newstoo human slow down and enjoy it a little

Too Human: Slow down, and enjoy it a little


Life has slowed down for Ellen Schwartz and Roger Bruno, by design.

“We don’t have to worry anymore about things like, How will this sound if Barbra Streisand were singing it?” said Schwartz, who with Bruno, her husband, performs in the band Too Human, which will play at the Gateway Theatre in Downtown Waynesboro on Friday, Oct. 26.

After a run of hits recorded by the likes of Streisand, Cher, Pat Benatar, Anne Murray and Nancy Wilson, Schwartz and Bruno “got kind of burned out,” Schwartz said, on life in Los Angeles, where they had written music and lyrics for the stars, giving up life in the fast lane for a return to western Massachusetts and a return to their musical roots.

They started writing and recording their own original music, and “felt liberated” at being able to do their own thing. Then came another epiphany. They discovered a deep love for the standards of the 1930s and 1940s –  “Pennies from Heaven,” “It Had To Be You,” “I’ve Got A Crush On You.”

“There are some incredibly beautiful pieces of music in there. And it makes people very happy to hear those songs, and it makes us very happy to be able to perform them,” Bruno said.

Too Human played the Gateway Theatre last year, and Schwartz and Bruno look forward to visits to places like Waynesboro as much as playing the Kennedy Center or gigs in New York City.

“We’ve done the big venues. We’ve done LA. We’re so much happier going to small towns and meeting people one-on-one,” Schwartz said.

“It’s a beautiful country. It really is. We’ve been fortunate to be able to make a lot of friends along the way. And so when we’re touring, we get to see our friends wherever we are,” Bruno said.

A Too Human show is meant to be intimate. “It’s like we’re just having a few friends over,” Bruno said. The duo prefers to play venues like the Gateway, which seats 120, because of their preference to make their shows feel homey.

“We get to have a dialogue with the audience. We get to know what they like. The proximity enforces a closeness that adds a different dimension to the show,” Bruno said.

They look back at their time in the big time with mixed feelings.

“There was a lot to learn. It was a positive time. We learned a lot about studio production, about working with other musicians, about working in that environment,” Bruno said. “But now we have complete control over our creativity. That’s huge. We decide when and where we want to play, we decide what we want to play. Musically and creatively, we get to be all over the map and do all sorts of things. It’s a good place to be.”

“Every day, we get to do something that we love. What could be bad about that?” Schwartz said.



Too Human’s Friday, Oct. 26 performance begins at 8 p.m.  Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $10 in advance and can be obtained online at www.wtagateway or by calling the box office 540-943-9999. Remaining tickets will be at the box office on the night of performance for $12.

Beverages and snacks are available.



Have a story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.

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