Monday, April 2, 2012

The Salon Wrap Up for April 1, 2012 - "These Foolish Things"

What's talented and award-winning and silly all over? Answer: The Salon this past Sunday night, when DC Anderson co-hosted the evening! The theme was "These Foolish Things," and Tanya would have been a fool for not mentioning The Salon's THIRD CONSECUTIVE MAC AWARD WIN this past Thursday! But she did mention it, along with an update that Mark Janas was now in "rehab"-ilitation for the next 7-10 days and sends a big "HI" to the Salon family. On hand to put his hands on the piano for the evening was David Caldwell, musical director and composer.  DC Anderson became the first fool of the evening with Ritt Henn's "My A** Looks Fantastic," an ego-filled trip through one man's appreciation of his own derrier. Then, fool in love Adam Shapiro sang a Weird Al Yankovic pop-ballad original, "You Don't Love Me Anymore," in such a beautifully straightforward manner that it was side-splittingly funny. Adam will be singing at Richard Eisenberg's showcase on May 6th at the Laurie Beechman Theater. Barb Malley, who was sad she missed last week's theme, then sang two songs sung by Frank Sinatra, "All My Tomorrows" and "I Concentrate on You." We then heard from funny man Charles Baran, who sang "When I Grow Up" (otherwise known as "The G-Man Song) from the 1937 show Pins and Needles. A friend of DC, Charles is a student of Donna McKechnie and highly recommends her musical theater audition class. Next, Stephanie Zagoren sweetly sang "It Might As Well Be Spring," a song reminding us all how foolish we can be during this (or even away from) this season! We then heard the statuesque Maureen Taylor gratefully and with an open heart sing "My Place in the World," a beautiful and powerful ballad. 
DC Anderson

Barb Malley

Charles Baran

Stephanie Zagoren

Maureen Taylor
Next, we were introduced to New Zealander Hayden Tee, who has performed in Les Miserables in the West End, and had a gorgeously powerful baritone voice to prove his chops. He sang "Til I Hear You Sing" from Love Never Dies (the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera), and let me tell you, I would see Hayden as The Phantom in any production! TONIGHT he is performing his own cabaret show at Don't Tell Mama at 7pm, so if you love full baritone voices, this would be one to go to tonight. The next foolish singer was Joann Sicoli, who quite seriously sang "I Believe I Can Fly" and was excited to announce her Don't Tell Mama show for May 3rd. Cookie Stark then sang "Seems Like Old Times" - Cookie just finished her show, "Cookie Stark Ready and Hot," the Sunday before, but will sing again at Eric Michael Gillett's show (read on for more info). Eric Michael Gillett (2012 MAC Award Winner for Major Male Artist, voice teacher, director) then came up and passionately sang the 50's do-wop song "Hold Me Thrill Me," and it was WE who were thrilled in the end! His show, "I Won't Sing a Sondheim Song...Or Will I?" will include special guests Cookie Stark and Melanie Vaughan, and will have Jeff Cubeta as musical director - all Fridays in April (6th, 13th, 20th, 27th) and Wednesdays in May (9th and 23rd) at the Laurie Beechman Theater, 7pm.

Hayden Tee

David took a break to have Matthew Martin Ward sit a the piano to accompany returning whistler Luc Vitry, who breath-fully whistled the melody of "Sempre Libera" from Verdi's Traviata in preparation for an upcoming whistling competition (and indeed, Luc was appreciative of the Salon for the safe working environment it offered singers and whistlers alike). Also returning to the Salon was singer-songwriter and guitarist Becca Yure, who performed her original "Jacqueline," a song dedicated to a special friend she knew in France. We then heard from our most jester-ish waiter ever, David Ballard, who tap-danced his way through the clever "Way Ahead of My Time." Sierra Rein (that's myself, a fool for any stage) then sang an audition song, "I Just Want to Be A Star" from Nunsense, in which I called my "Barb Malley impersonation," having been coached by Barb last week on how to sing and speak with a Brooklyn accent. Then, Etceterette Candice Oden, who is nobody's fool, belted out the 50's song "Fools Fall in Love."

Our Salon Spotlight of the evening was singer, MAC Award winner, Cabaret and Broadway star Raissa Katona Bennett, who is currently recording a new CD with David Caldwell at the piano and Robin Batteau on violin. On hand were both gentlemen, who were recording with Raissa that very afternoon, right before the show started. After teaching the audience the difference between the Christine Daee bow and the Evita bow (with arms raised), Raissa then proved to us that dreams can come true with out with an absolutely life-affirming song, "It's Possible," allowing Robin's very interesting and echoing violin to balance with David's piano. She next sang an absolutely brilliant arrangement (done by David Caldwell) of the Beatle's "I Will," elongating words and playing around with expected and unexpected rhythms throughout.
Raissa and Robin
David stayed at the piano for Caldwell's Corner, during which he spoke of his friend Robert Fulghum, who famously wrote "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten." Robert is the author of many poems and essays, many of which David has put to music. David told us a story of how Robert once attended a seminar held by a famous Greek philosopher and wise man - he jokingly asked the Greek man what the meaning of life was. This man, Alex Papaderos, replied with a story about how he once found a shard of glass from a broken motorcycle mirror near to where the Nazis once massacred hundreds of Greeks during World War Two. He would take this shard and shine the sunlight into areas of darkness that he couldn't see into. David then played the song "Story," about having the meaning of life becoming the urge to shine light into the dark hearts of his fellow human beings. He then asked Raissa Katona Bennett to come up and sing "A Tomb With a View," a Robert Fulghum piece set to music, which will be on Raissa's upcoming CD. Raissa introduced this song in her own unique way:
I just asked Siri what the meaning of life is? Siri answered: "Try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try to live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations." I said, "Are you sure?" and Siri said, "We were talking about you, not me." so I said, "Well then, what do YOU think is the meaning of life?" and Siri said, "I can't answer that now, but give me some time to write a very long play in which nothing happens."
Tee hee!
David Caldwell
For the start of the Second Act/Set, our graciously funny co-host DC Anderson sang three hilarious special pieces of material: the point-of-view-from-a-baby song "Maury," the tongue-twisting maybe-I'm-a-dick-to-people-because-I'm-meant-to song "Karma Comedian," and "Human Fondue," a quite witty number DC wrote for a friend of his regarding the perils of using food during lovemaking (his friend's show was about chocolate and sex). Throughout all these numbers, DC was earnestly hilarious, being both real and honest and yet bitingly funny. Producer Tanya Moberly then sang the beautiful Cole Porter song "So in Love" from Kiss Me Kate, and let us know that her newest song set and show will be opening in the Fall! Susan Hodgdon next rock-belted out "Silly Love Songs" - her show "On The Bumpy Road to Love" will take place on Saturday, May 12th at 3pm at Don't Tell Mama, with Barry Levitt as musical director and Peter Napolitano as director. We then had our sides split by Richard Eisenberg who, wearing a white yarmulke, sang parody lyrics to "Cheek to Cheek," this time entitled "Leavened." Featuring inferences to eating "matzos for a week," these new lyrics were real crowd pleasers!  After the laughter died down, Matthew Martin Ward grabbed a seat at the piano and sang his parody lyrics to "I Love a Piano," this time switching "Love" with "Hate," and harkened us to his youthful piano-learning days, when once his piano teacher admonished him that she hoped he would never grow up to play in bars...uh oh. Matthew's lyrics were amazing, and they included reference to trying to "jam on this Cunningham" (the actual make of piano he was playing on), and he even utilized some of his classical piano training! Matthew then went on to plug two things he is a part of: Janice Hall's third performance of "I'd Rather Be Doing This" Wednesday, April 18th, 9:30 at the Metropolitan Room, and as part of the Isadora Duncan Dance Company's 135th Birthday Bash, May 22nd and the 24th thru the 26th at Judson Memorial Church - for more information.
Tanya Moberly

Richard Eisenberg

Matthew Martin Ward
Twice-MAC-Awarded Bill Zeffiro was next to the piano, first singing Irving Berlin's parody lyrics to "You're the Top" (which were the dirtiest you could imagine for Irving Berlin!), and then ripped into his own song (cut from his Off-Broadway show The Road to Ruin) entitled "La Mosca Espanola." As Bill put it, "you have to be dirty to rhumba!" and his song certainly reflected it - you can hear more dirty dittys (and some classics) from Bill every Tuesday night at La Mediterrane Bistro! 2012 MAC Award-winning Joan Jaffe (for her comedy show stylings!) then sang the equally devilish "Red Riding Hood" and charmed us with her hilarious delivery. Frank Loman returned to the stage and once again entertained us with the sweet ballad "If I Ever Say I'm Over You." Frank's show "Dangerous Cabaret - Frank Loman sings Bucchino, Kahr, and Sondheim" will open this Wednesday at Don't Tell Mama: April 4th and 12th, 7:30pm.

Bill Zeffiro

Joan Jaffe
We then finished up the Salon Spotlight, as pianist and producer Ron Abel arrived to accompany Raissa Katona Bennett and Robin Batteau on a haunting "Waiting for a Westbound Train," performing it live for the first time! It was a moody, sultry song written by Ron Abel and Chuck Stefan, and allowed Robin's echoing violin stings to float beautifully between voice and piano. Raissa, who had loved to listen to Buskin and Batteau for years, is thrilled to be working with Batteau on her CD, which will debut in August - look for her Feinstein's CD release shows between August 20th and 25th with Ron at the piano! To close the evening, DC Anderson brought us ALL down with parody lyrics of Charlie Chaplin's "Smile"...this time, pulling the corners of our cheeks Earth-bound into a "Frown." Actually, we couldn't help but laugh and smile at DC and his wonderful new lyrics, and gave big applause after to our Jester-of-the-Evening!

Ron, Raissa & Robin

Ron Abel
NEXT SUNDAY - NO SALON! Instead, eat lots of chocolate and pet lots of bunnies (but don't confuse the two), it's EASTER!

The NEXT SUNDAY AFTER THAT (why am I yelling??!), April 15th, will be co-hosted by funny lady Alison Nusbaum, and the theme will be "Kooky, Zany, Silly – The Great Comedians of Stage and Screen." So, come with your funny bones intact, and your appreciative songs from and about ladies like Fanny Brice, Barbara Streisand, Mae West, or maybe songs sung by modern Broadway Babes like Sutton Foster, Kaye Ballard, Stephanie Block, or Lisa Lambert! Have a great time!

-Sierra Rein
Blogette for The Salon
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