Join us Monday June 5th for our first annual Pride Month Benefit Concert. TICKETS HERE
Since 1991, the Circle has booked some of the top songwriting talent around the world at the Historic Bitter End in the west village. The Circle has been home to some of the best artists of the last three decades including Grammy winner Norah Jones, George David Weiss, Lisa Loeb, Judy Collins, Phoebe Snow, Rob Mathes, Peter Zizzo, Jesse Harris, Vanessa Carlton, Gavin DeGraw, Lana Del Rey and Ian Axel to name a few. Directed by platinum selling singer songwriter and vocal coach, Tina Shafer
Part of our mission as a company is create and nurture community across all lines of race, gender, sexuality, religion, age and so forth. As LGBTQ artists continue to be underserved in the music industry, we have decided to feature Monday June 5th as a night featuring all LGTBQ artists who are dedicated to sharing their unique stories. We are donating the proceeds of the ticket sales to The Center and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund as we believe in their missions of building empowerment, celebrating diversity and advocating for justice.
We have secured 5 amazing artists whose work range from prominent features in Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Tony Winner on Broadway, ASCAP young songwriter of the year, American Idol to Dancing with the Stars, and more…
Billy Porter is a Tony® and Grammy® Award-winning actor, singer, director, composer, and playwright from Pittsburgh, PA. As a recording artist, Porter’s solo albums include his first CD, Untitled, on A&M records and his sophomore album, At the Corner of Broadway + Soul – LIVE, on Sh-K-Boom Records.
Billy’s Back on Broadway, Porter’s most recent album was released in 2014. Featuring ten classics made famous on the Great White Way that focus on inspiration, empowerment and hope, the album’s title (and cover art) is a nod to Sammy Davis, Jr.’s recording Sammy’s Back on Broadway. Rock icon Cyndi Lauper also makes a special guest appearance on Billy’s Back on Broadway, dueting with Porter on “Happy Days/Get Happy.”
Porter’s voice can also be heard on the albums A Very Rosie Christmas, Jim Brickman’s Destiny (top ten AC hit), Grease (revival cast album), Adam Guettel’s Myths & Hymns, Gershwin and Sondheim Benefit Albums, Hercules (Disney) and Anastasia (Warner Bros.), Liz Callaway – The Story Goes On, Alvin Ailey/Revelations,Broadway Cares Home For The Holidays, Dreamgirls in Concert, HAIR (Actor’s Fund Benefit recording), Great Joy: A Gospel Christmas (with The Broadway Inspirational Voices) and The Human Rights Campaign’s Love Rocks.
Porter ended a run starring as “Lola” in the smash hit Broadway musical Kinky Boots, for which he won the 2013 Drama Desk and Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Musical. Other Broadway acting credits include Miss Saigon, Five Guys Named Moe, Grease (all original cast), Smokey Joe’s Café and Dreamgirls (20th Anniversary Broadway Concert and LA Ovation Award). Off Broadway and regional credits include Angels in America (Signature Theater), Romance In Hard Times, The Merchant of Venice, House of Lear and Radiant Baby (The New York Shakespeare Festival), Birdie Blue (Second Stage), Angels in America (Actors Theatre Of Louisville), Going Native (The Long Wharf), Jelly’s Last Jam (Alliance), Topdog/Underdog (City Theatre), King Lear (Exit, Pursued By A Bear), Jason Robert Brown’s Songs For A New World (original cast), Jesus Christ Superstar, Antigone, A Chorus Line and Chicago. His one-man show, Ghetto Superstar: The Man That I Am, debuted at The Public Theater in NYC in conjunction with City Theatre of Pittsburgh and was nominated for a 2005 GLAAD Media Award. Porter was also named “Pittsburgh’s Performer of the Year 2003-2004” by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Porter’s film and television credits include The Humbling co- starring Al Pacino & Greta Gerwig directed by Barry Levinson, Sundance Film Festival features The Broken Hearts Club (Sony Pictures) and Intern, Noel (with Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams), Shake Rattle & Roll as Little Richard (CBS mini-series), Another World (recurring), Twisted, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, The Big C, The Oprah Winfrey Show,A Very Rosie Christmas, The Tonight Show, and multiple appearances on The Rosie O’Donnell Show. He will be seen on Baz Luhrman’s The Get Down which premieres on Netflix August 12th, 2016. His original song “Time” has been featured twice on the mega-hit television series So You Think You Can Dance as well as the 2011 Miss America Pageant. Porter’s concerts credits include opening act for Rosie O’Donnell and Aretha Franklin, Carnegie Hall, John McDaniel and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, as well as The Buffalo Philharmonic, Peter Nero and The Philly Pops, soloist for President Bill Clinton and various benefits throughout the U.S.
As a director, Porter recently directed the revival of George C. Wolf’s ground breaking play, The Colored Museum at the prestigious Huntington Theater. Porter also has directed a critically acclaimed recreation of The Wiz and conceived a musical revue entitled Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Music of Stevie Wonder, which starred Chaka Khan and ran at The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas in the spring of 2002. Porter conceived and directed Being Alive, a musical celebration that aligns the cannons of Stephen Sondheim and William Shakespeare and combines them with the soulful musical styles of the African-American experience. Being Alivemade its world premiere in the summer of 2007 at The Westport Country Playhouse and immediately transferred to The Philadelphia Theatre Company, inaugurating their new Suzanne Roberts Theatre. He directed the new musical Twilight In Manchego for the NYMF in the fall of 2008 and is the NAACP Theatre Award winner for Best Direction of a Musical for his production of Once On This Island at Reprise Theatre Company, where he also conceived and directed a new musical revue calledThe Soul of Richard Rodgers. Other directing credits include Five Guys Named Moe for Casa Manana, Altar Boyz for Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, RENT (Associate Director: Off-Broadway Revival), Wicked Summer Nights Concert Series at The Ford Amphitheater starring Shoshana Bean, Eden Espinosa and Stephen Schwartz in conjunction with Upright Cabaret where he was Artistic Director for the 2009 Season. Porter made his London directorial debut in the fall of 2009 with Olivier Award Nominee Patina Miller at Live in the Delfont Room. Primary Stages presented the highly successful World Premiere of While I Yet Live, which he wrote, that played at the off Broadway Duke Theater.
Porter is also a graduate of The Professional Program In Screenwriting at UCLA and is an adjunct professor at his alma mater Carnegie Mellon University’s School Of Drama, where he has directed productions of Company and Letters From ‘Nam. Porter also has received an honorary doctorate from Washington & Jefferson College.
Porter was most recently seen in the Tony nominated Broadway musical, Shuffle Along, directed by George Wolfe and co-starring Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Joshua Henry and Brandon Victor Dixon. He will direct Top Dog/Underdog at the Huntington Theater in early 2017. Additionally, Porter is currently recording his new album which will be released on Sony Masterworks.
Rachel Sage –
A soulful vocalist and innovative multi-instrumentalist, NYC singer/songwriter and producer Rachael Sage is one of the busiest touring artists in independent music, performing 100+ dates a year with her band The Sequins throughout the US, UK, & Europe. She has earned a loyal following for her dynamic piano playing, delicate guitar work, soulful vocals, and improvisational audience interaction.
Sage has shared stages with Sarah McLachlan, A Great Big World, Judy Collins, Shawn Colvin, Marc Cohn, Jamie Cullum, The Animals and Ani DiFranco. She has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and received numerous songwriting awards including The John Lennon Songwriting Contest (Grand Prize) and several Independent Music Awards. Her songs have appeared on MTV, HBO, the “Fame” soundtrack, and in the last 3 seasons of Lifetime’s controversial reality series,”Dance Moms”.
Sage’s latest album CHOREOGRAPHIC delivers a musically ambitious and emotionally accessible tribute to her very first love: Dance. A former dancer who studied at the School of American Ballet in her teens, Sage has been thrilled to see her music widely embraced by the lyrical dance community over the past several years (videos featuring dancers performing to her music have received over 9.5 million hits on YouTube). She “envisioned each song as a fully-choreographed multi-media experience”; the result is an inspired set of piano-based chamber-pop merging orchestral elements with her signature blend of folk, pop and rock. The album, which was released on MPress Records, was co-produced by Sage and Grammy® winning producer Andy Zulla (Idina Menzel, Rod Stewart).
Marissa Pontecorvo is a New York based Singer/Songwriter who has been performing since childhood. She has performed with grammy winner Gordon Chambers, and has also performed alongside grammy winners Vanessa Carlton and Jessie Harris. She was also a top 70 contestant on the FOX hit reality show, American Idol season 11. Currently, Marissa has a full time residency at the Redeye Grille and Mastro’s steakhouse in midtown Manhattan as well as Bronxville’s Underhill’s Crossing playing live music nightly.
Nick Deutsch is an award winning New York based singer/songwriter. He has shared the stage with established singer-songwriters Ian Axle, (Great Big World) Rob Mathes, Lizanne Knott, Andrew Fortier, Ari Zizzo and Jillette Johnson as well as recorded with American Idol’s finalist Marissa Pontecorvo. Songs off his debut “Crazy Ride” have let to nominations for Best Pop Male Vocal (2013 IMEA Awards), The Great American Song (2013 POP Category) and featured interviews with Pop Vulture, Accidental Bear, Towleroad, Apple Inc. the Huffington Post and Buzzfeed. Nick was also the recipient of a 2011 Philadelphia Songwriter’s Project Award, a 2011 New York Songwriter’s Circle Award, a 2014 American Songwriter’s Award Nomination, a 2014 International Songwriter’s Contest award, 5 UK songwriting semi-finalist nominations a 2014 ISC award, an International Vocalist Runner Up Nomination, and his lyrics (Crazy Ride) have won nominations and been printed in the nationally published American Songwriter magazine (May 2014). His music has been featured on Nickelodeon and more.
Ari zizzo is a New York based singer/songwriter who has opened up for Mumford and Sons, New Kids on the Block and more. He was awarded the young songwriter award from ASCAP and has shared the stage with John Oates, Rob Mathes, and his mother (Songwriter’s Circle Artistic Director Tina and Shafer), and his father (Record Producer) Peter Zizzo.
Pop/soul singer songwriter Todd Alsup recently released his third studio album,“Currency,” the follow up to his award-winning 2011 release “Todd Alsup.” The new project showcases Alsup’s knack for intelligent, soulful and deeply personal storytelling. Lush piano lines, infectious grooves, vibrant horns,warm synths, and Alsup’s signature vocals fill out a modern pop/soul album overflowing with catchy hooks.
Alsup was born and raised in the suburbs of Detroit. His previous studio albums
have received various accolades including a 2012 Out Music Award for Pop Song of the Year, a Yamaha endorsement, placements on MTV and PBS, and features in Billboard Magazine and Performing Songwriter. In addition to his nightly residency at NYC’s Redeye Grill, Alsup regularly tours nationally and internationally.
“Currency” was conceived and recorded in Switzerland with producer Orlando Ribar and funded by the generous support of Alsup’s fans (“The Todd Squad”) via two successful Kickstarter campaigns.
STEPHEN LEONARD is an out rock powerhouse known for his commanding vocal and stage performance. His original music and creative leadership efforts have garnered international recognition for projects appearing on television, in film and online.
Leonard’s passion for sensibility and music has helped pioneer a growing community of singers and songwriters and has produced and hosted events that have helped raise thousands of dollars for various LGBTQ and equality-driven causes. In 2013, Leonard helped activate the entertainment stage for the Illinois marriage equality movement and was also recognized by the Windy City Times for outstanding contributions to the Chicago music and sports communities.
Originally from Metro Detroit, Leonard is now based in Brooklyn by way of Chicago. His new full-length, untitled album is set for a late 2017 release—after two years of writing and recording with producer, Craig Levy of Little Pioneer Cider House.