Monday, February 7, 2011

The Salon Wrap-Up for January 30, 2011: "Mental Health or Lack Thereof!”

Jay Rogers

It was all about the straightjackets on Sunday, as Mark Janas and co-host Jay Rogers opened the sanitarium doors and let the theme of “Mental Health or Lack Thereof" commence! Jay is a MAC & Bistro Award-Winning performaer and Drama Desk Nominee, director of Philip Fortenberry's Broadway My Way and Faye Lane's Beauty Shop Stories. Mark was in full crazy regalia, wearing a West Side Story covered in "flair," including a pin that mentioned "Sorry I don't date outside my species." Jay started the evening out with what can only be described as a dirty ditty, "Como Te Gusta Mi Penga"...those who speak Espanol might understand the literal meaning of that!

Sunny Leigh brought a Carrie Underwood song, "Before He Cheats" to life first, voicing the crazed female mind. Sunny is bringing her show Strong Enough to The Triad on February 18th and 27th with Musical Director Barry Levitt at the piano - check for more info. After Sunny, the sunny-dispositioned Adam Shapiro sang "One More Minute," a hilariously dark Weird Al Yankovic song about the final wishes of a brokenhearted lover. Not to be outdone on the romantic side of things, Mary Lahti sang the lovely "Paris Reminds Me of You" by Igor Novella. Next, Richie Eisenberg sang "The Grand Old Game," a song of his which certainly highlighted the insanity of the political system.

Mary Lahti

Luckily for us, Steve Schachlin was able to bring in some sanity as he sang his beautiful piece "Every Day a New Amen," which was only crazy in that it has the word "karaoke" in the first line of the lyric. Jane Glick then sang "I Never Do Anything Twice" - her show, About Time (in which she "remembers and anticipates different times of life") is directed by Eric Michael Gillett and Musical Directed by Dan Furman, will be at the Metropolitan Room on February 20th and 24th. Fake martini in hand, the Blogette of the evening (me, Sierra Rein) sang a Hector Coris original, "Lowering My Standards," about the crazy lengths a lady might go towards finding a date. Then, the Etceterette of the evening, Liz Ulmer, sat at the piano and beautifully played/sang "Gravity" by Sarah Bareilles.

Liz Ulmer

Chopin was the man of the hour for Mark Janas' Classical Corner. This time, Mark worked through the concept of the relationship of keys, and how the form of something (which is the balance between what's new against what's been established). Each note on the piano has a cycle of vibrations - each note contains a chord that is so imperceptible in softness, that it is hard to hear. But the partial floats like an angel above the note when a piano is in tune. He then played through Chopin's Ab Ballade, explaining that the key of Ab is the principal harmony, but as a good composer, Chopin was able to take this key into other areas (relative minor keys, for example) to twist expectations and bring the audience on an aural journey. Changes in key build tension until it's released in a cathartic manner when the chord comes back home. Chopin is known to go through the entire circle of 5ths before returning back to the original theme, and combines themes in the Coda to build into the finish. He spoke through the Ballade the first time through, then repeated it so we could emotionally connect with all the lovely key changes.

After the break, Jay Rogers grabbed a spotlight moment and picked up his ukelele to sang with Aaron Morishita on an adorable duo, "Tonight You Belong to Me" (with Aaron on kazoo!). Jay then sang a song from the Archy and Mehitabel-based Broadway show Shinbone Alley about a typewriting cockroach. Finally, Jay sang from the 1996 show When Pigs Fly, of which Jay starred in.

Jay Rogers and Aaron Morishita

We then had the trill of finally seeing our Producer, Tanya Moberly, put in a literal straight jacket (with Nurse Liz Ulmer helping out), as she sang "Lost Mind." She will be a featured performer at the "People You Should Know" showcase event on February 26th, hosted by Sue Matsuki at Don't Tell Mama, 6pm. She is also available for directing and coaching. We then were able to see the zany Bill Zeffiro take to the piano once more, this time singing "Mommy's Watching You," from his brand new musical about Hollywood, decapitated heads, and aliens. Talk about crazy! He also will offer a reading of his straight, non-musical/alien play about the Kennedy assassination at the Sink or Swim Theater Company in late September, 2011. After Bill, we were treated to Stephen Wilde singing "Great Big Stuff" from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, a rock anthem about physical desires. Stephen is busy with recording CD's for cabaret artists, as well as working with his vocal group VOCE.

Jane Glick

Insanely, some of the people were allowed a chance to perform an encore (haha)! Richard Eisenberg brought a sweet waltz about allowing oneself to fall in love, " Now That I Know." Jane Glick sang about hearing things - bells in particular - with "I Hear Bells." Adam Shapiro next sang the gorgeously positive David Friedman piece, "We Can Be Kind," certainly an instructional song about how to battle the craziness of life's problems. Adam was also excited to share that he recently recorded Richard Eisenberg's song "Good Old American Hamburger." Then, Liz Ulmer returned to sing of her insane infatuation with Julie Andrews with "The Sound of Music." Sierra Rein (that's me, nuttily typing in the third person) performed the mind-bending lyrics to "I've Got You Under My Skin." Jay Rogers then thanked the audience and fellow performers and sang the delicious Keith Thompson song "Eat, Drink and Be Merry."

NEXT SALON! Bring your hearts, broken or throbbing, on your sleeve or in your throat - next week the theme is “Love & Desire”! Our Co-Hosts will be a plethora of heartthrobs from the Manhattan School of Music - Students of Mark Janas: Adam Behlen, Juliana Curcio, Abbey Harr, Andy Klima, Anna Lawrence, Rachel Policar, Mitch Roe, Chris Sierra, Sarah Smith, Irene Snyder & Costas Tsourakis!!! Bring your songs of love, heartbreak, lust, jealousy, tenderness, or all the wonderful in-between emotions of the human heart.

Adam Shapiro

-Sierra Rein
The Blogette for The Salon
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