Monday, March 15, 2010

The Salon Wrap-Up for March 14, 2010!

The Ides of March-eve brought us Daylight Saving Time and a bunch of wind and rain, but many braved the elements to attend The Salon open mic on Sunday, March 14th. The optional theme of the evening was “Shaking it Up,” co-hosted by the charming Maureen Taylor and with Bill Zeffiro at the piano. In for Tanya Moberly as Producer was Sue Matsuki, who kept the evening organized. Etceterettes were Erin Cronican and Jan Brenner. Special guest performer was non-other than Rita Gardner, who originated the roles of The Girl in “The Fantasticks” and Rosie in “The Wedding Singer” on Broadway and is a renowned performer in both Film and Television. Rita plans on performing at the Metropolitan Room soon – dates to be announced on her website soon.

Bill and Maureen started the evening out and shook the dust off their feet with the clever duet “Everybody Has the Right to Be Wrong” from the musical “Skyscraper.” Kevin McMullan brought in an original comedy song by Charles Bloom entitled “A Singer and a Blender,” and Bobbie Horowitz followed up with an original do-wop of her own called “Flatbush Serenade.” Joe Regan, Jr (who was praised several times throughout the night as THE historical source of everything Jule Styne and Broadway!) sang “Beautiful Brown Eyes.” Then Edie Stokes donned a Transylvanian accent and performed “Wicked Woman” by Francesca Blumenthal.

Hector Coris (who will have a CD release party for his live-performance album ”Life is Wonderful” on March 16th at 7:30 and March 20th at 4pm at Don’t Tell Mama) performed “As We Stumble Along” from the “Drowsy Chaperone.” Sunny Leigh (who is also having a CD release party at the Triad March 26th at 7pm) then brought out the hot, revengeful song “Before He Cheats.” Next, Ray Jessel performed his lovely new song “Piano Bar” which, as he described on his open mic card, was “not a ballad, not an uptempo, not hip-hop.” But it was a lovely, witty-sweet song, one of the many that he might perform at Don’t Tell Mama on March 17, 24 and 31st.. Stacy Ward McAdams (performing at Lorenzo’s on Staten Island on April 3rd) next sang the first of quite a number of Noel Coward songs for the evening. Then, Helena Grenot sang the fantastic song “White Girls Can’t Sing the Blues,” written by Sue Matsuki. Richard Eisenberg then sang his 2010 Bistro Award-receiving song “Two Again,” and proved with his clever tongue-twisting lyrics why it was thus praised.

Susan Winter then took the stage and provided a masterful rendition of “You’ll See.” Then Tom Hansen, a new visitor to The Salon, performed “Im Valzkammergut” (I hope I typed that right!) and bantered a bit with Maureen Taylor in German. Sarah Rice then brought in a lovely Irish fairy-story ballad entitled “The Singer.” Sarah will bring her Bistro Award-winning show “Screen Gems – Songs of Old Hollywood” back to the Laurie Beechman Theater on April 2, April 26th and April 30th. Next Jenna Esposito sang “Everybody Loves Somebody,” which will be a featured song at her Italian-themed show “That’s Amore: Jenna Sings Love, Italian Style” at Feinstein’s on March 22nd (presented by Patsy's Italian Restaurant). Jenna will also be a special guest at the next Salon on March 21st!). Then, I (Sierra Rein) sang “With Every Breath I Take” from the musical “City of Angels.” Rounding out the first half came Etceterettes Erin Cronican with “I Said It And I’m Glad” from “Subways Are for Sleeping” (she performed the role in the revival of this show, directed by Hector Coris in 2009), and then Jan Brennan, who brought in the a unique take on the “Shakin’ It Up” theme brought in cocktail-inspired “Pour Me A Man” by Fred Barton from “Miss Gulch Returns.”

The second half brought in the special Guest performer of the evening, Rita Gardner. She and Bill Zeffiro sang a wonderful duet-medley of Rogers and Hart for her first piece, and then spoke about her experience as a young singer in New York auditioning – nay, demanding to be seen for the auditions!!! – of “The Fantasticks” when it was first offering auditions. She then sang a wonderful two-song mashup (to use the modern colloquial) of “Try to Remember” and “They Were You” from “The Fantasticks.” Rita’s connection to the lyrics was wonderful and had the room riveted to her every nuance. After Rita, Bill Zeffiro taught us a lesson in original lyrics, and sang the first draft lyrics to many popular Standards including “I Got Rhythm,” “Everything’s Coming up Roses,” “The Man That Got Away,” and “Easter Parade.” He then sang the fiendishly naughty parody lyrics of Cole Porter’s “You’re the Top” as once written by Irving Berlin! Co-host Maureen Taylor heated up the stage with the song “Dancing With the Devil,” Stephanie Zagoren sang the Billy Strayhorn song “A Flower is a Lovesome Thing,” Mathew Ward brought in “Gentleman Friend.” Tying into the parody lyrics of Irving Berlin earlier sung by Bill Zeffiro, Peter Napolitano brought his own twist on “You’re the Top” with “You’re A Flop,” skewering a number of Broadway bombs (regardless of artistic merit!). Next sang David Ballard with “Stormy Weather,” and Abigail Waxman with her original song “After So Many Years.”

We had time at the end of the evening for some repeat performers. Ray Jessel sang “Don’t Be Cross” (yet another Noel Coward), and then Sarah Rice brought up the innocently naughty “Paradise” from “A Woman Commands” (featured in her Screen Gems show). Then, I (Sierra) sang the theme-appropriate “Shakin’ The Blues Away” by Irving Berlin. Helena Grenot next brought the classic song “The Man That Got Away” (You have to sing it at least once in your lifetime!” she said), Jan Brennan sang the ballad “Scotch 'n' Soda,” and Erin Cronican brought out her soprano with the lovely “How Can I Lose You?” which I believe is from the musical "Myths and Hymns.” For the final song of the evening, Stacy Ward McAdams spoke through “Rotten to the Core,” and dedicated it to Ray Jessel. It was suggested that one evening be dedicated to a Coward-off amongst the Noel C aficionados of The Salon – if and when that happens, you’ll read about it here!

Hope to see you at the next Salon on March 21st, which is now themed “Heavenly Bodies/Spring Equinox” and have co-host Steve “The Whistler” Herbst and special guest Jenna Esposito. So start thinking of songs that evoke the wonderful elements of the sky (stars, clouds, the sun, perhaps a little astrology or love of Pluto?) or maybe you want to sing the praises of Spring-time just around the corner! Or, perhaps a song about the curves of Marilyn Monroe…she had a Heavenly Body after all!

Photo by: ZedZap, utilized under a Creative Commons license.

See you then.

-Sierra Rein
The Blogette for The Salon

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