I've made two entertainment discoveries this month. As an arts reporter, that's what I live for.
Lawrence band, started by brother-sister duo
The first is an eight-person band called "Lawrence" and I do not mean Welk.
As it turns out, I lived within singing distance from these Lawrences in Manhattan. This brother-and-sister duo (they've been making music together since Gracie, the younger, was about 3) embody New York City cool.
If Stevie Wonder and Randy Newman ("Short People") walked into a bar and met Heather Headley (Broadway's "The Color Purple"), Ray Charles and a K-pop band that begins to explain my take on this band of eight.
The next time you're in a funk — or any other time — look them up. Better yet, catch them at 8 p.m. April 3 at the Bluebird.
Clyde Lawrence is four years Gracie's senior. When he was 6 — I exaggerate you not — he wrote the theme song for "Miss Congeniality" (2000).
Since, he has written scores for TV and movies, including Disney’s "Noelle" (2019), Steven Spielberg’s "Animaniacs" (2020) and "Landline" (2017).
Coming attractions: Former Monkee Micky Dolenz will revisit hits at Brown County Music Center
Gracie, an actress and vocalist, appeared most recently in the Showtime drama "Billions" and the CBS All-Access murder mystery "One Dollar." On Broadway, she was in "Brighton Beach Memoirs" (2009); in films she was in shows such as "The Sitter" (2011) and "Did You Hear About the Morgans?" (2009). Her TV appearances included "The Good Wife" (2012), "The Americans" (2014) and "Younger" (2015).
In the band, she uses all of the voice registers, from whistle to belt, and seems to make up a few original ones as she goes. That, combined with her bouncing choreography and precious facial expressions, is what makes Lawrence crazy good to watch and hear.
New York City music blog Pancakes and Whiskey said, “Each (song) was keyboard-driven, energetic and featured the mind-blowing vocal arrangements of Clyde and Gracie.” Popdust entertainment news organization said, “Soul-pop duo on the edge of a breakthrough." Marketing and production company Live for Live Music said, “If this groovy corner of the New York City scene is going to take the world by storm, Lawrence may well be its best bet for the future.”
Last summer Lawrence released its new album, "Hotel TV," and its tracks have garnered tens of millions of streams across all platforms and have gone viral many times on Tik Tok and Instagram. The album’s lead single, “Don’t Lose Sight" is in an international Microsoft commercial, which has hurled it into the Top 20 on the US Shazam Pop Charts and has led it to receiving airplay on Top 40 radio stations throughout the United States.
"In college (Clyde and Gracie attended Brown University), we did about 50% covers," Clyde said over the phone. "Now we we do almost all originals."
You'll see right away that Clyde and Gracie use almost opposite performance styles. "We do agree on most things, though. We have different tastes, but we respect each other. In our family, we always take each other's opinions seriously," Clyde said.
You should take Lawrence seriously and catch them at the Bluebird.
If you go
WHAT: Lawrence, an up and coming band of eight.
WHEN: 8 p.m. April 3.
WHERE: Bluebird Nightclub, 216 N. Walnut St.
Brown County Playhouse reinventing the basement, for shows
The historic Brown County Playhouse in a truly Midwest little-town setting is taking steps to revamp the vast basement into an intimate performing space.
"I think it would be a terrific venue for small intimate audiences, or a show that wouldn't book high volume audiences," director Johnny Elmore said in an email. "I can manage it with other volunteers as long as (management is) aware of all bookings, and has a final say in everything."
Elmore described its potential uses as including "just about anything that would bring in small invited audiences." On the wish list are events such as play readings, solo guitar shows, standup comedy, improv skits and short plays. The new space could be used along with the new Actors Studio, recently formed at the playhouse.
This article originally appeared on The Herald-Times: Bluebird to welcome Lawrence sibling band; playhouse adds space