The competition will be stiff, musical, and hilarious at Carolines on Broadway on November 8 at 7pm, when nine musical acts go for broke in the WQXR Classical Comedy Contest, a partnership between the legendary Comedy Club and the nation's most listened-to classical radio station. The competitors - including a violinist/stand-up comic who plays with the Toronto Symphony and two percussionists who met at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College - were chosen from 79 hopefuls from around the world. The winner will be selected by a world-class line-up of judges from the worlds of comedy and music. The contest is presented as part of the New York Comedy Festival.
In a field not known for humor - except perhaps when Victor Borge and Chico Marx played the piano - these comics and serious musicians will be aiming for serious laughs when they take the stage at Carolines. The winner will be awarded a trophy, a tote bag and the chance to perform a second set at the New York Comedy Festival later that week.
Finalists - who have appeared everywhere from Carnegie Hall to Comedy Central, from the Metropolitan Opera to Late Night with David Letterman - include a harpist/stand-up comic from Brooklyn; a concert pianist/magician from Poland; a New York-based soprano whose partner plays the musical saw; an opera singer with a "rogue accompanist"; a Berlin-based recorder player who performs at variety shows and circuses; Doowopera, a vocal quintet; and a Scandinavian pianist who got his start as a funny man during a concert at Victor Borge Hall in New York, whose audience included delighted members of Mr. Borge's family.
Carolines on Broadway is located at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets; ticket information is available at www.carolines.com and www.wqxr.org/comedy. The November 8 event will be taped and broadcast on public television stations THIRTEEN, WLIW21, and NJTV at a later date.
Celebrity judges who will crown the winner include:
Comedian Robert Klein
Peter Schickele,of PDQ Bach fame
Charles Hamlen of IMG Artists (classical music management company)
Opera star Deborah Voigt
The WQXR Classical Comedy Contest is produced and hosted by WQXR host Elliott Forrest.
WQXR Classical Comedy Contest finalists:
Magnus Martensson - pianist/comedian
Jim Wallenberg - stand-up violinist
"Doowopera," with soprano Inna Dukach and the GrooveBarbers
David Cope - stand-up harpist
Igor Lipinski - pianist and magician
Gabor Vosteen - visual comedian/recorder player
Steve Russell and Kobi Shaw - cranial percussionists
Sarah Worthington and Nathan Carver - singer and musical saw
Elizabeth Tryon & Mark Janas - Opera singer with Rogue Accompanist
A video of the finalists can be seen at: www.wqxr.org/comedy