Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Salon Wrap-Up for November 6, 2011 "And They Called It Puppy Love"

Hello, Salon Gents and Salonettes! This is your guest blogger, Candice Oden, here! What a great night this last Sunday! A great turnout of newbies and ... well, I won’t say “oldies.” ;) Our theme was “Puppy Love” -- and with the amazing and incomparable (not to mention completely lovely) Sarah Rice as our co-host for the evening, how could the night be anything less than great?

Sarah opened the show with the gorgeous “Love Is My Reason,” sung like absolutely no other, of course. Next up was Sunny Leigh with “The Desert Song.” Sunny filled us in on a couple of her upcoming ventures, including a performance in the Metropolitan Room in March, and she is working on a new CD!

Richard Eisenberg, one of our favorite lyricists, first teased us with all of the possible “on theme” songs he could have sung (one of Barb Malley’s frequent ploys, as well), but finally gifted us with the fantastic “Never Too Late.” Rich was quite coy with his news, but we do know that he is currently putting together a show -- we can’t wait, Rich!

Richard Eisenberg

The Salon’s favorite darling, Barbara Malley, followed. Barb said that she associated “puppy love” with “young love,” so she sang the very appropriate “I Just Found Out About Love” -- a song about a friend who met a boy at a friday night social (complete with picture frame to drive the sentiment home). So sweet. For those of you who don’t know, yet, Barb has a show this Sunday, the 13th, at 1pm at the West Bank Cafe at The Laurie Beechman Theatre! For reservations, call (212) 695-6909. You can also find out more info about the show (I Remember Brooklyn -- a benefit performance for the Jackie Robinson Foundation) by calling Barbara directly at (631) 804-3160. Best of luck with the show, Barb!

Stephanie Zagoran was disappointed about having to miss our Halloween Salon, so took the theme by the horns and brought a spooky Harold Arlen song (better late than never!), “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead!” A favorite!

Our next singer also stuck with the holiday theme. Bobbie Horowitz rang in Election Day with “The Vote Song.” Oh, and, by the way ... She wrote it! Bobbie is a Jackie of All Trades -- a fantastic performer, songwriter, producer, author, image consultant -- you name it! Bobbie has done it, can do it, and/or WILL do it. It was lovely meeting you, Bobbie!

Bobbie Horowitz

The magnificent Joey Infante changed things up with a reading (accompanied by Mike McDonald) that tugged at our heart strings:

If you can start your day without caffeine,
If you can get going without pep pills,
If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
If you can overlook it when those you love take it out on you when, through no fault of yours, something goes wrong,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can ignore a a friend's limited education and never correct him,
If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
If you can say honestly that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against creed, color, religion, or politics....
Then, my friend, you are almost as good as your dog.

Be sure to see Joey at Don’t Tell Mama in Babalu on December 2nd!

Mike McDonald stayed at the piano (always a treat) and sang his version of “You Made Me Love You” -- a tribute to their dogs.

Up next was another one of our favorite songwriters, Nick Levin, who brought us an original and beautifully touching song (he joked that it was written when he was “a younger man”), “Somewhere Written In This Song.” ... [is ‘I Love You’] So lovely.

Nick Levin

Stephen Wilde, another tease telling us of a song he wouldn’t sing (but apparently sang it for his Jim Caruso’s Cast Party debut last Monday -- good work, Stephen!), sang a new song for him (and us), the moving, powerful, and totally fantastic “I Was Here” from The Glorious Ones.

Following Stephen, Carole Demas (looking as fantastic as ever -- who we all know and love as the original Sandy in Grease), gave us a rare treat -- complete in bathrobe and depression (noting that this song always hit a little too close to home), Carole gave us her “Raining on Prom Night” and “Sandra Dee Reprise” from Grease.

Carole Demas

Now, what person has to follow that? God bless them ... Oh, that’s right! ’Twas I, Candice Oden, who sang “Someone Like You” to thunderous applause, a standing ovation, and roses being tossed onto the stage. ... You’re right -- most of those did not happen, but I did sing “Someone Like You,” and you were all very kind. ;)

Maureen Taylor wrapped up the singers’ portion of Act I singin’ about bein’ a tomboy -- a feeling with which she is quite familiar -- in “One of The Girls Who’s One of The Boys.” A fantastic job, Maureen! In case anyone hasn’t heard, Maureen has coming up next month Too Marvelous!: A Glorious, Glamourous, & Not to Mention Amorous Tribute to Lauren Bacall. That will be at the Metropolitan Room on December 11th, 13th, and 18th -- mark your calendars!

Next it was time for Classical Corner -- always one of my favorite parts of the evening, and I’m sure not I’m not alone. The endlessly talented Mark Janas began, saying that he wondered how he could tie “puppy love” to music. Well, it’s sort of a first love type of thing, so what is that hooks you to music? What was it that hooked Mark Janas to music? The first thing (or person, rather) was Beethoven -- he loved the drama of his work -- particularly the dramatic pauses. He went on to note the pieces that are taught to and played by beginners -- the pieces that hook you -- and how we end up associating those specific pieces with, well, a beginner’s skill. When it comes to recitals, you will hear “Für Elise” an endless amount of times, always watching the students count (and watching Mark demonstrate is hilarious) the “dunna, dunna, dunna, dunna-nuh...s.” It turn, this melody has become slightly less than what the piece was originally intended to be. When taken out of a recital context, however, and when played by someone who has truly honed their craft, it is an incredibly beautiful piece. Mark proceeded to play this piece with the grace that we so often are neglected. It is something so beautiful to see when you watch pianists like Mark, masters of their craft, actually live through a piece. And that’s exactly what we saw.

Mark continued, telling us that there were a lot of pieces in A minor that he loved -- he would hear things and pick them out. His mother having planted music into his brain at a very early age with a collection of classical records (and his built-in genius), this was no problem for him. He took us through his childhood playing though key pieces that were a big part of his growing up, including Schubert’s Moments Musicaux, 3rd and 5th movements -- pieces that also sparkle when the hands are changed from a child’s to a crafted artist adult’s. Mark explained that A minor was so important to him growing up, most of his first pieces just sounded like Beethoven in A minor! But then, boy, we all certainly know what that’s like, right??? ;)

After asking if there were any requests, and the audience basically shouting “Chopin,” in unison, Mark enchanted everyone with Chopin’s Waltz in C-Sharp Minor. And, as an added treat, he gave us one last Minute Waltz, also know as “Petit Chien.” That’s right, “little dog.” And we wondered how he could tie Classical Corner to “Puppy Love.” ;)

** Intermission ***

And Sarah Rice was back to the stage! She first shared the story of when her cat died, and decided that she wanted to adopt an older cat (cuz no one ever wants ‘em) -- she found one that had been dropped at a kill shelter; and, while, it took some time for her newest family to get accustomed to the new environment (not trusting that these people were safe), its attitude gradually changed from scared and untrusting to, as Sarah put it, deciding he had traded up. :) She dedicated her next song, “And I Was Beautiful” by Jerry Herman, to her cat.

Sarah then entertained and, of course, wowed us with Bravura Variations (variations on “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”) involving a battle of “Ahs” against those magical fingers at the piano. So fantastic.
We then got to hear a “very serious” duet with Janice Hall -- the Rosini Cat Duet -- SO hilarious, and even more so when even THEY can’t hold it together.

And it came to pass ... Tanya Moberly was up! She sang “Meadowlark,” one of my favorite songs, and let me tell you -- it’s so wonderful when one of your favorite singers sings one of your favorite songs -- WONDERFULLY well. :) Fabulous, Tanya! Thank you! DO NOT miss her last show at Don’t Tell Mama next Monday, the 14th, Tanya Moberly Sings Ani DiFranco (with the amazing Erin Cronican on backup vocals). I repeat: do not miss it. ;)

It was then Jake Wesley Stewart, another newbie, who brought 1960-soul to 2011 with “Hard Times” ... on his iPad 2! Jake just landed a month singing at Swing 46, so get ready -- congrats, Jake!

Next, I was so happy that Elizabeth Tryon brought back her HILARIOUS arrangement of “O Mio Babbino Caro.” Elizabeth and Mark have been rehearsing this for the finals in WQXR’s Comedy and Classical Music Competition Tuesday on November 8th. WELL??? HOW DID IT GO??? :D And just to be clear, Elizabeth, you do not need a rehearsal as an excuse to perform this again in the future. ;)

Elizabeth Tryon

With another “how can you follow that moment,” Matthew Martin Ward stepped up to the plate and hit a home run with an original -- whilst talking shop with Mark Janas, of course (yes, during the song!). The hilarious and darling “I Hate The Piano” was a hit.

Bill Zeffiro was up next with another one of his hilarious originals -- this one inspired by the moment his now ex-wife asked about getting back together. Well, if you know Bill, you’re not surprised when he answered with ... “Have You Met You?” Another HILARIOUS SONG by Bill Zeffiro.

The incredible and incredibly lovely Melissa Mulder then joined Bill and enchanted everyone with “Disneyland.” She has a show next week and next month (November 16th and December 14th), Look To Your Heart, at the Metropolitan Room. She can also always be found at La Mediterranee with Bill on Tuesday nights.

It was then time for Robin Westle’s Salon debut. She started by sharing her version of “puppy love,” meeting Raissa Bennett. She then clarified that it was more of an “accausting”-type situation. But Raissa was her lovely self, and pointed her in the proper direction, giving her more confidence to sing -- and we were so happy she did! “Pet Me, Papa” was a hit! Thanks, Robin!

Raissa Katona Bennett next performed a new arrangement of “Ordinary Miracles.” Don’t forget that Raissa is hosting the the citywide songwriting contest! Submission is open until December 31st!

Raissa Katona Bennett

A wonderful theme that came to the evening was literal puppy love -- so many people, including Raissa and our fabulous co-host, Sarah Rice, are active in animal rights movements/activities. I have not mentioned, yet, the benefit on November 26th, Love Makes The World Go Round: An Evening of Song to Help Our Furry Friends. The benefit will be held at The Laurie Beechman Theatre, and 100% of the proceeds go to Zani’s Furry Friends. It’s going to be an amazing night of amazing talent for an amazing organization.

OK, back to The Salon!

Janice Hall sang the incredibly sexy German song “The Cat” -- about a two-legged cat -- but but together English lyrics. You know, for us less cultured folk. ;) Don’t miss her show at Urban Stages on Dec 6th!

Janice Hall

Sticking with the animal theme, Paul Kolecki crooned everyone’s favorite frog’s “It Ain’t Easy Being Green, followed by new-comer Charles West, who sang a song for his childhood dog, Chancy, his best friend. Charles will be at Don’t Tell Mama on November 16th, 17th, and 23rd, and December 8th and 15th.

And it was time to wrap up the show. Sarah Rice, one of theater’s most gifted and accomplished singer/actresses, slayed the audience with the hysterical “A Word on My Ear.” Or, as I like to call it, “I’m Tone Deaf.” It was a marvelous end to a an already fantastic evening. Thank you so much, Sarah.

Sarah Rice

NEXT WEEK: The optional theme for November 13th is “The Marvelous 50s & 60s!” Our co-hosts will be The Marvelous Wondrettes -- Brittney Morello, Danielle Erin Rhodes, Lara Seibert, and Morgan Smith! (These super-talented ladies were scheduled to co-host on August 28th, but there just happened to be a hurricane running through the city -- we’re so happy to finally have them!) Click here for more information about their production this last summer at Maine State Music Theatre (with the legendary Mark Janas as their musical director). Remember -- off-theme performances are welcome, too! And be sure to bring your book in case your song has already been taken. See you next Sunday! :)

- Candice
Guest Blogette for The Salon
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