Thursday, July 26, 2012
By GUY D’ASTOLFO
Michael Moritz is collaborating with two-time Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz for a cabaret show next month in New York.
Moritz has long been a major player in the Youngstown theater scene as a music director and pianist. He also has his own line of player pianos and owns Kontinuous Jams recording studio in Boardman.
Butz is an actor and vocalist who has appeared in Broadway’s “Wicked,” “The Last Five Years” and “Catch Me If You Can.” The show with Moritz will mark his cabaret debut.
Moritz will be the music director, pianist and a vocalist for the show, which will be at the famous Studio 54 venue in Manhattan on Aug. 5, 10 and 11.
Moritz and Butz created the show, a musical revue that will include Broadway actress/vocalist Lauren Kennedy (“Spam- alot,” “The Last Five Years”).
Moritz assembled an eight-piece ensemble of Broadway musicians for the show, which will include selections from Broadway musicals as well as songs that were an intimate part of Butz’s life as he was growing up in rural Missouri.
Moritz met Butz through a chain of events that stem from his earlier work in New York.
He played piano at New York’s Metropolitan Room earlier this year for a cabaret show by Youngstown natives Liz Rubino and James McClellan. It was there that he met Jonathan Hilton, executive director of Creative Alternatives of New York, who asked him to perform at the organization’s annual gala, which was in April. Butz was the headliner at the gala and was so impressed with Moritz that he asked him to collaborate on future projects.
After the August cabaret shows, Moritz and Butz will work together on another show in October in New Jersey.