Monday, April 19, 2010

The Salon Wrap-Up for April 18th, 2010

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The theme of the evening of the 18th was "Cafe Society," although there were a lot more martinis being served than coffee. There was a lot of Gershwin, Berlin, Porter, and Coward music but also a some wonderful parody songs, original compositions, some audience interaction, and some wonderful Salon debuts. Bill Zeffiro played the first half, as Mr. Mark Janas had a gig that evening (playing for the Richard Tucker Foundation). The graciously lovely Co-Host of the evening was Janice Hall, freshly returned from her performance as Hannah in the opera "Angels in America" with the BBC Symphony, written by Hungarian composer Peter Eötvös. The Special Guest was the always special Sarah Rice, who will bring her Bistro Award-winning show "Screen Gems" once again to the Laurie Beechman theater on April 16th and April 30th. She is also performing at and promoting a Benefit Concert for a cause dear to Ms. Rice's heart - Zani's Furry Friends - on May 1st at Birdland, 5pm, entitled "Love Makes the World Go 'Round: An Evening of Song to Help Our Furry Friends." All proceeds from the event, which features a huge list of jazz, Broadway, and cabaret stars, will go towards Zani's Furry Friends. More information can be found here, and tickets can be purchased through

Janice Hall started this evening of society music with Cole Porter's "The Laziest Gal in Town." Mark Levy energetically brought in "I'll Build A Stairway to Paradise" by Gershwin. Andrea Colby, wife of lyricist Michael Colby, played a wonderful "I Got Rhythm" arrangement from the Gershwin songbook. Next, Abby Gail sang her original tune "2008 The Bubble Burst." Bill Zeffiro then stayed at the piano to sing a Noel Coward 1945 song "Nina." Michael Colby then came to sing his original lyric (with music by Jack Urbont) entitled "Better Late Than Never," which he sweetly sang to his wife in the audience (awww!). Annie Kozuch sang "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To" by Cole Porter. Annie will have a CD release party for her new album "Here With You" on May 25th at the Laurie Beechman Theater. After Annie, Eli Gilbert brought in three (count 'em) three sets of lyrics to "Let's Fall in Love" - Cole Porter's, Noel Cowards, and then a wonderful set of original music-related lyrics by Gilbert himself. Eli will have his Metropolitan Room show June 6th and June 27th with "Are We There Yet: Songs About Growing Up."

Next came Madelaine Warren singing "Stardust," then Bistro Winner/MAC Nominee Richard Eisenberg sang "Hum a Song." Then Keni Fine made his Salon debut by turning the microphone over to his "altar ego" Swami Pajamananda, who sang "If I Only Could Be Trained!" to the tune of "If I Only Had a Brain." Keni tells me that Swami Pajamananda is a spiritual, musical, comical, interactive & multi-media performance project, devoted to Lightening Up the entire planet. (Keni says he is also writing a gospel-infused musical and on the lookout for an appropriate arranger/musical director.) After Swami...I mean, Keni, Kathy Hart utilized the singers in the audience to discover if the counterpoint melody she wrote for her song "One More Song" could be sung by an elementary school chorus. Speaking of the opposite of elementary choruses, the next singer was the elegant Mark Watson, who sang "Night and Day" by Cole Porter. After Mark, I (Sierra Rein) sang Berlin's "Let's Face the Music and Dance." My group Marquee Five will be the Special Guest performer group next week for the "It Takes Two (or More) to Tango...Ensemble Songs" theme, hosted by the a cappella group VOCE. It's going to be a night of duets, harmonies, and fights for the microphones! I'm also going to be special guest-singing with Erin Cronican, Julie Reyburn, Martina Vidmar, Allissa Crea, and Lianne Marie Dobbs with Bill Zeffiro at the Borcalino Room at Flute Grammercy Thursday, April 29th at 8. More information on this event can be found here. To close the first half, Etceterette Marnie Klar brought some sassy Gershwin in with "Naughty Baby," then Etceterette Erin Cronican (with alternative lyrics supplied by Bill Zeffiro) crooned "Someone to Watch Over Me."

The second half began with the special guest of the evening, the beautiful Sarah Rice. Mark Janas had returned from his gig just on time to accompany her. Once again, her show Screen Gems will return to the Laurie Beechman April 26th and 30th! Sarah began her set with the clever "Torch Song" by Irving Berlin which she described as what happens "when sopranos go bad." After that, she sang "Waltz of my Heart" by Ivor Novello. She finished with the wonderfully off-kilter, yet classy, song by Cole Porter - "When I Was a Little Cuckoo." It fit Sarah's high soprano and sweet demeanor perfectly! The Classical Corner with Mark Janas this week was an interesting experiment to see how some classical composers would fare in the Cafe Society setting. He played Gershwin's 2nd of three preludes, a bit of Schubert, Chopin's "The Cello" and a little minuet by Chopin, and lastly a rousing "The Hunting Song" by Mendelssohn.

Next sang Salon Producer Tanya Moberly (her show "Theater Songs" will be at Don't Tell Mama on May 19th with Mark Janas and Ritt Henn, and will also perform for the benefit of Zani's Furry Friends with Sarah Rice on May 1st), with "Buddy Beware." Then we had another Salon Debut with Brian Henry, who has a beautiful baritone and sang Kander & Ebb's "Sometimes a Day Goes By." Next, Stephen Wilde (who is part of the VOCE quartet who will host the Salon next week) sang the hilarious "Way Ahead of My Time," written by Peter Mills.

We then had some time for encores. First up was our co-host Janice Hall with "Youkali: Tango Habanera" - music by Kurt Weill, lyrics by Roger Fernay. Bill Zeffiro sang "World Weary" by Noel Coward, Madelaine Warren sang "Remind Me" by Kern & Fields, Eli Gilbert brought in his parody version of "Gimme Gimme," Annie Kozuch sang "Falling Out of Love Can Be Fun" by Irving Berlin, and Sierra Rein (me) sang "It Only Happens When I Dance With You," another Berlin song. Marnie Klar sang "In A Very Unusual Way" from Nine, Erin Cronican sang the do-wop song "You Don't Know Me," Richard Eisenberg sang his Clinton-era parody of "Officer Krupke" from West Side Story, then Mark Watson sang the heartbreaking "What'll I Do?" by Berlin. To close the evening, Janice Hall sang "If Love Were All" by Noel Coward.

-Sierra Rein
The Blogette for The Salon

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