Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Salon Wrap-Up for May 15, 2011: "Moulin Rouge"

Stephen Hanks
While there was no long line of leggy kickdancing girls, the Etcetera, Etcetera stage on Sunday was filled with characters that certainly could have performed on the Moulin Rouge stage a hundred years ago.  It was an exciting evening, one that celebrated The Salon's win the previous Tuesday of it's second MAC Award for Open Mic! The theme was "Moulin Rouge," that can-can-do venue of Paris, and the co-host of the show was Stephen Hanks, co-producer of "The Fartiste," the 2006 NYC Fringe Festival award-winner for “Best Musical.”  The Fartiste refers to Joseph Pujol, who literally expelled air from his nether-region to entertain the crowds at the Moulin Rouge itself for six years in the late 1890s.

Mark Janas was dressed in an old-timey bow tie and vest and introduced Stephen Hanks to the stage, who started with the opening credit song from the movie "Moulin Rouge" from 2001, "Nature Boy."  Stephen then aided us through a lesson on how to do a good Jerry Lewis impersonation, and gave us a short history of the Moulin Rouge - the "Red Mill" - which opened in 1889.  Stephen then introduced Erin Cronican, who sang "How Long," and was thrilled to be singing through the role of Guenevere in her "Actor-Own" reading the coming week.  Next, Richard Eisenberg sang a song that could actually have been used in "The Fartiste" - "The Essence of Love" (I'll let your imagination wander on that one).  Then, Barb Malley sang the appropriately inebriated song "As We Stumble Along" from The Drowsy Chaperone, which (as she stated) is what she's going to do for the 7 weeks away from The Salon.  Her show "You Must Remember This" will perform on June 3rd at 7pm, Don't Tell Mama!

Maureen Taylor then sang a David Friedman ballad, "You're There" from Good Time Charlie, which evoked the history of French icons Charlemagne and St. Joan.  She is doing a tribute to Lauren Bacall late September and early October of this year.  We were then treated to Mark Levy, who sang "It Was a Very Good Year" with personalized lyrics for the Salon: "...for lovely Salon girls to sing on Sunday nights / singing for you at 75" cute!  Adam Shapiro then sang "A Guy Like You" from Disney's Paris-based The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  And we finally heard the official news: he will be heading out in July to perform in the International Tour of Zorro: the Musical - yay Adam!!!  We then heard Lauren Robert, who absolutely broke down the walls with her unique, smoky-rock rendition of "God Bless the Child."  Kevin McMullan, who recently came back from a trip around the world (including Paris) sang "I Don't Want to Know" from Dear World.  He is planning on recording a studio CD version of "Twist of Fate" and many of his late partner Jim Fradrich's songs in the near future.
Lauren Robert
Sari Schorr then sang "I'm Just a Gigolo," showing off her blues vocal prowess (which was flawless), and then let us know that she is recording a blues album with her band Bertha for Viceroy Music, and is performing at the Iridium this Monday, May 23rd.  The beautiful soprano Jessica Burrows sang Ricky Ian Gordan's "A Horse With Wings" - he has been playing the sexy headliner La Goulou in previews of "The Fartiste," which had a fantastically successful reading on May 12 at the Laurie Beechman.  Then Erin Cronican and Anna Marie Sell did a duet from "Spitfire Grill" - "The Colors of Paradise," showing off some flawless blending of their two voices.  Then, our own waiter David Ballard sang the Edith Piaf song "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" in French - he started a cappella, and then was accompanied by Mark midway through!  Sunny Leigh, with Barry Levitt on piano, then sang "This Can't Go On," an original Leigh song that fit her voice beautifully.  Sierra Rein (that's me) came up in bowler had and boots to sing the old Lenox & Sutton song "I Don't Care," and was excited to go with Marquee Five into the recording studio in the next few weeks to record "8-Track Throwback"!  Then, Candice Oden sang "Don't Rain on My Parade" from Funny Girl, almost blowing the roof off!

Erin Cronican and Anne Marie Sell
The Classical Corner for the evening talked a bit about Gershwin - Mark spoke about how a librarian from LA Phil at the Hollywood Bowl once told him that Gershwin struggled once with the second theme of "Rhapsody in Blue." Grofe, who was doing orchestrations at the time, helped Gershwin by just giving it to him right off the bat.  And if you think of it, the second theme to "Rhapsody" matches the feeling of "Sunset" from Grofe's "Grand Canyon Suite."  Mark then talked about how the themes in "An American in Paris" reflected the sounds, emotions, and essences of Paris, and then played "Rhapsody in Blue" from memory as only he can.  We then took a break!

After the break, we heard three songs from "The Fartiste," which Stephen said could be doing a regular run Off-Broadway come this fall. Ah yes, how to truly describe "The Fartiste" to the unprepared audience! Go, read his wikipedia it? OK, then we will all know about Joseph Pujol and his unique ability! Stephen Hanks brought two cast members from the show’s previews; Jessica Burrows returned, this time in the role of Joseph’s wife Elizabeth Pujol and singing "What Kind of Man Is He?" Herndon Lackey (playing Toulouse Lautrec) and Stephen Hanks (playing Aristede, the club MC) sang the sweetly funny "We Live For Art." Then Herndon switched to the character of Moulin Rouge owner Charles Ziegler and sang "Give ‘Em What They Want," a song that utilized as many euphemisms for farting in its lyrics as it possibly could.
Jessica Burrows
Stephen Hanks and Herndon Lackey
Herndon Lackey
Producer Tanya Moberly, whose legs were one of the reasons Stephen said he wanted The Salon to win the MAC award, sang Sting's "Roxanne" and had the full audience singing the chorus along with her.  Then, Barbara Porteus (with Barry Levitt) sang "All in Good Time" by Barry Levitt and Peter Napolitano; her new show "I Wish It So" (sharing the stage with Barry) will be Wednesday May 25th at the Laurie Beechman at 7pm.  Mr. Levitt himself then stayed at the piano and SANG for once, performing "Pennies from Heaven."  Next, Joey Infante performed "The Boulevard of Broken Dreams," and brought us the dates for his show "Babalu": June 21st at the Metropolitan Room, 7pm - music director Barry Levitt and Directed by Jillian Lauraine.
Tanya Moberly
We then heard from young composer Jordan Siwek, who has been working on an original musical, "Fall," from a concept he came to in a Parisian cemetery.  The song, "Everybody Loves You," is sung by the main character, a pop musician (a la Jim Morrison) who fakes his own death and discovers what his music and fame truly means in the scheme of things.  It was inspiring to hear the work of this young composer, who has continually brought newer and more evolved work to The Salon each time.  After Jordan, Bill Zeffiro sang and played "La Comedia Et Finita, Baby."  Stephen Hanks then closed the evening with the touching "Your Song" by Elton John from the movie version of "Moulin Rouge."

Jordan Siwek
Aaaand...that's it for Salon, until July 10th, when we will return : Adam Shapiro will co-host the evening's theme of "Myths and Legends" (which is fitting since he's going to be leaving for the Zorro tour!).  We hope all our Salon family has a creative, fun, and joyous break, and feel free to keep in touch with us via our Facebook group

Mark Janas and Sierra Rein

-Sierra Rein
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