Jason Graae:Not Just Another Pretty Face

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

Jason Graae and Faith Prince will be appearing October 4 at the Rrazz Room in New Hope, Pennsylvania.  Their show, titled “The Prince and the Show-boy,” will bring them together for a one-night only event. Faith Prince is a musical comedy legend, and Jason Graae has appeared on stage and in one-man shows. I had the opportunity to speak with Jason a few days ago. He phoned me at 10:00 am, which unknown to me was 7 am his time, since he was appearing in a show on the West Coast. He had just come home at 7 am when he phoned me. He informed me that he was catching a plane in a few hours to fly here for the show. Clearly, 7:00 am is his time of day, since he was lucid, smart and lively, which the following chat will prove.


I asked him about the cabaret scene in Philadelphia. “Is there a cabaret scene in Philadelphia? Maybe I’m missing something [laughing].  Seriously, I hope that there is one, and that there are more venues where I can perform. I love Philadelphia.”  He added, “I know the two guys who run the Rrazz Room.  They are great. I’ve performed at their San Francisco venue, and I’m happy to see them bring that sort of excitement to New Hope.”


I had to ask the inevitable question: how does he pronounce his last name? It’s “Gra” which rhymes with “tra-la-la.” “It’s a common name in Denmark, but few people have seen it here in the States.”


I asked him how did he meet Faith Prince, and how did this show come about. “Well, I’ve known Faith for years. We attended the same school, the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. I was but a child, of course [laughing]. No, not really.  We were both young and ambitious. I was her date for the senior prom. I was the most-straight-ish man on campus, so I was elected. There was a Homecoming Dance and I was her date. So, you see, we go back a long way.


We also have performed either together or been on stage doing different, related things at the same time. We appeared in shows in New York City. One, “Alias Judy Valentine,” was written by Jack Wrangler.  He did the book and lyrics.” I interrupted to ask Jason about Jack Wrangler, the adult film star, and Margaret Whiting, the singing legend, asking him about them and their relationship. “Jack and Margaret couldn’t be more dissimilar, yet they got along great. When they were together, you could tell that they had great chemistry together.” I opined that the old adage about how opposites attract might be on target in that case. “Yes, that is so true,” Jason agreed. “Margaret and I also appeared together at Rainbow and Stars. She was a great lady.”


“As for Faith and me, we also did a show called “Olympus on my Mind.” For this particular show, Jason had this to say: “Faith and I first did a cabaret act together as a benefit in San Francisco for the 42nd Street Moon Theatre Company about two-and- a-half years ago. We’ve also performed it at 54 Below in New York.” Jason lamented that the same evening in New Hope, Linda Eder would be performing for a charity event to benefit Broadway Cares: Equity Fights AIDS. “It is unfortunate that Linda and the two of us will be competing that night, but we will guarantee a lot more laughs.” No doubt about that, since both Faith prince and Jason Gaae are well-known for their comedy timing and the wry twists they bring to their songs.


This last comment led to the inevitable question, “So, what will be in your show?” Jason replied, “We will be doing a ‘Book of Mormon’ medley, with a lot of twisted songs and, of course, music from ‘Falsettos.’ You can expect Faith to sing ‘What More Can I Say,’ and I will sing ‘I Am What I

Am’ in a Jerry Herman tribute. I just love, love, love the man.”


I asked if Jason and Jerry Herman were close. “Yes, I love him. He lives in Miami now. Recently, he was given an award by his alma mater, The University of Miami, and I was the host of the tribute to Jerry.” I added that perhaps Mr. Herman might be in the audience at the Rrazz Room. “Now that would be great! I hope that if he’s in the New York area he might drop by.”


Jason Graae’s next appearance will be October 24 at the Copa in Palm Springs, where he will do his show, “49-1/2 Shades of Graae.” For more information about the October 4 show at the Rrazz Room, visit their website.

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