Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Salon Wrap-Up for August 18, 2013 "Guilty Pleasures"

By the time 6:30pm rolled around the room was already full of Salon regulars and new visitors, making for an incredibly exciting 3.5 hour evening of music! Introducing the night was founder and host, Mark Janas, back from attending a musical conference for church, teaching a workshop in Poconos, and playing for Len Cariou in Vermont. Despite all of the amazing things he’s been up to, Mark said that, by far, The Salon was his favorite guilty pleasure… a great lead off to this week’s theme! - Guilty Pleasures!

Our Co-Host was Multiple Award Winning Performer, Director and Teacher Gretchen Reinhagen! Gretchen’s next GRS Cabaret Performance class starts Tuesday, Sept, 17th @ 7pm. Each singer performs a 3 song set Don't Tell Mama NYC on Sun, Nov 3rd @ 3pm. Payment plans available. For more information, visit her news page:

Accompanying Gretchen tonight (as well as the first batch of singers) was music director, Tracy Stark. Tracy is music directing Gretchen’s class (listed above) and she’s also playing for Bernie’s Showcase at the Metropolitan Room on August 27 at 7pm.

For the first song of the night, Gretchen sang one of her favorite songs from guilty pleasure band Captain & Tennille - “Love Will Keep Us Together.” Kicking off the open mic portion of the night (with Tracy still at the piano), Marcia Roney sang a charming, “Round” by Amanda McBroom. Marcia is putting together a new solo cabaret, and will let us know the details when it’s ready!Barri Brown, a great storyteller and strong vocals (and a Salon newbie) was next “I Want Them Bald” by Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler. Be sure you come back to The Salon soon, Barri! Donna Hayes brought her luscious alto to “What Do I Do Now” by Sara Groves. Donna is bringing back her show, “The People You Meet Along The Way” to the Metropolitan Room after a sold out run (directed by our very own Gretchen!) - it’ll happen September 19 at 7pm. Be sure to get out to see it! Bob Diamond (MAC nominated for his solo show last year) was next with the delicate and touching, “When I Look At You” from The Scarlet Pimpernel. (How wonderful to hear this song sung by a man!) He’s creating a brand new show which he’ll unveiling in February next year - can’t wait!

What a treat to have Billie Roe, winner of last year’s Metrostar competition, at The Salon. She sang a bluesy and sultry, “Virginia Avenue.” She’s bringing back her show, 1978 NYC Underground (the music of Tom Waits) to the Duplex - October 15, 29 and November 12 (7pm.) I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about this show, and now you don’t have any excuses not to see it! Tracy Stark got her own slot to lend her voice to one of her original tunes, the heartfelt, “Find My Strength.” Rather than mention all of the awards and accolades for her songwriting, she revealed to us that she has, indeed, been gluten-free for 10 years! Tracy is playing the Metrostar finals tomorrow night, and we’ll see who’s been passed the crown from BIllie Roe! Taking his seat at the piano was founder and host, Mark Janas! He brought up our next singer, Sunny Leigh, who sang the classic, “Accentuate The Positive.” She’s having a CD Release Party (Volume 2) on September 15 at 4pm at the Metropolitan room, which includes songs she’s written with Barry Levitt with a few standards tossed in. Congrats on the album, Sunny!

Corinna Sowers-Adler was next with a song that she says is not really about a guilty pleasure but is about being happy (which actually makes some people guilty!) - “The Secret Of Happiness” from the musical, Daddy Longlegs. Corinna will be a part of the Cabaret Convention in October, and she’s also doing a solo show, “Let Me Sing, I’m Happy” at Stage 72 on October 14 at 7pm - you have to check both shows out! Gerry Mastrolia, a self-proclaimed Salon Virgin, admitted that his guilty pleasure happens to be Liza Minelli, and he gave us the song, “Cabaret” imitating her perfectly from the movie! Well, perfectly including some new clever lyrics to bring the song into the 21st Century. Gerry was a finalist in *Next Top Drag Queen” at Metropolitan Room and has his debut cabaret, “Me, Myself & Goldie” at Don’t Tell Mama Seotember 28 at 4pm. Do come back, Gerry! Joseph Shapiro was also making his Salon debut, with the lovely and classic, “If I Loved You” from Carousel. Joseph is writing a memoir as well as a musical version of his story. Can’t wait to hear more about it!

Two young students of Marks from a Buck Hill Music Festival gave us a real treat. Grant Klinger and Colin Cruz brought in their hilarious original song, “Smoke A Doobie” (complete with ukelele accompaniment and amazing harmonies.) The audience roared with appreciation when the song was done - it was fantastic! David Ballard, our trusty server, “Way Ahead of My Time” by Peter Mills. David is premiering his brand new solo cabaret, “Having It All” at Don’t Tell Mama (directed by Salon Producer, Tanya Moberly): Tue, 9/24 (7pm), Wed 9/25 (9:30pm), Fri 10/11 (7pm) and Sat 10/12 (5pm). Cant wait to see it! You Blogette for the evening, Erin Cronican (yours truly) sang the classic Lerner & Loewe piece, “I Loved You Once In Silence” from Camelot (I’d say having a lover is the ultimate guilty pleasure!) To close out the open mic first set, Etceterette Sierra Rein and Tony Imgrund sang two amazing songs from bare the musical - the heartbreaking duet “See Me ” and the haunting “Warning.” Sierra revealed to us that she was doing these sings in honor of the composer, Damon Intrabartolo, who passed away last week. (Sierra did the original production of bare in Los Angeles, and we all send our love and support to help her through this loss.)

Classical Corner

Mark Janas told us that one of his guilty pleasures is playing pieces that he used to play in the past. After going to a dinner party, he realized that it goes deeper than that. He really loves taking requests! He talked about the fact that playing on the fly, by request, frees up the artist to create music without having to worry about getting it perfect - just listening to him talk about that theory made me feel a little more relaxed. :)

So, he opened up the floor to get some audience favorites. Here’s a short list of the songs he took by request:

“But Not For Me” (played in a Mozart inspired improvisation)
"Beethoven Sonata 1st movement Pathetique" in C minor (played from memory!)
"Chopin Nocturne" (“a happy one”) in E flat
"Chopin Grand Polonaise" in A flat

Second Half

To kick off the 2nd act, Mark Janas invited up our amazing co-host to sing three numbers, with Tracy Stark on keys again. Gretchen Reinhagen started with the sexy and yearning-filled number, “Butter.” She followed that with “I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today.” I know the song from the movie Beaches (yeah, I admit that this is one of my guilty pleasures too!) - I think I enjoyed this version much more tune Better Midler’s original, which is a feat! Gretchen said that sci-fi is a guilty pleasure for her, so she gave us a desperate and romantic version of, “That Old Black Magic.”

Tanya Moberly, our amazing Salon producer, brought up Matt Scharfglass to play guitar opposite her vocals on “Moon Shadow” by Cat Stevens - what a great performance! As mentioned earlier, Tanya’s directing David Ballard’s solo cabaret debut. (See details above.) She is also putting together her next solo cabaret show for November, which will honor New York songwriters. I’m getting pretty antsy to find out more! Matt Scharfglass stayed to play his own tune, Michael Hedges’ incredible, rousing “Ritual Dance” on acoustic guitar. I desperately need a recording of this song - make it happen, Matt! Next up was Marnie Klar, who appeared by special request of Matt Scharfglass with Joni Mitchell’s iconic, “Case of You.”

6-time MAC nominated Songwriter Nick Levin was next (with me, Erin Cronican on vocals!) with his original tune, “I Deserve Better” (about the guilty pleasure of beating ones self up.) Nick will be appearing on September 21 at the open mic at Unity Church. Robin Westle with (Jeff Cubeta on keys) a light and funny, “What’s Going To Happen To The Tots?” Robin is bringing her show, “No Regrets” back to the Laurie Beechman Oct 22nd & Oct 27th, and she’s co-hosting The Salon on September 22 - we’re lucky to have so many places to see her work! Jeff Cubeta stayed at the piano as his colleague Eric Michael Gillett (co-MAC award winner for direction, shared with Gretchen Reinhagen) came to the stage. Eric talked about discovering what’s important in life, and sang one of Jeff Cubeta’s original tunes, the inspiring “Angels watching over me tonight.” Jeff Cubeta now got to have his own special solo moment, playing & singing, ”Thank You.” He finally has a show of his own, with all original music, at Don’t Tell Mama, September 6, 7, 8, 10, plus 2 premium priced shows on the 9th and 15th. Make your reservations now!

Salon regular Adam Shapiro was next with one of Jennifer Hudson’s songs from Season 2 of “Smash” (one his guilty pleasures, as well as singing as a black woman!) “I Can’t Let Go.” Adam just finished a run of “Barcode: The Musical” with the Fringe Festival. Congrats, Adam! Barb Malley, complete in bobbie socks, came to the stage to talk about a guilty pleasure from her youth. She talked about the “Legion of Decency” that would come out in the paper at school, telling people about which movies and songs they should and should not watch/listen to for decency reasons. The song she sang tonight was one of the few songs that was “indecent” - “I Wanna Be Loved.” She did a video promo for the dating service, Swoon, and it’s gotten so many hits that they’re considering turning her character/story into a web series! The more views, the better her chances - go to YouTube and type in “Phylis Rosenberg Dating” and leave a comment!

Richard Eisenberg was next with one of his original tunes, “Love Isn’t Easy” (which was also performed beautifully by Stacie Perlman in Richie’s show, “Smile On My Face.”) Gretchen talked about the fact that anytime you ask Richie how he’s doing, he’ll always say, “I’m the best I can be.” I love that philosophy! Parker Scott FINALLY admitted that his guilty pleasure is Josh Groban (and not-so-guilty pleasure is Italian movies) - he decided to combine the two and sang,

“Cinema Paradiso” in Italian! Parker is putting together a new show, “Someone” which will premiere in September at the Metropolitan Room. As he starts putting together the songs, he’s discovering that it looks like it’ll be a tribute to Matthew Shepard. More details will be coming soon! Kevin McMullan admitted that his guilty pleasure is bringing in a song off-theme. :) And with that, he brought us a dramatic and tender “Lilac Wine.”

Carly Ozard’s guilty pleasure is Andrew Lloyd Webber, so she sang, “With One Look” from Sunset Boulevard. Carly is doing Bernie’s Showcase, “Sing Your Heart Out”, at the Metropolitan Room on August 27 with a lineup of incredible singers (be sure to mention Carly when you reserve your ticket - she has to guarantee people in order to sing!) Matthew Martin Ward’s explained his process of thinking about tonight’s theme. Matthew’s process went: guilty pleasures… pleasures… songs you feel sorry for… songs that would be good if the songs were, well, better… which lead to flop musicals… guilty pleasure books… the book “Not Since Carrie”… and then finally landed on a song from BenFranklin in Paris “Looking for Small Pleasures.” (He also noted that he sings it in a very low key, another guilty pleasure…) Rob Lester came to the stage to talk about a new project of his - a musical to teach the younger generation about the art form (with a smile!) “Humpty Dumpty Cracks UP: The Nightmare of Cabaret.” Thanks to The Salon, Rob met Jordan Siwek and asked him to be the music director, and many Salon-ers have volunteers to be a part of it (Tanya Moberly, Sierra Rein, Bobbie Horowitz, Barbara Malley, and more!) This is a part of a series of benefits for Cabaret Scenes magazine and the community, as well as bringing the Great American Songbook to the younger generation. With that, Jordan Siwek took the stage (and piano) to demonstrate a few snippets of songs that you’ll hear in the show. Closing out the show, co-host Gretchen Reinhagen sang the classic, “Sara Lee.”

Next week you’re in for a real treat - 9 of our Etceterettes (including me!) will be co-hosting The Salon in honor of The Salon’s 8th Birthday! We expect to be a completely sold-out night, so be sure to be here by 6:15 to sign up. We’re also celebrating the 95 years of Leonard Bernstein. So, bring in any songs that celebrate the passage of time, or anything connected to Bernstein. As usual, songs that are “off theme” are also welcome.

We’ll see you next Sunday!

- Erin Cronican
Blogette for The Salon
email me with any corrections

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