Friday, November 26, 2010

The Salon Wrap-Up for November 21, 2010: "Flower Power – Music of the 60's & 70's”

It was all flower, power, music, and love at The Salon on Sunday. "Flower Power - Music of the 60's and 70's" was the theme of the evening, allowing for some great rock n' roll, musical theater, and inspired new music. Co-hosts of the evening were Lennie Watts and Steven Ray Watkins, two of the three amazing singers (Scott Coulter being the high tenor third) currently performing in "3 Play - The 70's." This show (remaining performances at Don't Tell Mama November 29 and December 6 at 7pm, and Sunday, December 5 at 3pm) will feature "Doobie Brothers, Barry Manilow, Roberta Flack, the Bee Gees and other '70s faves." So this was the perfect evening for Lennie and Steven to co-host the evening (Scott had a performance of his own that evening). Of particular note for the night was that we had a family member of 60's music royalty in the audience - David Baez, Joan's nephew, was in attendance! We were completely full to the brim with singers, so there were no encores, and plenty of non-singers just there to eat good food and catch the talent.

Mark Janas introduced a personal touch - an 8x10 black and white glossy of himself in the 70's - curly hair, sunglasses, and all - and then introduced our co-hosts. Lennie and Steven (who took to the piano) then brought Julie Reyburn up to sing a trio with them on "Love Will Keep Us Together" by Captain & Tennille. "Woodstock worthy!" is how Mark described it after the huge applause died down. After this, Lennie introduced Adam Shapiro up, who then sang "One Tin Soldier." His upcoming show "No Chestnuts" will feature absolutely no Christmas carols (he promises) but a full set of holiday music - shows at The Duplex will be December 17th, 18th and 30th. We next heard the always charming Jane Glick, who sang "I Hear Bells." She will be presenting her own solo show two nights in 2011 - February 20th and 24th at the Metropolitan Room - so mark your calendars. After Jane, Stephen Hanks (new Board President of the Musical Mondays Theater Lab and new writer for Cabaret Scenes Magazine) sang Paul Simon's "Something So Right." His next performance will be December 19th, 1 pm, at the Laurie Beechman Theater.

Elaine St. George returned to us, singing "Louise," a song originally sung by Maurice Chevalier but also recorded by Ray Charles in the 1960's (Charles is the tribute subject of Elaine's show "InspiRAYtion," performing at the Metropolitan Room December 5th). Lynly Forrest then took to the microphone and sang "Nothing Really Happened" with Stephen Ray Watson at the piano. She brought her own 8x10 photo of herself in the 70's - remarkably younger than Mark! We then heard Richard Eisenberg's clever lyrics to his original song "All Good Things Must Come to an End," a song that could be applied to any time period including the heydays of the 60's and 70's. We then heard David Rigano sing a brand new song of his own, an alternatively sweet then hilarious song entitled "An Ode to Beauty." He is Assistant Director of the new play "Can I Really Date a Guy Who Wears a Yarmulke" - last performance is November 29 at 7:30pm. Marianne Berson then sang "Remember Summer" with pianist Rolf Barnes (who wrote this samba piece in the 1970's). Rolf stayed at the piano to play for singer Adrienne Metzinger, who is the Managing Director of the One World Symphony. In a beautiful soprano, she sang a legit-jazz version of "Any Place I Hang My Hat is Home," and although she said she was new to the Cabaret world, she sang in this intimate setting like a pro.

Annie Lebeaux - singer, pianist, composer, musical director - then grabbed the seat at the piano to sing a few songs. She's leaving for a long gig as a in-house piano player on a yacht in Key Largo, so we were certainly pleased that Mark asked her to sing two songs for the evening, before she left. She first sang a new song of her's in a Kingston Trio style entitled "Carry On," a song only two weeks old! She then encored with a Salon favorite, the Joni Mitchell parody (vocals included) entitled "Speed Dial." We then heard David Ballard, with the help of backup vocals by Tanya and Mark, sing the crowd-pleasing "Happy Together" - the entire audience was clapping and singing and swaying along. Shana Farr - with Steven Ray Watkins at the piano - next did a hilarious "girly" medley of Madonna, Barbie Girl, Marilyn Monroe, Shania Twain, and Broadway musical songs.

We then had a special spotlight for the evening - Julie Reyburn! She will be performing her summer show "Summer November" at the Laurie Beechman November 28th at 7pm (Director Lennie Watts, Producer Fr. Jeff Hamblin, Music Director Mark Janas!) - check out her website for more details. She sang the rocking Beatles song "Oh, Darlin'" and the breathtaking Heisler and Goldrich song "Love Like Breathing" as only Julie could.

Mark Janas' Classical Corner connected the classical world (Beethoven, Mozart, Bach) with The Beatles, one of the most important and revolutionary musical groups in modern history. They reinvented each and every musical style, using the same revolutionary energy that Beethoven used in his day - to reinterpret progressions, taking loose influences from all modes of music and applying them to rock and roll. After Ed Sullivan introduced The Beatles to Television audiences, the world would never be the same again. They went from a quartet of rock musicians to recordings utilizing string quartets, orchestras, trumpets and new approaches to harmonics. Listen to "Eleanor Rigby" or "Michelle," and you will hear direct classical influences in both the structure and orchestration of the song. The Beatles - the music of which can now be downloaded at will through iTunes - proved that rock and pop musicians could create their own genre and use all modes of music in their work.

After the break, our co-hosts grabbed their own spotlights. Steven Ray Watkins sang and played the piano to Elton John's "Bennie and the Jets," a song he originally sang in his Under the Cover singthrough of John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." Lennie Watts then joined Steven to sing "Honesty." Then Steven sang from their "3 Play" show, "On and On" by Stephen Bishop. Our Producer, Tanya Moberly, then brought some glorious 70's cheese with Kenny Loggins' "I Believe in Love." Tanya will sing for the Zani's Furry Friends benefit concert on Saturday November 27th, then her own "Theatre Songs" show December 14th with Mark Janas and Ritt Henn at Don't Tell Mama, 9:15pm. After Tanya, newcomer Daniel Wasserman (with Gil Bleich at the piano) gave us a break from rock and pop and sang "My Funny Valentine," a 1937 song by Rogers and Hart. Next, Marya Zimmet effortlessly sang Joni Mitchell's "All I Want," then Father Jeff Hamblin wowed us with a surreal performance - a pastor singing "Puff the Magic Dragon," complete with chorus singalong!

Dani Rhodes was on hand next to rock our world and prove she is instantly castable by singing "Black Boys" from the musical Hair. Bill Zeffiro then assisted Julie Reyburn on piano as she sang Zeffiro's original song "True." Stephen Wilde (playing guitar while Mark played piano) sang "Karma Police" by Radiohead. Marcy Richardson grabbed the stage to sing "My Ship" by Kurt Weill in a lovely mezzo soprano. She is performing in "Weill Wednesdays," December 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th, 7:30-9:00 PM at Ella Lounge - Marcy teams up on these Wednesdays with singer Kate Mangiameli and pianist Carol Wong for these evenings, which feature the music of Kurt Weill in an informal, lounge style setting (No cover, no drink minimum, with half-priced specialty cocktails until 9 PM). You can watch video of this show here and read more about Marcy here. Then, Sierra Rein (me!) rocked out "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" by Carol King, with the proper accompanying audience call and response. To complete the evening, Lennie and Stephen encouraged full blown gospel rock audience singing - in multi-part harmony of course - to "Takin' it To The Streets" by the Doobie Brothers.

Next two Sundays (November 28th and December 5th) there will be NO SALON! Have a terrific Thanksgiving Day weekend!

We will see everyone two weeks from now on December 12th, when Raissa Katona Bennett will co-host the theme of "Six Degrees of Jerome Kern." So be prepared for some lush melodies, warm lyrics, and classic Broadway music. The week after that, December 19th, the theme will be "The Best of 2010," and the co-hosts will be the entire Salon Advisory Board! So, prepare what you consider your best material, or maybe the best new material written in 2010, or maybe a song from the role you are perfect for! Any interpretation, as well as off-theme work, is welcome!

-Sierra Rein
The Blogette for The Salon
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