Friday, March 18, 2011

The Salon Wrap-Up for March 13, 2011: "Blues In The Night”

The Blues...The Night...The was all a bluesy evening on Sunday (even the stage lights were blue) as funny jazz chick Joan Crowe co-hosted the evening. Dan Furman was on piano, replacing rehearsing Mark Janas, and a better pair of hands for the jazz/blues evening could not have been found! Joan began the evening with what has become her hilarious signature tune "White Girl Blues"- a Sue Matsuki original with personalized lyrics which were, in Joan's point of view "unfortunately true." Mark Levy followed the funny with more funny and sang "You Won't Suceed On Broadway" from Spamalot, complete with a Hava Nagila dance. Barb Malley then brought the mood down to the effective blues with Cy Coleman's beautiful "I'm Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life."

 Joan Crowe

Then, Tony Imgrund - who is too young to have ever experienced the blues - sang "Midnight Pillow," a new song from the musical All The World's a Stage by Donna Stearns. This is a brand new musical farce based on Shakespeare's As You Like It, and features all new music by Stearns with lyrics by ye olde Will himself. A reading for of this will be April 23rd (Shakespeare's Birthday!) at 1pm at the Inwood Library - go to for information on the reading and information on auditions March 26th! After Tony, the lovely Maureen Taylor sang "Gifts of Love" and filled us in on her plan for co-hosting this Sunday's "It's In The Stars" theme (more details here). It's going to be a very unique evening!

And speaking of unique, we next heard a one-of-a-kind rendition of "Blue Moon" by Steve "The Whistler" Herbst, who whistled and proved why he'll be at a whistling contest in a few weeks - amazing! Dan Furman also performed a hot piano solo in the middle of this well-known standard. Stacey Perlman then robustly sang the Styne/Cohn song "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry," a piece I had never seen before, and let us know that she'll be singing at Otto's Shrunken Head on April 16th. Rob Langeder (always snazzy, always classy, always with the amazing scatting) scooted, whipped and flipped his way beautifully through "Blue Skies," and then Stephanie Zagoran reminded us how the blues came about with "Birth of the Blues." Donna Stearns then came up to the mic to sing original music called "Love Burn." Then we heard from Elaine St. George, who sexily and hilariously sang Keb Mo's "Whole 'Nutha Thang." Her Ray Charles show will return to the Metropolitan Room on April 27th - more information to come!

To keep the theme of the evening alive and well, Richard Eisenberg sang his original piece, "Color Blind Blues." Then, to switch the evening from a blue to a distinct green color, as Ryan Knowles came to the mic, glass in hand, to sing Peter Saxe's appropriate holiday song "On Saint Patrick's Day." Peter was at the piano to play and hear the roars of laughter emanating from the is a hilarious song, and Joan asked for it immediately in the key of Bb as soon as the song was over. Next, Blogette Sierra Rein (myself, with Brian Allan Hobbs on piano) sang "A Quiet Night at Home" from the musical bare, written by Damon Intrabartolo and Jon Hartmere. Her group, Marquee Five, will be at the Laurie Beechman Theater on March 26th, will co-host The Salon on the evening of March 27th, and has until March 31st to raise money for their upcoming CD (check it out!). Etceterette Arianna then demanded the mic and had a proper onstage fit with "Diva's Lament" from Spamalot (no really, it was just an act...Arianna is a sweetie!). We then had a treat from the piano man himself, Dan Furman. He brought up four singers - Rob Langeder, Dani Rhodes, Chris Gunn, and Christopher Vettel - to sing through a few songs from his very own musical, RIP!, based on the American Rip Van Winkel fable (additional lyrics by Mary-Liz McNamara).

Dan Furman

After the break, our co-host Joan Crowe broke her own "2-ballad maximum" rule to sing through a few blues-based songs. She started with Dolly Parton's effective "Jolene," ripped through the cleverly-lyric'd "Blood Shot Eyes" by Wynonie Harris, and then connected the current feelings associated with the earthquake and tsunami in Japan with the lyrics of Randy Newman's heartaching "Louisiana 1927."

Producer Tanya Moberly then sang "The Diner" and was serenaded to a full-voiced "Happy Birthday" by the entire Salon audience...happy birthday, Tanya! Leah McKennah Garcia then vamped lustily through "Lost and Found" from City of Angels. Leah will perform "Dr. Faustus" at Columbia April 21st - 23rd. Then, Marnie Klar sang the emotional "Portrait," Vienna Carroll showed us how it's done with Robert Johnson's "Come Into My Kitchen," and Bill Zeffiro sang his original comedy song "Lower Your Expectations." Stephen Wilde then showed his soul with Hoagy Carmichael's "Baltimore Oriole" and then explained why he won't be at Salon for a while - he's performing in The Music Man in Rochester for a number of months!

Jumping behind the keys, we then had Dani Rhodes passionately sing her original song "Take Me To a Place" initially written as soon as she landed in New York City for the first time. Then, Stacy Ward McAdams brought everyone into the mix by asking us all to jump in on verses and choruses of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." To round out the evening, we had two more original works of music: David Ballard (yup, he sings, dances, waits Salon tables AND writes music) sang his William Finn-esque song "Stood Up." Then, Jordan Siewick got behind the piano to play and sing his song "One Big Mess," a "baby blues" song, as it had just been written. Jordan, with his beyond-his-years piano abilities, will be at the piano bar of Martino Vitman on March 25th.

Joan Crowe closed out the evening with "Since I Fell For You," once again accompanied by Dan Furman (who again displayed his piano prowess with another gorgeous piano solo).

Baby, what's your sign? And are the stars out tonight? Maureen Taylor co-hosts "It's In The Stars." In honor of the Spring Equinox and to celebrate all of our Sun Signs, people will be seated with their own element. Fire (Aries, Leo & Sagittarius), Earth (Taurus, Virgo & Capricorn), Air (Gemini, Libra & Aquarius) and Water (Cancer, Scorpio & Pisces) will all have their own sections in the audience. If you don't know your sign, don't worry. All you need to know is your birthday, and you will be guided. If you do know your sign, bring in a song that has something to do with the qualities of that sign!

But remember, all material (on or off theme) is welcome at The Salon!

See you there!

-Sierra Rein
The Blogette for The Salon
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