Ridgefield Playhouse Exec Shares Revealing Tales About Richards and More
The Ridgefield Playhouse and I-95 have had a longstanding and fruitful business relationship.
The Playhouse, it's leadership and staff have always been welcoming to us and we like to think we've been good to them as well.
I've been doing the I-95 Morning Show for 15 years and in that time I've had so many wonderful memories in that building. We performed our Ethan and Lou 10 year Anniversary concert there, I've met countless celebrities at the Playhouse and have attended a ton of their shows.
Many of the top flight guests we've booked on the I-95 Morning Show have been courtesy of our association with the Playhouse. But it wasn't just the rock stars that got invited into our studio, the people behind the curtain have always been regular guests on our shows.
Jared Shahid is the new Managing Director at the Ridgefield Playhouse but not a new face to us. Ethan and I have hung with him backstage, we've had him in the studio and he and I, even worked on a TV project together.
Jared is one of the best storytellers I know so we were delighted to invite him back on the show. Whenever he comes in, he brings tickets and stories for our audience. These are some of the amazing behind the scenes tales he shared with us on Thursday (5/25/23).
What is amazing about the Playhouse is the people, the top level celebrities on and off the stage?
"About three weeks ago, Keith Richards showed up at the Playhouse. He came for Peter Wolf, he's come for some things over the years."
"It's amazing, it's like this guy is a living legend, you're in the presence of true greatness. I pulled his manager aside and offered her several hundred thousand dollars on the spot for Keith to do a gig at the Playhouse. Hey, you gotta shoot your shot."
We asked Jared if there were any performers who caused the Playhouse staff any tension over the years, this was his response:
"I will say that Dickey Betts was that way. You know, we loved Dickey and he's still around but not performing. Dickey was that way because of his alcoholism. He was in really bad shape a handful of times at the Playhouse in a way that I thought the shows were not going to play. He couldn't stand up, he was throwing up all over the place before the show. Thirty minutes into the gig everybody is still waiting, it's 8:30, the show is supposed to start at 8:00. He's still on the bus not able to stand up, the tour manager runs in looking for towels, it's like OK this is not going well. The quick end to that is there is an extraordinary thing that happens with guys like that where they may not be wired to do much but they are wired to slay on the guitar. Dickey put his guitar on and something just changed, the guy went out and played his heart out. He could barely stand up, he was leaning against his kid but he was still playing everything. It took him a little while to get going but there he is, the muscle memory is there he's playing Blue Sky, it's all happening. Things like that, in that environment were really tough to be around and it was sad to be around but it's like this guy is a legend we don't want to not do the show, we want to have him. So, that was very dicey there, very touch and go."
We asked Jared about Chazz Palminterri who has been a guest and a performer at the Ridgefield Playhouse many times, this is what he had to say about Chazz:
"Have you seen his show? It's incredible and I was talking to Chazz before his performance and we were talking about bringing the show back with some frequency at the Playhouse. He said, have you ever seen the show? I said no. He said, just see the F--- show! Go watch the F--- show! I was like OK. I watched the show, it was unbelievable, the guy does like 15 different characters, it is very intense and afterwards I go back and he says, did you see the F--- show? I said yeah I saw the show. He says, so? I said OK, we're good here, he goes, that's what I thought."
Andrew Dice Clay
About 5 years ago, we had Andrew Dice Clay as a guest on the I-95 Morning Show and I've been pushing to get him back ever since. I've been working Jared on this for a week now, asking him about it repeatedly. This triggered a funny thought for Jared who told:
"We have a tough time getting ground transportation for Andrew Dice Clay because he chain smokes in the car. So, a lot of folks won't do it but he requires an actual limousine. He loves the limo, don't bring me a Town car and I don't want to see an SUV. I want the limo, he's old school. He's old-school big limo and he's just going to chain smoke the entire time."
Bernie Williams & Tommy Lasorda
I've had the great pleasure of playing in the annual Ridgefield Playhouse/Bernie Williams celebrity softball game. I mentioned to Jared, what a great event this is and he agreed, remarking:
"This is the 7th annual Bernie Williams day. We have a charity softball game, followed by a Bernie Williams concert, it's a whole lot of fun. The game is amazing, if you've been there you know. A couple of years ago I sat with Tommy Lasorda, that is the caliber of player/coach that takes part in this. Mariano Rivera, Carlos Pena, David Cone, Daryl Strawberry, you name it. These guys come once and they love it and come back. So every year gets kind of dialed up a little bit more, a few more special guests, a few more phone calls get made. I said to Bernie this year, you need to pick up the phone for a couple of these guys. CC Sabathia is not doing anything, Derek Jeter is not doing anything, A-Rod is not doing anything, pick up the phone."
Shahid added this about Tommy Lasorda appearing at the game a few years ago:
"It was wild. I literally sat next to him for most of the game. He's still cracking jokes and talking smack. It was incredible. That was a very special moment."
We made Jared sit in the I.S.S. (In School Suspension) chair.
Listen to the Long form discussion with Jared below.
He even made it into the retro promo.
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