Q&A with Entertainer Johnny Rodgers

Miami Native to Perform for Pawpurrazzi Pre-Party

Pawpurrazzi 2010 benefits the Humane Society of Greater Miami-Adopt-A-Pet and will be held at Jungle Island on January 22. Although the exciting pre-party will be held at the fabulous estate of Bunny Bastian to promote the event and honor the special people who make it happen.

Performing at the fab pre-event dinner will be Broadway entertainer and Miami native Johnny Rodgers. In addition to accompanying Liza Minnelli on piano for her world tours, Rodgers is known for creating bubbly and romantic pop ballads, tailor-laced melodies and sultry jazz all stirred with piano driven rock.

SocialMiami spoke to the Miami-bred talent about his love of animals, pet fashion, as well as his favorite spots in Miami-Dade.

SM: What part of Miami are you from and where did you go to high school?

I grew up in South Miami – in the Palmetto Bay area. I attended Southwood Middle school and graduated high school from New World School of the Arts. For college, I actually attended University of Miami’s incredible jazz program before transferring to and graduating from Western Michigan University. A lot of great Miami memories!

SM: What are your favorite Miami places and what do you miss most when you are on the road?

There are so many great spots to go in Miami – whether it is dinner at Nobu on South Beach, the great late-night view and atmosphere at Plunge, or catching a sunset at Boater’s Grill with friends at No-Name Harbor in Bill Baggs State Park on Key Biscayne (can’t miss with the whole fish special). Oh, and Hungry Bear Subs in Kendall is the tastiest lunch sandwich in town…honey-mustard heaven. The Miami skies are what I miss most when away from Miami. The skies are spectacular and unlike anywhere else in the world. Crayola doesn’t make that color. It is always great to come back to Miami.

SM: Why are you excited about working with the Humane Society on this fundraising event?

It is an honor to be performing at a party that benefits such a wonderful organization. As a pet lover, I know the important work that the Humane Society does here in the Miami community. Their “Adopt-A-Pet” program places dogs and cats into loving homes and promotes responsible pet ownership and spay & neuter programs. They serve thousands of abandoned and homeless animals each year. The PAWPURRAZZI event is their major fundraiser – and I am so happy to be part of the kick-off campaign. This Pawpurrazzi prequel is being held at Bunny Bastian’s gorgeous Coral Gables waterfront estate. I participated in another charity event there some time ago – and it was fantastic!

SM: Do you have animals and, if so, do you ever take them backstage when performing?

How fun would that be? No, I am afraid that Maggie (my 6 month old mini-dachshund) and McGee, my 7 year old cat, just get to listen to my practicing and song writing in my New York apartment. Maggie loves to walk Central Park with me – and McGee just wants to snuggle at home while I am at the piano. But you know, a PAWPURRAZZI event highlight is having the pets and their owners out for the night and even participating in a runway fashion walk. You won’t want to miss it!

SM: Does Liza Minnelli like animals?

Liza has a great passion for animals. She has three gorgeous terriers that Maggie loves to play with, and I am pretty certain that on special occasions, they do get to go back stage!

SM: What is your point of view on clothing for dogs? Should their fur simply be enough?

Well, I am not really an expert here. My guess is from the dog’s point of view, they are probably pretty happy in their own skin. That being said, they probably enjoy making their owners happy by being dressed in the attire of the occasion. Maggie is smooth-coated, so I did buy her a red hooded sweatshirt to help keep her warm during the cold New York winter. I even had it tailored for her short little gams…tres chic.

SM: What other charities do you support?

Here in South Florida I have had the opportunity to work with Children’s Home Society of Florida – which is a wonderful charity serving the needs of children and their families at many different levels: foster care, adoption services, special needs daycare, and educational programming to mention a few. Jackie Gonzalez, the Executive Director has invited me to participate in their Helping Turn Lives Around Luncheons and some concert events. In fact, it was a CHS event that first brought me to Bunny’s house. Thank goodness we have philanthropists like Bunny Bastian! 

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