Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Salon Wrap-Up for October 14, 2012 "Freedom Songs"

We had a reprieve from the cold this Sunday evening as we welcomed in the 2nd Salon of October 2012. The theme was “Freedom Songs” - songs that make you want to stand up and fight for your beliefs or just open up and allow thoughts and ideas to flow freely.

Co-Host Natalie Douglas
Our Co-Host was Bistro, Nightlife and Seven-Time MAC Award Winner Natalie Douglas! Natalie will be appearing in The 23rd Annual Cabaret Convention at Rose Hall at Lincoln Center – Broadway at 60th St, NYC – Friday, October 19th at 6pm. www.mabelmercer.com She will also be bringing her show FREEDOM SONGS: ELECTION EDITION to Birdland – 315 West 44th St, NYC – Monday, October 22nd at 7pm: www.ticketfly.com 

Natalie Douglas started with Neil Young’s classic tune, “After The Gold Rush.” She recounted someone once asking Mr Young what his inspiration for the song was, and he said he had no idea. So, Natalie proposed that the song was about “the freedom that you find when you…uh… light up a joint?” Ha!

Sunny Leigh started by saying, “If you really want to be free, you have to tell someone what’s on your mind.” She then kicked off the open mic portion of the evening with the original tune,“This Can’t Go On” - written by Sunny Leigh and Barry Levitt. You can see Sunny at “Tuesdays @ The Iguana” happening on Tuesday at 8pm at the Iridium. Barb Malley was next complete in spiritually gorgeous gown with the spiritually gorgeous song “Wade in the Water.”

Stephanie Zagorin brought us a lovely “A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing.” Adam Shapiro is back from doing Ragtime in Boston, and sang one of my favorite songs of his, “One More Minute” by Weird Al Yankovic. He explained that sometimes freedom can be a really, long-time-coming, break up. Adam has a show coming up - “Adam Shapiro’s Guide to the Perfect Breakup” November 8 & 15 and December 30 at The Duplex.

Kesinee Haney, a newbie to The Salon and visitor to New York City, brought us a classic song about finding salvation - “Blow Gabriel Blow” from Anything Goes. Mark Cotter, with his music director, Christian Duhamel, introduced us to “Morris Was Nice” by Murray Brand “about equality, of sorts.” Mark has a show coming up at the Metropolitan Room on October 17 & 25 at 9:30pm.

Annie LeBeaux started her song by saying, “This song is about freedom from a cruise to hell” - her very own, “Let Me Off The Boat.” Annie is music directing a new show called Digital Dilemmas at Theatre For The New City through October 21. Erin Cronican, your Blogette, sang “Come Down From The Tree” - a song that was cut from Once On This Island. Your Etceterette for the evening, Shana Farr (and Julie Wilson award winner) sang the Kern & Hammerstein classic, “All The Things You Are.” She has an album coming out in November - visit her website (linked above) for more details!

Our next singer, Richard Skipper (known for his 20+ tribute show for Carol Channing) is writing about his experiences in a brand new book. To whet our whistles, he gave us a brief history lesson on Hello Dolly and those who have played her. He dedicated tonight’s performance to all of the Dolly’s and his new friends, and especially Mark Janas - with “Before The Parade Passes By.”

Richard then introduced us to our Salon Spotlight for the evening, Pamela Luss! Pamela will be appearing with Houston Person at The Metropolitan Room – 34 West 22nd St, NYC, 212-206-0440 /www.metropolitanroom.com – Saturday, October 20th at 7pm, Thursday, November 15th at 9:30pm and Saturday, November 17th at 9:30pm.

Pamela came to the stage with pianist, Brandon McCune. For her first song of the set, she sang “Baby, Don’t You Quit Now” by Mercer & Rowles. Delightfuly, her next song was the theme from the TV series, “Bewitched” - with an amazing jazz interlude by Brandon. Pamela finished out her set with the Leslie & Michael Gore’s touching and simple, “Out Here On My Own.”

Classical Corner

Tonight at The Salon we welcomed musician, Kalle Toivio, a doctoral student in Manhattan School of music and organist at Mark’s church. We were lucky enough that, for Classical Corner, he’s going to played a piece by Jean Sibelius “Finlandia.” Kalle explained that he has two important ladies in his life that were turning 95 this year - his grandmother, and the country of his heritage, Finland. The musical piece was written at a time of oppression, about 20 years before Finland became an independent country in December 1917. This piece is so popular in Finland that it is like a 2nd national anthem, so how fitting a tribute for tonight’s theme. It was wonderful!

Second Set

To usher in the second set, Mark Janas welcomed to the stage our charming co-host, Natalie Douglas, and her esteemed music director, Mark Hartman. They began her set with a classic Nina Simone “show tune for which there is no show yet” - “Mississippi God Damn.” For her second song, she encouraged the audience to join in with her as she sang the 60s era anthem, “Get Together.” For the last song of the set, she brought us an audience participation medley of “Look for the Union Label” and “If I Had a Hammer.”

Salon Producer, Tanya Moberly, brought in the lovely Sondheim ballad, “Anyone Can Whistle” from the musical of the same name. Tanya just opened her show, “Tanya Lorraine Moberly sings Barbra Joan Streisand with Steven Ray Watkins” at Don’t Tell Mama - 3 more shows are coming up Oct 18, Nov 14 and Dec 4. All shows are at 7pm. There are discounts for Salon members - be sure to make reservations in advance.

David Ballard brought in the hilarious, “Way Ahead Of My Time” by Peter Mills. Parker Scott sang a gorgeous, “Amazing Grace”. Parker will be doing the Metropolitan Room again in February - keep your eyes peeled for the date in the new year! Kevin McMullan was next with something “uptempo and off topic” - the fun and dramatic “Chubby Charlie” by Andy Preiboy.

Marvin Parks was next with the iconic Barbra Streisand song, “Smile.” Marvin has a CD out called, “The Very Thought of You.” We were delighted to invite up Nina Hennessey, who just so happens to be next week’s co-host! She sang a tender, “Quiet Thing” from Flora The Red Menace.

We were thrilled to witness the next musical number - 2 Marks, 4 Hands: Mark Hartman started the improvised session with a one-fingered “Mary Had A Little Lamb” which Mark Janas caught on with right away, making it more classical in nature. Mark Hartman then took it in more of a honky-tonk direction. It went back and forth in theme, from Pachelbel, to something more patriotic, to something that even sounded a bit Billy Joel inspired. It was amazing!

For the final song of the evening, co-host Natalie Douglas brought the house down with, “American Tune.”

Special Thanks to Gil Alexandre for his help on lights and sound tonight!

Next week’s theme is “L, M, N, O, P - Songs from the middle of the alphabet.” Have fun with this one - make it creative! Our co-host will be Nina Hennessey.

Next week's Co-Host Nina Hennessey
We’ll see you then! In the meantime, if someone video recorded your performance and you’d like us to know about it, please post the link in the comments section of this blog post. Thank you!

-Erin Cronican
Blogette for The Salon
Need anything? Please email me.

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