By GUY D’ASTOLFO
A recording of a cabaret show starring Broadway star Norbert Leo Butz, and in which Michael Moritz of Youngstown served as music director, is being released as an album.
Moritz, who owns Kontinuous Jams recording studio in Boardman, was also a producer of the album, to be titled “Memory and Mayhem.” It will be available Jan. 15 in stores and online on iTunes and Amazon from Broadway Records.
Butz tapped Moritz for the cabaret stint, which was at 54 Below in Manhattan in August.
The show received glowing reviews from New York media.
New York Times critic wrote in his review “Anchoring [Butz’s] performance was an excellent folk-rock quintet directed by the pianist Michael Moritz, with two guitarists, a bassist and a drummer. ...This is what cabaret could and should be, but almost never is.”
In the show, Butz, who was won two Tony Awards for best actor (“Catch Me If You Can” and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”) engages the audience with songs, jokes and comments on the theme of memory.
Moritz said a return engagement is planned for June.
He and Butz will appear together at CD signings and in concert next week to tout the album release.
For now, Moritz is dividing his time between Youngstown and New York, where he serves as Butz’s music director.
He has several more Broadway projects in the works and expects to announce them in the near future.
Moritz’s acceptance into the Broadway community happened by chance.
“I met Norbert at a charity event we were both asked to perform for in New York earlier in the year,” said Moritz.
“After the event, he told me he really loved how I played. I politely thanked him, and then said something to the effect of, ‘Then let’s work together on something.’ We exchanged info and I figured nothing would come of the situation. I woke up the next morning to a phone call asking me to collaborate and put together a show for him to premiere.”
The Broadway industry, said Moritz, is small and close-knit.
“In New York, there are hundreds of musicians who are capable of performing at that talent level, but the actual Broadway community is composed of trusted musicians and performers who not only are the absolute best players, but who are genuinely good people who are very grateful for and humbled by the great hand they’ve been dealt,” he said.
“I’ve yet to meet a person that doesn’t fit that bill.”