Julie Halston DECLASSIFIED! at Birdland in a class of its own
It was a star-studded night at Birdland on Monday as some of the brightest, brightest and most resplendent talent in the industry filled the club for Julie Halston’s new show DECLASSIFIED! But nothing was glistening than the trophy the new Tony Award winner took with her onstage…except perhaps for Halston’s blonde tresses, properly colored and styled for the occasion, unlike both where she had to color herself during quarantine – one of many stories of hilarity that would be shared over the hour-long program, every moment of which was written and performed to absolute perfection.
A Julie Halston comedy show is something that can’t really be described, it has to be experienced. Luckily for Halston fans around the world, Birdland streamed the occasion live so people around the world can see the actress in action, and what a blessing it really is, but nothing beats being in the room to witness that incomparable Julie A Halston glow that has yet to be replicated by anyone else. Stand-up comedy is a delicate art form, in which a performer must walk the fine line of being the person they really are, in real life, and the persona they create for the benefit of the audience. Julie Halston has been a pretty public figure in New York, oh, for the past few years, and she has a style, on and off stage, that people know, especially those in show business. She is Balance Master Julie, the sage who makes you laugh at the bar after the show, with Julie Halston, the actress who makes you scream from your seat during the performance. Never, at any time, does the actress on stage appear fake or exaggerated, even in her most theatrical moments parodying her mother in a locker room full of naked octogenarians or describing a hilarious and horrifying trip to the beach with her. beautiful again. It’s true, Julie Halston has a boyfriend, and it’s not only good for her, it’s great for her game.
Anyone who’s seen a Julie Halston show knows there are certain “bits” that have been a mainstay of her act over the years: reading wedding invitations (hilarious), reading sections of books like , say, The New St Joseph Catechism Manual (HI-Larious), and reading magazine articles, like a (frankly shocking) profile on Kate Moss (Hi-Ho-Larious). These readings are like islands in a sea of comedy and, to access them, Julie takes the audience on a boat through her life of observation, filled with stories that make her laugh. Lockdown, moisturizer made with very strange ingredients, Little Eydie, The Scottish Play, cable television, drugs, holy communion and the first island: the catechism. Then the waters fill with more monologies from Julie’s life, monologues that lead us to the reading of the wedding announcement and, further down the line, to the reading of Kate Moss. It was in these trips, from island to island, from reading to reading, that Julie Halston found some of her most delightful material of all time, brand new because Julie Halston was not done living, she hasn’t finished having adventures, she hasn’t finished eating life. Although very publicly widowed in 2018 (her husband Ralph Howard was a famous news anchor), Halston took some time to grieve and, prodded by girlfriends, tested the waters of dating, which (as anyone can guess it) is comedy gold, especially in Halston’s aesthetic. The stories Julie Halston told Monday night of learning the ‘application date’, first meetings and out-of-town trips to the jungles of Brooklyn and Amish country proved to be some of the greatest monologues comics she has ever created. , brilliantly constructed in a proper storytelling style, and masterfully executed in a proper stand-up format, and still with that individual Julie Halston timing (not to mention vocal prowess that would make even the most skilled voice-over artists jealous). It’s very easy for monologues, storytellers and comedians to fall back on what’s familiar, what’s proven, what has a fan story (like Halston’s legendary show-closer, “Dear Ann Landers “) but Julie Halston is an artist who is not content to rest on her laurels, and her deep dive into uncharted waters has yielded new material that is both remarkable and rewarding. It was one of the best nights, and no mistake…but there is a sting at the end of the story.
Julie Halston is an actress in demand. She is busy. She has offers. She has work. And these comedy shows don’t happen often enough. It was indeed the first time that Julie returned to the stage of Birdland since the lifting of the containment. And that’s just not fair. This is not a criticism, merely an observation, a wistful wish that there was more Julie Halston in the world, more live performances, a NETFLIX special, something, anything that would and could bring more Julie Halston to the audience. This is an original. This is an entity. There’s no other artist with the same voice, vision, artistry (or delivery) as Julie Halston, and more people deserve to bask in her light. Personally, when this writer sat down at Birdland on Monday night, I felt overworked, exhausted, headache, and sad. When I left DECLASSIFIED, after an hour of listening to Julie Halston talk about her life, experiences and observations, it was as if I had just woken up from a ten hour nap, refreshed, nourished, happy and ready to start the day. It was nothing less than a miracle.
They say that laughter is the best medicine. It may be true. But if that’s true, then it must also be said that Julie Halston is infallible medicine. In the opinion of this reviewer, she is a tonic, the panacea, with the power to make a person truly forget their problems and simply become happy. And the world, especially today, needs more. The world needs more Julie Halston.
See great shows at Birdland and Birdland Theatre: THIS is their website.
Visit Julie Halston’s Twitter account HERE and the Instagram page HERE.
Photos by Stephen Mosher
Visit Stephen Mosher’s website HERE.