WONDERFUL SONGS -
An Evening Of Comden & Green
Christine sings the colorful characters created by Betty Comden & Adolph Green , lyricists,librettists & performers who helped create the Broadway musicals BELLS ARE RINGING, ON THE TOWN, WONDERFUL TOWN, ON THE 20th CENTURY, & hit songs JUST IN TIME, NEW YORK, NEW YORK, THE PARTY'S OVER and countless other classics.
“... a charming amalgamation of the entertainer's verve and talent with the oft-wicked wit of Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Pedi is a musical theater lead with the heart and soul of a comedienne, and the combination creates more effervescence then a glass of good champagne. Her almost-uncanny ability to vastly alter her personality and delivery from number to number, as easily as most singers change their key, is wondrous. Pedi has crafted a show to make you glad to be alive — and especially to be at Mama Rose's in New York. “
Cabaret Scenes Magazine
“She has the chops to take signature songs of Judy Holliday and Rosalind Russell and make them her own...one of the rare performers and talents for whom entire musicals would have been written had she only been born many decades earlier...able to make everyone present feel as though they were at a marvelous party and they were in on every joke being told”
David Hurst - Showbusiness
“Wonderful Songs provides a perfect match of performer to material ...Possessing an elegant sense of moxie that can snap to broad clowning in the moment it takes to sharpen a note, Pedi naturally excels at comic songs ... With her high cheekbones and wide features making her look remarkably similar to Ms. Comden, Pedi seems to have trained each facial muscle to work independently, knowing the exact eyebrow movement, nose crinkle or mouth curl needed to get the maximum comic effect out of a beat or syllable. Her ballads are also effective, sung with a clear, simple alto and interesting acting choices that fully serve the material.With her ingratiating presence, knack for intelligent comedy and ability to be both daffy and vulnerable, Christine Pedi's talents are perfectly suited for the musical comedy stage. But for now Wonderful Songs is a charming vehicle for her, and for one of the genre's most endearing partnerships.”
100 Easy Ways To Lose A Man - Demo
If You Hadn't But You Did
MY BETTY STORY - 2006
I have been very very blessed recently to have spent many happy & unforgettable hours singing in Betty Comdens "New York, New York" home to an audience of one - the legendary lyricist herself.
However the audience can feel larger and grander. Leonard Bernstein, Groucho Marx, Lauren Bacall and others are watching from atop her baby grand piano. Awards everywhere (Tonys, the Kennedy Center Lifetime achievement medal etc) I'd stand in the middle of her living room high above the West side of Manhattan and sing. There is no more enthusiastic or appreciative audience anywhere. NO ONE loves to hear a Comden & Green song more then Betty, and no one loves to perform a Comden and Green song more then Betty!!! A treasured and truly unbelievable memory is sitting beside her, holding hands (what a grip she has) and singing COMES ONCE IN A LIFETIME (a particular favorite of hers) Gently & softly she joins me and it becomes an unexpected duet, Betty eyes steadily looking into mine and singing with all the strength she has, ALL the strength she has. I can feel that - The committment, the focus and the light in her eyes. Wow...how did I get here! “What do you want to hear Betty?” I ask. “Everything!!” she proclaims with a grand waive. Music is her medicine.
Looking at that still strikingly beautiful face with those high cheekbones and gorgeous skin (She did play Garbo in a film you know - much of it ended up on the cutting room floor but COME ON it was GARBO!) I sing JUST IN TIME and can sense the energy of Adolph Green everywhere... in the photos, the awards, and of course the lyrics. There’s a musical spirit bonding the grateful singer, the gifted pianist and the songwriters. Tho technically not all in the room everyones prescence is felt. This is like time travel to me. We were all there. Because it’s quite simply a perfect song - A song that, even if you hadn’t known it all your life, it wouldn’t take you long to feel as if you had. That’s craft. That’s called "they DON”T wrtie ‘em like that anymore." At that moment I understood what the word grateful meant. It was as if we’d collectively stepped INSIDE the song to share it just amongst our small little group - a very intimate and private audience reveling in the joyfulness & tendernes of JUST IN TIME. I wasn’t singing it...it was coming out of me from a source that I couldn’t define. It was the most intimate & unique contact I’ll ever have with Just in Time, there in Betty Comdens parlor, holding on to her piano singing and marvelling at her just across the room beaming. Like Betty had let me put on her best fur coat and she loved the way I looked in it... I could feel her essence & energy wrapped around me. She knows it was a great song, we all did and we’re all glad to be sharing... It was simply impossible not to cry. It's was electric.
I’d met Betty & Adolph many times in the past. I was honored to have them at my first major solo cabaret show WONDERFUL SONGS: the lyrics of Comden & Green. They sat in the front row. Betty wears thick black rimmed Harold Lloyd glasses (I’ve just begun to wear glasses and have tried that type of frame on repeatedly, hoping that one day I’ll have developed, in my sleep, the sense of style necessary to pull them off...it hasn’t happened). Adolph simply radiates. The healthiest ruddiest skin the biggest whitest smile and the loudest most robust laugh.
They had panache and personality and they infused all thier creations for the stage & screen with that zest. And Oh the songs they wrote for woman! Independent, interesting woman. That’s why my first solo show HAD to be Comden & Green. I knew I wanted to wrap my self around all the great dames they gave voice to.
Betty & Adolph sat there beaming I couldn’t be nervous because they were also actors and that support and understanding they felt as performers was felt by me. They called me the next day to thank me. Thank ME?! It would make a wonderful album they suggested. Did I want to do one? Did I? They’d happily make a phonecall to a record producer they knew. I never took them up on it because I couldn’t imagine they really meant it. Weren’t they just being polite. Just the offer was flattery enough.
They began writing together out of necessity. They weren't getting cast as actors so they had to creat their own material and that writing partnership continued from the 1940s into the new milenium, clarly breaking and/or establishing all sorts of records. (Betty, being a woman in this business made her a trailblazer). Even as I write this I stop, hesitate, question, procrastinate. It took me days to commit to sitting down and focusing on this little project. Perhaps it would be easier to have someone to push me. To remind me. To turn on the computer, to sharpen the pencil to write down my first words. Once I start I have no trouble committing. Maybe I need a partner I suppose it’s something to look forward to...because perhaps when you share that chore that task, that burden, at some point in the process could grow into a game a challenge a song.
OH how I wish I could have been a fly on the wall, or a photograph on the piano or a Tony on the table as Betty & Adolph began what was a daily ritual for them in her NY apartment. He’d walk the 15 or so blocks from Central Park West to her Lincoln Center high rise. Alway nattily dressed. Always a suit or jacket. He gave the New York sidewalks the pulse that everyone talks about...walking those streets with that bounce in his step which he had till the very end...he seemed to have a bounce in his everything didn’t he.
His energy her intensity and thier combined ironic observations about the world as seen more often than not from the viewpoint of New York found their way into countless Broadway & Hollywood musicals. They were both from the outter boroughs (Adolph: the Bronx, Betty: Brooklyn). They knew that a New York City cab ride had music & laughs if you knew who to put behind the wheel....that the view from a Greenwich village basement apartment had at least 2 acts worth of warm & wild stories and songs. You just have to have the right perspective...and you HAVE GOT TO BE ABLE TO LAUGH!!!
They never revealed which was responsible for any specific lines or lyrics but how I wish I could have been with earshot of their writers room in Hollywood when they came up with Lena LaMonts shrill & self important cackle “I make more money than Calvin Coolidge...PUT TOGETHA!!!!”
Thank YOU Betty & Adolph for writing songs for funny, strong, tough and tender women and for bringing the pulse, excitement and insanity of New York city to the rest of the world through your unforgettable & wonderful songs. To paraphrase Lena LaMont from Singin’ in the Rain, one of their creations from what is considered the most beloved movie musical of all time by many - you’ve brought much more that “a little ray of sunshine into our humdrum lives. and your hardwork ain’t been in vain for nuthin’.
Comden & Green: A hell of a team.