Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Salon Wrap-Up for November 20, 2011 "Stupid Love: Songs About Questionable Choices"

We were all bracing ourselves for this week’s Salon theme, which was “Stupid Love: Songs About Questionable Choices.” We were ready for anything: crazy love, desperate love, and love for things and/or people that are questionable all together. And what better way to kick off this event than to listen to our charming co-host, Laurie Krauz. She led off with what she called “the story of her life” -- “Just One Of Those Things.”
Laurie Krauz
Kicking off the 1st half of the open mic was Susan Hodgson who was glitzy in gold, singing the cheeky, “It’s Only a Broken Heart.” Next up was the always lovely Elaine St George, who sang the hilarious, “What’s Your Name?” a song that Lew Spence wrote for Bobby Short. Elaine is working on a new show that she’ll be unveiling in the spring -- but she won’t spill the beans about it just yet. Lisa Viggiano joined us next, singing the sultry and gorgeous, “A Nightingale Can Sing The Blues.”

Lisa Viggiano
Up next to the stage was Sunny Leigh, who sang the jazzy and dramatic, “This Can’t Go On.” Sunny is in the studio recording a new CD, which she’s hoping to release in February or March 2012. Arianna, festive in hat and sparkjly belt, was next, singing the fun Goldrich/Heisler story song, “Taylor The Latte Boy.” Jennie Litt came up joking that she had “no words of wisdom so I should just get on with it.” She brought her friend David Alpher to the piano and sang “Waiting” - which was just, plain lovely! Next we invited up Marianne Berson with Rolf Barnes, who performed “My Lover The Star.” Erin Cronican (your fearless blogette) sang the Jason Robert Brown classic, “Stars and the Moon.” And this evening’s Etceterette Maureen Taylor sang the lovely, “I Don’t Know Why, I Just Do.” She’s in the middle of prepping her show on Lauren Bacall, called “Too Marvelous” - which she’ll be performing December 11, 13 & 18 at the Metropolitan Room.

Maureen Taylor
Julie Reyburn was our Salon Spotlight, and who is making a pit stop at The Salon before premiering her new show, “Winter Songs” at Feinstein’s next week. She started her set with a gorgeous version of “Let It Snow” which morphed into “Come On Snow, Come Down.” Next in the set was, “The Other Side of Winter” - a song about what it’s like to be a mommy in the winter -- written by our very own Bill Zeffiro.

To start this week’s classical corner, Salon Host Mark Janas asked if anyone knew what the form of a sonata was. Naturally, we had several musicians in the house, who replied that Sonata form included: exposition, development, recapitulation and coda. And they typically have 3 movements - a quick one, a slow one, and then a quick one again. Mark demonstrated with Ludwig Van Beethoven’s 1st movement of the piano sonata in C major, “Opus 2, No. 3.”

Let me see if I can accurately describe what Mark talked about regarding sonatas. You have two characters in the first theme set, referred to as “Masculine & feminine.” There’s a transition until you “arrive at five” - the dominant section. Next, another transition happens where we’re led into a fight between a masculine and feminine themes. Mark demonstrated how the movement starts in the masculine theme and then the themes blend together, where the masculine theme is in the feminine key, and so on. The themes continue to intertwine as we head through the middle of the piece. Eventually, after the “recapitulation” we shift into a “redevelopment” and then into the finale where all of the keys and themes resolve. One of the ways Mark suggests listening to sonatas is to try to set aside the idea of “theme” and, instead” think of theme like characters. They all have their own drama and magic, which you can easily hear! I tell you, Classical Corner has made me a more avid listener of classical music, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

Salon Host, Mark Janas
The second half was just as lively as the first, with co-host Laurie Krauz opening with the heartbreaking and dark, “My Foolish Heart.” Next, she charmed us with “Route 66” - though not technically on theme, she did talk about being on musical theater tours for years and having what are affectionately called “show-mances.” So, this song is just as on theme as any we’ve seen! Laurie closed her set with the blues-y “Teach Me Tonight.”

Salon producer, Tanya Moberly, was next with a selection of her , um... 21 songs -- all matching the theme, by golly! This medley ranged with songs from classic musicals (“Adelaide’s Lament”) and contemporary musicals (“You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown“ and “Nobody’s Side”) to standards (“The Man Who Got Away”) and rock music (Pat Benatar!) What a wonderful environment the Salon provides to singers to try things out - Tanya affectionately calls it her Vocal Gym.

Next up was a lovely trio made up of Lea McKenna Garcia, Elisa Pupko and Salon newcomer Kate O’Phalen, who sang the group number, “It’s a Great Big World” from the film, “The Harvey Girls.” (We love group numbers at The Salon!) I have the great pleasure of singing with all of these ladies in the Actor-Own Musical Theater Collective, and I happen to know that they are all voice students with fellow Salon member, Carolann Sanita!
(from left) Elisa Pupko, Lea McKenna Garcia, Kate O'Phalen
Janice Hall came up the stage with the sultry, “Sand” written by Stephen Sondheim for a movie that was never made. She’s performing at Zani’s Furry Friends, produced by Salon member Sarah Rice. Click here to see a full list of singers and pianists, as well as ticketing details. Jane Glick was next at the mic with “The ‘God Why Don’t You Love Me’ Song”- she just finished her show “About Time” at The Metropolitan Room. We’re glad to have her back with us at The Salon! Salon cheerleader Barb Malley was next, singing the feisty Sondheim tune, “Could I Leave You.” We were thrilled to have Susan Winter with us, who sang the gorgeous and touching, “Goodnight, New York.” Her show, “Piano, Bass and Dreams” is being performed November 30, and December 5, 6, & 7.

Susan Winter
The lovely Danielle Erin Rhodes joined Nicholas Levin, singing his tune, “The Olives of Regret.” It is always such a pleasure to hear new material by our talented members, and it was certainly a topic that we could relate to. Stephen Wilde was next, with “I Could Be In Love With Someone Like You,” a song that was cut from Jason Robert Brown’s musical, “The Last Five Years.” David Gordon (another Salon newbie!) sang the gorgeous “Maria” from “West Side Story,” sans microphone! He’s an opera singer, but is slowly returning to his musical theater roots. Whatever style he sings, we were so thrilled to have this powerful singer with us!

David Gordon
We welcomed back Charles West who sang the Gershwin tune, “Treat Me Rough.” Charles still has one more show at Don’t Tell Mama on December 8 & 15. Melissa Heche started out with as story of a man who was hitting on her, and when she asked if he was married, he said, “Does it matter?” I’d say that’s a perfect segue into her song “Chain of Fools”! Lea McKenna Garcia was up next with a solo tune, “The Low-Down Down.” We were delighted to bring back Marissa Mulder, who crooned the heartbreaking, “My Romance” with Bill Zeffiro at the keys. Next up, Bill sang a number of his own, “Better Off Without You.” On Tuesday nights you can find Bill playing at La Mediterranee from 8pm-11pm, and he always welcomes singers to stop by! Closing out the night was the ever warm & funny, Laurie Krauz, with “How Deep is the Ocean.”
Bill Zeffiro
Before I close, I just want to mention that this week we’ve been guests at Etc Etc restaurant for 2 years. And what a wonderful two years it has been!

NEXT WEEK: The optional theme for the evening is “Don’t Mess With Texas” Bring along any song that talks about Texas, or even makes you think about their way of life. We also welcome songs that are off-theme. (Be sure to bring a second option, in case your song has already been reserved.) Our Co-Host will be the Fabulous Faye Lane! Faye won a Bistro and a MAC Award in 2010 for her critically acclaimed “Faye Lane’s Beauty Shop Stories”. For more information about this unique, on-going project written and performed by Faye:

-Erin Cronican
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