The theater district's swanky new nightclub 54 Below is hosting a slew of Broadway's hottest stars this summer, from two-time Tony winner Patti LuPone to downtown diva Justin Vivian Bond. Broadway.com is asking these talented vocalists to share a few musical memories and tell fans about the music that molded them into the performers they are today. Next up is Michael Arden, whose array of credits range from TV's GCB to the cult musical BARE: A Pop Opera to Broadway's The Times They Are A-Changin'. He will perform a new solo show at 54 Below on August 12. Below, Arden pays respect to his favorite divas from Audra to Judy to Adele.
What record/album was your favorite growing up?
Joni Mitchell's Blue. I love it so much I had to perform it in its entirety.
What concert most influenced you as a performer?
That's a hard question. I feel like I'm so influenced by every concert I see. Whether it be the vocals, the songwriting, the musicianship or the showmanship that sticks with me. I will say that dancing to Mumford and Sons under the open sky at Coachella was one of the most beautiful moments of my life thus far. So was hearing Audra McDonald live for the first time.
What is your go-to audition song?
“Desperado” by The Eagles.
What song are you most excited to perform in your show?
I think I'm most excited to perform a song called “Meant to Be” from the musical I am currently writing with Our Lady J, who is also serving as my musical director for the evening. If you don't know her already, you should.
What musical theater track is the most played on your iPod?
I just checked, and weirdly, it's “The Radio” from Caroline, or Change.
If you can invite any performer onstage for a duet at 54 Below, who would it be?
This dream changes daily, but today I'd have to say Joni. Or Adele.
What musical theater performer from the past do you wish you can collaborate with?
Judy, of course.
What album was the soundtrack to your 20s?
I've still got a few months to pick this one.
What’s your favorite love song?
“All That We Let In” by the Indigo Girls.
What song makes you feel sexy?
“Save Room” by John Legend.
What is your favorite workout track?
Almost any Muse song. I'm a big fan.
What’s the best hidden gem in on your iPod?
I may or may not have recorded Heather Headley's last performance of Aida. Shhh. She's a diva.
Favorite break-up song?
“The Heart of the Matter” by the Eagles. But India.Arie does it best, I think.
What song most makes you smile?
I can't help but grin when “Fuck You” by C-Lo Green comes on.
When this song plays, I can’t help but dance:
“I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” It's sort of all there.
Check out Michael Arden at 54 Below on August 12.