Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Salon Wrap-Up for Sunday, August 22nd, 2010: "Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda - Songs of Regret"

“Regret is insight that comes a day too late”

We had a wonderful, packed, ebullient crowd this past Sunday at The Salon, perfect for creatively commiserating among friends. The theme of the evening was "Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda - Songs of Regret," and I must say there are a lot of mistakes, gaffes, missed opportunities, trip-ups, and just plain "oh darn it!" songs out there in the world. Some were touching, many were hilarious, but all celebrated the things in our lives we either directly learn from or just have to look back on and say "well, maybe next time..."

Our beautiful guest co-host of the evening was Danielle Grabianowski, who I had the pleasure of seeing winning the 2008 1930's Idol Competition. Since then, Danielle has come in 2nd in the Metrostar Talent Challenge, won the 2010 MAC Award for Female Debut (for her show Old, New, Borrowed and Blues), and was given The Ira Eaker Special Achievement Award of the Bistro Awards in 2010, given to "an outstanding performer on the rise." Danielle - with her unique voice and adorable (yet devilish) grace - was a perfect hostess, able to make fun of herself in a charmingly "regretful" way all through the evening.

Danielle started out the evening with "Love Me," a song she said connected to the theme of the evening in that "the characters are not using protection." She then turned it over to Keni Fine, who wrote a hilarious original for-the-evening's-theme spoken word piece "The Sunday Show," followed by original parody lyrics set to the tune of "Fly Me to the Moon." Then multiple award-winner Gretchen Reinhagen sang the emotional Craig Carnelia ballad "Nothing Really Happened." Mark Levy then brought down the house early with his rendition of "The House of the Rising Sun" ("...a strong choice for a strong man in a pastel shirt," Danielle said). After Mark, Teresa Fischer was welcomed on the Salon stage as a new debut singer, who belted out the hilarious "shoulda" song "All the Good Men are Gay," written by Ron Abel and Bruce Newberg. We then had a 2nd Salon debut, Kit Benton, who sang "Paris in the Rain" with John Prestianni (who is also a composer) at the piano. Her show French Connection will debut at the West Bank with Prestianni as Music Director and Eric Michael Gillett as Director - November 7th.

After those two debuts, we had some regulars sing about their regrets. Sunny Leigh sang a rhumba version of Cy Coleman's "You Fascinate Me So" - she will sing at The Living Room in January of 2011. Marnie Klar performed "I'll Forget You" from the Wildhorn musical The Scarlet Pimpernel. Then 2010 MAC award-winning host and producer Dana Lorge (for the Wednesday Night at the Iguana series with Richard Skipper) sang "Is There a Straight Man in the House?" (a Kay Ballard song) and then probably sat in a corner to lament with Teresa Fischer afterward. Then singer Steve Sterner sang "The Last One" in a comedic Russian accent, a song originally cut from the musical Meester Amerika (music by Artie Bressler - who also played piano - lyrics by Michael Colby).

Next, Kevin McMullan sang the touching ballad "Till A Moment Ago" - his show Twist of Fate will perform October 13th and 23rd at the Laurie Beechman Theater with Mark Janas at the piano and Miles Phillips as MD - more info to come. After Kevin, Barbara Porteus sang "Losing My Mind." Barbara is currently working on a new show with Barry Levitt for after the first of 2011, so check back on her website as soon as the champagne buzz abates. We then had the always scrumptious Helena Grenot, who this tme sang "Ghost of a Chance" - her show Damned if I Know will return to Don't Tell Mama on October 22, 29th and November 6th. Next, David Rigano sang "Spreading Light" from his show Facing East (music by Rigano, lyrics by Mark Eugene Garcia) - you can find the Facebook Page for the show here.

Maureen Taylor next graced the stage, singing the heartfelt "Loose Ends" from the musical version of Witches of Eastwick. Then Marquee Five (with Adam West Hemming arrangements) sang two songs from their upcoming show 8-Track Throwback, "Will You Still Love Me" by Carol King - solo'd by Julie Reyburn - and a mashup of "Hallelujah" and "Bird on a Wire" by Leonard Cohen. 8-Track Throwback will perform five nights at Don't Tell Mama in Sept (16th, 23rd and 25th) and October (2nd and 16th) and will feature Mark Janas at the piano, Matt Scharfglass on bass and guistarists John Benthal (9/16 & 10/16) and Tony Romano (9/23, 9/25 & 10/2). And speaking of Julie Reyburn, HER show Summer Nights returns to perform one night only - September 30th - at the Laurie Beechman Theater. You have to hear her tribute to Marquee Five, if she sings it in this set!

To end the first half, the always adorable Erin Cronican sang a song practically written for her, "Vanilla Ice Cream" from She Loves Me, hitting that high B with ease. Erin will be starring in the brand new musical Nab-A-Date in 2011 and has three (count 'em THREE) films touring the festival circuit in late 2010, so keep an eye out for her on the big screen and stage soon. After Erin, we had a sensitive and powerful rendition of "Insensitive" from Danielle Erin Rhodes - this Sunday (August 22nd), at 3pm Dani will take part in a new play reading series Words and Wine at Joria Mainstage on 36th street, as a part of F.A.C.T. (Friends Always Creating Theatre), and will also be doing a reading on November 6th of Dan Forman's new musical RIP (about Rip Van Winkle).

After a solid break, we returned to hear and see (without any regrets) the wonderful Sidney Myer, MAC and Bistro Award-winner and bookings manager at Don't Tell Mama. Sidney sang three songs for us - "It's So Nice to Have a Man Around the House," "When I See the World in Your Eyes" and the high-spirited "Good Advice." The brilliant Tracy Stark was at the piano, providing Sidney with wonderful accompaniment. Sidney charmed us with his ease, energy and humor with each song!

For Mark Janas' Classical Corner, he concentrating on the concept of falling 2nds and 5ths, those musical clues composers include in their arrangements to signify loss and disappointment. He played a few Chopin Preludes, demonstrating what inherently "rings" disappointment to the human ear (and actually, what rings negative to the natural world in general!). (Side note: one of the Preludes he played segued quite naturally into a Barry Manilow song, demonstrating that classical and pop music are close cousins in tone and structure). Mark talked about the "Golden Mean," or the Golden Ratio: that natural structure found in math, architecture, painting, and even office paper that, in music, is built into the sounds we hear, and how we all have an understanding and emotional reaction when that structure is augmented or transformed. Quite heady stuff, but it was fascinating!

Tanya Moberly, whose show Theatre Songs will return on September 30th to Don't Tell Mama at 9pm with Mark Janas on piano and Ritt Henn on bass, sang "It Never Entered My Mind." Then, Stephen Wilde (accompanying himself on guitar) sang "Reckoner," a song by alternative English band Radiohead. Then, Ann Dawson brought her spritely self up to sing the ballad "People That You Never Get to Love" by Rupert Holmes. Richard Eisenberg sang one of his serious tomes "They Don't Make Them Like That, Anymore," although with Bistro Awarded Eisenberg in existence it's hard to justify that...he wrote that song for The Salon's Richard Rogers birthday celebration. After Richard, Joan Jaffe sang the scandalous-themed "On the Streets of Paree." Joan will be celebrating her CD "Joan Jaffe Sings Funn" release at the Any Wednesday Series at Barnes and Noble (66th street & B'way near Lincoln Center) on October 20th, 6pm - the event is free and you will be able to hear a set of her work in person.

Steve "The Whistler" Herbst then sang "I Wish I Could Forget You" from the Sondheim musical Passion. And Metrostar Talent Challenge "Top 5" Finalist Janice Hall sang a hilariously arranged song "Un Peu Cochon" with the translational humor of Mark Janas himself. The five finalists sang on August 23rd for the Finals First Round, and you can catch them again at the Metropolitan Room on August 30th for the Finals Second Round! After Janice, we had our third debut performer of the evening, Carolann Sanita, who sang an empowering Jonathan R. Gralt ballad entitled "Quiet."

We then had a series of singer-songwriters-who-can-play-piano sit behind the keys. First, to celebrate the birthday of Dorothy Parker - she was born August 22nd 1893 - Bill Zeffiro sang his original tune "Happy Birthday, Mrs. Parker," and I'm sure Parker herself would have said something witty and regretful had she been in attendance. Bill has several upcoming performances, including shows at The Borcalino Room at Flute the last Thursday of each month, and this Friday at Urban Stages he will perform in the show Close Harmony, a never before heard play by Dorothy Parker and Elmer Rice (Facebook event here and the Dorothy Parker Society has more details). We next had Ellen Bullinger on piano to sing her own composition "That's What I Wish You Had Said" with beautiful rock belt vocals. Then Marc Ostrow fiddled with the ivories on an original piece "If I Should Die Tonight."

For the final stretch of the evening - which was packed and allowed no encores - we welcomed Jeffrey Lyle Segal to sing "My Baby Used to Be a Man" and touted his original musical revue Mating The Musical. Next, Liz Ulmer sang "How Did I End Up Here?" from the musical Romance/Romance. We then had the star herself, Sarah Rice, sing a beautiful mashup of "Dreamer" and "Lazy Afternoon," a sad/sexy ballad that had the audience applauding breathlessly. Then, Sierra Rein sang "What a Movie" from Leonard Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti in preparation for a next-day audition (update: yes, a callback!). And then Danielle Grabianowski closed the evening with the oh-so-appropriately regretful so-long song "Every Time We Say Goodbye."


The next Salon will take place this Sunday, August 29th from 7:00 to 10:30 pm - the optional theme for the evening will be "World Cruise". Co-host will be Adam Shapiro and special guest will be Karen Oberlin. So dust off your straw hats, your trunks (both swimming and packing) and bring your songs about travel, the world, different countries, boats, or all is welcome!

THERE WILL BE NO SALON SEPTEMBER 5TH OR SEPTEMBER 12TH - Salon will resume Sunday, September 19th!

-Sierra Rein
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