Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Salon Wrap Up for February 12, 2012 "Hark Throbs"

It was absolutely packed at Etc Etc restaurant this week as we returned to The Salon on a frigid February evening. The love was palpable, practically oozing out of the room as we slipped into Valentine’s week. Mark Janas bounced to the stage to introduce the evening, acknowledging the lovely decorations provided by Etc Etc and our very own David Gillam.

Mark Janas- Host of The Salon
Our theme was “Hark Throbs” -- appropriately named not only for the romantic (albeit it, Hallmark inspired) holiday on Tuesday, but also because of our wonderful co-host, classical guitarist, Sean Harkness. Sean burst onto the cabaret scene last year, winning a MAC award for debut performance. He’s quickly become a favorite on the scene for his sensitive musicianship and charming performance manner. Joining Sean was the “Harkness Harem” - a bevy of beautiful ladies including Deb Berman, Carole Demas, Karen Kohler, Dawn Derow, Pamela Luss, Karen Oberlin, and Randi Shane. You can find information about the shows he’s playing with all of these fabulous ladies on his website: We’re so glad to have him with us!

Sean’s first song, to kick off The Salon, was the gorgeous, acoustic guitar piece, “Spring Holiday.” What a rare treat to hear such a gifted guitarist - no wonder the cabaret community is in love with him!

The Salon Host, Sean Harkness
To kick off the open mic portion of the evening, Sean began to introduce his Harem. That’s right. You read me correctly. Sean brought a group of ladies to entertain us, and what else can that be called but a harem? First up was Deb Berman, who (accompanied by Sean on guitar) sang the jazzy, “I Go For That” followed by, “The Best Things.” Janice Hall sang “I Wish You Love,” a song about an impossible crush. Sunday, Janice premiered her show, “I’d Rather Be Doing This” at the Metropolitan Room. Many of our Salon members were at the show and raved about her performance. Lucky for you, she has two more shows on March 5 at 7pm and April 18 at 9:30pm.

Tony Imgrund was next with a tribute to Whitney Houston, who tragically passed away last night. He sang a balladic arrangement of, “I Want To Dance With Somebody.” Monday, Tony (along with some other Salon members) is playing the role of Rolf in a reading of the musical, The Sound of Music. We’re happy to have such talented working performers at our Salon!

Tony Imgrund
Carolann Sanita came up to the stage with a touching rendition of “On Your Side.” Carolann is our next performer in our series, “The Salon Presents” - she has two amazing shows scheduled for February 20, one at 7pm and the next at 9:30pm right here at Etc Etc. For reservations, please contact (The 7pm show is almost sold out, so shoot for the 9:30pm show!) Our next Harness Harem gal was Randie Shane, and she came up to sing “Can Nothing I Do” Her second song, “Without You,” was meant to be accompanied by ukelele, so Sean did some fancy fret work and created a perfect atmosphere for the song. Randie is performing at the Metropolitan Room on Feb 18 at 4pm and Feb 20 at 7pm (she suggested that you see her 7pm show and then come over the The Salon to see Carolann at 9:30pm. We think that sounds like a pretty good idea!)

Raissa Katona Bennett sang the poignant, “I Carry Your Heart” written by David Caldwell (with lyrics by ee Cummings) for her to sing at his wedding 3 years ago. Sean Harness accompanied via the guitar, and Tom Vaughn backed her up ably on the rhythm egg (yep.) Raissa just finished up time in the studio and will be releasing an album at a special event at Feinstein’s on August 20! We’re very excited to hear how it sounds.

Sean Harkness & Raissa Katona Bennett
Tom Vaughn put down the rhythm egg and picked up a mic, and brought Jeff Cubeta up to the piano to perform a powerful and country inspired, “One More Day.” Tom (along with Jeff) will be our Salon Spotlight on March 4 - be sure you come back to see these talented performers! Jeff stayed at the piano and brought up singer Robin Westle, who sang the original song, “Say Goodbye.” La Tanya Hall and Eric Michael Gillett (with Jeff, again) were next with a duet version of Flaherty/Ahrens, “Journey To The Past.” These talented folks have a show coming up February 21-25 at Feinstein’s. Eric made a special offer - for anyone who buys a ticket to the Feinstein’s show, Eric will stand in the lobby and give a free ticket to his show at the Laurie Beechman in the spring. What a deal!

Eric Michael Gillett and La Tanya Hall
The next Harkness Harem gal was Karen Oberlin, who came to the stage with Sean to perform the charming, “Poor You” from the Frank Sinatra film, “Ship Ahoy.” Her second song was her favorite love song, “My One And Only.” Karen has a show called, “Stringing Along With Love” at the Metropolitan Room, February 14, 21 & 28 at 7pm. February seems to be the month of cabaret -- can we get the mayor to make a special decree? Adam Shapiro, freshly shaven Salon regular, was next with the ultimate unrequited crush song, “On My Own.” This had to have been one of the audience’s favorite songs of the evening- what a wonderful performance.

Adam Shapiro
Elaine St George was next with the classic Paul Simon song, “Still Crazy After All These Years.” Your blogette Erin Cronican challenged Mark (and he rose to the challenge!) with the Jason Robert Brown tune, “And I Will Follow.” Erin is starring as Masha in an upcoming production of Three Sisters with The Seeing Place Theater March 9-25 here in NYC. (The translation is done by Irish playwright, Brian Friel, which promises a funnier, more modern version of this classic Chekhov play.) Tickets are only $12, so you have no reason to not to go out to see it!

Steve Sieck submitted “My Side of Town” for this year’s MAC Awards, and decided to introduce it to us by accompanying himself on piano while singing - what a great original uptempo song! Kenneth Kyle Martinez premiered the hilarious and all-too-true “My Own Valentine,” a brand new song by songwriter, Peter Saxe (who also accompanied on piano.) Another songwriter, Nicholas Levin, came up to the piano, to share his touching and humorous song, “Somewhere In This Song.” Candice Oden, tonight’s Etceterette, stunned the audience into silenced with her powerful and warm version of Stephen Schwartz’s, “Meadowlark” (with original “Baker’s Wife” Carole Demas in the audience, who beamed with pride at this young singer impressing us with the song!)

Second Set

The second set was kicked off with Carole Demas, another member of the Harness Harem, who broke our hearts with the Pal Joey tune, “Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered.” The second song of the set was the smooth and sultry, “Moonlight in Vermont.” Carole and Sean will be at the Laurie Beechman with her show “Summer Nights” on Wednesday, February 13. After all, on Tuesday, February 14, the musical Grease turns 40 years old! (Carole has the distinction of being the world’s very first Sandy.) We’re so glad to have you here sharing your talents with us, Carole!

Karen Kohler, a guest of Sean’s and a part of the harem, sang “I Let My Daddy Do That.” According to her song card, she’s “German born, American bred” and recently got back from an arts residency in India. We love it when world travelers pop in for a visit! Tanya Moberly, in a rare treat, brought up an original song (and a guitar), singing, “How I Wish" about a certain kind of crush that she had on a certain guitar player who was hosting The Salon (not to name names, or anything.) Be sure to check out Tanya’s newly relaunched website, created by our very own Sierra Rein.

The Salon Producer Tanya Moberly
Anna Marie Sell was back at the Salon to sing William Finn’s, “I Have Found” from the musical, “Royal Family of Broadway.” Anna Marie is a voice student of Carolann Sanita and strongly encouraged the audience to see Carolann’s “Salon Presents” show on Feb 20. We can’t help but agree! Sean welcomed “a new lady to the stable” - new Harness Harem gal Pamela Russ, who sang “It’s Too Late” and “Halleluah, I Just Love Her So.” Pamela and Sean have a show on March 3 at the Metropolitan Room. Be sure to check it out!

Kathleen France asked Sean to come to the stage to accompany her with an acoustic, dramatic version of “You’re The One That I Want” from Grease. It was such an interesting take on a well known song! Kathleen and Sean have played together in shows, and I’m hoping that they’ll play again together at The Salon sometime soon! Donna Stearns was next, singing the original tune, “My Shoes.” We adore having songwriters debut their works at The Salon. Thank you, Donna and others, who consider The Salon your home to try out new material!

Donna Stearns
Susan Hodgson came to the stage with the Andrew Lloyd Webber tune, “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” from Jesus Christ Superstar. She joked that, since she was Jewish, it made a lot of sense for her to sing a song about a crush on a higher power. Susan has a show, “On The Bumpy Road to Love,” coming up on February 25 at 3pm at Don’t Tell Mama’s, directed by Peter Napolitano and musical direction by Barry Levitt. Richard Eisenberg was next, bringing charts for both Sean and Mark to play with him on his brand new (and hilarious) tune, “That Kind of Person.”

Sean Harkness and Richard Eisenberg
Coming up to the piano was young songwriter, Andrew Wyeth Neal, who sang his original and true to life tune, “Plastic Heart.” We’re thrilled to have him back with us! Dawn Derow was the last of the Harkness Harem to reach the stage. Her first song was a dedication to Sean (who seems to be an inspiration for lots of crushes in the audience) - “Drift Away,” originally sung by Bob Seger. Her second song was an original tune called, “The Girl In Between” for which she pulled out her own guitar for an acoustic duet. They have a show at Metropolitan Room on February 19 at 4pm. (If you buy a ticket, Dawn says the first drink is on her!)

Next up to the stage was Elisa Pupko, with special guest Tony Imgrund (who we saw earlier in the evening) singing “Sixteen Going On Seventeen” from The Sound of Music. Elisa is playing the role of Liesl Monday at a reading of the show - what luck for us to have a sneak preview this evening! David Ballard blew the audience way with his version of “On The Street Where You Live” -- the ultimate song about crushes (and stalkers, apparently) from Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady. David is a lyricist in the BMI Workshop and had been writing songs like crazy. Be sure to come back to see David week after week!

David Ballard
Our interim sound technician, Boris Pelekh, brought up his guitar and wooed us with on original tune, complete with a beat-boxing musical break! Boris is a fellow member of the band “Hey Guy” with Salon technician Tommy Shull. They’re playing a show at Webster Hall in March - you can find out more information on their Facebook Page. We were thrilled to have him with us. Thanks for everything! The dynamic duo, Bill Zeffiro and Janice Hall brought in the duet, “How Can Love Survive”, a tune from the stage version of the musical, The Sound of Music (sung by the characters Max and Elsa.) 

Janice Hall and Bill Zeffiro
Danielle Erin Rhodes was our next singer (and brought charts for both Mark and Sean) and performed Macy Gray’s “I Try.” This girl knows how to rock it- and she got the audience clapping and singing right along with her! Mary Lahti came up to sing the song, “Pain.” After all, she reminded us, sometimes when you love something, it can hurt. Especially when your love is musical theater and the angst is the muscular pain you feel after dance calls! In addition to Elisa and Erin, Mary is appearing in The Seeing Place’s Three Sisters. Bill Zeffiro was the last pianist/singer of the night with his brand new song, “Line Up If You’re a Loser.” He wrote the song after a conversation at The Salon in October 2010 with Salon member Marissa Mulder about the sad state of dating in NYC. Lo and behold, Bill wrote this song for Marissa to perform, and premiered his version of it here! Hopefully, Marissa will come back and sing it for us sometime…

NEXT WEEK: The optional theme for the evening is “Enough With This Love Sh*t! Songs About Anything Else But.” Bring along any song that has nothing to do with love, or at least makes us think of something else besides love. 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-Hosts will be MAC & Bistro Award Winner Ritt Henn & 2-Time MAC & BMI Harrington Award Winner Mary Liz McNamara! Ritt & Mary Liz will be performing TAKE THAT! Tunes by McNamara & Henn on Thursday, February 23rd at 9pm at The University Glee Club’s “Afterglow” at The New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 West 64th St, NYC. For the rest of their busy schedules and details of their illustrious careers: /

Our Salon Spotlight will feature Amy Engelhardt! Amy spent 13 years writing, recording and touring with the Grammy-nominated vocal quartet, The Bobs. Her solo album, Not Gonna Be Pretty, garnered multiple Just Plain Folks Award nominations (“The Grassroots Grammys” – LA Times). Based in Los Angeles for many years, Amy sang everything from Bach to rock for TV and film, on albums and in concerts with artists ranging from Neil Young to Barbra Streisand. But her heart belongs to the musical theatre, for which she co-wrote musical versions of Carl Sagan’s CONTACT, NICHOLAS NICKLEBY, and A COMEDY OF ERAS (with the Flying Karamazov Brothers) and recently scored BASTARD JONES, a rock adaptation of Henry Fielding’s scandalous 1740 novel, Tom Jones. Amy is the recipient of MAC’s 2011 Dottie Burman Award for Songwriting and is thrilled to be back in New York!

-Erin Cronican
Blogette for The Salon
URL’s I missed? Names misspelled? Please email me.

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