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Homecoming song: Broadway star celebrates the tunes of Brooklyn

for Brooklyn Paper
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She will sing the music of Kings!

A Broadway legend will celebrate the songwriters of Brooklyn — and her own childhood in the borough of Kings — with a powerhouse solo show at On Stage at Kingsborough on April 28. Actress and singer Randy Graff, who originated the role of Fantine in Broadway’s “Les Miserables” back in 1987, said that she is excited to bring her cabaret show “Made in Brooklyn Bound for Broadway” to her home borough for the first time.

“I’m so grateful for the incredible career I’ve had. I’ve worked with some wonderful people, but one of the most thrilling things is to go back to Brooklyn and share my show with my hometown people,” said Graff, who was born in East New York and raised in Canarsie.

The show will feature a line-up of songs written or performed by Brooklyn natives, including George Gershwin, Carole King, Neil Sedaka, and of course, Barbra Streisand, who influenced her singing style.

“She was a big influence on me, growing up in Brooklyn,” admitted Graff.

The songs, including “Alfie,” “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” and Streisand’s megahit “People,” will be interspersed with stories of Graff’s life in Kings County, singing on street corners with her friends during a more innocent time, when people left their front door unlocked and the milkman still made deliveries.

The borough has changed a lot since those days, “but still when I go back, the heart and soul of Brooklyn feels the same to me,” said Graff.

The evening will also cover her rise to the stage, and feature some show-stopping songs from her long career on Broadway, including “You Can Always Count on Me,” from her Tony-winning turn in “City of Angels.”

“Made in Brooklyn Bound for Broadway” has toured the country, with stops at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, as well as more intimate venues, but no matter where she sings, Brooklyn natives come up after the show to introduce themselves. Graff says that Brooklynites, wherever they wind up, are always “real authentic people, with no B.S. They’re the salt of the earth.”

Graff lives in New Jersey now, and is sometimes dismayed by some of the changes she sees when visiting friends in Brooklyn Heights — but she says the borough is in her blood.

“It looks just like SoHo,” she said. “But underneath it all, there’s that energy I tap into, that feels like home. No matter what it looks like, it’s home. I’m home.”

“Made In Brooklyn… Bound For Broadway” at On Stage at Kingsborough [2001 Oriental Boulevard at Oxford Street in Manhattan Beach, (718) 368–5596, www.onstageatkingsborough.org]. April 28 at 8 pm. $32–$37.

Updated 5:45 pm, July 9, 2018
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