Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Salon Wrap Up for May 6, 2012 "Being Alive - A Celebration of Life”

This week’s Salon marks the final event before our 8 week spring hiatus - and we were thrilled to have both Mark Janas and Bill Zeffiro at the keys as Hosts/Pianists. The theme was “Being Alive - A Celebration of Life” -- we knew we were in for an evening of joy, happiness and love!

Thus, what other co-host could we have but the affable, charming Johnny Rodgers! Johnny has won a MAC Award, 2 Bistros, a Nightlife, several Songwriting Awards (including ASCAP, Billboard & Songwriter’s Hall of Fame) and was featured in the Tony Award winning “Liza’s At The Palace.” He will be at The Allen Room at Jazz Lincoln Center, Broadway at 60th St, NYC on May 15th at 7:30pm (with Michael Feinstein) and May 16th at 7:30pm (with James Naughton); at The Iridium, 1650 Broadway at 51st St, NYC on June 5th at 8pm and in Malaysia on June 15th & 16th. For more information:

For the first number of the evening, Johnny sang “How Sweet It Is” with full audience participation (which he brushed off as a group vocal warm up.) What a fun way to kick off The Salon.

Johnny Rodgers
Jennie Litt and husband David Alpher (on piano) introduced the open mic portion of the evening with “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” by Irving Berlin. Elaine St George sang the jazzy, upbeat and happy, “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” from Oklahoma! Elaine has a show coming up June 6 & 13 (7pm) and 7 & 14 (9:30) at The Metropolitan Room - “Take Me As I Am: A witty and opinionated look at Joni Mitchell on relationships.”

Elaine St George
Barb Malley was next with a song that she dedicated to The Salon, which she called the highlight of her time in NYC: “You Make Me Feel So Young.” Barb is bringing back her show, “I Remember Brooklyn” to Don’t Tell Mama on Saturday, June 30 with a quintet of musicians. Loretta G, someone I have not had the privilege of meeting before today, brought in a wistful, “I Only Have Eyes For You.” We sure hope you join us again!

Loretta G
Sunny Leigh brought her sultry, alto tones to “It Might As Well Be Spring.” Sunny has a show, “Sunny Leigh in Metro Jazz” on Sunday, May 20 at 4pm at the Metropolitan Room and a CD release party at The Bitter End at a later date. Richard Eisenberg sang his inspiring, original tune, “Never Too Late.” Today marks the premiere of Richie’s very first cabaret solely of his own material: “Smile On My Face: The Songs of Richard Eisenberg” to a packed house at the Laurie Beechman. I had the honor of being a performer in this show, and I was thrilled to be included. Congratulations, Richard!

Richard Eisenberg
Stephanie Zagoren brought us the Rodgers/Hart tune, “Didn’t Know What Time It Was.” She said this song reminds her of the day she met her husband, which was one of the happiest days of her life. We were thrilled that she chose to share that love with us! Steve “The Whistler” Herbst was next, impressing the crowd with his rendition of “Georgia On My Mind.” His big announcement is that he just passed an exam to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker -- no wonder we haven’t seen him in a while! Congratulations, Steve. We’re thrilled for you.

Steve "The Whistler" Herbst
Matthew Martin Ward, last week’s guest host, was back again this week - this time with the heartfelt ballad, “Ship In A Bottle.” In a couple of weeks, Matthew will be performing at the 135th Birthday Bash for the Isadora Duncan Foundation - he’ll be playing a piano recital and people will dance! He is also doing one more show with Sally Darling at 7pm on May 11 at Don’t Tell Mama. Adam Shapiro said that he thinks that being alive means taking risks - moving to a new city, working in theater, etc. So, he sang a song that he called, “a bit of a risk… it’s high…” (to which Johnny retorted, “So are we!”) - the amazing, “Out There” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Adam Shapiro
Sierra Rein, my fellow blogger, thanked Adam for the appropriate segue, and seduced the audience with Cole Porter’s “Experiment” (with some able assistance from pianist, Bill Zeffiro.) Sierra’s group, Marquee Five, will be performing at the Buck Hill Music Fest on May 18. Be sure to check out for more details (and buy their CD!) David Ballard, our trusty server, brought in his compelling, original song, “So This If My Life.” He’s currently writing a 10 minute musical for the BMI workshop - we can’t wait to hear it!

Erin Cronican (yours truly) sang about the giddy celebration of finding love, “Gimme Gimme” from Thoroughly Modern Millie. Shana Farr, tonight’s Etceterette, came to the mic with a story: In 1934 Noel Coward almost didn’t write this song… because he had been trying tirelessly to write a waltz. He couldn’t come up with one so he almost gave up altogether. But with a little perseverance, he reached deep inside and somehow found, “I’ll Follow My Secret Heart.” Thanks for Shana for the background on the song, and for singing it brilliantly.

Shana Farr
For this week’s Classical Corner, Mark Janas suggested that the pianists in the room get ready to improvise some themes and variations on a central song. He asked for suggestions from the audience, one of whom offered, “Fly Me To The Moon.” He then asked the pianists what key they should start with, and off they went! Over the next 16 minutes, 5 pianists graced the stage in a continuous ode to the 1954 Bart Howard classic.

But don’t rely on my words -- here’s a video of the segment to get a full sense of the genius of Classical Corner!

Second Set

CoHost Johnny Rodgers brought us back from the break, with an original song that he thought was appropriate for tonight’s theme… so much so that he dedicated it to Salon Founder/Host, Mark Janas -- “One more Moment.” It really charmed and warmed the crowd - not a dry eye was present.

Johnny Rodgers
Johnny asked Mark Janas to come to the piano, and then asked the audience to snap a brisk rhythm so that he would have some backup for “I’m In Heaven.” For more audience participation -- he would put the mic in front of audience members to sing the “cheek to cheek” lyric. And then for the musical interlude, Johnny joined Mark at the keys and they riffed together.

Johnny Rodgers, with assistance by Mark Janas
For the last song of the set, Johnny played and sang his original tune, “Your Smiling Face.”

We were thrilled to welcome up Salon producer, Tanya Moberly, to sing her personal version of “A lot Of Livin’ To Do” from Bye Bye Birdie. My only complaint was that the song was too short, and apparently our co-host agreed because he reluctantly let her go back to her seat. Tanya just announced that she’ll be doing another show in the fall at Don’t Tell Mama.

Lou Iacovino was next to the stage with the contemplative, “Here’s To Life.” Kevin McMullan brought up “Up To The Mountain” from the musical, A Portrait of Jennie. We wish Kevin a speedy recovery from an injured calf muscle. In the meantime, be nice to people with that cane! :)

Kevin McMullan
Julie Reyburn told us a story about her song, which is her favorite Sondheim ballad. Apparently, her then-boyfriend remembered that it was her favorite song and had it playing at an Indian restaurant when he got down on his knee to propose. The song? “So Many People” from the musical, Saturday Night. Ok, let’s do it together… “Awwwwwwww…” I’ll tell you - I’ll never hear that song the same way again. Paul Kolecki sang a medley (or “blend”, as he suggested - like two fine wines) of two of his favorite songs: “Anyone Can Whistle” and “Where or When.”

Paul Kolecki
Mac Nominee Joey Infante brought up what he described as a “song where Peter Pan meets Willy Wonka” - a mashup of “Never Never Land” by Styne/Comden/Green and “Pure Imagination” by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley. Joey says he is taking his current show, “Babalu,” on the road - congratulations! Bob Diamond sang the lovely, on-theme song, “What More Can I Say?” We’re so glad to have you back at The Salon, Bob!

Bob Diamond
After being at the keys for many a singer (and fabulously so during Classical Corner) Bill Zeffiro occupied his own slot in the lineup, singing his brand new song, “I’ve Still Got New York.” Next up was Stearns Matthews. Stearns said that each time he comes to The Salon he has trouble picking songs on theme. Well, this time he said that he’s lost his theme virginity, with “Sing” made popular by Perry Como. Welcome back to The Salon - we hope it’s not a year before we get to hear your lovely voice again! Stearns is having a birthday show June 22 at Don’t Tell Mama.

Steve Schachlin was next, and before he sang his original tune, “Lazarus Come Out” he took some time to give a special thank you to Tanya Moberly for keeping us abreast of what was going on with Mark while he was in the hospital. Steve is planning to do a fundraiser to help cover Mark’s medical bills & living expenses, and is inviting all of The Salon singers to be a part of it. He will give Tanya the details and and we’ll post them to the blog.

Steve Schachlin
Steve stayed at the piano and invited Jake Stewart to the mic to sing one of Steve’s brand new songs, “Only So Many Days In An Hour.”

We were excited to welcome back to The Salon, James Eden, who sang the ultimate on-theme song, “Being Alive” from Sondheim’s Company. Before singing his song, The Salon’s generous sponsor, Father Jeff Hamblin, mentioned that he is creating a competition for high school students who are pianists, with a top prize of $1000, and asked tonight’s pianists to volunteer as judges for the competition. We will give out more details as they become available. This announcement was an amazing backdrop to the song he chose to sing: “The Impossible Dream” from the musical, Man of La Mancha. The entire audience joined in for the final chorus, and it was truly inspiring!

Salon Sponsor, Father Jeff Hamblin
Arn Prince moved the mic aside and delivered the incredible aria, “Che Gelida Manina” from the opera La Boheme. He’s doing a recital, accompanied by pipe organ, at Christ Church in Brooklyn in June. Details to come!

For the final song of the evening, Co-Host Johnny Rodgers brought in some honky tonk with “Whole Lot of Shaking Goin’ On.” And as a final treat, Johnny invited Mark Janas to the piano to riff together. Clapping and cheering, The Salon audience sad goodbye to another MAC Award winning season!

REMINDER: The Salon is on hiatus May 7-July 7, reopening again on July 8.

Go out and see some shows - support cabaret and live theater! Be sure to check out the Facebook Group for updates on what people are doing this spring/summer.

If you just can’t wait until July, come out to a very special event:


When: June 9 from 7pm-2am

What: Cabaret / Show / Party at Roseland to celebrate Mark’s Birthday!

Tickets: FREE, but must RSVP. Donations being collected to go toward Mark’s medical & living expenses.

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

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