Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Salon Wrap-Up for September 15, 2013 "Seize The Day"

Mark Janas started off this week’s Salon by delivering some amazing news: The next time you see him at The Salon he will have a different face! That’s right - this Tuesday he is having surgery to reconnect some of the nerves in his face to help address the droopiness after the tumor was removed.

I’d say that’s just about the most perfect way to usher in the night’s theme: Seize The Day. Our Co-Host for the evening was the powerful and talented Cynthia Farrell! Daughter of Bob Farrell - band master and player for The Temptations - Cynthia is an international singer of many genres and has appeared with such artists as Stevie Nicks and Don Was. She is also known as the voice of Catalina in the GRAND THEFT AUTO video game series. Cynthia recently made her cabaret debut FARRELL FOR REAL at Don’t Tell Mama. For more information:
Co-Host Cynthia Farrell
Cynthia started out with the inspirational opener to her own show - the quintessential Seize The Day song, “Something’s Coming” from West Side Story. She credited Jim Horvath, co-writer & director and her music director Frank Minarik with the arrangement, which Mark said was one of the more enjoyable non-traditional renditions he’d heard.

To kick off the open mic portion of the evening, Adam Shapiro revealed his big Seize the Day moment. It was Sept 1 2004 when he arrived in NYC and ended up staying for the last 9 years. Adam shared his thoughts on the day of his move through the song, “Astonishing” from the musical, Little Women. The always charming Edie Stokes was next with “I Want To Be A Wicked Woman” by Francesca Blumenthal. Edie joked, “Life is short, eat dessert first” which might give you a glimpse into the show which she has coming up on Sunday, September 22 - right down the street at Don’t Tell Mama at 7pm (see her show, then finish up you night at The Salon!) Singer/songwriter, Sue Horowitz (“Dr. Sue”) brought us an original song - not from a musical but from her telephone answering machine (no joke- call her!) - “Celebrate Your Life.” Sue can be seen next at the Unity Cabaret on September 21 at 2pm.

Next up was a new visitor to The Salon, Stew Frimer. Before he sang, he talked about all of the daring things that he’s done (zip-lining, white water rafting etc) but he said singing at a brand new open mic was more nerve-wracking! We all know what that feels like, since we’ve all been new to The Salon at one point or another- and we sure hope you come back, Stew! Stew says he has a show coming up in March with Lennie Watts and Dan Furman, called “Let The Good Times Roll.” Coming to the stage after Stew was Lauren Noll, who told us it was also her first time at The Salon. In fact, it was the first time she’d been in front of an audience since moving to NYC. (She found out about The Salon from some friends who said we were a warm and welcoming audience!) We may have shown a little of that after falling in love with her song, “Falling” by The Civil Wars - which she sang while accompanying herself on the piano. We hope you’ll join us again!

Robin Kradles called her song “Seize The Rhythm” in order to put her song on theme - “Hot Voodoo.” Robin has a show coming up “Icons- Women Who Inspire Me” at The Duplex October 3, 12, & 20, 2013. Annie Lebeaux played & sang a lovely and wistful “The Carter Family” by Carly Simon (a rare occasion where she didn’t perform one of the wonderful original tunes!) She said that the song was more about not having seized the day when she should have. Janice Hall said that if not the right theme, at least her song was in the right season - “Autumn Laves” - complete with French & English lyrics! Janice has a few projects in the works, but mums the word about them now.

Candice Oden, longtime Salon-er, sang “Fly, Fly Away” - an amazing pop infused ballad from the Marc Shaiman musical, Catch Me If You Can. Her bestie, and yours truly, Erin Cronican (your Blogette!) sang Jason Robert Brown’s “I Can Do Better Than That” from The Last Five Years. I can be seen along with Janice Hall in a concert of arias/art songs composed to lyrics of Shakespeare text. It’s happening at the Jefferson Library in the West Village on September 25 at 6:30pm (and it’s free!) Marnie Klar, tonight’s Etceterette sang “A Quiet Thing” from Flora The Red Menace.

Classical Corner

Mark Janas kicked off this week’s Classical Corner by talking about what seizing the day might mean when speaking of composers. With that, he introduced Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony VI. Beethoven created this symphony after spending a glorious day in the country. Maybe for the first time in classical music, Beethoven attempted to tell the story of his adventure in multiple detailed movements, so that the audience could follow the narrative. Mark invited Matthew Martin Ward to join him at the piano - here are five 4-handed movements that were demonstrated this evening:

- “The Awakening of cheerful feelings on arriving in the country”
- “Scene at the brook” - Part 1
- “Scene at the brook” - Part 2
- “Merry making of the country folk”
- “Song of the shepherds. Glad and thankful feelings after the storm”

Second Half

To kick off the second half of the night, David Ballard came out with a delicious chocolate cake to celebrate the birthday of Salon board member and general merry man, Bill Zeffiro. Happy birthday, Bill! Thank you for spending every Sunday evening with your Salon family.

Back to our event… Our lovely and personable co-host, Cynthia Farrell kicked off the 2nd half with a jazzy “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead” from the movie, “The Wizard of Oz” (complete with scatting!) It might be the first time I’ve enjoyed listening to the song. With amazing control, range and vocal ease, Cynthia transitioned into the powerful ballad, “Chanson,” which segued into the pop song “100 Years.” She finished her set with an amazing version of “Being Alive” from Company (arranged by her music director, Fran Minarik.)

Leading off the open mic of the second half, Tanya Moberly sang “What About Today” from Starting Here, Starting Now by Maltby & Shire. Tanya finally announced dates for her next solo cabaret show - “I Love NY Songwriters.” It’ll be happening at Don’t Tell Mama Nov 1 & 2, and Dec 3 & 4. I cannot wait to see it! Tom Lucca, another Salon first timer, brought his big bass voice to “Digging Stone” from the Off Broadway musical, The Spitfire Grill. Next up, you can see Tom doing Smile with Musicals Tonight here in NYC October 18-November 3, 2013. David Ballard, our amazingly dedicated and talented server, gave us, “A World Without You” by Stephen Schwartz. Not only is David in the advanced class for BMI, he’s also the Salon Spotlight for next week to promote his upcoming show! David is premiering his brand new solo cabaret, “Having It All” at Don’t Tell Mama (directed by Salon Producer, Tanya Moberly): Tue, 9/24 (7pm), Wed 9/25 (9:30pm), Fri 10/11 (7pm) and Sat 10/12 (5pm). Can’t wait to see it!

Rachel Winell, who I had never before gotten the pleasure of meeting, sang Cole Porter’s “The Physician” (with birthday boy Bill Zeffiro on piano.) Rachel has a solo show coming up in the new year with Bill and Lennie Watts. She is also involved in a vocal trio which performed at Don’t tell Mama in the summer. Next up was Erin Maya, who when researching “Witness Uganda” found a “Ted Talk” about guy who started a grassroots organization to raise money for kids in Uganda to go to school. Erin was inspired by the way he went above and beyond for this group of people so far away and wondered - “Why don’t we all do that? As children the first thing we learn s sharing but then as adults it’s the first things we forget.” It inspired her to sing this song about helping people: “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper.

Salon “virgin” Gina Smaller brought her strong vocals and perfect comic timing to “No Times At All.” She said that today is a Seize The Day moment for her, because it’s been 10 years before she’s sung in front of people, and we were so thrilled to have her with us! Zach Wobensmith sang an amazing rendition of 'hen Joanne Loved Me” by overt Wells & Jack Segal. Zach gave a shout out to his pianist Matthew Martin Ward, who played the song from a lead sheet with incorrect keys! Zach has an encore performance of his show, “Stiff Upper Lip: Songs of the Brits” (which I had the honor of seeing on opening night!) -- the new show is happening November 5 at 7pm at The Duplex.

Matthew Martin Ward stayed at the piano to sing one of his original tunes, “This Gray Day.” He talked about one particular project coming up - accompanying the amazing Sarah Rice in a theremin concert. Marissa Mulder gave a shout out to Bill Zeffiro as being one of the greatest coaches and supporters a performer would ask for. She then sang a lilting version of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now.” Bill stayed at the piano and played & sang a touching, Noel Coward’s “Come the Wild, Wild, Weather.” You can see Bill every Tuesday at La Mediterranee on 2nd Avenue between 5th & 51st. Be sure to bring your tunes and stay to sing!

For the final song of the evening, co-host Cynthia Farrell sang a beautiful, almost lullaby arrangement of “Blackbird,” which swelled into a more gospel feel.

Next week we’re in for a treat - we’ll have Guest Host Jeff Cubeta with Co-Host Robin Westle! The Salon Spotlight will be David Ballard.

Guest Host - Jeff Cubeta
Co-host Robin Westle.
The optional theme is “It’s My Party and I’ll Sing If I Want To.” Sing anything that makes you want to celebrate, dance, sing - or be a party pooper and sing the opposite! As usual, songs that are “off theme” are also welcome.

We’ll see you next Sunday!

- Erin Cronican
Blogette for The Salon
Please email me with any corrections.

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