Monday, January 30, 2012

The Salon Wrap-Up for January 29, 2012 "Old Love, New Love, False Love, True Love”

Love took to many forms on the Salon stage Sunday night, as singers waxed philosophical on the theme of “Old Love, New Love, False Love, True Love”.  The room was packed to share in the love with co-host Andy Gale, Broadway alum and acting coach for Mark Janas' Manhattan School of Music students (many of whom were present!).  Before Andy took to the stage, however, Mark was excited to announce that the first draft of the preliminary list of the MAC Award ballot had been revealed - the printout of all the submissions was awash with bright yellow highlights of those who are a part of The Salon family who may be nominated for a MAC Award!  He also told us that since Etcetera Etcetera was now a MAC location for performances, he hopes that future performers of Salon Presents (for example, Carolann Sanita on February 20th) may nab a nomination or a win in award in years to come.

Andy Gale
Andy Gale, who Mark says is the "dearest man I think I know," started the evening out with the beautiful "Hooray For Love" by Harold Arlen.  Then we got a duet treat right out of the gate, as Elaine St. George and Gretchen Reinhagen sang the bittersweet "The Best Thing" together from the Sondheim musical "Bounce."  Gretchen is excited to bring her show "Both Sides Now" back to Don't Tell Mama on February 3 at 7pm, directed by Barry Kleinbort and musical directed by Tracy Stark.  And there's a discount for MAC and Salon members!  Next, Peg McCormick hilariously sang "Helluva Way to Run a Love Affair."  Her show, "Reboot" will take place at The Duplex tomorrow, January 31st at 7pm!  Alicia Terry next came up to sing "If Love Were All," a Noel Coward ballad about some forms of loneliness, and although it was written by Coward as autobiographical, Alicia did not claim the loneliness for herself, but rather the "talent to amuse."  We then welcomed back Mark Levy to the stage, who sang the classic haunting song "I'll Be Seeing You," resplendent in his Brooks Brothers sweater.  David Rigano then debuted his own lyrics (and the music of his brother Paul Rigano) with "Zagat Guide," a comedy song from the upcoming musical web series "Just a Couple."  More information will be found on regarding this series (which may *star* some Salon members!).

Andy then introduced Alison Lory, who tenderly sang "Falling in Love With Love" from "The Boys from Syracuse."  She is returning to the performance arts and debuted for the first time here at The Salon, and we were happy to hear her beautiful soprano voice for the first time.  Next up was Rosemary Loar, who brought out her inner housewife to sing the side-splitting "I Wanna Get Married," and you could practically smell the apple pie she wanted to bake!  Rosemary co-hosted The Salon last week, and will have two CD release party events for her upcoming album "Sting, Stang, Stung!" at the Metropolitan Room on Feb 7th and 19th, 7pm.   The lovely Maureen Taylor then gloriously brought "Fable" from "The Light in the Piazza" in her pristine soprano - she will be revising her Lauren Bacall show "Too Marvelous" soon.

And although he was extremely busy helping to serve the large crowd of the evening, David Ballard took some time from waiter-ing to sing "Take a Chance on Me" in his clear, bell-like tenor voice.  He will be presenting a few original songs (some of which debuted at The Salon in the past) this Thursday night, Feb 2nd, at Broadway Sessions, 11pm-midnight at the HA! comedy club on 46th street. He is also writing as a first-year songwriter at the BMI - his latest challenge is to write a comedy song for "Angels in America!"  Next, your Blogette for the evening (me!), Sierra Rein, sang "Friendly Star" from the movie musical "Summer Stock."  My vocal group, Marquee Five, is excited to now be on Amazon and iTunes in both CD and digital download - her co-MFiver Julie Reyburn took to the stage for a brief moment to share in the announcement and to give her previous acting coach Andy a great big hug (pregnant belly and all!).  Etceterette Erin Cronican then performed the hilarious "Everybody's Girl," which certainly fit the theme, as it was about "loving everyone."  Erin will be performing in "Three Sisters," text by Brian Friel on an Anton Chekhov translation, in March at The Seeing Place Theater, along with Salon regulars Mary Lahti and Elisa Pupko.

The Salon Spotlight featured the wonderful combination of Sarah Rice and David Vernon, with Matthew Martin Ward at the piano.  They have been performing their show "History Herstory, Where Truth Lies" on the theme of how two people can look at the same thing and see something completely different.  David started out the spotlight with "She's a Woman" from "Kiss of the Spider Woman," a luxurious and jealous ballad.  Then the two of them sang "The Lies of Handsome Men," a "he said-she believes the lies" bittersweet mixture.  Then, they invited soprano Janice Hall to sing backup with David while Sarah sang the Spanish song "Hijo de la Luna"/"Son of the Moon," a startling folk song about how the Moon grants a woman's marital wish, only to adopt the shunned, Albino-born son and cradle him with each waxing and waning cycle.

David Vernon and Sarah Rice
The Classical Corner was a bit of a conundrum for Mark on this theme at first.   He tried to connect love themes from classical music, or movie love-themes on a classical theme.  Eventually, he went the improvisational route - he called out first for an impromptu sing along of "Quando m'en vo" (Mark Watson and an entire table of operatic ladies in the back stood up to sing!), then he asked for a list of classical music composers of yesteryear, *then* he asked for a love song; eventually we finalized on "As Time Goes By" from "Casablanca." Mark then did variations on the theme of "As Time Goes By" as if Chopin (flowing), Bartok (somber), Rachmaninoff (magestic), and Mozart (sweet) had written it.   The Mozart version in particular got a spontaneous round of applause in the middle of it.  Mark turned the reins of the piano over to Matthew Martin Ward, who continued the theme into a rousing and impressive Beethoven-esque rendition.  Mark returned to then combine the main theme of "As Time Goes By" with the playful "Chopsticks," the gorgeous "Clair de Lune," and then ended the first half of the evening with a full-Salon sing-along of the classic song! Utterly amazing.

Second Set:

Our graciously funny co-host Andy Gale grabbed the mic at the top of the second set to sing a series of songs in his high tenor.  He has a beautiful voice - at times he can make it whisper in a boyish timbre, and then at other times he lets it out like a trumpet, all the while treating the lyric with care and attention.  He began with a medley of tunes, starting with "Hi Lili, Hi Lo," then melding into "Once I Had a Secret Love," and then heartfully crooning "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" by Carol King.  Andy will be soon performing his own Cabaret-style show in connection with the Buck Hill Skytop Music Festival and so is returning to the art form in February with the help of Mark Janas.  He finished his set with "The More I See You." 

Salon Producer Tanya Moberly and pianist-composer-voice teacher Bill Zeffiro took over with a song that fit all four categories of tonight's theme - the fervent "On My Way to Love," and it certainly hit all the points along the route!  Next, Andrew Wyeth Neal (who played for himself on piano), performed his original work "When it Was Easy," a musing about the many pitfalls of relationships.  Then, Kenneth Gartman whipped himself into a comical frenzy with "The Morning After," a funny song about not quite knowing whether to kick someone out or beg them to stay.  Kenneth had his Cabaret debut in 2011 with "Not Like the Other Cavemen", which he will revamp on Wednesday February 1st at 7pm and Saturday the 4th at 4:30pm at Don't Tell Mama with a $5 MAC cover!  He will also be co-hosting The Salon on March 18th, so don't miss him!

Tanya Moberly (Photo: James Cohn)
Andrew Wyeth Neal
Salon was thrilled to welcome back the wonderful baritone Mark Watson, who was in town after performing in the New Jersey State Opera Gala Opera Concert.  In his typical "don't need the mic" fashion, he sang "If Ever I Would Leave You" from the musical "Camelot," which fit all the themes of the evening, plus "divine" and "forbidden" love as well.  His gorgeous baritone was a highlight of the evening, as we were all so happy to see him!  Ever to keep the theme of the evening going in a touching way, Jane Glick then sang "I Met a Man Today," which linked the old love and the new love together in one conflicting piece.  Marnie Klar, who is soon to become an Aunt, tied in the feelings of the amazing mother-baby bond with her emotional rendition of "Portrait."

Mark Watson
We then had a treat - two singers from Fresno, California, who learned of The Salon a half hour before the show started and came to see what the fuss was about!  Daniel Rodriguez and Taylor Abels are in town are here for the harrowing task of auditioning for graduate schools through the URTAs.  They will, however, return to Fresno to star in "Next To Normal" in the Summer season of the new StageWorks Fresno Theater Company.  Daniel sang "If I Loved You," and Taylor sang "The Sound of Music" - and they both sounded beautiful - break legs this week, you two!

Daniel Rodriguez
Taylor Abels
The stage was then inundated with Joshes - a duo Cabaret group consisting of Joshua Warr and Joshua Desjardin have created the show "Joshing Around," directed by Miles Phillips with Dan Micciche on piano.  Joshua Warr is more the "diva," and he sang a stunning Mark Janas arrangement of "Come Rain or Come Shine"/"Mountain High" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" with stellar musical theater rock vocals.  Next, Joshua Desjardin had fun with his name and his nerd persona with a comedy song "Des Jardins," all about his Best Buy and other chic-geek obsessions (his single "I'm a Nerd" can be found for download on iTunes).  "Joshing Around" will perform again February 4 at 9:30pm at The Duplex - and the cover is FREE for MAC!   
Joshua Warr

Joshua Desjardin
Richard Eisenberg then sat at the piano to sing his hilarious "It Should Be Better Than This," on a theme which most of us married or long-term couples will experience at one time or another!  Chris Harrelson then brought up a jazzy rendition of the classic "Nice Work If You Can Get It" by George and Ira Gershwin.  Chris is part of the Valentine's Show which will be performed by the entire Manhattan School of Music class Mark and Andy are teaching - the performance is February 13th at MSM at 7pm.  Next, the lovely MSM student Anna Penchuk sang "Simple" from the musical "Nine", and Brad Lassiter (whose voice reminded me of a young Mark Watson!) sang "Some Enchanted Evening" from "South Pacific."  As Andy commented after, it is heartening to know that our classic American repertoire is in good hands for the future!  To further prove this, Rachael Hirsch returned to sing "My Funny Valentine" (but not before we all sang her a Happy Birthday, since it was her birthday the day before).
Chris Harrelson
Birthday Lady, Rachel Hirsch
Matthew Martin Ward then got his own turn at the microphone and sang "Falling for the First Time" by The Barenaked Ladies - what a treat to hear his version of this pop song!  He is the musical director of Bistro Award Winner Janice Hall's show "I'd Rather Be Doing This," the title song written by director Peter Napolitano, which will perform at the Metropolitan Room Feb 12, March 5, and April 18th.  Bill Zeffiro sat down to sing his crowd-pleasing "Universal Truth," which is on the preliminary list of potential MAC nominated songs, and Barb Malley then sang "I'll Buy You a Star," which she originally performed in her Brooklyn show (which she is planning on revamping in some Brooklyn-savvy venues soon).  To wound down the evening on a sultry note, Susan Hodgdon sang Sondheim's vampish "Sooner or Later" (she warned us, "If I like you....RUN!).  Her show "On the Bumpy Road To Love" will be at Don't Tell Mama on February 25th at 3pm.  To complete the evening our wonderful co-host Andy Gale sang Harold Arlen's classic "When the Sun Comes Out" with incredible joy and obvious love for his craft.

NEXT WEEK: NO SALON! It's the SUPER BOWL!  Have some time off with the improv entertainment called Football, and rejoin us the week after with...

FEBRUARY 12th, 2012: Theme: "Harkthrobs." Co-Host: Sean Harkness (Featuring members of the Harkness Harem - Karen Oberlin, Randie Shane & Dawn Derow.)  If you've never heard of Sean Harkness, do yourself a favor and come to this evening!!! Sean is a thrilling guitarist and composer who has risen into the ranks of well-sought-after musicians.  He won the Outstanding Instrumentalist of 2011 Backstage Bistro Award, and a MAC Award for his work.  If anyone fits the "heartthrob" description, it's Sean.  So, bring in music about the heartthrobs in your life, or written *by* heartthrobs of the present or the past, or maybe the heartthrob that got away! Remember, we always welcome choices that are off-theme, and be sure to bring another piece in case your song has already been chosen by another singer.

Andy Gale, closing the evening
-Sierra Rein
Blogette for The Salon
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