such a young girl (she insist she’s twenty three) that we'll have to save all of her “Hereafter hosannas” for when we do our creative team bios in a few weeks. But for now let's see what this Frankie kid's been up to.

When I first heard Frankie’s voice I swear I thought she was black. No surprise when you consider her background. With influences in Gospel, R&B and rock, Frankie is a multiple threat as singer/songwriter; composer; lyricist; instrumentalist (piano); and accomplished stage/film actress. She made her debut Off-Broadway in director David Tobin’s acclaimed review, "Pure Gospel America" and toured with the musical "If This Hat Could Talk" directed by Tony Award winner George Faison (where she co-starred with the legendary Carol Dennis). In Chicago, Frankie was chosen as The Cotton Club’s “Best Young Vocalist”. She has recorded with Universal artist Malik Yusef appearing on his 2003 debut album, “The Great Chicago Fire” alongside artists: Kanye West, Common, Twista, Ron-E-Ron and more. She has been a featured opening act for legends: Koko Taylor, R. Kelly, Isaac Hayes, Bernie Mac, Dennis Miller, Danny Boy, Ashford and Simpson and more. Her own music has been featured on the soundtrack of a number of films and she’s also co-produced along side R. Kelly.  When she’s not performing for the masses she’s singing in the “masses”.  For the past twenty years she has performed with her mentor Dr. Lena McLin. Lena is a sought after composer and her work has been performed worldwide. She is the pastor and founder at the Holy Vessel Baptist Church in Chicago where Frankie is an active member of the church and the choir (she is ALWAYS finding reasons to go back). And consistent with this “two Frankie’s” mishegoss (that’s Yiddish for crazy, to all you folks from Chicago!) she performs around the NYC area with her side project Blue Soul. She and Dennis Moriarty, her OTHER music partner (I DON’T like the sound of that!) play regularly at Ashford & Simpson's Sugar Bar. I can’t be jealous though because he is one of (if not THE) best harp players in NYC and the sweetest guy. You can check them out in this clip.

[Dig these photos! There are soooo many of them. I guess Frankie does have a life outside of the show! Roger Waters, Tim Robbins, Monk, The White Shadow and Vinnie Favale...I'm in some good company. ]

Frankie on working with Vinnie; “Ahhh...where to begin...our torrid musical affair began over the phone while I was shopping at Marshalls. Of course I didn't SAY I was shopping ...I may have said I was at my agent’s office, I don't really recall (I don't have an agent, by the by, so if you know anyone, don't be shy.) ANYWAY, he said he got my picture/resume off backstage and I "Fit" the profile he was looking for.... I think it was at that point I called my boyfriend and asked him to do a background check, whereupon I discovered he was not in the FBI database, and indeed was a respectable individual with a REALLY great idea!! We must have been on the phone for three  hours and found we had SO much in common in our lives it was scary weird. It was at that point; I think we both realized we were going to be working together. It was such a whirlwind, that that day, Vinnie invited me to come to his home that weekend in the Hamptons ( I'm just outright lying!), I mean the Jersey Shore. Now I realize, he REALLY did that to see if I still looked like my headshot and to see if the weight on my resume was accurate. Thankfully, I'm somewhat truthful on my resume, after all, I am 23 and honesty is very important to me. So from then to now; 3.5 years and counting. Amazing. Amazing. His Family? Amazing. His friends? Amazing. His Talent? Amazing. Our fights? AMAZING! Our collaborations? This is where YOU say, "Amazing!!" My life is truly better for having met Vinnie P. Favale. His generosity of talent, spirit and self.... well, if you listen to the music, you can hear for yourself. I need not brag on his talent-it does it on its own. I can just brag on everything else. Just ask me. I won't shut up. Ask anyone.”

Frankie on working with the cast; 

When I first met Shea, it was on video. She was radiant. She literally glowed. And her voice was as pure as spring water. I could feel her personality off the video and could NOT wait to meet the siren I had seen singing songs that I would be singing and arranging soon. She is as warm and amazing as she is talented. She’s a selfless, generous performer who I am so proud to call friend.  We are SO lucky to have her.

I met Paul on another musical project where he was the calming presence who was quick with a kind word, a smile, and advice.... pretty much all that is good! I knew that if I had anything to do with it, I would work with him again. He is an immensely talented man who is as genuine and engaging as he is talented. How blessed I am to have met him.

Can Ilene she ever stop smiling?? I swear, when she enters a room, bubbles start forming and floating up to the ceiling. She is the happiest, most infectious young lady I have ever met. She can turn a cloud into a rainbow. And is super talented to boot. She is a drug, the drug of happiness. I knew I could stop drinking after I met her. (I AM just kidding there...kind of...)

When Pierce walked in and I knew it was over for everyone else. After the first week of working with him, I realized, he was as twisted as I was, and his talent ...well, at the risk of making him impossible to work with, is SICK...(But the good sick...street sick...). AND he keeps me laughing. A lot. It's surprising he's so humble after all his years as an underwear model for Calvin Klein, but that just speaks to his rock hard character (and abs).

Carolyn and Ilene must come from the same gene pool. In fact, I'm going to go on to double check as her smiling and infectious personality makes me wonder that they don't have some great, great, great, super great, aunt in their bloodlines...She is the epitome of sunshine. Her warmth, laugh, and giving nature makes her the closest thing to a "theatre mom" I have ever met. Her endless giving to the cast and her character make her a shining gem...I almost feel guilty hording her to ourselves!

With Deborah, I am at a loss for words, but at the same time, am full of feelings that have no words. Working with Debra has been nothing short of a ride I don't want to get off. She is exhilarating, hysterical, flexible (literally and figuratively!). She is; loving, giving, generous, thoughtful, inspiring...I can go on. What she has done for me as a friend is endless. What she has done for "Hereafter" is the same.  God smiles on me.

The song..."Heaven, must be missin' an angel" pops into mind when the name Alma is spoken. We are SO lucky she came into our lives. A talent who doesn't take herself too seriously, but yet takes the character to a plane that only she can do. I LOVE her laugh, her jokes, her quirks, her everything!!! Stylish and sassy, fun-loving and giving. Alma Cuervo; a name for the ages.

Here are two musical sides of Frankie; a beautiful music video she did for her cover of “Many Rivers To Cross” and THE most popular video on our Youtube Channel; “The Heart And Soul” with Danny Aiello.


Meet Paul Blankenship [Jason]  - When I first met Paul I knew had to have him (in the show.... in the show!!!!!). And when I first heard him sing, "Talk To Me" I was blown away. There are some pretty great versions of that song and Paul delivered and his stands among them! He is an absolute joy to work with. His experience both on stage and behind the scenes makes him invaluable to us. Paul has appeared Off-Broadway in “If This Hat Could Talk” (where he co-starred with Frankie Keane), A Doll’s Life, Elizabeth and Essex (York Theatre Company), Colette Collage (Theatre at St Peter’s Church.) The Fantasticks, Café Society. Regional; The School For Husbands (Westport Country Playhouse) The Bungler (Long Wharf Theatre) Wonderful Tennessee (McCarter Theatre) Mirette (Godspeed Opera House). The Buddy Holly Story, My Fair Lady (Cleveland Opera). The Grapes Of Wrath (Cleveland Playhouse). Romeo & Juliet (Alley Theatre); Othello, All’s Well That Ends Well (Shakespeare Festival Of Dallas); A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, As You Like It (Houston Shakespeare Festival). Tours: Jesus Christ Superstar.


Paul: “Frankie and I had worked on another show together and when she asked if I’d be interested in working on Hereafter, I jumped at the chance.  I didn’t know anything about the project but I knew I’d have fun with Frankie!  She just brings out the joy in people.  When she introduced me to Vinnie and Bill Hindin, I truly felt that I had “come home”.   Within an hour I was suddenly laughing and relating to these “strangers” as if we’d known each other for a lifetime.  That’s what makes this musical magic.  I feel that my whole life has been a path leading me to this experience!”

Here are two beautiful performances from Paul; "Talk To Me" and his duet with Frankie on "Space & Time"

Meet Anita and Jason - Jason(70s) is psychic who shuns all publicity. He does readings in his Middletown, New Jersey home for desperate folks who are looking for closure. Unbeknownst to the three women who have come to see Jason today, he too is desperate to make contact with someone who has passed; his fiancee Anita who died fifty years ago on this day. Anita was a B movie actress during Hollywood’s golden age. Jason gift of communicating with the spirit world is very real but he can’t help himself the way he can help others because he doesn’t control it, the spirits do.  In his ballad“Talk To Me”, he sings about his frustration of not being able to make contact with her after all of these years. Anita has been by his side since the day she died but she has refrained from making contact. Over the years Anita has witnessed that as other spirits that have communicated with Jason, they disappeared into the Hereafter. Fearing the unknown of what the Hereafter may hold, she has decided to wait for Jason so that they could crossover together because, “that’s what soul mates do…they wait for each other”.  And while Jason tries to manage the expectations of the women in the reading,  Anita tries to alleviate the tension among the other spirits by sharing the story of her rather colorful life in Hollywood. She was a struggling B movie actress who “made the best career move by dying young”. In her solo number, “Larger Than Life”she sings about the irony of all the spirits being appreciated more in death than when they were alive.



Sue Kiley - Sue has played such an important part of the early development of some of the songs from the show.... especially the title number "Hereafter". In fact, she was the first person I sang it to (her ears are still hurting). She has a beautiful, crystal clear voice. She also did an awesome job at our second concert. She's part of a large, loving family (her son Eddie even sang for us). I hope she doesn't realize that she could have received free tickets for all the hard work she has done over the years!

Andrew Budkofsky - Andrew has been voted salesman the year for the past decade...well not really but I know he's really good. He’s so good that when he we worked together at Comedy Central he actually found a sponsor for our “Dead But Not Over The Hill” tribute to the late Benny Hill (yes, Comedy Central once ran Benny Hill!!!!!).

Shelley - Here's another one of those one-named pledgers who we may or may not know.  What makes it even more complicated, it can either be a he or a she...hmmm. It can't be Shelley Winters cause she is dead. Remember when we saw her underwear in the “Poseidon Adventure”?! I couldn't wear ladies underwear for like a month after that. Shelley...reveal yourself!!!!

David Epstein - I can count on one hand the funniest people I know and Dave occupies the middle finger! He's four years younger than me but knows more about pop culture (especially TV) than I do, and I know a lot! We once spent a memorable weekend in Vegas together. We lost a lot of money until we found these awesome slot machines. I think they were called atms. Amazing...all we had to do was put in our credit cards and hundreds of dollars would come out. Some day we're going to go back and visit all of the money we left behind.

Jean Candiotte - I recently re-connected with Jean after almost thirty years. We both worked at MTV in the early days…actually she did all the work; I’d just watch the Buggles videos on the monitor. We were both there when Madonna felt like a virgin. But the thing that really makes Jean special is that she read our blog updates! And how do we know this? She added .52 cents to her pledge in homage to our “52” themed blog from last week!

Diane Leung - Diane is one of the most talented piano and violin players (Julliard trained) in the world. She has a very special place in our hearts. She was a big part of the work shopping of three songs from the show; “Talk To Me” "Hereafter" and "Goodbye". Watch how elegant she plays “Hereafter”...its like slow motion. She's in Canada these days. She’s now playing with the prestigious Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Our dream is that she comes back and does a recital for us. She is unbelievable. Love you Diane.

Samuel Zanger - You may not know Samuel but you know his work. All of the beautiful and detailed illustrations that you see on the videos and art work comes from this gifted man. Here is just a small sample of his work. There will be more on Sam in a future update. Thanks Sam.

Tiffany McDermott - Tiffany is a colleague of mine from the Count Basie Theatre. It's a non-profit so she has to raise money all the time. And now she’s giving money to another non-profit…us!!!

Joseph Anselmo and Mariel Larsen - What an incredible couple. Thanks to Joe, we were able to work with genius arranger Dani Donadi whose work on "Talk To Me" is still a huge favorite. And his wife Mariel is one of the best jazz singers out there today. Check her out amazing voice. Thanks guys!

Kathryn Mavrikakis - Kathy is one of my favorite people. And this is a person that I have to sometime do battle with (if your definition of “sometime” is every other day). But she's so damn good at her job that you can’t get mad at her. Plus her last name is worth like fifty points in Scrabble!!

Paula Chagares - Who knew that Paula was such an entrepreneur? Who knew I could even spell entrepreneur! By day she makes sure that every penny is accounted for at work and by night she is one of the proprietors of the super popular “GRAB” in Brooklyn which has the city’s best selection of cheeses (I’m not saying which city).  Something tells me she does the books there as well!

Leslie Boghosian - This is one cool broadcaster. You can see her on HD NET. You can hear her on WFAN. And she sat through one early version of our show that went on for so long I think it's still playing. Thanks Leslie, this one is much shorter!

Lauri Mento - At first I had no idea who Lauri was. Then I did some extensive research (I typed her name in Facebook) and discovered it was a classmate of mine from the famous St Finbar grade school in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. We went from kindergarten to the 8th grade together! Then we broke up cause we wanted to see other schools. And apropos to our musical, it was her dad who turned me on to Broadway! Actually, the catholic schools version of Broadway! Mr. Grasso did an amazing job bringing the arts into our lives when most of our time was spent on Jesus and pasta. When I told my wife that Mr. Grasso had put me in "Guys & Dolls", she asked whether I was the guy or doll! No respect. Thanks Lauri and Mr. Grasso for getting the whole ball rolling!

Joanna DeMartin - Joanna is as cool as her name sounds. She always has my back (I lent it to her years ago and it's been drafty ever since). Thanks Joanna, can't wait for you to see the show!

Laurie Pimentel - This name sounded familiar. I didn't want another Zachary Zelma situation so I did a time regression session. But the therapist took me back too far!!! He took me to a past was medieval times and I was an unfair maiden (I fixed all the jousting matches) and there was no Laurie Mimentel there! And I didn't have a ride back to modern times. Thank god the alarm went off (they charge by the our). And when I woke up it hit me, I was at a wedding in Sinoma last year with Lauren and her beautiful family. Thanks so much Laurie!!!

Cathy - We had a sneaking suspicion we knew who this Cathy was because of the amount of tickets she bought. I won't say how much but put it this way, she has enough tickets to bring the Kardashians, the Osmonds and the Jackson Five to come see our show! She's Frankie's sister and has two of the CUTEST kids (Zach and Alex) and a super husband, Mohsen. Irony is that now there is no room for her family cause the Kardasians are taking up more than their allotment of seats! Thanks Cathy xxxxo

Heather Maidat - Heather is a great writer. We met at a bar mitzvah. It was not a religious ceremony, but an actual bar called "mitzvah". They made their own beer  there and calked it HE-brew! Two great things about Heather; if you are a little drunk, her name almost spells Hereafter. Even cooler, she was like ten months pregnant and about to deliver when we did our last showcase and she still intended to come (but her baby had other plans). We are thinking of having the bris on opening night...thanks Heather.

Troy Bonar "The Samurai of Success" - We only know Troy through Kickstarter and from what we’ve read on his website. And we like what we see (and not just because he’s buying tickets!!!) He is a true supporter of the arts and is backing several other Kickstarter projects. On top of that his website is very intriguing and someday when we come up for air I look forward to finding out more about this Samurai!

tina - Ok here's another one name ticket pledger! What the heck is going on here?! And it's all lower case! I have an idea but I know two tinas (I like to say that "two tinas" "two tinas" "two tinas"). Oh what to do! Come out tina and if your nice we'll even capitalize the first letter of your name!!!

Diane and Brian O'Leary - We met these guys through mutual friends but love them like they are our own. And thanks to them we met the Wheeler family (who you will hear about in a future update).

Vida Mulec - Every time I get an email from Vidal, seeing her name gives me flashbacks to my baseball loving memories from the early seventies and of Vida Blue. Vida was a legend. And this Vida is pretty special herself. I know her through her tireless charity efforts (and “Hereafter Musical” is one of them!). Thanks Vida!

Anonymous - This man (uh I mean woman, no I mean person urgh) chooses to remain nameless. It not because he (damn I give up) is embarrassed to be associated with our show. In fact he loves our show! The sad truth is that he lost his first AND last name in a tragic clerical error at the DMV. It’s so sad, now when the "Name Game" song comes on the radio he runs from the room. He can't stand Jim Croce because he's always singing, "I got a name". When we sing happy birthday to him we have to sing "you" four times instead of the traditional three. So as a special thank you to him we are going to get him a horse with no name for Christmas.

Donna Diciccio - We haven't seen Donna in ages (literally ages, she and I go back to medieval times in another life.) Can't wait for to see her at the show!

Lewis Surrey - Lewis is one of my oldest friends. And through some weird fluke of the cosmos, I never would have met Debbie if he had been at his desk instead of me the day Debbie called. Come to think of it, I wonder if he had been at his desk, would Debbie have married him? But it's not like Debbie would have married just about anyone who would have picked up the phone that day...or would she? But I digress. Lewis is so cool; he was a deadhead before the band even formed!!!! He is an EXCELLENT photographer. Check out these amazing weather shots.  And here is a totally awesome shot of the two of us in our MTV days…. make your choice Debbie!

 Grace Reilly – Grace is one of the sweetest women who work with my son Jonathan (she’s his biggest fan!). Now she is our biggest fan! And she also reads our blog because she also used the number “52” in her pledge for tickets!!!!! Thanks Grace!!!!

Tatiana Auster – The greatest thing about the real Hereafter is that, in theory, it will bring together long lost friends. And the same goes for our show! And even though we know exactly where Tatiana is, we never have the time to see each other (those damn tolls are to high). But we are SO excited that we’ll be seeing her at the show! Thanks Tatiana!

We’ve Reached $52, 475 In Five Weeks!!!

September 5th, 2011


What’s In A Number?

I know it’s really supposed to be “what’s in a name” but you try coming up with hooks for these weekly blogs! So let’s talk about the number 52. It’s a pretty cool number. There are 52 cards in a deck. There are almost 52 ways to leave your lover. I mean Paul Simon says, “There must be fifty” which suggests lots more ways… although he can only seem to come up with five...hmmm? And of course, there are 52 weeks in a year. So if you were born in 1959 then this year on your birthday, you would be 2,704 weeks old or the more natural sounding 52 years old…I’m talking to you; Val Kilmer, Kevin Spacey, Allison Janney, Hugh Laurie, Rebecca De Mornay, David Hyde Pierce, Marcia Gay Harden, Judd Nelson, Rosanna Arquette, Linda Blair, Jason Alexander. Now according to Wikipedia the number 52 is also considered an “untouchable” number. We all know that Wikipedia has been known to have its fair share of bad information but this is a mathematical fact. At least it was until yesterday (September 4th)! That’s because I not only personally touched it yesterday (the number, the number!!!) but am also are excited to report…(drum roll) that “Hereafter Musical” has not only touched $52,000 but also PASSED it!!!! That’s right, we have now sold $52,475 worth of tickets (the difference between the online Kick Starter number and the actual number is in checks that we haven't posted yet)! That leaves us having to sell just $7,525 worth of tickets in 19 more days. Can’t have a better birthday that that!!!!!!


Roll Call Tease For Week Five

One of them runs her fingers through Howard Stern’s hair every morning (and they are NOT married)…One of them actually pays women to spend a day with me, one of them makes a real bet with me every year as to whether I live or die (true!!!) and one of them slept with me when he was a young boy (think about it before you jump to conclusions).

 Meet The Cast - Meet The Characters [Part 3]

Meet Alma Cuervo [Christina] – First, let’s state the obvious…Alma has one of the coolest names we have ever heard. We once got drunk on a bottle of Alma Cuervo. And she certainly lives up to the coolness of her name. She’s a true Broadway veteran and is way too young to have been in FOURTEEN Broadway shows!!!! She played fellow “Hereafter Musical” cast mate Pierce Cravens’ mother in “Beauty And The Beast”! She was in “Titanic”, “Cabaret” and “The Heidi Chronicles” (among many others). She starred in Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's, “Road Show”.  She most recently appeared on Broadway in “Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown” and just finished a sold out off-Broadway run in “The Shoemaker” with Danny Aiello.


Alma: “Vinnie and Frankie are two of the most generous and passionate musicians I've ever met, and I've loved every moment in their presence.”

Here’s Alma with the rest of the cast performing “How Will She Remember Me”.


Meet Ilene Grossman [Ana] – I think of all the actors in our show, Ilene is probably the furthest away in personality from her character. She is one of the most upbeat, sunny people we know…perfect casting to play a dark and moody suicide girl! At Skidmore College, she decided to pursue both business and theater, playing Lucy in “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown” her freshman year and joining the tribe of “Hair” her sophomore year.  Her business degree landed her a job at Sirius XM Radio as an accountant, where she has the opportunity to use her math skills while listening to “Hereafter Musical” updates on The Howard Stern Show.  She’s been with the show for five years and she might be playing Eddie’s mother by the time we get to Broadway!


Ilene: “I have had the pleasure to be a part of this amazing creation from the beginning. It all started out with lyrics on a page and even at that point I had a feeling Hereafter was going to be something big. Vinnie put his heart and soul into this show and his talent and passion continue to amaze me. With the addition of Bill Hindin, the lyrics on the page turned into beautiful music. Then came Frankie- this wonderful woman's talent and heart took Hereafter to another level that I couldn't even imagine. I feel so lucky to be a part of the Hereafter family and can't wait to see what's ahead!”

 Here’s both the studio and live version of Ilene’s show stopping number “Take My Life”.



Meet Christina and Ana. Christina is a forty something, deeply religious woman whose daughter Ana committed suicide three years ago. She is now having a crisis of faith. She is very skeptical of psychics, but the tragic circumstance of her daughter’s death has taken her down this road.  She has come to the session without her family’s knowledge because “they would never understand”. She has mixed feelings at what she hopes to get out of the reading. As she puts it, “Part of me wants to hold her in my arms and the other part just wants to berate her for the cruel and selfish thing she did.” But most of all,Christina is hoping to make contact so that her faith in God will be restored. We first meet Ana when Christina flashes back to the evening her daughter took her life from an overdose of anti depressants. We witness a rare touching moment between a mother and daughter who have been at odds over the years due to the daughter’s depression. But what Christina thought “was a beautiful moment, was in fact Ana’s way of saying goodbye. Ana deeply regrets what she did and the pain that she has caused her mother.



Chris and Nanci Ross-Weaver – For those of you who are anal-retentive readers of this blog (most likely Virgos) you’ll notice that this is the SECOND time that Nanci and Chris have made the list. That’s because they must have suffered a small concussion and upgraded their original pledge amount. They not only upgraded but the DOUBLED it. Either that or the credit card company screwed up (gosh I hope they don’t see this).

Dana Diver – We don’t know Dana Diver. I know we’ve said that before and we’ve been wrong before (embarrassingly so!!!). Dana, prove us wrong (or right!).

Robert Bruzio – Robert is a talented writer and producer. We just met him but since he bought tickets we now consider him an old dear friend (we are easily bought!).

Patrick Woodward – Pat is the coolest life insurance agent out there. I’m working very closely with him on an “after life” policy. You never know what the price of things will be in the Hereafter and if Pat ever returns my call we’ll get that policy done!

Sheila Rogers – They don’t come much cooler than Sheila. I’ve had the pleasure of working with her for 15 of my 52 years!!!! She is responsible for turning most of you folks on to the music that you have listened to for the past 20 years as Letterman’s head talent booker (and at SNL before that).  But I really love her because she laughs at MOST of my jokes!

Matt Simpson – Matt is awesome (we use that word a lot when people give us money). But in his case it happens to be true. He’s one of the driving forces behind the scenes at the Live On Letterman webcasts. Thanks Matt.

Lauren Flick – Loved her within minutes of meeting her. She’s an Odd Couple fanatic, has corresponded with Woody Allen and has had what I think is one of the best “strange but true” stories involving messages from “the other side” (and I don’t mean Europe!). She also wrote AND directed a great film starring Rita Moreno called “Play It By Ear

Toni Coburn – Yes, Toni is the mystery woman who runs her fingers through Howard Stern’s hair every morning. Love her…one of the nicest people in this thing called show business!

Ginny de Liagre – We never met but we know her by phone. And just based on her voice we love her. Can you imagine how insane it will be when we actually meet! I smell restraining order...

Teja Van Wicklen – We know Teja. A very very cool person with a name that I have a sneaking suspicion is made up. I’m just putting it out there! Thanks Teja!

Linda Rene – I’ve also worked with Linda for 15 years! Nobody seems to leave CBS, which is pretty damn cool. Thanks Linda, we can’t wait for you to see the show!

Dana & Joe Noon – Dana was our friend then she married Joe earlier this year so now he is our friend-in-law. Thanks for getting tickets to our show! And Joe, thanks for giving Dana such a cool last name!

Dorothy Hess – How much do we love Dorothy? There must be 52 ways! One of them is for giving us her beautiful grand daughter Shea Hess. Here’s an awesome photo of Dorothy, Shea and I from a few years back. I’m about fifty pounds heavier AND I have worst sweat stain ever (but it was really, really hot and I was so nervous meeting Shea’s family for the very first time!!).

Dion Georges – Mystery solved. Dion Georges is responsible for hiring an endless stream of woman to spend the day with me because she runs the temp agency we use…gotcha! And she’s pretty, pretty great at what she does because we’ve met an impressive group of people over the years. Some of them even ended up working on our show!

Marty & Sherry – I’ve worked with Marty for fifteen years (I told you nobody ever leaves CBS…it’s like the Firm!). He’s offered wise council many, many times over those 15 years! Thanks guys!

Fred Nigro – Fred can buy and sell me. In fact he did sell me one time on EBay but I was returned because I didn’t live up to the product description! Thanks for taking me back and for supporting the show!

Edie Ciccione – Edie is part of what we call the Ciccione dynasty. This family keeps on supporting our show through three generations. We have grandma, mom and daughter and we’re not saying who’s who (they all look the same age anyway...just like the Bonanza family)!

Ray Lynn – Ray is a patient man! He saw a spark of genius in my songwriting with “Restless, Restless” eight years ago and said; (and I paraphrase) “when you have something good you should join ASCAP”. I think we’re ready Ray

Gina Hess – Gina is also part of another dynasty…the Hess family. I had the pleasure of meeting Gina at Shea’s wedding. We’re thinking of writing an entire show about them called; “CHess

Steve Bartlow – Talk about lifesavers! The first time we did a concert of music from the show, we had trouble finding an actor for the Jason part (which sucked because that character sings one of the best songs in the show). We we’re weeks away from the show and we still didn’t have a Jason…until Steve showed up. He jumped right into it with little preparation and he nailed it! Here’s a great video of Steve from that concert.

Cathy Tankosic – I worked with Cathy ages ago and don’t see her nearly as much as I would like to. Thanks for the support Cathy!

Joe & Christine Breglia – Joe & Christine are related (to me, not to each other…that would be weird)! Now it’s been explained to me many many times just how we’re related and I still get confused…but that’s just me! Thanks so much for you generous support

Mwolff – We don’t know “Mwolf”. Hell we don’t even know what a “Mwolf” is. In fact we’re scared even writing the name. BUT he/she/whatever did pledge for tickets so we’re pretty sure we will get to love “Mwolf”!

Anthony, Stephanie, Stephen, John & Alec Favale – Yes, Anthony is the little boy I slept with, but we were just kids (I even think we took a bath or two together but that was a few weeks ago). Because I am his older brother, I was able to get him to do just about anything. But now that he’s a proud member of the NYPD and carries a gun, it’s the opposite! Here’s an example of when I was in control. It’s a thirty five year old recording of a song that we wrote together called “Rock & Roller Child”…dig his lead guitar work! I think we won the amplifier at the St Finbar Bazar! Check out how it dies out in the middle of the song and then comes back on when he gives it a whack! Also check this GREAT performance by my nephew Alec on this cover of “Heartbeat”…who says talent skips a generation!

Don & Any Hunt – They have been to our concert and to our showcase…now they have tickets to see us off-Broadway! With friends like that you get to do cool stuff like this! Thanks guys.

Susan Miller – Here’s another person I’ve worked with for 15 years!!! In fact she was there when I had my first interview at Letterman show. She couldn’t say it at the time but I knew she was rooting for me. I could swear she blinked “good luck” in code!

Maria Pope – Yep ANOTHER 15-year co-worker…WTF!! Wait a minute, what if we really don’t work together but just think we do. Maybe it’s like that Twilight Zone episode “Five Characters In Search of an Exit” where they don’t realize they are just dolls…now I’m scared, thanks a lot Maria!

Mary & Vincent Cole – Ok. This one is a doozy. Mary has been my left and right hand for the past ten years (just for the work stuff…I swear). She’s the Late Night gatekeeper and is the only thing that separates me sometimes from High Pitch Eric and Jeff The Drunk (Stern references…Google it!). She is truly an amazing woman (and her husband and two beautiful daughters ain’t too shabby either). Everyone that I’ve worked with in the last ten years that has met her loves her more than they love me (and that includes my wife!!!). We have been through so much together. She knows she can never leave me (g-d knows she’s tried). This marriage is forever!!! But she will be rewarded one fine day (just not next week ok Mary…we still need you…desperately!!!).

Hereafter Musical Reaches $45,610 In Four Weeks!!!

August 29th, 2011

Seven Signs Of The Apocalypse

Can you feel it in the air? Strange things are happening. We had a stock market crash, an earthquake AND a hurricane but perhaps the surest sign that the world might be starting to spin off of it’s axis is that we’ve managed to raise $45,610 in just four weeks! We are three quarters of the way to our $60,000 goal and there’s still 26 days to go! It has been an incredible show of support that is much appreciated by the “Hereafter Musical” family.  Now before we get to our weekly ”roll call” here’s a little tease about this special group of people: one of them speaks to G-d on a regular basis (and we believe him!), one of them has a voice that we would imagine G-d’s would sound like if G-d was a broadcaster; one of them interviewed the Beatle who thought G-d “was a concept by which we measured our pain”, one of them serves THE best pizza in Brooklyn (no small feat) and one of them is the head of an entertainment company that has produced some of the best shows on TV in the past ten years (no exaggeration!!!).

Money In The Bank

I’m sure by now you’ve noticed that the amount of money on the home page doesn’t match the amount we’ve actually raised.  Well, for the three of you that have been actually reading these updates, you know by now that we’ve had a growing number of what we like to call the “cookie people”. This dedicated group of people is giving the Tea Party a run for their money when it comes to loyalty (hmmm maybe the “cookie” and “tea” parties should merge). The “cookie” people have staged a revolt against modern technology! Frustrated with having to do battle with ominous security certificate warnings and firewalls, they said enough. These folks took matters into their own hands and actually picked up a pen, wrote a check, put it in an envelope, spent money on a stamp, licked that stamp and walked to the mailbox!!!! Wow, now that is an impressive show of support. We’ve gathered all those checks and set up our very own “Hereafter” account at our friendly neighborhood TD bank. TD bills it’s self as “America’s Most Convenient Bank” and for good reason. We chose them because they are conveniently located right next to the “Pret A Manger” sandwich place on 55th and 6th where I get my lunch every single day! I do have to say that I was very impressed with the bank official who set up our account. His name is Jerry Noel. I know, I know it sounds made up. I mean would you hand over checks to a guy with a name that translates into Jerry Christmas? But I did ask him for two forms of idea and he could not have made the process any easier. So easy that when we took this picture that day, we were both unaware that the earthquake was happening at that very moment! Thanks Jerry (if that’s your real name)!

Meet The Cast - Meet The Characters [Part 2]

Meet Carolyn Mignini [Mary] – We are so lucky to have Carolyn as part of our family. It should be intimidating (at least for me) to be working with someone with her background. Here she is working with first time writers (on a musical no less). But Carolyn has a way of making you feel like you’ve been working together for years. Her portrayal of Mary is touching and comical. She switches so easily from one to the other and then back to her sweet self all in the blink of an eye. Carolyn has made a career in theater and television, highlights including a Drama Desk nomination for “Tintypes” on Broadway, “Fiddler On The Roof”, “One Night Stand” with Tony Curtis, and Christopher Durang's “Sister Mary Ignatius”.  She’s performed on the Tony Awards and appeared on the FX series, "Lights Out". She most recently starred off-Broadway in the musical “I Married Wyatt Earp”. 

Carolyn: “I adore Vinnie and Frankie and the talent, spirit and generosity that is part of everything I have ever seen them do. Within a month of my moving back to NY from LA, Bill Hindin introduced me to Vinnie, Frankie and HEREAFTER. When this joyful, ebullient man bounced into the hallway at Shetler Studios, it was love at first sight for me. Then, this tall gorgeous blond blew me away with her humor and musical brilliance.  Almost two years and many incarnations (pun intended) later, I'm more in love with them and this project than ever. Mary is such a beautiful character... her story and journey fills my heart and I can't wait to explore her again.”

Here’s a great live performance of “Waiting” from the show featuring Carolyn’s “Christmas” monologue.

Meet Pierce Cravens [Eddie] – When you have credits like Pierce’s you have to have been very talented and have started very young which is exactly the case here. One our favorite behind the scenes highlights from working on the show was when the actress who plays Christina (Alma Cuervo) first met Pierce at a table read. She eyed him up and down and surprised him when she stated “I played your mother on Broadway”. Pierce did a double take then remembered that she was Mrs. Teapot to his Chip in “Beauty And The Beast”. How appropriate that they have been re-united in the Hereafter!



He and I share an interesting connection as well. We had him on the Letterman Show in 1997 when he was just 11!! And for those of you with teenagers, you may have a CD he did with Leah Michele [Glee] when they were both in a group called Broadway Kids. His Broadway credits include the aforementioned “Beauty And The Beast”, “Ragtime”, “Tom Sawyer”, “Titanic” and “Christmas Carol”.  He’s also appeared in the films: “Rising Stars” and “The Life Before Her Eyes” and on TV in “Filmore!” and the “Finkel Files.” Pierce just finished shooting the role of Cal Widdcomb who will appear in season two of Boardwalk Empire on HBO.  And he's the voice Ronal in Einstein Film's 3D animated feature "Ronal the Barbarian" which is set to begin its international theatrical release in Denmark on September 29th Pierce: “I've been working on "Hereafter" and Vinnie and Frankie since August of last year.  They are a dream team; they are my Shaq and Kobe.  I'm the newest addition to the cast, but they welcomed me like one of the family.  I can't thank Vinnie, Frankie, and the people who have supported "Hereafter" enough! I am so excited to start work on this production made possible by all our supporters on Kickstarter".

Here’s a great live performance of Pierce singing "Nineteen" from the show.

Meet Eddie and Mary – Mary’s overall story is somewhat based on my mother and growing up in a household with parents that had the misfortune of outliving their children (in our case it was two). In the show, Mary is a sixty something woman who lost her nineteen year old son, Eddie, thirty years ago in a car accident. She’s been to hundreds of psychics since he died without any success. She has promised her husband that if Eddie doesn’t come through this time, she will stop seeing psychics…she’s made this promise before. She has put her life on hold since his death. She hopes to make contact with Eddie because she wants to “feel it's okay to laugh again and mean it, you know… not fake it, not feel guilty.... to enjoy my life…whatever is left of it, anyway.” Eddie’s character is fictional but his song was very much inspired by the death of a neighbor, DJ Wheeler (whose family has since become good friends of ours). We’ll be doing a feature on DJ and his family in an upcoming blog.  In the show, Eddie is the personification of the average teenager, circa 1969. Wearing a denim jacket, Beatles t–shirt and playing his guitar, he’s the apple of his mother’s eye. In his solo number [“Nineteen”], he sings about the pros and cons of dying young, [“I know it really makes you sad you never saw me married…you know it makes me glad…I’ll never see you die”] and how he will be “forever nineteen” in his mother’s mind.


Michelle Torres – Michelle was on our honor roll last week. We thought her name sounded familiar but we didn’t remember who she was. I’m happy to report that she’s just been upgraded from stranger to friend (in other words I’m an idiot). We know her, we’ve met her and she came to our showcase in in August which means we LOVE her…thanks again Michelle.

Tina VanNatta – Tina is family (on Frankie’s side)! She and Frankie share the animal loving gene (the ones with four legs not the Eric Burdon ones). And speaking of Rock & Roll (just go with it) Tina’s husband once played with Blue Oyster Cult....”Don’t Fear The Reaper”…how appropriate!

Glen Grunwald – Some folks may know Glen from the NY Knicks. Some may know him from his time as the GM of the Toronto Raptors! We know him as plain old Glen…thanks for the support!

Dorian Hannaway – Dorian is ADORABLE and FABULOUS and was my guide when I got into the scary world of Late Night TV. Dorian, you said it was going to rough but you never said HOW rough!

David & Grace Andersen – Some people have a casual relationship with G-d. Some are on a need to know basis with G-d. Me, I’ve never met him (but I hear good things). Dave on the other hand seems to being going steady with the big guy. He works with a fine organization called Mastermedia and is the only person that I will let kneel in my office, hold my hand and say “ahhh men”. Wait that sounds weird, I meant Amen. PS his middle name is Christian...I swear to you know who!

Arthur, Sherri, Eric, Ashley & Meagan George – Wow, I think we can fill the theater with this one family! Thanks guys for supporting us!

Larry & Myla Kramer – Larry is a digital guru! We worked together at CBS (where he founded Marketwatch). I hadn’t spoken to Larry in a few years so it was quite a pleasant surprise to get his email (probably not as surprising as our annoying “Hereafter Musical” emails). Thanks Larry and you too Myla…excited to meet you on your next trip to NY!!!!

Paulie Gee – Paulie owns the BEST Pizza place in Brooklyn. It’s called Paulie Gee's and it’s located in Greenpoint. Paulie is an old friend of mine and in a strange garlic twist of fate; our very own Shea Hess did a segment on Paulie for her Hungry In Brooklyn show. You can watch that here.

Barbara Salvadore – I owe my friendship with Barbra through my frequent visits to the fine hospital that both she and my son work at; Riverview Medical Center. Thanks to my pesky little kidney stones, Barbara seem to see each other every few months! Thanks Barbara.

Ludovica Rossi Purini – Ludovica is truly a renaissance woman. She is the president  of Compagnia per la Musica in Roma. She is hosting our 9/11 documentary “Rebirth” at a huge event in Rome on 9/11 that I am honored to attend.  Thanks for your support Ludovica.

Elizabeth – Here we go again. Another one named pledge. Is it one of several Elizabeth’s we know? Is it Elizabeth Taylor making a pledge for tickets from her own Hereafter? Or is it a plain old Elizabeth from Anytown USA? Whichever we love Elizabeth what’s her name!

Vanessa Taylor aka Levantay  - We had a mystery pledge from someone named Levantay. My first thought was “it’s that stripper from Scores I once shared a “dance” with” (relax, to paraphrase Krusty The Clown, there are more rules in a strip club than at a bar mitzvah.). But it turns out that Levantay is the stage name of a dear friend and fellow Brooklyn College alumni Vanessa Taylor.

Grace Lee Helfrich – Grace is a new BFF. We spent an awesome afternoon together. She knows her music so if she bought tickets then you know we’re that good!

Mona & Ray Tropeano – Mona is an old friend. I worked for her in the early days of A&E when all we aired were Nazi documentaries and Evening At The Improv! Thanks Mona!

The DiMartini Family – One of the coolest and most talented families we know. They definitely won the gene pool lottery! And they are not only supporting our show but they are also part of it since their beautiful daughter Jenna has been a big part of it since she was in high school! We’ll be featuring Jenna in an upcoming profile.

Tom and Aviva Bojko – perhaps the smartest married couple we know. They’re both doctors and lawyers! And they haven’t come out and admitted it but they’ve intimated that they might be spies. They’re our very own Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

Dave Price – When I first met Dave he was doing weather in Chicago and told me he dreamed of one day being on Letterman. I politely laughed and discreetly rolled my eyes. Man, I really am an idiot because he’s practically on every week! Here’s a great clip.

Raphael Rodriguez – Now this is down right crazy. Raphael is another member of the Hereafter team investing in a show that he is a part of. He was essential in our very first live performance and just happens to be married to one of our stars (Shea). Thanks Raphael!

Alan Kalter – Alan has that mellifluous voice that you hear every night on the Late Show. He has been the voice of the Late Show and has appeared in hundreds of classic comedy pieces since 1995. He was the announcer of “To Tell The Truth” AND “The $25,000 Pyramid”. He also happens to be the first voice you hear at the beginning of “Hereafter Musical”. Take a listen here.

Hugo Chaviano – The impossibly handsome Hugo is a good family friend who we don’t see enough of because he’s in Chicago (Frankie's hometown!). Thanks Hugo.

Marty Daly – I have worked with Marty for the passed 15 years. I can’t think of a better person to be in a late night foxhole with. And he heads up the best sales force in late night!

Rob Burnett – As head of World Wide Pants this guy has been a part of iconic shows like “Late Show With David Letterman”, “Everybody Loved Raymond” and “Ed”. But better than all of that we can thank him for Sofia Vergara because he featured her in one of her first big TV roles in his show “Knight’s Of Prosperity”. Nice!

Anne O'Grady – Anne is one of the coolest people I have ever worked with. She runs the most creative meetings (in spite of me being there) and is one of the reasons that “Survivor” is still a super popular show after all these years.

Jill and Danica Botway – We met Jill and Danica through a mutual friend. We invited them to one of our video shoots and their appreciation for what we were doing was like a shot of B12! Thanks guys and we can’t wait for you to see the show!

Nancy McAndrew Murphy – Wow! I haven’t spoken to Nancy in over 20 years. She was such a big part of my being able to achieve everything I over promised when I interviewed at HBO for the head of operations job in 1989 at Comedy Channel (soon to become Comedy Central). Nancy and her team designed all of the systems that I needed to do what was an almost impossible job. Incredibly smart and super super patient. She welcomed this low rent A&E “basic cable” brat into the first class “pay cable” world of HBO. This is better than the hot tub time machine!

Alex Bennet – For many New Yorkers, Alex is a familiar name. He was one of the first FM disc jockeys to spin more than discs. A true pioneer in New York radio, Alex interviewed and befriended some of the greats like John Lennon. He has an awesome connection with Lennon. When Lennon was writing songs for “Walls And Bridges” he had the radio on in the background (Alex’s show) and he heard Alex use the expression “whatever gets you through the night” (true story). Next thing you know, Lennon ends up writing what would become his first number one record in years. You can hear Alex these days on SiriusXM Channel 127 7am-10am.

Lynn Barry – This is another insane pledge for tickets because Lynn and her entire family are part of the Hereafter Musical family! She’s an author in her own right (check out her first novel “Puddles” on Amazon) and is the mother of our very own Pat Barry (Pat recorded the first version of “Nineteen” in 2005].  Her kids are crazy talented (the Barry Brothers) but we really know where it comes from!

David Katz and Elvis Duran – Yes it is THAT David Katz (never heard of this Elvis Duran guy…wink wink!). About three years ago we shared some of the music from the show (some really early demos) with these guys. Their reaction was so encouraging and nurturing that it was very moving. Their incredible Kickstarter gesture stunned both Frankie and I. These guys are at the top of their fields…if we’re half as good as they are we’ll have a hit…thanks so much guys.

We’ve Reached $32, 690 In Three Weeks!!!

August 21st, 2011


A Who’s Who Week

This has been another banner week for “Hereafter Musical” (G-d we hope the show is as good as this week was).  We are getting responses from people we’ve known for ages, people we’ve just met and even from people we don’t know. We still haven’t heard from the people who need people because I guess they are the luckiest people in the world and don’t need us. You will see more details on our growing fan club in the weekly “roll call” below but just to tease: one of them co-wrote the funniest movie of all time (when I tell you the film you will agree); one of them has an intimate relationship with my mouth (sounds worse than it really us); one of them has a father who also has an intimate relationship with some of my other body parts (you really have to trust me]; one of them works very closely with one of the greatest bands of all time [again you’ll agree]; one of them breast fed me [as bad as it sounds] and two of them have covered my songs!

Real Feel Numbers

So you know how those weather folks have that new way of telling you what the weather is like by referring to it as the “real feel” temperature? I hated that expression till this week when I realized that our Kickstarter dollar ticker is NOT accurate. Thanks to the growing amount of checks from some of the “cookie people” (you know who you are) and folks like my Mom who emails the old fashioned way with stamps…our “real feel” dollar amount is actually: $36, 880! We have 34 days to hit our goal of $60,000 and we’re more than half way there so keep this clicks and checks coming in (cookies be damned!!!)

Meet The Cast - Meet The Characters

This is the first in a series of little bios that will introduce you to our amazing cast; the characters they play (who in some cases are also actual people) and the creative team behind the show.

Meet Deborah Tranelli [Sypie Fishman]. Deborah is the queen of all mediums. Her shining talent has graced the little screen (eleven seasons on “Dallas as Bobby Ewing’s loyal assistant Phyllis Wapner!!!]; “Law And Order”, “Three’s Company”, “Hart To Hart, “Circus Of The Stars”!!!!! etc. She’s graced the stage [most recently as Velma Von Tussle in “Hairspray] preceded by a long run off-Broadway in “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime”. She graced the big screen while recently starring in the independent short film “Pas D'Un”. She’s played with the NY Pops at Carnegie Hall and AND her CD “A Lot Of Livin” received many wonderful reviews and won the Backstage Bistro Award. I HIGHLY recommend this CD. It’s an excellent collection of songs including Rewriting Historyby non other that Stephen Schwartz [“Godspell”, “Pippin”, “Wicked”). Stephen is such a fan that he personally played a dozen songs from his catalog for Deborah for her to choose from and graciously contributed a liner note!

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Our time spent with Deborah has been nothing short of amazing. Her two songs stop the show. In the “The Toe Tag Tango” (which was written with Frankie Keane) Deborah kicks the show into second gear and brings Act One to its cliff-hanging ending. And in “That’s My Life”, she brings the house down, as her character looks back on a wonderful life of milestones against a backdrop of old 8mm projections of home movies. When you watch the video you’ll notice that Deborah tears up near the end.  Deborah;  "This is a touching song describing Sypie's life in flashback memories. The lyrics in the chorus ‘You can take my breath away but not my memories’ struck a very deep emotional place as I suddenly felt that I was not only singing for her but for my father who had passed away a couple of years before that. He, like Sypie, had lived a full and rich life in the ways that matter most (family and friends), and I suddenly missed him so very much. I also truly believe that our souls are forever connected to those we love and that death cannot sever those bonds."


Meet Shea Hess [Debbie]. Shea has been with the show from the very beginning (2007). Lots of times it was just the two of us in a small rehearsal space [Shetler!!!] work shopping not just her songs from the show but also everyone else’s songs (because there was no “everyone else” yet!). We were so lucky to have someone with her talents be the voice of the show in that crucial first year. At that point she had toured as Maureen in one of my favorite shows [“Rent”] …including a series of shows in Japan. She’s appeared in NY/Regional productions of: “Cabaret”  (Rosie),  “Brunch” (Brandi), “Quiet Cry” (Emma), “Metropolis” (Jade). She’s been a regular on VH!’s “Best Week Ever”. But I think one of our favorite Shea roles (next to that of Debbie) is as the host and co-creator (with her insanely talented husband Raphael) of "Hungry In Brooklyn". She sings, she cooks, she’s beautiful…is there anything this girl can’t do?

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Working with Shea has been a joy. Shea had a blind faith in the story and the music and in a process that was pretty unorthodox. Shea; “Working with Vinnie has been the most unique and rewarding experience.  His creativity is amazing and his spirit infectious - the first time we ever rehearsed the song "Lost," it was just with a lyric sheet and Vinnie humming me a melody a cappella. The music continued to evolve, and then Frankie came along and breathed even more life and melody into this already gorgeous music.  I am inspired by Vinnie and Frankie everyday and believe in them and this show with my whole heart. 

Here are two versions of Shea’s achingly beautiful performance of “Lost.  The first is from a video shoot we did last year and the second one is from a New Jersey concert performance we did two years ago.



Meet Sypie and Debbie. While “Hereafter Musical” is billed as fiction, there are more real life elements in the show than you might think (notwithstanding the singing spirits)! And even though Frankie and I have infused many of our life (and death) experiences in each of our characters there are several that are based on actual people which is the case here with Sylvia (Sypie] Fishman and her daughter Debbie. Sypie is based on my mother-in-law and Debbie on my wife. And they couldn’t be in better hands than Deborah Tranelli and Shea Hess.

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In the show, Debbie is a thirty something “mother to be” who lost her mother Sypie three months ago. Her mom gave her everything she could ever want in life and she feels guilty that she let her down in the end. Sypie is a sixty something, funny and sassy Brooklyn born real estate entrepreneur who ended up in Savannah Georgia raising three kids on her own.

Debbie is desperate to make contact with her mom. She is one of the three women who is part of the group reading with the psychic Jason Richards. This the first time that she has ever been to a psychic and is convinced that Jason holds the key to unlock the mystery of life after death. She just barely made it to her mother’s side when she died and is hoping that her spirit comes through so that she could say a proper goodbye. As for Sypie, she is still overwhelmed by “this whole ghost thing” and is struggling with trying to find a way comfort her daughter while also moving on herself.


Barry & Holly - Holly is a new BFF. We just met recently through some very close friends in that we have common (now we have each other in common!). And thanks to Holly we have her incredible mom in our lives (Dolly, our number one fan). Barry is pretty great too! Now can you imagine if they we're related to me...hmmm Holly and Dolly Favale...has a nice ring to it!

Andrew Donchin - We started as colleagues but we quickly upgraded to friends! Andy is a big fan and supporter of what we’re doing.

Sara Matheu & Jon Harris - Old friends from the Stern K-Rock days who now are both HUGE players at Sara Lee (yep she is THAT Sara ;). And on top of that, Jon was one of the first people I turned to, to sing some of the songs from the show. He has an amazing voice, which you can witness for yourself on this early demo of "Take My Life" from the show.

Tim Kennedy - I have been in a dark room with Tim for one hour every day for the past 15 years! Relax there are women in there too…. and it's not Scores! It’s in the control room of the Late Show where Tim is the Emmy winning tech director.

Rich and Peggy Bonapace Gelfond - She is a force of nature. I think she's taking True Blood because she has the boundless energy and drive of a small vampire army. Her daughter Rachel is hands down one of the coolest girls I know and her husband Rich runs a little company called IMAX. IMAX is such a big company they invented ALL CAPS (at least that’s what I read on the internet)! Thanks guys.

Robyn Stecher - Another powerhouse....we once spent a beautiful night at the Brooklyn Navy Yard (totally legit I swear). Thanks Robyn!

Jonathan Klein - Jon is a great writer, a great friend and of all the Jonathan Kleins in the Manhattan phone book is by far the most entertaining! I see big things for this Klein kid…"stay tuned"!

Cliff and Christine Hansen - Cliff and I were a couple long before his beautiful wife Chris came on the scene. In the mid 70s we were in a 80s rock band! Cliff is the stud in the front!!!

Jeff Gross - I've only been in the same room with Jeff twice but somehow he's loomed large in three music milestones in our life. He co-produced one of the best versions of "Restless, Restless" by Frankie Doll; he produced a song I co-wrote that was a musical intervention we did for Brittney Spears (also performed by Frankie Doll) AND he engineered the session that yielded this amazing vocal from Carol Dennis on the song "Someday" from the show (Carol is the second woman on the video). Jeff is three for three...can't wait to hear what we do next!!

Kelly & Carolyn Favale-Curtis - Here's the answer to that "Greatest band" tease. Carolyn is my impossibly sweet and beautiful cousin and Kelly is my cousin-in-law and the wind beneath the wings of one of music's greatest bands.... Pearl Jam. They are rock & roll’s first couple! Don’t miss the documentary coming out soon, directed by Cameron Crowe, that celebrates Pearl Jam’s 20th anniversary.

Rohit Sang – He is a brilliant writer, animator, producer, editor, Webmaster, damn handsome and one of the nicest guys we know...sorry girls he's taken! And if that's not enough he introduced us to Shea (who you just met if you've been reading this in order!).

Barbara Abseck - A long time friend and colleague with impeccable tastes...we must be good!

Angelique O'Neil - Another new BFF. She walked into my office one day and enveloped me in her halo of energy (sorry I've been reading too many new age books). Trust me, you’ll know what I mean when you meet her.

Kim and Gregg Hess - Besides being two of the sweetest people we know, they are also happen to be Shea's parents. They have been part of all of our milestones and are as proud of our show as they are of Shea!

Mom - Yep that's her...she goes by one name. Just like "Cher". She's the inspiration for so much in this show...more than I can put into words. And in spite of everything she's been through in life she can still make us laugh.

Victoria Ashby – She is such a fan of the music that she DEMANDED her CD RIGHT AWAY…she used all CAPS so she REALLY MEANS IT! Who are we to argue. Hey Victoria; the CD is ON THE WAY!!!

Eileen DeNobile – Eileen and I spent a memorable night on a battleship (it’s true…the Intrepid). But we survived it and we are much closer because of it!

Dave Cooner – David is a lot like me…he gives up much of his valuable time for a non-profit. His non-profit is the beautiful Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, NJ. Mine is the unintended non-profit known as “Hereafter Musical”.

Jeff Stillman – Jeff has the honor of finishing in the top three of the “Restless, Restless” contest that was featured on the Howard Stern show (where he performed his version of the song!). He gave Robert Goulet a run for his money! He is also a pretty damn great songwriter himself

Norman Steinberg – This man not only co-wrote one of THE funniest movies of all time (drum roll) “Blazing Saddles” (see I told you) he also co-wrote another classic “My Favorite Year”. He has new show on Cinemax After Dark called “Chemistry”. That’s right…After Friggin Dark…how cool is that? And he’s as funny as his work!

Kratka Family and Adela Silver – Longtime supporters of our show. They’ve come to the concerts, the showcase and now this! Thanks guys for always being there!

The Moran Family – Another family of longtime supporters, they were there in the beginning when we just had the germ of an idea. They encouraged us when there wasn’t much to go on beyond some very rough demos.

Sharon Burns – Ok, I know you’ve been dying to know which one of these folks has an intimate knowledge of my mouth…and yes it’s my dental hygienist Sharon! She’s the best and can amazingly understand EVERYTHING I’m saying while I’m drooling with my mouth open wide!

Wayne Seigel – We met through the world of Howard Stern and have had some amazing times together. He’s a great guy, owns the best car dealership in Long Island and he’s SINGLE!

Ellen Field – We go waaaayyyyy back to the early days of MTV (when they played videos). We also share a birthday (we alternate it from year to year).

Tina Santomauro – We spent a great time together at SXSW where we met when we both on a panel. I saw her more in Texas then in NY, which is where we both work! That will be rectified shortly!

Michelle Torres – I am pretty sure we know her because the name is familiar. I hope we don’t because I’ll be real embarrassed if I have to be reminded by her. Michellle Torress, identify yourself!

Harvey Kaish – I’m pretty sure we don’t know Harvey. In fact I think the name is made up! Harvey Kaish, (if that’s your real name) identify yourself!

Joann Petz – We spent an afternoon together with Paul McCartney! Yep it’s true…it was Joann, Frankie, myself and about ten thousand other people!

David Scotti - He is a talented actor and writer. He starred and wrote a great movie called “Docs And Robbers”. And his dad is the answer to the mystery of my body parts. True story…Dave’s dad is my Dr. and one time when he was examining me we were making small talk about recent Broadway shows we had seen. Small talk is crucial in these moments so that we’re not focusing on the elephant in the room (the snapping of the glove as he puts it on his hands). I was just about to profess my love for a certain show when his finger went into that most intimate of places and I ended up squealing “I love Gypsy”

Grace Hanlon – When Grace is not busy being a mother of two, or helping me organize the screening of our 9/11 documentary “Rebirth” for thousands of people on 9/8, she’s New Jersey’s Executive Director of the Division of Travel and Tourism! And on top of that, Grace and her fiancée Bob are big supporters of our show. Where do they find the time?

Jay Johnson – Jay oversees the super cool Late Show website with his colleague Walter. He’s also my TV and pop culture soul mate! Everyday, we co-host a 15 minute show with our buddy Kim. Right now we are our own audience but I see syndication in our future.

Kevin Rhoades – Kevin is a writer/director/producer who has done some great work. Here’s a trailer from his movie “Resurrection Mary” (based on the Chicago legend]. And the movie stars “Hereafter Musical” co-writer (and co-star) Frankie Keane with her super talented boyfriend David Cooper!!! She also plays a ghost here. Watch it Frankie, you’re going to get type cast! And here is another great piece that Kevin directed. It’s a beautiful music video starting a very much ALIVE Frankie!

Sheryl Zelikson – This woman has the BEST ear for music in the business. And when you factor in the other ear, well, you really have something! She has personally turned me on to more great music than just about any other music lover that I know. And she does it for a living as the head music booker for the “Late Show With David Letterman”.

Joanne Wheeler – Joanne and her entire family (Dennis, Erin, Ali and DJ) are such an essential part of the existence of our show that I cannot do it justice here. In fact, one of our upcoming blog updates will feature their story. Suffice it to say that they are a very special family and what they have been through gets right to the heart of what we are doing with the show and WHY we are doing it.