David Yazbek is a long-time cult favorite a recording artist, vocalist and pianist known for his thrilling live performances and irreverent style. He is a two-time Tony AwardNominee, whose shows 'The Full Monty' and 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' have played in over 20 countries. His first album 'The Laughing Man' won the N.A.I.R.D. Award for Best Pop Album of the Year. He is a Grammy-nominated record producer, and an Emmy-Award winning TV writer (for Late Night with David Letterman). Lincoln Center AMERICAN SONGBOOK performance confirmed for February 9th, 2008: David Yazbek and His Warmest Regards have been invited to perform at Lincoln Center on 2/9/08, as part of the American Songbook series. Yazbek will preview much of 'Evil Monkey Man', and will also play a selection of songs from his other albums and Broadway shows. Expect special guests and lots of surprises, as Yazbek plays The Allen Room at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at
THE EARLY YEARS
Something you should know that goes a long way towards explaining my work and my refreshingly abrasive personality, is that I was what used to be known in 18th century Europe as a "Wild Child", a human infant raised by wild animals and trained to survive in their world.
My foster family was a small pod of Loggerhead sea-turtles (caretta caretta) who adopted me after I was sort-of-pushed off the side of a whale-watching boat by both my parents at the same time. I have vague yet pleasant memories of learning the Ways of the Deep sheltered beneath a canopy of sargassum, my Turtlemommy's horny beak gently prodding me towards appropriate drifts of protein-rich krill and the odd jellyfish. Sometimes, when I feel very lonely or when I meet a critic in person, I think of Turtlemommy and wonder what her advice to me would be. I think she would say "David, you have to be strong to avoid weakness." This is what my first two albums are all about.
Soon I reached puberty and started dating but man, it's hard to find the "honey-spot" on a female loggerhead. I came to realize that I needed to be with my own kind so I swam to a cruise ship where I was picked up and put to work as a chorus-boy in the ship's production of "The Boyfriend". Well, needless to say, I caught "The Bug" and I was well on my way to becoming "Broadway's Famous Guy Named
But before I could reach that Pope-like position, I had to do something that some call "Paying Dues". Others call it "Giving Lots of Blowjobs" but that kind of vulgar honesty has no place in my world of Theatre with Music and Comedy all Together with Singing Too.
I like to say that I feel deeply that Musical Theatre is the greatest form of expression I know. I think that this is because the people involved in it are bossy and I'm afraid to disappoint them. They are loud and yell at me with very sibilant "s" sounds which hurt my ears and make me jumpy. But I love them nevertheless because they send me chocolates and heavy glass mementos on opening nights and gifts that are clever puns on whatever show it is. I have a sterling silver goblet that is inscribed "May All Your Montys Be Full!" It still
makes me laugh.
THE FULL MONTY
After recording a series of dozen-selling rock albums, I burst upon the Broadway scene with the smash-hit Tony-losing comedy "The Full Monty". What a year! I bought a Civic, met Weird Al Yankovic, ate out a lot, had my foreskin reattached, learned how to macrame, invented a portable lazer-death-ray, fell in love with crack, joined the 700 Club and, most importantly, discovered free internet porno. Also, I released my album "Damascus" which Jon Pareles, in the New York Times, called "Almost 42 minutes long".
But it wasn't until that magical moment when two of the three original waitresses from the TV series "Alice" came to see my show at the same time that I knew I was truly, irrevocably, a major fixture in the glittering, spangled, big-money, marginal world of Broadway!
DIRTY ROTTEN WHATEVER
A year or so into the Broadway run of "Monty" I made the important decision to utterly neglect my wife and child and begin work on a new show-- a piece of work that would teach the world to open it's heart and sing aloud of hope and faith and pay a hundred dollars plus a one dollar theatre service charge and whatever Tickmaster gets. The problem was -- what would
the show be?
The answer came in the form of a dream, a nightmare really, in which a drunken, naked Carmen Electra swung upside-down on a giant Twizzler suspended over my bed while whistling the theme-music from "Lou Dobb's Moneyline". I woke up drenched in sweat but giggling like a schoolgirl. My wife, a light sleeper, hit me very hard with her great- sounding Bose clock/radio and threw me out of the bedroom.
I snuggled up on the living room couch and turned on the TV hoping for the kind of relaxing programming that Showtime sometimes offers late at night with girls in genie-outfits touching each other vigorously but I happened onto a little something called "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" starring a little someone named Steve Martin and a little someone named Michael Caine. I instantly knew I had found my next project.
THE END (?)
Well, it didn't take me long to write, direct, choreograph and produce Dirty Rotten Scoundrels the Musical using twelve-million of the dollars I earned on "Monty" and on the "1-800-USA-LOAN" jingle I wrote. I was also slated to play the part of Lawrence but I tore a ligament in my ass and the role went to Lithgow.
So what's it like to be referred to constantly as "The Verdi of Rockland County" and "King-God of the American Musical Theatre" and the "Future of Broadway and Smiter of All That Is Unholy" and "Fudgie-Pants McGraw"? Well, it feels good.
Because when I look around at the audience in the Imperial Theatre on a sparkling Thursday night, and I see the smiles on their weathered, sun-beaten faces and I hear their hoarse, tortured laughs and the brittle sound of their leathery, wrinkled, calloused farmers' hands, I know that I've given these salt-of-the-earth Americans a true gift-- a solid hour and a half of pure musical theatre joy. Unfortunately, the show is almost
3 hours long.