Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Salon Wrap-Up for April 11, 2010!

The theme of the night was "MAC Attack," so anything that had "MAC" or was involved with the MAC Awards, or awards in general, was certainly considered on-theme (and many MAC Award nominees were in attendance, so when they sang they were automatically on theme!). The Co-Host of the evening was Lennie Watts, a multiple MAC and Bistro Award winner both as a singer and as a Director. Lennie opened the evening with the hearty "That's Life," then introduced returning Whitney Chapman, who sang "At Times Like This," which she dedicated to her dog "Macs." Kevin Dozier got up and did something unexpectedly funny – he sang the lyrics to the Brady Bunch to the melody of a song from Les Miserables! Kevin Dozier will be at Feinstein's July 5th this summer and has a CD out entitled "Love-wise."

Next, Bill Zeffiro brought his rancor to the piano by singing an original Zeffiro number, "Better Than Nothing." Charter Salon member Adam MacDonald then accompanied himself on piano with his original piece dedicated to his wife, "Just Yet." He then sang with fellow Charter Salon Members Chris Weikel (they will be co-host The Salon on May 16th's “Back to Our Roots” themed night along with other "The Talk of the Town" cast members) sang "I Can See It" from The Fantastiks. Helena Grenot, who will bring her new show "Damned If I Know" to Don't Tell Mama on May 18th and 19th, sang "Skylark." It was then time for comedy; Danielle Erin Rhodes brought her spoof lyrics on with "(If I Could) Win a MAC Award," echoing what many in the audience must have been thinking. After that, Stephanie Zagoren then crooned "I Didn't Know What Time It Was." Rob Langeder scatted and bebopped his way through "All of Me" and Kim Kuznia then rocked her way through "Ain't No Way."

Raissa Katona Bennett (who received a Bistro Award on Tuesday for The Concert at Tudor City Greens, which has it's first show on May 5th!) performed the original and hilarious "Torch Song for Raissa," written especially for her by Michael John LaCuisa. Following his wife, Dr. Garrett Bennett then brought his guitar up stage and accompanied himself on his own original song, "The Undertow." Next, 2010 MAC Award Nominee Joan Jaffe sang the moral tale of "The Spider and the Fly" by Murray Grand. Catherine Overfelt sang "I Miss the Mountains" from Next To Normal and Sierra Rein stole from fellow Marquee Five member Mick Bleyer one of his songs from their (our) show "We Can Make It" by singing "Sara Lee" by Kander & Ebb (plug: Marquee Five is also nominated for a MAC Award for Vocal Duo/Group). To close the first set, our first Etceterette of the evening, Janice Hall (who will be co-hosting The Salon next Sunday, April 18th) sang the poignant "I Wish You Love," then our second Etceterette Jenna Esposito brought a taste of Connie Francis with "Who's Sorry Now?"

The second half of the evening featured the special guest of the evening, Carole Bufford. I had seen Carole sing at both Birdland and at The Broadway by The Year 1927 concert at Town Hall. She was a singer in the 2009 MetroStar Talent Challenge last year. Carole was accompanied by Nate Buccieri. She started out (with the impromptu comedy cameo by David Ballard) with Randy Newman's "Short People." She then sang a haunting song entitled "I'm Thinking of the Sea" from The Vampire of Dusseldorf. Lastly, she sang a raw and cutting version of "Fulsom Prison Blues." We all were thrilled at her performance!

Lennie Watts and Carole Bufford

Mark Janas' Classical Corner was a lesson in drama, conflict, build and surprise as he played Chopin's "G minor Ballade". The quote of the evening was "it's better to express than it is to impress," which I thought was appropriate even in the midst of Awards seasons. After Mark, Tanya Moberly sang the sweet "I Won't Send Roses (Reprise)". Her show at Don't Tell Mama will take place on May 19th at 9:15pm. Next, Jack DiMonte sang a swinging "Social Call," Craig Pomranz sang "Make Someone Happy," and Mary Lahti tickled our funny bones (and our darker imaginations) with a parody of Mary Poppins' "A Spoonful of Sugar." Phyllis Mollen sang the lovely ballad "I Remember," and then MAC Award-nominee Kathleen France performed a song from her show "The Book of Love" entitled "In Short." After her, David Ballard sang a rousing "The Streets of Dublin." Next, Tracy Stark and Rob Langeder took to the piano and mic (respectfully) for Rob to sing a MAC-Nominated song by Tracy (who is also nominated for a MAC award for Musical Director ) entitled "This Time". Then, Barbara Porteus (at Feinstein's on July 31st and August 1st) crooned "Someone To Watch Over Me" with the piano stylings of Bill Zeffiro accompanying her. Alicia Littman sang "Black Coffee," and after her the MAC-Nominated Michelle Collier sang "Arthur Murray Taught Me Dancing in a Hurry" from her show "A Tribute to the Hollywood Blondes." Collier will perform her show again on Sunday, April 25th at Don't Tell Mama at 7pm.

Steve Schachlin then took the piano with Steven Bienskie, cast member of the original Off-Broadway musical The Last Session, performing "Going It Alone" from the show. As a rousing finale before Lennie Watts closed the evening, composer/singer Chris Wade presented a scene from his show "Such Sweet Sorrow," a new "competition"-themed musical with music by Wade and lyrics by some newcomer named William Shakespeare. In this show, a series of Romeos and a series of Juliets compete to see who can be chosen to become the Top ill-fated lovers. After the wonderful harmonies of the hopeful Romeos and Juliets subsided, Lennie Watts closed the evening with "It Goes Like It Goes." And it did.

Next Sunday, April 25th, will be a special Salon for myself, as I return with MAC Award Nominated Vocal Group Marquee Five (consisting of Mick Bleyer, Adam Hemming, Vanessa Parvin, myself - Sierra Rein, and Julie Reyburn) to be a special guest for the theme “It Takes Two (or More) to Tango – Ensemble Songs.” The Co-Host of the evening will be VOCE, a wonderful all-male a cappella group consisting of Keith Harris, Paul Harris, Dave Kindinger, and Stephen Wilde. I'm very excited to see this group for the first time, and I have it on good authority that perhaps a few more vocal groups, duos, or trios will attend. So be sure to clean out your ears in preparation for some fabulous harmonies and on-stage antics, and bring your own double/triple/quadruple threat pieces as well!

See you there!

-Sierra Rein
The Blogette for The Salon

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