Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Salon Wrap-Up for June 6, 2010 - "Vicissitudes"

Erin Cronican here! Sierra Rein has taken a well deserved vacation from blogging, so I am filling you in on the great time that was had last Sunday.

It was a wild and wacky night as Salon regulars and some newbies settled in for “Vicissitudes” - starting with the fact that no one could really pronounce the word (though we had fun trying!) Webster’s dictionary defines “vicissitude” as:

1 a : the quality or state of being changeable : mutability b : natural change or mutation visible in nature or in human affairs
2 a : a favorable or unfavorable event or situation that occurs by chance : a fluctuation of state or condition (the vicissitudes of daily life); b : a difficulty or hardship attendant on a way of life, a career, or a course of action and usually beyond one's control c : alternating change : succession

Our Guest-Host for the evening was Bill Zeffiro, who was filling in for Mark Janas as he works his magic at Maine State Music Theater. Our co-host was the straight from Las Vegas and ever sparkling, Vicki Van Tassel. When asked about the genesis of this evening’s theme, Vicki intimated that there would be lots of changes afoot. Little did we know that she meant costume changes, of which there were at least 30 (including a clear plastic trench coat hiding an itsy bitsy teenie weenie silver sequin bikini... you had to be there.) Vicki kicked off the show by singing, “I’m So Fuckin Happy” and “The Masochism Tango” - the latter a hilarious melody by Tom Lehrer (which is included in his show Tomfoolery.)

Vicki soon handed it over to the Salon attendees - first to Paul Bodden, who crooned the 1930 standard, “I’m Confessin’.“ Thad McGar was next with a bouncy little song called, ”The First Warm Day in May“ and was followed by a charming rendition of ”I’m Glad I’m Not Young Anymore,“ sung and played by Matthew Ward. Matthew took the time to graciously thank Mark Janas for having vicissitudes in his career, which allowed so many other people to co-host. Yay! Sunny Leigh was up next (accompanied by Barry Levitt) who sang the Bert Williams tune, ”Nobody.“ Another pairing then went to the stage, this time Sigali Hamberger on microphone and Nick Levin on piano, performing Nick’s tune, ”Synesthesia“ (which is defined as ”a sensation that normally occurs in one sense modality occurs when another modality is stimulated“ - for example, seeing the color yellow and feeling cold... perfect for our theme!) Michael Colby then sang ”Changing Times“ with music by Steven Silverstein and lyrics by Colby (accompanied by Matthew Ward.) Michael is writing/co-producing They Changed Broadway at the Forum Theater on June 13.

Next up, Kevin McMullan taught us how to choose a blues name (you take physical affliction, like being small, large, skinny, loud; plus the name of a fruit; plus the name of a president, et voila!)- he choose the name Lil’ Kiwi Madison and sang ”Why Can’t a Man Sing the Blues.“ It was a tough act to follow, but Louisa Poster held her own by singing the classic, ”Orange Colored Sky.“ Helena Grenot then silenced the crowd with a heartbreaking rendition of Melissa Manchester’s ”Through the Eyes of Grace.“ Helena will be back at The Salon on June 20, when she co-hosts with Barry Levitt. Edie Stokes then followed with the gorgeous song, ”Gone With The Wind,“ which, Bill Zeffiro pointed out, came out a full year before the movie was released.

Barbara Porteus next gave her us interpretation of the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic, ”Love, Look Away“ (accompanied by Barry Levitt.) Stephanie Zagoren then shared her love of Gershwin with, ”The Man I Love“ (how apropos!) A relative newbie to the Salon, Candice Oden, then wowed us with the compelling tune, ”Happy Days Are Here Again.“ Following Candice was Erin Cronican, who sang the gentle and hopeful piece, ”It’s Amazing The Things That Float“ from Peter C. Mills’ The Flood. Next up we had our door Etceterette, Arianna, sing Gilbert & Sullivan’s ”Tis Done- I Am A Bride“ from The Yeoman. Mark Watson gave in to producer, Tanya’s, wishes and used a microphone on his wonderful tune, ”Here’s That Rainy Day.“ And Floor Etceterette, Maureen Taylor, delighted us with the beautiful, ”Can You Tell The Moment?“ And thus ended Act I of this week’s Salon.

Act II of the Salon was kicked off by none other than the ”Crown Prince of New York Cabaret“ - our Special Guest, Steve Ross. Steve brought amazing poise and confidence to the piano and his voice, and regaled us with a medley of ”Puttin’ On The Ritz“ and ”Steppin’ Out With My Baby,“ then steered us into Cole Porter territory with ”After You, Who?“ and then finished his lovely set with ”I Guess I’ll Have To Change My Plan.“ Next up, Steve will be appearing in London, doing his show, ”An Evening with Steve Ross.“

Guest-Host Bill Zeffiro then came back to the piano to do Zeffiro’s Corner. He started by inviting his co-host, Vicki Van Tassel, back to the mic to sing the title tune from Road to Ruin (which is rumored to be getting a full production later this year.) He then sang his hilarious, new song, ”Lower Your Expectations.“ Producer Tanya Moberly then teased and provoked us with ”Two’s Company.“ Danielle Erin Rhodes was up next, singing the powerful ”A New Life“ from the ultimate show about changes/mutations, Jekyll & Hyde. Zita Geoffroy then joined us on stage with ”My Own Space.“

After this, Tanya was feeling generous, so she started inviting singers back to the stage for encores. Kicking off the encores were Erin Cronican and Candice Oden, who did a Wicked 1-2 punch with ”Popular“ and ”The Wizard and I.“ Next, we brought back Stephanie Zagoren to sing ”A Foggy Day.“ Salon Board member Stephen Wilde then popped in, and gave us a rousing, ”I Could Be In Love With Someone Like You“ which is the cut tune from The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown (which was replaced with ”Shiksa Goddess.”) Matthew Ward joined us again with “We’re Gonna Be Alright” and Barbara Porteus graced us with her soprano tones with The Secret Garden’s “How Could I Ever Know?” Paul Bodden returned to the stage with “Easy Living” and Kevin McMullan gave us a more serious, “Like A Straw In The Wind.” Edie then shocked and delighted the audience with a song about wanting to be a “wicked woman” while Helena channeled a French chanteuse singing, “Chanson” from The Baker’s Wife.

Etc Etc’s fearless server, David Ballard, then sang a gorgeous rendition of “Younger Than Springtime” and received thunderous applause, while Arianna made us hoot and holler with “What’s Wrong With Me.” Thad McGar took the stage again, this time with Kurt Weill’s “September Song.” Maureen Taylor then brought up Matthew Ward to accompany her on the beautiful “My Place in the World.” Mark Watson (sans mic again!) delivered the sweet and simple, “I’ll Be Seeing You” and Danielle Erin Rhodes woke up the joint with her version of Kiss’s “Let Me Know” (and accompanied herself with her own arrangement!) And to close out the evening, Bill Zeffiro and Vicki Van Tassel sang a lively and fun version of Irving Berlin’s “Pack Up Your Sins.“

Next week our wonderful guest-host and pianist will be Ms. Tracy Stark for the theme of “A Girl and a Guitar.” Our Co-Host will be our very own birthday girl, Gretchen Reinhagen and our Special Guest will be Lisa Brigantino. And Sierra Rein, The Salon’s regular Blogette, will be back at the keys.

PS: Be sure to tape/DVR the Tony Awards, then come hang out with entertainment that rivals the best in the business!

-Erin Cronican
Co-Blogette for The Salon

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