New York City Center goes Off-Broadway with Encores! Off-Center, a new musical theater series led by artistic director Jeanine Tesori (composer of Fun Home, Violet, Shrek). Off-Center features landmark Off-Broadway musicals filtered through the lens of today’s most innovative artists. As part of this series there will be an "encore" performance of Pump Boys and Dinettes -- New York City Center, July 16-19, 2014.
A hybrid of country, rock and pop music, Pump Boys and Dinettes is the story of four gas station attendants and two waitresses at a small-town dinette in North Carolina. Originally written and performed by John Foley, Mark Hardwick, Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Schimmel and Jim Wann, who accompanied themselves on guitar, piano, bass, fiddle, accordion, and kitchen utensils, the show is a musical tribute to life on the roadside. Pump Boys premiered Off-Broadway at the Chelsea West Side Arts Theatre in July 1981 and opened on Broadway on February 4, 1982 at the Princess Theatre, where it played 573 performances and was nominated for both Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Best Musical.Cast and credits for this production: Choreographed by Danny Mefford Music Direction by Chris Fenwick Directed by Lear deBessonet, featuring Jordan Dean, Hunter Foster, Mamie Parris, Randy Redd, Katie Thompson and Lorenzo Wolff.
Jim Wann says "Deb, Cass, Foley, Schimmel and I will be on hand July 16, also playing a few tunes in the lobby before the show."
The bloody Sun, at noon,
'Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the Moon.
Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, no breath no motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER
Suzanne Propp is the choral director of the Green Farm School, in Westport, Connecticut. She arranged one of my tunes ("Home Is Where the Heart Is" from A LIE OF THE MIND) for her 4th and 5th graders and here's a vid of them performing it. Sweet!
The photo to the right is one of my favorites. It's of spiritual master Paramahanza Yogananda at the Hammond C2 organ in the Windmill Chapel on March 6, 1952 -- the day before his passing. In the words of a monk who accompanied Paramahansaji that day: “Master sat before the organ and played several of his chants and other Indian music....Our hearts were filled with rapture. A real devotee of God was singing to the Divine Mother, and we felt his love and devotion and the bliss flowing from his hallowed temple. He played the organ for at least an hour, perhaps longer. His eyes were radiant with joy.”
From the Self Realisation Fellowship Voluntary League Newsletter Summer 2012
Music critic Wayne Bledsoe, who writes for the Knoxville News Sentinel, has included my latest album BOSH & MOONSHINE in his list of the best CDS of 2013. I'm included with some august company, such as David Bowie, Van Dyke Parks, and the Handsome Family! Here's what Wayne said: "Mike Craver has created folk operas for many years. This set collects songs from several of these dramatic period pieces and many of the tracks sound as if they could've been written in the 1800s when the plays are set. Full of humor, theatrics and strangeness (a taxidermist dreams of preserving his relatives) it is a peculiar pleasure." (drawing by C. Baker)
Thanks also to Wayne, BOSH & MOONSHINE was also included in the VILLAGE VOICE's 2013 "Pazz and Jop" poll. Each year the VOICE sends ballots out to music writers across the globe, seeking consensus about what the best musical works of the previous year were. In this year's Pazz & Jop poll, 457 critics participated in the vote.
Here's Tommy doing his version of "Oh How I Wish I Was in Peoria", me doing "Bidin' My Time", and Jim doing "Jerusalem Morning", a song he learned from his father. All three tunes are from a gig at Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, in October 1983. (Special thanks to John Sheffler at WCMU FM for digging these up!) Also, here are two tunes from my latest show.
"Oh How I Wish I Was in Peoria" (H. Wood, B. Rose & M. Dixon)
"Bidin' My Time" (Geo. & Ira Gershwin)
"Jerusalem Morning" (authors unknown)
"I Ain't Dead Yet" (Mike Craver) -- a new one, from THE QUEEN OF THE COWTOWNS
"Asenalooga" (Mike Craver) -- and another, from THE QUEEN OF THE COWTOWNS
Summer Fall 2009
Fall Winter 2005
Spring Summer 2005