By: Sandi Durell


The upcoming cast of “Singing Cyndi Lauper” at 54 Below . . . well, they just want to have fun and no doubt the evening of December 14th will be an explosive celebration of Broadway’s Kinky Boots Tony winning composer/lyricist that will rock the rafters and shake up the cellar.

The cast features Becca Ayers, Josh Franklin, Annie Golden, Joe Iconis & Family, Grace McLean, Molly Pope, Brian Charles Rooney and Gabrielle Stravelli. Theater Pizzazz had a few questions for this talented bunch. Here’s what some had to say:


Q: What songs are you singing?

Annie Golden (Orange is the New Black) is putting her own spin on True Colors and All Thru the Night, while Josh Franklin (Ghost the Musical) is all about Witness and Rollin’ and Tumblin’. Grace McLean (Natasha,Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812) is reving up for Iko Iko and I’ll Kiss You and Brian Charles Rooney (Three Penny Opera) is readying for I Drove All Night and Sisters of Avalon. Cabaret’s award-winning jazz vocalist Gabrielle Stravelli will be ready to Unhook the Stars, Time After Time.


Q: What is your first memory of Cyndi Lauper?

Annie remembers Cyndi fronting a band called “Blue Angel”and becoming fast friends at a festival where Annie was part of a band “The Spirits.” It was the amazing music videos on MTV that first caught Josh’ attention and for Grace, why, the woman cracking eggs as the intro to the music video “Girls Just Wanna have Fun!” Brian recalls her losing to Tina Turner at one of the awards but he was little and can’t recall which one – just remembers loving her voice and her hair! Seems that watching videos on MTV (back in the day when they played videos) was Gabrielle’s first look at Cyndi as she danced through the streets in that big, full skirt. Magic!


Q: What’s your all time favorite Cyndi Lauper song?

Annie – “I’m Gonna Be Strong”   Josh – Hard to pick one, “True Colors?” Grace – “Time After Time” Brian – Toss Up: “Time After Time,” “Good Enough,” “Shine” but holds a place in his heart for “Above the Clouds” when Cyndi sang it in his ear at Bar Centrale after a performance of Three Penny Opera. Gabrielle would die a happy woman if she could sing “Time After Time” with Cyndi.


Q: Do you really think all girls just want to have fun?

Josh says “yes” but since he’s a girl only on weekends he can’t speak for everyone; Grace is more the cone head and homage to the Marx Brothers type at a dance party while Brian believes it’s true but adds “so do the boys.” Gabrielle delved deeper, that the song is really about girls wanting to be independent and in control of their lives, and free to have whatever fun they want.


Q: What movie (or book) should Cyndi tackle for her next Broadway musical?

Annie thinks “Some Like It Hot,” “Grapes of Wrath” or Midnight Cowboy” would make good fodder while it’s hands down for Josh with “Fried Green Tomatoes.” Grace doesn’t mind any Glenn Close movie and Brian, for selfish reasons, says a musical about Candy Darling. But Gabrielle thinks Labyrinth – a Bowie/Lauper combo would make the world explode.

Right now the explosion is about to happen at 54 Below, 254 West 54 St. (cellar) – Sunday, December 14th at 7pm so, if there are still tickets available, either pick up the phone and call 646 476-3551 or go to to save your spot.