Monday night, PAPER and Nordstrom celebrated their third annual Broadway Soirée, featuring some of the most talked-about talents on Broadway. The Seattle-based retailer’s New York City outpost is located at 57th and Broadway, just a hop, skip and a flash of jazz hands away from the theater district — and since its opening in 2018, they’ve been celebrating the stage.
Franca Vercelloni, the popular piano virtuoso from the beloved Broadway singalong bar Marie’s Crisis, made the hike uptown to accompany a cavalcade of Tony nominees belting out their favorite showtunes (Franca even showed off her own vocal stylings on “It Never Was You”).
Gossip guru Michael Musto did a solo on “Rockabye Your Baby” with customized lyrics namechecking the night’s performers. He also knocked the socks off the standing-room-only crowd on two duets: “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” with Amber Martin and “Get Happy/Happy Days are Here Again” with Jennifer Simard. Meanwhile, Martin rocked out with “Easy to be Hard” and Simard slayed with the classic, “Broadway Baby.”
American Idol’s Constantin Maroulis crooned “This Is the Moment” from Jekyll and Hyde. Funny Girl’s Julie Benko did two numbers: “Open Your Eyes” and “What’s Gonna Happen.” Alysha Umphress sang the song that made her a star, “I Can Cook Too,” from On the Town and Rock n Roll Hall of Fame legend Darlene Love sang her classic hit, “Today I Met the Boy I’m Gonna Marry,” as well as regaling the crowd with stories including how she was only out sick once in the three years she did Hairspray.
Some comic relief was provided when I joined journalist Lynn Yaeger and dancer Lee Kimble for “You Gotta Get a Gimmick,” the lament of the three strippers with no talent from Gypsy. L Morgan Lee of A Strange Loop showed off her Tony-nominated chops on “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.”
The emcee for the night was writer/actor Charles Busch, who kept things zippy and witty in between showtunes. In true NYC style, shoppers continued making purchases just a handbag’s throw away from the musical hijinks. I guess that’s what happens when you open a store on Broadway.
Photography: Andrew Werner