Corky Hale (Pianist, Harpist and Vocalist) was born in a small mid-western farm town and started taking piano lessons at age three. At age seven, while vacationing with her family in Florida, Hale was heard in the lobby of her hotel picking out tunes on the piano by House bandleader, Horace Heidt. Heidt had a little band jacket made for her and featured her for the next few weeks in the evening show. She began studying piano at Chicago Conservatory at the age of seven, and harp at the age of eight.
She has performed at The White House with Tony Bennett, soloed with Barbra Streisand in Central Park and at the Hollywood Bowl, and performed with Björk on her MTV Special in London. Hale has also appeared with George Michael at London’s Royal Albert Hall and Washington, D.C.’s RFK Stadium. She has played harp for Liberace (on his television show and at Madison Square Garden) and Judy Collins, piano for Billie Holiday, Mel Tormé and Peggy Lee, and sung with the bands of
Harry James, Ray Anthony and Jerry Gray.
Hale’s harp, piano and vocals can be heard on her three albums “CORKY!;” “Have Yourself A Jazzy Little Christmas;”and her current CD “Corky Hale and Friends...I’m Glad There Is You.” Corky Hale’s CDs are available at www.cdbaby.com and www.amazon.com.
Her sold-out performances at the Oak Room at the Algonquin in New York, Davenport’s in Chicago, the Cinegrill and Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. in Los Angeles, the Plush Room in San Francisco, and Pizza On The Park in London have led Los Angeles Times’ jazz reviewer Don Heckman to observe that Hale is “more than a triple threat,” and the San Francisco Examiner’s Philip Ellwood noted her performances are “of cyclonic proportions.” She has also been seen and heard on “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson.”
Hale produced “Give ‘em Hell Harry,” starring Jason Alexander at the Tiffany Theatre in Los Angeles in 1992. Since 2000 Hale has frequently produced and performed her star-studded show “Corky Hale and Friends: From Tin Pan Alley to Beverly Hills,” at the Beverly Hills Civic Center. In March 2003 her “Salute To Hollywood Songwriters” opened the newly restored Ferry Building at a Gala for San Francisco’s “Raising Hope” charity, and in 2002 this show opened the 25th Anniversary Season of the 1,000-seat La Mirada Theatre. In that same year Hale’s musical “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” broke Box Office records at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Florida. She also produced 1998’s “Lullaby Of Broadway” at the Tiffany Theatre in West Hollywood, voted one of the “10 Best Shows” of the year by the Los Angeles Times. Latera concert version of the show starring Sally Kellerman was presented at the University of Judaism. She is currently preparing a new version of the production, re-titled “I Only Have Eyes For You.”
On November 22, 2007, Corky Hale made her debut at Carnegie Hall as a Piano Soloist with the New York Pops Orchestra, under the baton of Guest Conductor, Barry Levitt. In 2008 she appeared at the Metropolitan Room in New York and produced a Tribute to Sammy Cahn at the Wilshire Theatre Beverly Hills. In 2009 she appeared at Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. in Los Angeles, selling it out for the third time. Also in 2009, she also appeared as a performer on the Inaugural Playboy Jazz Cruise of the Caribbean.
In December 2008 – January 2009, she produced a Sold Out, Standing Room Only Revival of Leiber & Stoller’s Smokey Joe’s Café at El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood, which received rave reviews, including a Critics Choice in the Los Angeles Times. The same production was also nominated for 10 Ovation Awards in 2009, receiving the most nominations of any single theatrical show produced in Los Angeles during that year. Currently discussions are underway for another National Tour of the Revival of the show. In 2010, Corky Hale served as one of the financial backers of Academy AwardÒ nominated documentary film, “The Most Dangerous Man In America – Daniel Ellsberg and The Pentagon Papers.” Hale also appeared at Catalina Bar & Grill and the Hillcrest Country Club in Los Angeles in 2010.
2011 appearances included: the 22nd New York Cabaret Convention at Lincoln Center; the 16th Annual Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; the Knickerbocker Bar & Grill in New York; Midtown Jazz at Midday at St. Peter’s Church in New York; Catalina Bar & Grill in Los Angeles, CA, and the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles, CA.
In addition to her musical accomplishments, Hale jokingly considers herself the ultimate cook-housewife. She has been happily married since 1970 for 41 years to songwriter Mike Stoller of the team Leiber & Stoller, whose show Smokey Joe’s Café still holds the record as the longest running musical revue in Broadway history. She and her husband built the state-of-the-art Dorothy Hecht Health Center in partnership with Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, which serves 2,000 women monthly. She and her husband are currently building another health center in South Los Angeles. In 2011 Hale was honored as the Champion of Choice by NARAL Pro-Choice America (National Abortion Rights Action League) for her lifelong advocacy for women’s reproductive rights.
Hale serves on the national advisory board of NARAL, the national advisory board of Planned Parenthood and the California board of the Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project (WRRAP). She and her husband are strong advocates of the Southern Poverty Law Center and serve on the board of the National Coalition to Ban Gun Violence. In 2012, besides appearing at Catalina Bar & Grill in “A Birthday Tribute To Billie Holiday” with Freda Payne and Tricia Tahara, she will be appearing with her husband, Mike Stoller, as the Inaugural Guests in the new “In Conversation” Speaker Series at the Museum at Eldridge Street in Manhattan, NY, in celebration of the museum’s home, the historic 1887 Eldridge Street Synagogue.