Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Salon Wrap-up for August 4, 2013 "What You Don't Know About Women"

I don’t know if there’s something in the air, but tonight we had a sold out Salon and there was something special buzzing around. Maybe it was because people knew they’d be learning some secrets… secrets revealed with this week’s theme, “What You Don’t Know About Women.”

Mark Janas, our founder and host, is still in the Pennsylvania, so this week our Guest Host was MAC & Bistro Award Winner Barry Levitt! Broadway: “Catskills On Broadway” & “Swinging On A Star”. Off-Broadway: “Little Shop Of Horrors”, “Taking My Turn”, “Back In The Big Time” & “A Match Made In Heaven”. Cabaret clients include Ben Vereen, Bernadette Peters, Faith Prince, Eartha Kitt, Nell Carter, Margaret Whiting, Rosemary Clooney, Melba Moore, Julie Wilson, Connie Francis, Marilyn Michaels, Pia Zadora,Alysha Umphress, Gabrielle Stravelli, Marcus Simeone, Terese Genecco, Deb Berman & Dana Lorge.

Guest Host, Barry Levitt
And…Our fearless co-host was 4-Time MAC Award Winner Dana Lorge! Dana will be bringing her Monthly Variety Show with Barry Levitt back to The Metropolitan Room – 34 West 22nd St, NYC 10010 – Wednesday, August 7th at 7pm. Her guests will include Mark Nadler, Sidney Myer, EggCream & Co., Nicholas Tamagna, Sue Matsuki & Richard Skipper. Future dates are September 8th, October 2nd, November 6th & December 4th. For more information:

Co-Host Dana Lorge
Our amazing and sparkly co-host started with a joke and then went into a hilarious, “Women of a Certain Age.” She then invited up “the Cuban” Joey Infante, who sang a salsa inspired

“Cumbanchuro.” Joey mentioned that he’s doing a show later in the year in anticipation of his birthday. He asks Dana how old she’ll be at her birthday, to which she quipped, “I’m between estrogen and death.” Ruth Carlin gave us a gentle story song “The Moon’s A Harsh Mistress” by Jimmy Webb. Ruth has a show coming up at the Metropolitan Room August 17, 24, 25 (2:30pm) called “Humpty Dumpty Cracks Up: The Nightmare of Cabaret.” It’s a musical comedy show for all ages (especially for families) - full of parody, music, and theater. (The cast also include Tanya Moberly as Little Bo Peep!) The show is a benefit for children’s charities and Cabaret Scene magazine. They’re still looking for performers, so if you’re interested you can click to email Rob Lester.

Janet Mandel came to the mic AND the piano with “Since You Went Away” by the Johnson Brothers. Replacing her at the piano was Bill Zeffiro, who accompanied Angela Leone on “All The Way” by Sammy Kahn & Jimmy Van Heusen. Bill Zeffiro stayed at the piano to sing his MAC Award winning song, “Universal Truth.” You can see him each Tuesday night at La Mediterranea on 2nd Avenue near 51st St. 2013 MAC Award winner Adam Shapiro was next, admitting that he knew nothing about women but he did at least know that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. And with that, he did an inspired rendition of “If (You Hadn’t But You Did)” from Styne, Comden & Green’s Two On The Aisle. Adam is opening a new musical this Friday called, Barcode (with creative consultant James Rado, from the original production of Hair.) It runs Fri 8/9 (2pm), Sun 8/11 (7pm), Mon 8/12 (9:30pm), Tue 8/13 (9:30pm), Wed 8/14 (2pm). Be sure to get out to see it!

Joe Miller came next with the old Russian gypsy song, “Dark Eyes.” Sandra Benee let us know that what we didn’t know about women is that they can sing men’s tunes! She proved it with Cole Porter’s “Come Along With Me.” Barbara Porteus sang the title song from her upcoming show, “Up on the Roof.” She’ll be at Don’t Tell Mama one more time - August 19. She says it might be the last show for a while, so be sure to get out to see it! Barb Malley came in with proof that not all women are fickle - with a gorgeous and simple, “I Get Along Without You.” She did a video promo for the dating service, Swoon, and it’s gotten so many hits that they’re considering turning her character/story into a web series! The more views, the better her chances - go to YouTube and type in “Phylis Rosenberg Dating” and leave a comment!

Janice Hall was excited to sing a Frank Sinatra song once reserved just for men - “It Was A Very Good Year.” Janice says that she has a show up her sleeve but doesn’t want to reveal too much yet - can’t wait to here what she has next! Singer/songwriter Annie Lebeaux did her original song, “She Just Isn’t Me.” She has a CD for sale, with 6 original songs plus some covers of other great tunes! You can buy it by emailing her (click here.) Michael Colby brought in an original song (with hilarious and witty lyrics) with music written by Kenneth Faulkner-Alexander - “You Judge.”

David Ballard, the super-server who managed this sold-out crowd beautifully, sang a powerful version of Lerner & Loewe’s “On The Street Where You Live.” David announced dates for his brand new solo cabaret, “Having It All” (directed by Salon Producer, Tanya Moberly): Tue, 9/24 (7pm), Wed 9/25 (9:30pm), Fri 10/11 (7pm) and Sat 10/12 (5pm). Be sure to get your reservations soon! Erin Cronican (yours truly) sang, “Quiet” by Jonathan Reid Gealt, which I sang in my NY solo cabaret premiere at Winter Rhythms last year. I’m thinking about bringing back my show again this fall - stay tuned for details. Candice Oden, tonight’s Etceterette, sang a stunning rendition of Frank Wildhorn’s “This Time Around.” Candice just finished a workshop production of Bobby Cronin’s new musical, “Concrete Jungle” which got great response from its invited audiences. Congrats, Candice!

Barry’s Corner

Barry started off by saying that inspiration comes from many different places. You take a blank piece of paper (the scariest thing in the world) and a pencil and you just…start. Barry then shared with us three original songs that he’s written over the years, and brought up three amazing singers to partner with him.

1) Helena Grenot - sang “All In Good Time”, the song that Deb Berman commissioned to be the title song for her show.

2) Gary Crawford - Barry told a story about his work on the Broadway musical, Swinging On A Star. He asked if there was a lyric that Johnny Burke had not yet set down to music - later, a gift was hand delivered to him - a note with a lyric scrawled on it, which had never been used in a song. Barry in turn wrote the song, “Now That We’re Sure.”

3) Sunny Leigh - Barry reminded us that nspiration comes in many forms. Sunny, a long time writing partner, handed Barry a lyric and he knew exactly what to do with it - “Good, Good Woman.”

Second Set

In true Dana Lorge fashion, our Second Act started with our co-host telling a bawdy joke, which led into “10 Good Years.” The room then got silent for Dana’s beautiful, subtle story song, “Guess Who.” You can see Dana next at her variety show on August 7 at 7pm at the Metropolitan Room.

Guest Host Barry Levitt then offered to plug some of his stuff - you can see him perform at 54 Below August 7. 14, 18 with singers Natalie Douglass, Terese Genecco, Scott Coulter and others. This Thursday he also teaches a performance workshop 7-9:30pm. Busy, busy man!

Producer Tanya Moberly invited up Etceterette Candice Oden to sing the title song for the evening, “What You Don’t Know About Women” from City of Angels. She’s directing David Ballard’s solo cabaret debut! (See details above.) She is also putting together her next solo cabaret show for November, which will honor New York songwriters. I can’t wait for that one!Joanne Tatham was next with “Blue Angel.” She’ll be performing at a benefit for Mabel Mercer Foundation - “Blue Angel” at Urban Stages, Tues August 6 7pm.

Lou Iacovino gave us the lovely jazz ballad, “”And I Love You So.” Lou tells us he’s doing a benefit performance of Verdi’s Aida at a church in Little Italy on August 24. Be sure to see that! Stephanie Zagorin was next with a delicate and touching “Bye Bye Blackbird.” Lawrence Florek started out by saying that men tend to find themselves in periods of denial, which led into the wistful Rodgers & Hart ballad “You’re Nearer.” Lawrence is working on a show about his childhood in Bensenhurst and his brushes with the mafia. Stay tuned or else, tough guy!

Sharon Hunter sang a lovely, unexpected version of John Denver’s “Country Roads.” Ira Lee Collings gave us a haunting and emotional, “A Resting Place.” You can see him performed next on Thursday, August 22nd at Don’t Tell Mama. Bob Simonello did his part to try to understand women by singing an epic song about the woes of a women, “Unusual Way” from Nine. Susan Jeffries beautifully performed Peggy Lee’s “I Don’t Know Enough About You.”

Richie Eisenberg sang a buoyant and romantic, “Never Too Late.” Ron Dabney brought his deep jazz infused bass to “I’m In The Mood For Love” (which had the ladies, and a few men, swooning!) Helena Grenot came back to the stage with a beautifully acted, “Too Late Now” by Lerner and Loewe. Gary Crawford also came back to the stage, this time with Cy Coleman’s “You’d Better Love Me.” Gary is in the studio recording a new CD with Mr Barry Levitt. Can’t wait to hear it!

Last week’s guest host, Matthew Martin Ward, told us what he knew about women… all of the opera ranges, of course. And with that, he sang & played the hilarious “Masculine Women, Feminine Men.” You can see Matthew perform at Ido Sushi’s Opera Night, every Wednesday night, 7:30-10:30pm. Lenore Stefanik was next with a incredibly moving “The Story Goes On” from Maltby & Shire’s Baby. Kevin McMullen told us that the though “torch song” has a feminine mystic and men mostly hide their feelings, he’s here to buck both of those assumptions with “Why Can’t A Man Sing The Blues.” A newcomer to The Salon, Jordan Wolfe, brought his beautiful and delicate tenor to the Gershwins’ “Someone to Watch Over Me” with Barry Levitt showing off his amazing jazz improvisation skills.

And, finally, Dana Lorge closed out the show with a song that I’m not sure fit the theme, but it sure was fun! (Especially when Gary suggested Laquesha and Barry suggested Ezekiel) -- “The Name Game!”

Next week our Guest Host/Pianist will be Multiple MAC & Bistro Award Winner Steven Ray Watkins! As an actor he has appeared in THE LAST SESSION, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR and in the national tours of BIG, SINGIN' IN THE RAIN and SHOWBOAT. As a musician, he has worked as a session player, a musical/vocal director in the theater and arranger/musical director in cabaret. He has worked with such names as Patti LuPone, John Turturro, Karen Mason, Amanda McBroom, Lennie Watts and Sharon McNight, among many others.  For more information, you can find Steven on Face Book.

Next week's Guest Host, Steven Ray Watkins
 Our Co-Host will be Multiple MAC, Bistro & Nightlife Award Winner and current President of MAC Lennie Watts! As a performer, Lennie has toured nationally and internationally with productions of THE MUSIC MAN and THE WIZARD OF OZ, among many other theatre credits. As a theater director, he has directed productions of GODSPELL, DAMES AT SEA, JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, and PHANTOM. Lennie is the creator of “cab lab” and “Summer In The City (with Lina Koutrakos), and is the current Program Director for The Singers Forum. For more information:

Next week's Co-Host, Lennie Watts
The optional theme is “Blood, Sweat & Tears – Summer in New York.” I cannot even begin to count how many different ways you can approach this theme - what fun!

See you next week!

- Erin Cronican
Blogette for The Salon
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