Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Salon Wrap-Up for August 21, 2011: "Friends and Lovers"

Etcetera Etcetera was filled with friends and love, for that was the theme of the evening! And who could not love, love, love the co-host of the evening - Carole Demas, who represented young love to a T as the original Sandy in Grease on Broadway, and who was and still is beloved from TV's Magic Garden. She has a return engagement at The Laurie Beechman Theater called "Summer Nights," September 19th and October 17, both at 7pm. So go share the love she has of music with her on those nights!
Carole Demas
Mark opened up the beginning of The Salon to the audience, to let them share what shows or performances they had seen recently - Follies, Anything Goes, Sister Act, Bob-Haired Bnadit, Simply Streisand and MetroStar Challenge all got a shoutout. Carole was then introduced, and she sang "Old Friends," a song celebrating and bemoaning the changes in our lives as we stay continued friends. Then, Elaine St. George sang the beautiful ballad "I Belong Here." We then were treated to returning Keni Fine, who first performed a short scenes between Rick and Louis from "Casablanca" which he wrote, before singing a hilarious parody of "Do You Love Me?" from Fiddler on the Roof entitled "Do You Owe Me?" He has a great French accent, by the way, and amidst writing parodies, Keni is involved in the production of Godspell in Circle in the Square on Broadway in October. Next, Richard Eisenberg, with Mark Janas on piano and Sean Harkness on guitar, sang his own composition of "The Moment that You Fell in Love." It was a jazzy, toe-tapping song!

Keni Fine
We then heard from newcomer (and fan of Carole from childhood!) Laura Doherty, who is a visiting singer and songwriter from Chicago who has been doing children's music all her life.  She played guitar for herself on an original folk rock song, a sweet love song entitled "Umbrella."  She has several children's CDs, including her most recent title, "Shiny Like a Star." Check her out at  After Laura, Matthew Martin Ward sat at the piano and sang Jobim's "The Waters of March," but not until he performed a bit of a medley of "Friends and Lovers" songs, which unfortunately ended abruptly when, As Matt stated, "the music left him" in the middle of composing it.  Ah well!  After Matt, Alan Safier sang "Namely You," from Li'l Abner.  Alan is performing is George Burns show on Sunday, October 30th at 2pm at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts, and there will be a talk-back with Rupert Holmes after the show!  Then, Lea McKenna Garcia belted her way through "And the World Goes Round," the classic Kander & Ebb song.

Laura Doherty
Lea McKenna Garcia
We then had a duet!  Nick Levin sat at the piano with Erin Cronican singing with him, on a hilarious original duet of his entitled "You Can Co-Depend on Me."  This song is going to start making the cabaret duet-team rounds, I'll tell you!  Next, Steve Schalchlin sat to play and sing at the piano an incredibly personal, emotional, and tear-inducing song called "The Group."  Even Sean Harkness, who followed Steve after with his guitar, wiped some tears from his eyes and commended him on his brave honesty.  Sean then performed an instrumental original, "Puesta Del Sol (Sunset)," a quiet, simple lullabye guitar song which he'll be performing on September 6 at the Iridium.  Next, we heard from Sierra Rein (me!) with Brian Allan Hobbs on piano - first singing "Rainbow Connection," and then singing "Start a Little War," from the musical The Many Women of Troy, music by Hobbs and lyrics by Michael Boynton.  I left on Monday to perform in City of Angels at Goodspeed Musicals in Connecticut (I'm typing this on my laptop up here now!), and will miss you all! Erin Cronican and Arianna will continue the blogging as I'm away.  To close the singing for the first half, Marissa Mulder, who is in the Top 5 contenders of the MetroStar Challenge, sang "Come Rain or Come Shine" with Bill Zeffiro on piano.  And we all learned why she's in the Top 5 this week and next!

Classical Corner this week by Mark Janas was all about relations- how the friends and lovers of musical pieces relate to one another.  In order to maintain the original color and mood of a piece when re-orchestrated for more or less instruments, one can either change the instrumentation, or change them to something that sounds like the original instrument.  Mark played through a Schumann concerto, then played through a Magritte (I think?) concerto which was in the same key and which utilized the same structure of first few bars: big note followed by a candenza, which then flows into the first theme.  In many ways these two pieces are a matched set, and are often put on the same recording (ie the A and B sides of a vinyl album).  In many ways, Claude DeBussy's "Claire de Lune" in Db is paired with "Girl With The Flaxen Hair" in Gb by Jean-Yves Thibaudet - the planing (or how the chords fit), Impressionistic style, and the feel all have allowed these two to be married in Marks' mind.  He also showed how a Beethoven piece (Opus 132 String Quartet) and a Brahms piece both disorient the listener's rhythm by playing with the location of the downbeat.  Two passages are obviously related, and there was a lot of headbanging and swaying in the audience to find where the downbeat would be.  He then played a Brahms sister piece, written as a study for the left hand only on a transcription of Bach's solo violin "Chaconne." The difficulty in playing the left hand only is meant to mimic the difficulty one would have playing it on the violin - and while page turning was easy, it looked to be an amazing feat - Mark made it sound like two hands were playing! Amazing.

After the break, we heard again from our co-host Carole Demas, who with music director Ian Herman at the piano, sang "Something in the Way (He) Moves" from The Beatles collection of hits. And while Carole is best known for Sandy in Grease, she was also the very first person to perform the title character of Stephen Schwartz's The Baker's Wife in Los Angeles, before it moved to New York. So, she sang "Meadowlark," with so much beautiful storytelling and emotion. She then sang "There's a Man Who Loves Me"and closed with the rousing and feisty country rock song "Whatever Happens."

Tanya Moberly, Producer extraordinaire, then sang "The Waiting Room," by Gwen Stefani (which was hard-core enough to match her awesome shoes). She will have several shows in October and November of her solo show, and is directing Marnie Klar's rock-infused debut show at Don't Tell Mama in October, November, and December. Check out and for details!  After Tanya, Kevin McMullan yuked it up with some economy-based jokes, and then sang the late Jim Fradrich's "Til A Moment Ago."  Kevin has recently produced recorded pop versions of Jim's work - sung by some amazing singers - and will begin a Kickstarter campaign for his CD version of "Twist of Fate," his gypsy show originally performed at the Beechman.  We next heard from Erin Lee Kelly, who is a songwriter and guitar player who works with tweens in Brooklyn.  She channeled her inner 11-year old to sing "Tell Me," a song she wrote about the kids on the schoolbus, and all the gossip that ensues amongst their friendships.

Erin Lee Kelly

Deb Berman, resplendent in bright blue, then stepped up with Sean Harkness to the stage and sang an amazingly beautiful Rogers & Hart song (originally removed from the 1930s show Simple Simon) entitled "He Was Too Good To Me" with smooth, mature, and gorgeously controlled vocals.  Ian Herman next sat and played "Checkered Shirt," a country solo piano piece he wrote which was played so fast his fingers were a blur!  Erin Cronican then returned to the stage to sing the comedic ballad "Even Though," a funny love song about a unique man.  Erin is currently in rehearsals for "Closer," which opens on September 21 here in New York and will sing in Tanya's shows in October and November!  Next, Marya Zimmet once again showed off her smooth jazz vocals on Cole Porter's "(I've Got You) Under My Skin," making us all yearn for whatever she had under there too.  Sierra Rein (me, again) and Brian Allan Hobbs returned for one last time (sniff!) performing a duet on our own script and song version of "Movin' Right Along" from The Muppet Movie.  And then Bill Zeffiro sang his hilariously biting "Have You Met You?" - he's performing piano each Tuesday at La Mediterrannee, and will have a Noel Coward show at the Oak Room (!) on October 23rd. To close the evening, Carole Demas sang "Bridge over Troubled Waters" by Paul Simon, with Ian on piano and Sean on guitar, a fantastically powerful end to an evening of new and old friends (and maybe some lovers mixed in) alike!

Deb Berman and Sean Harkness
Ian Herman
Carole Demas and Sean Harkness
 THIS 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 28th from 7-10:30PM! (Sign-Up Begins at 6:15.) The optional theme for the evening is “The Marvelous 50's & 60's”. Remember, any material, on or off theme, is always welcome at Salon. Our Co-Hosts will be The Marvelous Wonderettes - Brittney Morello, Danielle Erin Rhodes, Lara Seibert & Morgan Smith! For more information about their recent production at Maine State Music Theatre with Mark Janas as Musical Director: For more information about The Wonderettes one by one:  & look for the other three on Facebook.

The Marvelous Wonderettes
-Sierra Rein
The Blogette for The Salon
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