Monday, November 15, 2010

The Salon Wrap-Up for November 14, 2010 - "All God's Creatures"

Mrowr! Woof! Hello!

Now that you have become trilingual in how to greet our fellow creatures, it's time to wrap up this week's Salon! Sunday night was filled with animal magnetism, as the theme was "All God's Creatures." On hand to co-host the evening was noneother than Sarah Rice, originator of the role of Johanna (Sweeney Todd), Bistro Award winner (for her "Screen Gems" show last year) and fervent animal rights/rescue supporter. She will sing in "Love Makes the World Go 'Round," a benefit performance for Zani's Furry Friends on November 27th, 7pm at the Laurie Beechman. This show will feature Klea Blackhurst as host, John Babcock, Celia Berk, Phil Geoffrey Bond, Emily Buttner, Len Cariou, Michael Cone, Brain Gari, Anita Gillette, Janice Hall, Dana Lorge, Marilyn Michaels, Tanya Moberly, Marni Nixon, Craig Pomranz, Gretchen Reinhagen, Julie Reyburn, Sarah Rice, and others. JoAnn Yeoman directs and Tanya Moberly will Stage Manage. Mark Janas and Bill Zeffiro will provide accompaniment. Such a great lineup! Zani's Furry Friends is a non-profit organization which strives to rescue "companion animals from New York City's shelters where, unfortunately, they are at significant risk for euthanasia due to overcrowding." If you cannot be at the benefit performance, consider visiting Zani's website and learn how to help/donate in any way you can.

Mark Janas sported his elephants-and-horses-in-the-circus tie and regaled us with stories of his 2 weeks subbing in synth for the Ringling Brothers Circus (the animals were well cared for, in his estimate, although he did have to adjust to following the conductors every move in order to synch up with the action on the right measure!). Sarah was introduced, and immediately brought up fellow songbird Maureen Taylor to sing the absolutely gorgeous "The Flower Duet" Léo Delibes' opera Lakmé. With Rice's silvery soprano, and Maureen's rich mezzo, I got chills hearing their voices soar with impeccable French. It was a great start to the evening! Sarah then introduced funny lady Joan Jaffe, who sang the comedy song "The Spider and the Fly." Joan just finished directing Louisa Poster's show, is now directing and developing Bill Minife's new show, and will be producing her own solo show soon as well. We then heard Michael Colby, with wife Andrea Colby at the piano, sing a song specially written for the evening's theme, entitled "Him," about Maximus Colby (the "tall dark and hungry member" of the Colby family - a handsome black poodle!).

Bill Zeffiro, who was a friend of the amazing Kay Swift (who broke gender barriers by writing the first hit Broadway musical fully written by a woman), and sang one of her pieces, "The Cat Song," a hilarious piece about a female cat who doesn't want a second litter, thank you very much Tom Cat! Bill is having one of his plays read by the Sink or Swim Reperatory Theater next year - more information will surely come! After Bill, Richard Eisenberg showed his romantic side with a classically-written standard, "On A Night Like This" (inspired by a nice evening out in July this year). Janice Hall, sporting a leopard-print shirt, sang "The Cat," a German composition to which Janice added her original English lyrics! She purred and meowed her way through this sultry song, then reminded us of her "Grand Illusions" tribute show to Marlene Deitrich - this Sunday at 4pm, and on December 8th. We next heard Elaine St. George, a jazz singer with beautiful soprano trills, who sang "Oh What a Beautiful Mornin,'" a song which does mention elephants and cattle! Her choice of song comes from her own show "InspiRAYtion," a show dedicated to Ray Charles, which will be performed at the Metropolitan Room on December 5th (more information at her blog). Maureen Taylor next came to the mic to sing the beautiful "Will You" from Grey Gardens, a song that references larks and grey geese.

I (Sierra Rein) chose to bring some church music into The Salon, this time singing "All Things Bright and Beautiful" (lyrics "All things bright and beautiful/
All creatures great and small")...which then morphed into the sentiment "All Things Dull and Ugly" ("Each little snake that poisons/Each little wasp that stings" - lyrics by Monty Python). Sierra's caroling group, The Definitely Dickens Holiday Carolers, are available for holiday parties, business events this year (and her usual quartet is 4 out of 5 of Marquee Five, so you know it's quality)! After that diatribe against nature, Kathleen France brought her powerful blues rock vocals to "Baby, I Love Your Way." Kathleen is working on a Linda Rondstadt tribute show and is currently a writer for

We then had a spotlight treat - Hector Coris (former MAC Vice-President, winner of the 2010 MAC Award for Male Vocalist)! He is breaking our hearts by moving to Phoenix, Arizona in 2011 and is singing his final performance of "Life is Wonderful" tomorrow, Tuesday the 16th, at Don't Tell Mama. It's his final show, so book reservations if (IF?!?) you can attend! Hector sang two showstopping numbers, the first was the heartbreaking "Come Home," from Mark Janas and Peter Napolitano's show Pinochhio in Chelsea. The second was "Grin and Bear It," a humorously dark piece co-written by Hector Coris with Bill Zeffiro (now THAT's a great writing team). Hector assures me that he will continue his songwriting talens in Phoenix, so be on the lookout for his songs in the future. And speaking of Bill Zeffiro, he was up next to do a quick encore of "Animal Crackers."

The Classical Corner this week of course centralized on the concept of Animals, in particular how classical music sought to capture the movement of different animals, the sounds of animals, or sometimes both. He referenced "Alley Cat," "The Pink Panther Theme," Beethoven's "Pastoral," "Flight of the Bumblebee" by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and Grofe's "Grand Canyon Suite" (a piece I loved as a child due to its version of the donkey's hee-haw and clopping gait). He also spoke through the musical suite "The Carnival of the Animals (Le carnaval des animaux)" by Camille Saint-Saëns. He quoted different parts of the suite (from the pompous "The Elephant" to "The Cuckoo in the Deep Woods.") Of particular interest was "Aquarium," which at the time of composition would have featured the glass harmonica (a more professional version of one's use of a finger, some water and one's wine glass). Another point of interest was the humorously titled "The Pianists," a jab on the human population which used running scales and piano "bumps" vigorously. Mark closed by playing the most famous of the suite's pieces, the lovely, flowing "The Swan."

After the break, Sarah Rice returned by singing in French again, this time from Francis Poulenc's "La courte paille" song cycle (about Puss in Boots). Referencing her typecasting in playing crazy ladies who sing about birds, she then trilled through the funny song "When I Was a Little Cuckoo." Finally, she spoke through the somber poem "Whispering," and achingly sang "Feed the Birds" from Mary Poppins. Then, Producer Tanya Moberly got set up with her guitar. In the meantime, we had a moment for the audience to share our pet's names (we heard Tinkerbell Killer, Zaphod, and Nocchi to name a few). Then Tanya accompanied herself on guitar to the tune of "The Puppy Song" by Harry Nilsson. She will be singing for the Zani's Furry Friends benefit on the 27th, and will bring her successful show "Theatre Songs" to Don't Tell Mama on December 14th at 9:15 (with Mark Janas at piano and Ritt Henn on bass).

It was then encores time! Elaine St. George returned to sing a uniquely phrased bossa nova-style "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," Michael Colby sang "I'll Stand By You" (lyrics by Colby, music by Paul Katz from the musical Tales of Tinsel Town.), "Pearls" written by Richard Eisenberg and sung by Joan Jaffe, Janice Hall sang "Want to Buy Some Illusions" from her "Grand Illusions" show, and Hector Coris deftly tripped through "As We Stumble Along" from Drowsy Chaperone. I brought in "In My Dreams," written by the late Jim Fradrich, and Kathleen France tore the roof off with a thunderous "Cry Me a River." Richard Eisenberg, always ready to tickle the dirty funny bones, sang a parody lyric about Viagra, and then Sarah Rice read the poem "From the Death of a Stray Cat," and then sang a hauntingly beautiful piece ("For Always" by John Williams from the movie A.I.) to end the evening's entertainment.

NEXT WEEK! Get out your headbands, bellbottoms and taste for Barry Manilow - the theme is "Flower Power – Music of the 60's & 70's"! Co-Hosts will be Lennie Watts, Scott Coulter & Steven Ray Watkins, and there will be a special Salon Spotlight on Julie Reyburn! Sing your favorite Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Manilow, Elton John, Eagles, Queen...or beyond!

Special thanks to Mariann Moery, who took pictures of The Salon throughout the evening!

Sierra disses the snakes and the hornets...

Mark Janas and Sarah Rice

Kathleen croons

Hector wails.

Elaine jazzes it up

Michael sings about a doggie!

-Sierra Rein
The Blogette for The Salon
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1 comment:

  1. The Kay Swift "Cat Song," which was written for a Rockettes number at Radio City Music Hall in 1935, has a title, "All Washed Up On Love," lyrics by Al Stillman.