Friday, July 15, 2011

The Salon Wrap-Up for July 10, 2011: "Myths and Legends"

"Everyone is a legend in their own mind."  Thus spake Mark Janas, the legendary (at least in his own mind) host of The Salon, the MAC-Award Winning open mic event, which emerged out of the mist of a Summer break this Sunday to start yet again!  Adam Shapiro was our co-host of the evening, who helped set the stage and narrate singers on and off of it.  Since it was the re-opening of Salon after a several-week hiatus, it was a huge crowd, one for the record books! 

A packed house!
Adam began this momentous evening by making a Biblical entrance - in a toga!  He sang the hilariously naughty "Nothing Really Thrills Me Anymore," a gender-bending song incorporating gods, goddesses, and "mythbehavin'" puns...very funny!  Then funny lady Dana Lorge (who always looks like a modern fairy godmother and who has been hosting Wednesday Night at the Iguana consistently!) sang the bittersweet comedy song "Happily Married Man."  Then, Richard Skipper (who lovingly blogged about his experience of the evening - read it here!) sang a gorgeous medley of famous Hello, Dolly! numbers, and ended with a rousing "Before the Parade Passes By" with enough gusto to no longer need a microphone!  We then heard from the sweet-voiced Andy Gale, who did a marvelous on-the-spot arrangement with Mark Janas of "Secret Love" mixed with "Moon River." Andy has just returned from directing a cabaret show in Chantauqua, and will be joining Mark (and Julie Reyburn and Marquee Five) at Buck Hill Skytop Music Festival this coming week and weekend.  Next, Cindy Marchionda sang "The Story of My Life," certainly a song about epic personal realization, and Cindy performed it with a powerful, clear voice and a captivating energy. 
I wasn't joking about the toga!
Next, Salon original Bobbie Horowitz donned a black cape and sang an original song which she insists is NOT based on a myth - "Something's Rotten in Transylvania." Bobbie was excited to announce that her book is now available, as is her Seminar: "It's Back - Your Strong, Slim, Sexy Six-Session Seminar."  Speaking of strong, sexy, slim and beautiful...Meg Flather was the next singer, who returned with her show "Home Shopping Diva" at Don't Tell Mama, and sang "Keep Young and Beautiful," a tongue-in-cheek advice/warning song on how one should keep up one's beauty regiment!  Meg also handed out little packets of silk skin serum as well!  After Meg, Sue Hodgdon sang the sexy "Sooner or Later" from Dick Tracy, and announced that she will be doing a show in the Fall with Mr. Barry Levitt at the piano, so keep an eye out for announcements.  Kelly Nowik next brought up the myth of The Little Mermaid, which has a long list of mythical versions beyond the Disney creation.  She beautifully sang "Beyond My Wildest Dreams" from the Broadway version of the story.

Next, we heard one of our upcoming co-hosts (August 7th with the theme "Opposites Attract")...Elaine St. George!  She connected the living legend of Joni Mitchell to Sara Bareilles, the new composer-singer who cited Joni as a musical inspiration.  Elaine sang Bareilles' "Gravity" with gorgeous heart and voice, and made everyone (including myself) a bit tearful.  Then, Nick Levin sang a hot-off-the-presses new song of his, "My Father's Wish," which is an adorably funny song about his father's desire to meet his own version of a "living legend" (I can't mention who it is without spoiling it!).  We then heard from returning Joel Harrington (singer, voice coach and songwriter) who is workin towards presenting his solo debut show this coming Fall at Don't Tell Mama. He dedicated his touching song, "Mama," to all performers who have to leave home to follow their dreams.

We then had another Salon debut - Jean Hanks (Stephen Hanks' daughter!) bravely sat at the piano and played/sang her original song, "Balance," a song inspired from two of her friends in High School.  Dad was proud, as Jean got a huge wave of applause and much encouragement for her emerging talents.  We then heard from another budding composer, David Ballard who (amongst a plethora of talents) sang his original song "So This Is My Life." He is working on a composer showcase of his new works and is submitting for the famous BMI lyricist-composer series soon.  After that, Sierra Rein (myself) introduced my Dad, Paul, to The Salon and mentioned how much he was a legend in my life.  I then sang a mashup of two of my Dad's favorite songs, "Zing! Went the Strings of my Heart" and "If I Loved You." My mission was to make Dad tear up, and I was excited to see it happen!  I was also thrilled to announce that I had just booked "City of Angels" at Goodspeed Theater in CT for the coming fall.  To close out the singers of the first half, Etceterette Arianna sang the epic "All The Men in My Life" from Evil Dead: The Musical.  Arianna is thrilled to be going into the recording studio soon to put down vocals for the musical The Lost Boys (about author J.M. Barrie).

Classical Corner was next, and oh did we miss it!!!  Mark introduced some myths and legends surrounding classical music, especially those surrounding Franz Liszt, who would have been celebrating his 200th birthday this year.  Franz was a mythical being himself, with a rock star attitude (apparently, women of his audiences would throw house and hotel keys at him on stage).  In his later years, he would teach in Paris and supposedly had the ability to listen to a brand new piece as played by a student, then immediately sit at the bench and play note for noe what he had just heard.  Then, in 1849, he composed Harmonies poétiques et religieuses (Poetic and Religious Harmonies), which many people mistakenly thought quoted Chopin in an attempt to honor him.  In reality it was written for Liszt's revolutionary friends of the Hungarian Revolution.  Mark played a unique driving passage and asked us to try to recogize it as a Chopin theme - hilariously, someone yelled out "it's Oklahoma!", and everyone broke in to singing the closing 16 bars of the Rogers & Hammerstein song (and of course, in 4-part harmony)!  After that died down, Mark performed "Funérailles," the 7th piece in Harmonies poétiques et religieuses piece.

Our second set started out with our co-host of the evening, Adam Shapiro.  Adam is becoming somewhat of a myth in New York, as he continues to book a show, leave for a year, come back, stay about a week, and then book another show.  In a few weeks he will be traveling to Israel, and then to China, in the new tour of Zorro: The Musical, so tonight was a rare glimpse of the wild Adam on stage in person! He started out his song set with the hot and energetic "Bamboleo" by The Gypsy Kings (who also wrote the music to Zorro).  Adam then introduced the Ultimate European Myth of all - King Arthur, Camelot, and the many people (magical and mortal) associated with it.  He then called upon his own Lady of the Lake, Sierra Rein (me!), and we both sang the duet "The Song that Goes Like This" from the Camelot-inspired (ie parodied)Spamalot.  Such fun!  Adam completed the rest of his set by singing "The Headless Horseman," an amazing jazzy number connected to the Disney film of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," originally sung by Bing Crosby.  Our Producer Tanya Moberly, who will have songs written about her 100 years from now, then sang "A Legend in Your Own Time" by Carly Simon.  Tanya is bringing back two of her original shows to Don't Tell Mama October 17th and 24th, and on November 7th and 14th - titles and information forthcoming!  After Tanya, Richard Eisenberg sang about the true original food of America - "Good Old American Hamberger." 

Richard Skipper brought a huge group to the Salon, which included the next singer, Vincent Wolfe.  A native of Toronto, Vincent will return to NYC in October with a new show (he performed at the Triad in May), and has a CD entitled "Weaver of Dreams."  He has wonderfully smooth jazz vocals, and brought in "You, Wonderful You" (an underrated song in my opinion!) from Judy Garland's last MGM musical, Summer Stock.  Kevin McMullan, who has been busy recording James Fradrich's material and will record his show "Twist of Fate" soon, next sang a hilarious character piece entitled "I Love Me," which was originally written for a Ziegfeld girl by Will Mahoney.  In an attempt to become a legend soon, Kevin will get a fund going soon for his "Twist of Fate" project!  After Kevin, lyricist Michael Colby sang "Even if I'm Not Your Type" (lyrics by Colby, music by Geral Jay Markoe) - the song was sung from the point of view (ha ha) of a Cyclops, and was very fitting to the theme!

Marianne Berson (with composer Rolf Burns at the piano) then sang the lovely song "We Expected Love," which featured some startlingly beautiful lyrics as well.  Stephen Hanks (producer, writer for Cabaret Scenes, and proud dad of Jean Hanks) then sang "The Legend of Andrew McCrew" by Don McLean (which will be part of a Don McLean show soon, he promises!).    The next gentleman who stepped up to the microphone has a mythical name unto himself - Elli the King of Broadway!  Elli sang "He Tossed the Coin," a song about certain legends and myths attached to the wares of a coin seller from The Fair (or The Rothchilds) by the creators of Fiddler on the Roof - this relatively unknown show was written before Fiddler but produced after. Elli also announced two websites of his which are now fully operational: and, so check them out! After Elli, Salon regular Jane Glick sang "Welcome to the Theater," providing a mix of truth and legend in one.  She will have a new show brewing soon!  Mark Levy stepped up to rambunctiously sing "Those Were the Good Old Days," the Devil's song from Damn Yankees, based on the myth of Faust.  2011 Bistro Award Winner Janice Hall, who did a show about the legendary Marlene Deitrich this past few years, sang "In Neon" by Elton John, about the people in show business who don't necessarily "make it." 

Elli, the King of Broadway
Marnie Klar brought in to sing "Feed the Birds," which told the tale of the mythical bird-feeding woman of Mary Poppins.  She will have a brand new show at Don't Tell Mama, directed by Tanya Moberly, October 3rd, November 1, and September 5th!  Barb Malley sang "It's Magic," which brought her to mind the memories of her childhood in Brooklyn.  Then the lovely Shana Farr performed the gorgeous ballad "Whistling Away the Dark," which is the title of her Julie Andrews-themed show coming up in August at the Metropolitan Room.  In a gender-bending twist, Darren Williams next sang the opera duet "Libiamo ne'lieti calici (Drinking Song)" from La Traviata.  And when I say he sang the duet, I meant he played both male and female roles, in the octaves appropriate to them! He bowed and curtseyed equally, and informed us that while he was leaving to head back to Sydney (Australia) soon, he will be back in NYC in September.  After Darren, Annie Kozuch brought a spicy, sensual flavor to the stage, singing the famous "Waters of March" by Antonio Carlos Jobim, complete with the glorious Portuguese lyrics, which flowed effortlessly from her mouth.  She will bring her show, "Mostly Jobim," to Feinsteins on August 15th at 8:30pm!  Alan Safier, who performs as the legendary funny man George Burns in Say Goodnight, Gracie on Sunday, October 30th at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts, sang "A House is Not a Home" by Hal David and Burt Bacharach.  He is also in development to perform a brand new one-person musical version of A Christmas Carol. Joey Infante rounded out the evening's performers with "Who Can I Turn To?" and will bring back his show "Babalu" to the Triad on September 17th, 7pm.

Shana Farr

Darren Williams
 To close the show, Adam Shapiro returned to the stage to remind us all to complete our sentences with the thought, "well, it's possible...!" and to never stop using our imaginations to find and create our own stories, our own legends, and discover our own Wonderlands.  He then sang the title song from the Broadway show Wonderland, and left us full of appreciation for all the wonder-ful and talented people we saw that night.  It was a joyous return to The Salon. And here's a personal post-script: my Dad raved afterwards about all the professional talent he saw that night, and finally understood why singers (myself included) attend each and every week to hone their craft and celebrate with others the joy of music here!

Adam Shapiro singing "Wonderland"

THIS SUNDAY! The optional theme for The Salon this evening will be “The 1930's – Brother, Can You Spare a Song?” Sunday, July 17th from 7-10:30PM! (Sign-Up Begins at 6:15.) Our Guest Host/Pianist will be the Phenomenal Fred Barton and our Co-Host will be the Incredible Bistro, Nightlife and Seven-Time MAC Award Winner, Natalie Douglas!  Come with your songs written in the 1930's, or songs from shows/movies set in the 30's, or anything that may remind you of the 30's (songs about money, the current or past "Depressions", or panhandling work too!).  Put those fingerwaves in your hair and join us!

-Sierra Rein
The Blogette for The Salon
 Spelling mistakes? URL's I missed? Did I mess up? Please email me.


  1. This was my opening number that night

    1. Thank you so much for posting this - it's been added to the playlist!