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Hidden Gem

In New York City, there is a Hidden Gem – far away from the glamour of Broadway, on a small side street of the Upper East Side, sits Brandy’s Piano Bar. It’s been there since the 70s, lived through the AIDS epidemic, seen 9/11, and survived COVID. What is most incredible about this place isn’t the cocktails or the lights though: It’s the people that serve you the drinks.

The staff at Brandy’s live dual lives: one day they’re humble barbacks, the next they are dazzling stars on Broadway. They are some of New York’s greatest (un-)recognized talents and grace Brandy’s underground microphone with their big voices. Some of them left to pursue big Broadway dreams; others tried for 20 years with no avail. Their spot at the bar remains open if they choose to return – or if life leaves them no other choice. They all love an industry that rarely loves them back. Celebrities like Jimmy Fallon and Lea DeLaria count themselves to the initiated insiders that frequented this New York staple and listened to its underground stars. Hidden Gem tells the intimate story of performers from all walks of life who reached varying levels of recognition for their lifelong commitment. In touching verité, we learn which moments made them or broke them, their greatest feats and regrets and why. Brandy’s is their safe haven, a “Hotel California”. Their story is hopeful and yet yearning – an inspiring story about under-appreciated musical brilliance.

Everyone dreams of doing big things, but most people won’t even try. This is the story of the humans who did try, and still are.

To make a donation in support of Hidden Gem make out a check payable to: SIMA STUDIOS and mail to 551 Norwich Drive, West Hollywood, CA 90048. SIMA’s Tax ID is 46-2836025. Be sure to write “Hidden Gem” on the notes/memo line of the check. If you would prefer to make a wire transfer, please reach out to

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