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"We're really the brat pack of Broadway."
--Jason Raize, The New York Times

 


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<< Afro-American Newspaper interview with Samuel E. Wright and Jason Raize

The New York Times (New York, NY)
Broadway's Neo-Rat Pack
Finds the Neo-China Club

by Monique P. Yazigi
December 14, 1997


Click here to read the story live on The New York Times website
 



THE SETTING: It was a notorious hangout for strippers, a place where members of New York sports teams could drink (and pick up the scantly clad). It got a reputation as a rock club where David Bowie or Iggy Pop might jam. Parties were rowdy, fights broke out and neighbors of the China Club, at Broadway and 75th Street complained. So Danny Fried, the owner of the club, moved it downtown to 268 West 47th Street, at Eighth Avenue, cleaning up the club's act, so to speak.

But for the opening party last Wednesday night, the old devotees (a cross between the casts of "Goodfellas" and "Tommy") seemed to follow, along with a smattering of the fabulous.

THE BUZZ: No one could figure out how the guest list was put together. Upstairs in the disco, guys from Little Italy reminisced about the old China Club ("no fish tank" was one complaint). In a V.I.P. section, Rod Stewart and Christy Turlington sat with friends. Downstairs, amid paparazzi, 20-something Broadway performers chatted.

Jason Raize, 22, who plays the lion in Disney's "Lion King," sat with eight friends. "I don't want to say this too loud, but we're really the up-and-coming Broadway generation," he said. "We're really the brat pack of Broadway."

His friend Felicia Finley, 25, who plays April, a prostitute, in "The Life" agreed. "It's like we can't believe we're on Broadway. We call each other from our dressing rooms. I can't believe we even have dressing rooms."

Mr. Raize said: "The fame is really coming at us all at once. And it's hard to know whom to trust. We can count on each other."

Dressed as a lion, he waits each night for Ms. Finley, who is dressed as a prostitute (with a tattoo on her rear), to call.

"I call Jason from my dressing room when he's about to go on, just to say hi," Ms. Finley said. "I need to say hi. You know, we're both basically naked on stage."

"Do we all really need to know that?" Deedee Lynn Magno of "Miss Saigon" said.

"It's like we're family," Mr. Raize said, sipping champagne.

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