Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Salon Wrap Up for August 12, 2012 - "Another Kind of Light"

The speed of light, 299,792,458 meters per second, is a constant of nature - brilliantly or softly illuminating our way through the galaxy in a consistently loving manner.  We had another kind of light visit us at The Salon this past Sunday, a light made of love, joy, and soooooong!  Our Guest Host at the piano was deft singer and pianist Kenneth Gartman, and our luminous Co-Host was singer/producer/B'way alum and Cabaret star Raissa Katona Bennett.  Raissa has been on Broadway in The Phantom of the Opera and Chess, in the first National Tours of Cats and Parade, is a Producer for the monthly "Concerts for City Greens" shows, and can be seen at Feinstein's with her show "Another Kind of Light" from August 21st to the 25th, all shows at 8pm.  Use the code "GREEN" when you order tickets for the 22nd and 23rd shows, and the service fees from said tickets will be donated to the "Concerts for City Greens" fund!  The show is directed by Eric Michael Gillett, and will have David Caldwell on the piano/MD, Ritt Henn on bass, Sean Harkness on guitar, and Ray Marchica on percussion. 

Tanya began the evening by sending Mark Janas' love from afar - he is in Maine with Always, Patsy Cline, but is excited to return to The Salon next week for the Seventh Anniversary of Salon celebration!  Raissa then took over the mic to sing the hilarious "The Lift," a waltz in funny time by Amanda McBroom reflecting her appreciation for her husband's work (although she's had nothing done, she assures us).  She then brought up the marvelous Rev Yolanda Roger Anthony Mapes, splendid in a beautiful red, who sang a "Hymn Medley" with Kenneth also on vocals - "Down By The Riverside," "Joy Down in My Heart" and "This Little Light of Mine" were all included, and the entire audience was clapping on the 2's and 4's along with it!  The Reverend will perform a "gender bending gospel celebration" entitled "Rev. Yolanda's Old Time Gospel Hour" on August 16th at 9;30pm (with guest Freddy Freeman) and August 26th at 6:30pm at The Duplex - more information and reservations at /  Next up was the beacon of light, Maureen Taylor, who sang the gorgeous "Our Children" from Ragtime, quoting her two year-old niece "let's get this show on the road" - ah the positive minds of children!  She is working on a "cosmic cabaret" to be released in October.  Corrina Sowers-Adler was next to the stage, singing "Flight" in a beautiful soprano with sweeping high notes.  Corrina is a part of two performance series - "Music At The Mansion" every last Sunday (the next is August 26th at 3pm, three 25-minute sets by invited singers), and  the ingenious "By Request" series, whereby she collects song requests and personal stories attached to them and creates a show - the next will be at the Metropolitan Room on October 13th (due date for requests is September 15th). 

Barry Levitt then took to the 88's to play for a few performers: Edie Stokes sang the sweet "Tis Autumn" - her upcoming show "Illusions" will be on September 30th, 5:30pm at Don't Tell Mama.  Lou Iacovino shined a torch on the uplifting "Let Me Try Again" and blinded us with the mental image of himself topless in a sauna for a shoot for The Daily Show.  And finally, Sunny Leigh sang the blues song "Cover The Waterfront" by Johnny Green, expressing her joy in never giving up hope.  Matthew Martin Ward then grabbed the piano to play for Janice Hall, who performed the powerfully emotive mezzo-soprano song "Daybreak" from the modern opera Three Decembers.  Janice will be leaving mid-September to perform in The Dead in Washington DC!  Ray of sunshine Maria Moncada then pepped up the mood with the swinging "I Got the Sun in the Morning and the Moon At Night" in her classic big-band voice. 

Natasha Castillo brought her shining attitude and voice to the stage next, singing "Unwritten."  Her show (directed by Lennie Watts with music director Steven Ray Watkins) will take place November 2nd, 10th and 16th).  Then I (Sierra Rein) practiced for my MetroStar competition set with Bill Zeffiro at the piano, singing Noel Coward's "I'll See You Again."  Sadly, I didn't make the Top Five, but Salon alumna Billie Roe did, so everyone should go support her in the final show August 20th!  I had a terrific time on Monday night, and I was excited to sing for Marvin Hamlisch's memorial on Tuesday morning, which was lovely.  Sarah Rice, whose gorgeous voice has lit up many a stage, sang " Nella Fantasia (In My Fantasy)" from The Mission with Matthew Martin Ward on piano.  The Ennio Morricone song was set to lyrics by Chiara FerraĆ¹ only  after Sarah Brightman wore Ennio down with dogged persistence, another form of light and hope.  Sarah (Rice) will be doing the Music at the Mansion show in September and the first Saturday after Thanksgiving will be singing for Zani's Furry Friends. 
The Salon Spotlight this week was the sparkling duo Edd Clark and Sue Matsuki!  Sue is a stellar jazz vocalist and Edd is an accomplished classical singer, and the two of them complement each other brilliantly.  They can next be seen in "It's Us Again! The Music of Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme," with musical director John DiPinto on Tuesday August 21st, 7pm at Don't Tell Mama.  They had a great set, starting out with the bouncy "I've Heard That Song Before," before moving into a gorgeous solo rendition by Edd on "I Hear a Rhapsody."  Then Sue took the solo mic to sing "The Gypsy in My Soul," which mixed Sue's graceful jazz vocal stylings with Eydie's joyous ones, including a "horn" instrumental section.  To end the set, they duetted on the folksy and upbeat "Side By Side."

Kenneth Gartman then had Kenneth's Korner (I succumbed to the "K" that time...), which he began by his thoughts of Marvin Hamlisch - the lights of Broadway were to be dimmed in his honor.  Kenneth then went into a stirring and fantastically sung "I Still Believe in Love" by Hamlisch.  Ken next gave us another taste of "Reverend Yolanda's Old Time Gospel Hour" (this Thursday at the Duplex, 9:30pm) by singing the rolickin' gospel/rock/country song "Let it Shine" and showed off his amazing belt voice...he's as equally amazing as a singer as he is a pianist, and he certainly let it all out to shine for us!

The second half of the evening featured our gloriuos co-host, Raissa Katona Bennett, whose love of music and musicians has been felt over the years by thousands of singers, instrumentalists, composers, fans, and lovers of music of all types.  She's inspired songwriters to write for her particular vocal abilities and sense of humor - she started out her set by explaining that she has a morning ritual, and that after she "feeds the dogs and walks the husband," she sits down to go through her emails.  Once she was surprised and thrilled to find a song, "Torch Song for Raissa," written by Michael John LaChiusa, in her inbox, and she sang this modern-day humor song to perfection (apparently NIFOTC = "Naked in front of the computer"...I'm going to have to use that from now on...).  She next sang "Ordinary Miracles," a beautiful ballad regarding the big things in life that arise out of the small sparks of imagination.  Raissa completed the set with "A Tomb With a View," a life-affirming song by David Caldwell (lyrics from a poem by Robert Fulghum) about the cycle of life and the view that we can have even from death.

Producer and three-time MAC Award winner Tanya Moberly then sang "Colored Lights" (I don't think I ever got the mixup of the guys' names until she sang it) and was happy to promote her new show at Don't Tell Mama, which opens September 28th.  Barry Levitt then played again for a small set of singers, starting with Joey Infante, who we were SO happy to see return to us - he sang "Who Can I Turn To," a lovely ballad with a powerful ending. Susan Hodgdon sang a mashup of "By Myself" and "Out Here on My Own," a selection from her upcoming show "On The Bumpy Road to Love" September 8th at 3pm, $5 cover charge at Don't Tell Mama.  We then had a Salon debut - Gary Crawford sang "I Can See Clearly Now" and then morphed it into a jazzy "Cockeyed Optimist." Raissa was quick to note that although Gary was a Salon virgin, it did not show!  Kenneth returned to the piano to play for Joann Sicoli, honoring Marvin Hamlisch with his stirring "What I Did For Love" from A Chorus LineMarnie Klar, singing with beguiling smiles and a charming tenderness, then sang "Glitter in the Air."  Matthew Martin Ward then premiered his music (set to a poem by Felix Pollak) of "All Things Are Candles," this time standing at the mic and letting Kenneth play the piano (a gasp of "he has legs!" was heard from the audience).  Matthew can be seen at Ido Sushi for Opera Wednesdays, at Wurtsboro's "Broadway Direct - Classic Quiche" and "There's a Phantom in My Opera" with Elizabeth Tryon August 20th, then a revue of songs of Tom Toce. He's busy!

Our stalwart waiter and BMI lyricist, David Ballard, next "Down in the Valley" with lovely high tenor notes.  Michael Colby sang an original ballad, "Old Father Time," from his new musical On With The Show (August 23rd and 24th at the Ta Da Space).  This show has lyrics by Colby, music by many composers (including the composer of "Old Father Time," Ned Paul Ginsberg), is directed by Karen Lynn Carpenter, and will feature Bill Zeffiro as the music director (and a character) and Richard Skipper as the Narrator.  Bobbie Horowitz then sang her funny original "Nothin' To Complain About Blues" and was happy to say her book "Find Your Mini Q's" is still for sale, with a new one on the way!  Barb Malley performed the sweet "Love Is Only Love," originally cut from Mame.  We then heard from Salon debut Lexie Bybee, who has her eye on the part of Christine from The Phantom of the Opera - she sang "Think of Me" from said show, and let us know she's visiting from Idaho, checking out performance arts Colleges.  Adam Gonzalez, who can now safely take a seat in the "Salon regulars" section of the bus, sang Kris Kristofferson's beautiful "Help Me Get Through The Night," accompanying himself on guitar.  Bill Zeffiro then sang (or squawked!) a tour de force song, "Los Penguinos" by Goldrich and Heisler that simply had us all in fits of merriment.  Richie Eisenberg sang his charming, uptempo "Color Blind Blues" (color connected to light, remember!).  And finally, Raissa Katona Bennett returned to the microphone to sing with Kenneth Gartman and encourage audience participation with the lovely "We Can Be Kind" by David Friedman.

The optional theme for the evening is “Then and Now / Anniversaries and Remembrances – A Celebration of Seven Years of Salon!” Our Co-Hosts will be Salon Charter Members Jeffrey Biering, Donna Coney Island, Kristin Maloney, Chris Weikel and Stephen Wilde! (Adam McDonald and Rob Seitelman are unable to attend.) Come early to grab a seat and a card for your chance to sing this Sunday!

Reverend Yolanda sets the party ablaze!
Guest Host Kenneth Gartman
Co-Host Raissa Katona Bennett
Matthew Martin Ward
Newcomer Lexie Bybee
-Sierra Rein
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