By Holli Harms

It was 1973 and sandwich shop owner Paul Sub opened the nightclub, Coventry. Coventry, a massive venue able to accommodate 700, was located on Bliss Street in Queens. Coventry would change the music world. The Ramones started at Coventry, KISS first donned their makeup there, Blondie performed there, and the New York Dolls were regulars. Coventry was the place to go and be in the 70’s.

Photo credit Esme R. Smith.

As a child, Paul Sub’s family fled Austria and the Nazi rule for fear of their lives and ended up in Queens, New York. He and his wife, Mina, whose family fled Nazi Italy, met in Queens and married. They had opened several sandwich shops with musical acts and closed them, then dove further into their love of music with the Popcorn Pub, where you could indeed get popcorn, that showcased up-and-coming acts. That name was soon changed to Coventry and they were off. They had two sons, Charlie and Seymour.

Charlie, a musician himself, tapped into his upbringing on the New York music scene and wrote the musical Bliss Street, along with collaborators and writers Abra Bigham and Rich Brotman, based on his and his father’s life and the music that changed all of our lives. It’s a great story as well as a deserved honor for Paul Sub and his American dream as an immigrant, pioneer, and creator.

The musical ran at Theater For The New City from April 27 to May 20, 2023.

Photo credit Esme R. Smith.

To celebrate the launch of “Bliss Street: An Original Rock ’n’ Roll Legacy” album, Charlie, the cast, and his band Charlie Sub & Sound Dogs, celebrated with a fabulous night at the City Winery Loft! The evening’s host was none other than Michael Musto, who gave us the incredible story of Paul and Charlie throughout the night as the band and cast played songs from the show. It was evident that Charlie and the Bliss Street cast were enjoying coming back together, singing, and reminiscing about their creative process that brought the music to the boards. The songs were all written by Charlie, a combination of 70’s vibe and musical theater, and all terrific.

The 70’s was an era of evolution of new sounds as well as a revolution from the flowing melodies and tunes of past eras. The 70’s musicians were exploring new ways with songs utilizing amplified guitars, screams, synthesizers, and heavy distortion. The 70’s wild experiments in sound gave way to new music genres: punk rock, hard rock, heavy metal, and at the Coventry, Paul and Charlie had a front-row seat to it all.

Photo credit Esme R. Smith

It was a night of celebration for the music of Charlie’s youth, Paul’s tenacity, and what dreaming big can produce. Both Paul and Mina were there sitting in front, letting the music wash over them, and taking it all in. A gathering of music and theater lovers with wonderful music and stories of one family and the change they made in the world of music.

If you haven’t been, City Winery is a beautiful space on Pier 57 on the west side with a terrific assortment of wines and wonderful food that was the perfect space and atmosphere for the release of the cast recording of Bliss Street.

Bliss Street Musical:  Book by Abra Bigham, Story & Concept, Rich Brotman and Charlie Sub, Music and Lyrics by Charlie Sub

Original Cast: Blaize Adler-Ivanbrook, Marlain Angelides, JC Augustin, Thomas Deen Baker Ells Baldwin, Zach Birdsall, Jef Canter, Tyler Egesdal, Alisa Ermolaev, Patrick Kenner, Milo Longenecker, Sarah MacDonnell, Alyson Reim, Felice Rose, Amelia Sasson, Tony Renee Taylor, and Fang Tseng

“Bliss Street: An Original Rock ’n’ Roll Legacy” is available to stream now on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube.

City Winery 25 11th Ave, New York, NY 10011 ( Pier 57)
Phone: (646) 751-6033