Monday, August 15, 2011

The Salon Wrap-Up for August 14, 2010: "Black & White"

What's black and white and talented all over?! The singers and performers at The Salon last night! Bwahaha!* Our lovely and engaging co-host of the evening was self-proclaimed "Middle-Aged Party Girl" Marianne Challis, who is also a recording artist, cabaret performer, and teacher.  She's currently in the midst of her Broadway Bootcamp for the summer in Connecticut, to encourage and teach 60 students of musical theater!  The theme was "Black and White," celebrating songs from black and white movies, songs that include "white" and "black" in the titles and lyrics, songs written by African-American and Caucasian writers alike, and anything that pointed out the simplicities of life or the dis-inclusion of color.  Marianne herself is singing in the show "Wine Women & Song" with Andy Fisher at the Astor Center on September 19th from 6:30pm-8:30pm.  She will provide entertainment between wine tasting courses (you'll actually learn wine tasting principles and appreciation while whe sings).  This sounds like a fantastic date for wine and cabaret lovers alike...

Marianne started out the evening with a whole medley of music from black and white movies, many from Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers films: "Let's Face the Music & Dance," "Cheek to Cheek," "Let Yourself Go," and "Steppin' Out," amongst others. 

Marianne jazzes up the start of the show!
Marianne then introduced up to the stage Joan Jaffe, who is so full of color herself and wore a gold and white ensemble.  Joan sang the amusing "Saloon," which even has the line "and I hate Cabaret..." but we forgave her.  She is performing her show "Joan Jaffe Sings Funny" at the Towers Country Club on September 9th, but then is introducing an entirely new show, "Man-ha-ha-ha-TAN," at Don't Tell Mama's October 9, 12, 26 & 30th (all at 7pm).  With such varied song choices and hilarious renditions, I'm sure this will be a treat.  After Joan, Richard Eisenberg sang his sweetly sad but eventually uplifting "Color Blind Blues," then Marianne brought up her good friend Laurie Krauz to sing "Honeysuckle Rose."  Laurie is a multi-MAC Award winner and soulful alto, who sang and scatted her way through this classic song, and even included a covered trumpet scat solo.  She has a fantastic control of her vocals and wowed everyone.  She will perform with Danny Kojak at the Metropolitan Room on September 16th with their show "Celebrate 20 Years of Making Music Together."
Laurie Krauz
Barb Malley, a steadfast Salon regular now, then sang "Blues in the Night," from the black & white movie of the same name.  Next, Marni Raab, with Michael Larsen on piano, sang the lovely "Infinite Joy" by William Finn.  If Marni's name sounds familiar, it's because you may have seen her sing high notes as Christine Daae in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway - she performs each Monday and Thursday night!  She is going to bring her Cabaret show "Wishes Are Children" to Los Angeles in November!  Next, Marissa Mulder (with Bill Zeffiro at the piano) sang "Why Did I Choose You?" from The Yearling.  And speaking of choosing, she has been chosen as one of the TOP 8 contender's for this year's MetroStar Challenge at the Metropolitan Room - she's performing again TONIGHT and with the help of audience participation, will make it all the way to the end! (**update Tuesday 8/16: she made it to the next round - she's in the Top Five!**)  Then, Bill Zeffiro stayed at the piano to sing a brand new song - "Have You Met You?" a biting and angrily witty song inspired by a conversational question originally put directly to him (we can only imagine his response!).  We then heard from Steve "The Whistler" Herbst, who sang and whistled through "Georgia On My Mind," a song written by a "white" man (Hoagie Charmichael), but made famous by a "black" man (Ray Charles).
Marni Raab
Marissa Mulder
Steve "The Whistler" Herbst
Marya Zimmet was next, singing "Cheek to Cheek," which fit her smooth vocals perfectly.  She is working on a new show for Don't Tell Mama, which will be announced soon.  Then, my friend Brian Allan Hobbs sat at the piano to play on his own composition, "That Greenwood Tree," performed vocally by the beautiful Aurora Barnes, who has a deep, rich voice that fit the Southern Blues song wonderfully.  This song was from a musical written by Brian with lyrics by Michael Boynton on an inspiration of Twelfth Night.  I, Sierra Rein, then performed, singing "With Every Breath I Take" from the color-and-black-and-white-musical City of Angels (which I'll start rehearsing on at Goodspeed Musicals in a week!).  I then had the pleasure of letting The Salon members know that David Ballard (who was not waiting on tables that night) got an invitation to audition as a lyricist to the BMI program, after submitting a number of audio clips recorded at The Salon over the past weeks! Yay David! We're rooting for you!  To complete the singers for the first half, the stately Maureen Taylor sang "More Than You Know," which was written for Mayo Methot, third wife of Humphrey Bogart, which is the 2nd degree of separation from Maureen's upcoming show "Taylor Made Legend: a Tribute to Lauren Bacall" in October and November!

And then it was Classical Corner time! Mark took a moment to look down at the piano and exclaim "What does black and white mean to a pianist?!?!"  The answer, of course, is EVERYTHING, as without the black keys, the white keys are just a blur.  The black keys provide perfect "road marks" for the visual and tactile abilities of pianists of all levels, and the black keys always add the warm and dark tones to every song.  Songs in the key of C major (ie all of the white keys) are very bright, which is fine for a while...but the human ear and the human heart needs to hear those sharps and flats.  For example, the key of E has a bright tonic key regardless of having four black keys, yet it has a richer tone than C major.  Db is richer even more; it uses all the black keys and is quite evocative.  He then played Chopin's "Ab Ballade," which is the most optimistic of his four ballades and which utilizes all the warmth that the black keys can offer.

Marianne Challis opened up the second half with a beautifully crafted three-song set.  She was thrilled that her family (daughter and son) were in the audience to watch.  She started out with a fast-paced, jazzy version of "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," from the 1931 movie "Happy Birthday."  And speaking of Birthdays, we had a Birthday party in the back for Shelia, so Marianna conducted the entire Salon to sing a multi-part "Happy Birthday" to Shelia, which she topped off with a chocolate-esque martini.  Marianne then sang "God Does But I Don't," a country song by Lyle Lovett about how some things are not as black and white as they seem.  She then sang a gorgeous rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," which is of course from the first black and white portion of the famous movie The Wizard of Oz with Judy Garland.

Always the one to bring in unique songs from popular culture of every era, Tanya Moberly did not dissappoint, as she then sang "Black Tambourine" by Beck.  She has shows up the wazoo, with solo works at Don't Tell Mama on October 17th and 24th, November 7th and 14th, then directing Marnie Klar's show on October 3rd, Novemer 1st and December 5th.  We then had encores!  Joan Jaffe came up and sang "You Make Me Feel So Young" (and watching Joan, the gesture was returned!).  Richie Eisenberg sang the lovely and innocent waltz "Now That I Know How To Love Someone," and Marya Zimmet stayed on theme to sing the empowering standard, "Bye Bye Blackbird."  Bill Zeffiro, taking a cue from the rain outside, took to the piano to play and sing through Randy Newman's "Every Time it Rains."  With Bill still at the piano, Barb Malley sang "On The Other Side of the Tracks."  Then, Steve Herbst whistled and sang "Summertime" (once again, written by white men and performed by a black cast).  Then I (Sierra) sang "Shades of Grey," a song all about the lost "black and white" innocence of youth and easier times, recorded by The Monkees (Peter and Mike were my favs growing up) and written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Maureen Taylor came up second to last to sing "To Make The Boy a Man" from Goodtime Charley.  Marianne closed the evening to sing a "Queen Petula" song, the crowd-pleasing "Downtown" - as she explained, she saw Queen Petula sing this in 1965 on the Ed Sullivan Show, in black and white on her old family TV. 
Marianne admires Tanya's stems.

Bill Zeffiro

Mark and Marianne close the evening

*I apologize profusely for this - so sorry! :)

NEXT SUNDAY! SALON – that unique, MULTIPLE AWARD WINNING, Weekly Open Mic Event, created and hosted by Mark Janas returns to Etcetera, Etcetera - 352 West 44th Street, NYC 10036 – on Sunday, August 21st from 7-10:30PM! (Sign-Up Begins at 6:15.)

The optional theme for the evening is “Friends & Lovers”. Remember, any material, on or off theme, is always welcome at Salon.

Our Co-Host will be the Delightful Carole Demas! Carole is of course best known for creating the role of Sandy in the Original Broadway production of “Grease”. She is also known as the beloved co-star of “The Magic Garden”, the most successful regional show in the history of children’s television. She will be appearing in “Simply Streisand” on August 24th and in her own show, “Summer Nights” on September 19th & October 17th - all shows at 7pm at The Laurie Beechman Theatre, 407 West 42nd St, NYC 10036, 212-695-6909. For more information about Carole's busy schedule:

Salon continues every Sunday (except September 4th & September 11th)!

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

No comments:

Post a Comment