Todd Rundgren & Friends - UP AGAINST IT - 3rd Annual Benefit for Joe's Pub

Review by Julie O'Brien (Switch to

Joe's Pub is named for Joseph Papp, the founder of The Public Theater in NYC, who hired Todd to compose the musical UP AGAINST IT. Todd spoke very highly of Joe at the beginning of the performance. He said he was "one of the most kind and generous persons he'd ever met" and tonights performance was a tribute to him.

Todd sat down at the piano and performed 5 songs solo to a crowd of approximately 150 guests.

Song of the Viking
It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference
Too Far Gone
I Saw the Light ("here's something you don't hear every day")
Todd then introduced the cast:

Phil Casnoff - original UP AGAINST IT cast member, playing Ian McTurk. Phil is an actor on HBO's "OZ"

Toni DiBuono - playing Connie Boone. Toni is seen in films and commercials

Allison Fraser - playing Miss Drumgoogle, the "heart throb tht everyone wants a date with"

Tom Aulino - original UP AGAINST IT cast member, playing Bernard Coates

Lisa Datz - playing Rowena

Mary Stout - playing Lili Palmer

Kasim Sulton - playing Christopher Low

Joe Jackson - playing Father Brodie

Todd Rundgren - playing The Mayor and Jack Ramsay

Todd started off with a brief synopsis of the play and narrated a bit in between each song as the story would progress. Todd had recorded tracks of each song and sometimes conducted as the players sang. With the exception of Free, Male and 21...Todd played piano for this song, saying he didn't have a recording for it.

When Worlds Collide (The Mayor, Father Brodie, Connie Boone)
Parallel Lines (Drumgoogle)
Free, Male & 21 (Low & McTurk)
The Smell of Money (Bernard Coates)-very funny,lots of laughs
Up Against It (Ramsay)
Life is a Drag (Men's chorus)
Lili's Address (Lili Palmer and Women's Chorus)
Love in Disguise (Rowena, McTurk and Full Chorus)
Maybe I'm Better Off (McTurk & Low)
You'll Thank me in the End (Connie Boone)
>From Hunger (Low)
Entropy (Drumgoogle, McTurk, Low & Ramsay)
Parallel Lines Reprise - McTurk's version
Finale (Full cast and Chorus)
The entire show was spectacular! A real once in a lifetime treat. The programs we were given noted that the program is being filmed for a DVD. I saw two cameras, one on the lower level and one on the upper level of the pub.

Many of the cast members came out to mingle after the show during the dessert reception. There was an assortment of eclairs, chocolate covered strawberries, raspberry pasties and cookies being passed around. As we spoke with the cast members, we noticed they were each carrying a gift from Todd; a clear vinyl tote bag with a replica of one of Todd's albums on each side of it. It looked like it was the actual size of an album jacket cover. Joe Jackson had the Something/Anything bag, Allison had the Hermit bag, I think I saw a Healing bag too.

Todd appeared, someone grabbed him a drink and he sat down at a table to allow fans to line up to greet him. Each person had an opportunity to sit with him at the table. He was very graciously signing things (he signed my UP AGAINST IT cd), answering questions and posing for pictures. He didn't appear to be in a hurry to leave and stayed until the line dwindled down. I think we actually left before he did.

I'm so happy and fortunate to have been able to attend this performance!

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4/24/2004 - Joe's Pub - New York, NY

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