Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Salon Wrap Up for November 24, 2013. "You Made Me Love You"

Greetings Salonistas! This is your one and only male etceterette, Adam Shapiro, coming to you on location from Indianapolis IN, where I’m playing the role of the son who goes home and enjoys his Mom’s turkey a little too much. In all seriousness though, I hope everybody had a wonderful Thanksgiving and, if you celebrate it, are still having a wonderful Chanukkah! I can now say from experience that latkes are a perfectly acceptable side dish with turkey and that cranberry sauce on a latke is really good. (PS. Ask me for my cranberry sauce recipe. It’s reeeally good).

Now, let’s jump back four days before the turkey holiday to the chilly night that was this week’s Salon. As Mark Janas observed, we were a small, but select group that night, but everybody who was there was there to have fun, thus setting the mood for a very fun night. This week’s theme “You Made Me Love You” was especially appropriate for our co-host, who made me love her the first time I ever heard the cast album of Sweeney Todd, in which she originated the role of Johanna. She then made me love her even more when I met her (at Salon) and got to know what a wonderful person she is. She is doing a new solo show The Music of Downton Abbey at Urban Stages on December 13th and I would bet that if you go to see it, she will make you love her too. I am speaking, of course, of Sarah Rice! Sarah opened tonight’s salon with Someday My Heart Will Awake, which she sang from the audience, winding gracefully through the tables as she made her way to the stage. Something about the way she sang just made me forget how cold it was outside and feel all warm and cozy. It was lovely.

Our first guest tonight was a tall drink of water. (Seriously, he almost bumped his head on one of the light fixtures)A good friend of mine, Sam Perwin sang On My Bedside Table by John Bucchino, whose work he was introduced to by the one and only David Ballard. The neurotically comic song shows the obsessions and thought progressions that occur after a breakup and Sam nailed it. His solo show My Time of Day: Songs for After Dark is coming up on December 11 at the Laurie Beechman and I’m positive that anybody who goes will have a great time.
Visiting us from New Jersey, Madeline Warren next gave us her own arrangement of How Deep is the Ocean that she set against Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. I would never have thought of putting those two songs together, but it worked beautifully. (Mark liked it too) Madeline is working on a new show that she hopes to debut in the spring.

Now this was almost too much. One of my favorite people, Bob Diamond came to the stage next and sang one of my favorite songs, David Friedman’s We Live on Borrowed Time. I hadn’t heard it in a while and hearing Bob sing it almost brought me to tears. It was wonderful. Even more poignant, Bob told us that he sang it to his husband Raymond (sniff) at their wedding(sniff)as his vows (sniff. Ok seriously, where’s my handkerchief?) Bob will be reprising his trio show Timeless on December 14 and 17 at the Duplex and is working on a new show to debut in 2014.
Next up, another Salon favorite Barb Malley, who told us that she has to talk before she can sing…because she’s Irish. (I have to admit, I don’t get the connection, but maybe it’s because I’m not Irish) Barb had planned to sing this for last week’s salon, but was delighted when she realized it worked for this week’s theme too. She then proceeded to sing Misty and I detected a hint of an Irish accent in there. In any event, she sang it beautifully. Barb recently appeared in Humpty Dumpty Cracks up and is at this very moment (hopefully) enjoying a relaxing vacation on Long Island.

By the way. Did I happen to mention who was playing piano for Barb? Well I will now because she stayed there to play for herself as well. It was the marvelous Gretchen Reinhagen! (I didn’t even know she played! She’s a woman of many talents.) Gretchen claimed she was part Irish and that’s why she had a drink before her song. (hehehehe) She played and sang The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face, made famous in the 70s by Roberta Flack. She said that, depending on how it went tonight, the song may or may not be in her upcoming show. Well I’d say it went spectacularly tonight, so you might just hear it in her show. Speaking of which, her show is called Listen to the Music: The Songs of the 70s and she is debuting it at Urban Stages on December 14 as part of a double bill with…I’ll tell you later.
Our next performer is seriously one of the sweetest guys I think I’ve ever met. I met Tony Imgrund when I started doing Erin Cronican’s Actor-Own series and he is one of the most genuine and delightful people I know with a smile that lights up a room. Tonight, it was Kismet…literally. Tony sang the musical theatre classic, Stranger in Paradise. As usual, he charmed everybody.
Our spectacular singing server David Ballard was next to sing and took us right to the Garden of Eden with A World Without You from Children of Eden. One of David’s signature pieces, he sang it beautifully. He will be taking his solo show Having it All on the road to his hometown church in MA and hopes to bring it back to New York soon after the new year.

And then it was my turn! Yes I, Adam Shapiro, took the stage to sing one of my favorite Weird Al Yankovic songs You Don’t Love Me Anymore, which is about someone who wants to make you STOP loving them. By the way, remember I said I’d tell you later who Gretchen Reinhagen is doing a double bill with…It’s me! I have the honor of being the other half of that evening (Dec 14) at Urban Stages, bringing back my non-traditional Christmas show No Chestnuts! I will also be at Urban Stages on December 10 doing a reading of the brand new musical That Way written by Barry Levitt and Peter Napolitano for which I am very excited. And if you just can’t wait until then, I’ll be at the Metropolitan room on Dec 2 and 5, appearing in Elli Thekingofbroadway’s Chanukkah show. Whew! I’m tired already.

Now it was time to introduce our Salon Spotlight, the lovely Jennylind Parris, who is doing her solo show at the Metropolitan Room on December 6 and 21, directed by MAC Award winner Gretchen Reinhagen and Musical directed by MAC Award winner Tracy Stark. The show is called A Woman of Character and is a tribute to one of the finest comediennes of all time, Ms. Carol Burnett. I was excited right away. Jennylind began her set with the fabulous rant for those that just don’t like kids, Little Girls from the movie and musical Annie. Hilarious! She then told us that Annie was her original introduction to Carol Burnett (mine too!) and that it was ironic that she played someone who dislikes children so much, because Carol has done so much good work for children over the years, including anonymously paying tuition for some kids in order that they will have an education. I did not know this and it just increased the respect I already had for her. It was so cool of Jennylind to tell us about that. Then, in tribute to the many wonderful television specials that Carol appeared in, she sang us the beautiful Secret Love, which Carol sang in the 1963 television special Calamity Jane. It was a wonderful way to show us Carol’s more sensitive and serious side and Jennylind sounded fabulous. To end her set, Jennylind gave us Carol’s big song from the show that I think really catapulted Carol to mainstream success. Of course, I’m talking about Shy from Once Upon a Mattress. It was a wonderful set and I suggest we all flock to the Metropolitan room on December 6 or December 21 to see the show. Who’s with me!?


Now I’m going to share a little secret from this week’s salon. Mark Janas is always so adept at “tickling the 88s” as it were. Tonight, however he was only tickling the 87s because one of the keys on the piano wasn’t working. (I believe it was the Ab above middle C). Originally, he was going to play Rhapsody in Blue, but because that Ab key is featured heavily, he couldn’t do it tonight. So since the piano was slightly broke, he decided to play some Baroque music.
He began with a Bach prelude and Fugue and explained that in a Prelude, the idea is based on a single configuration of notes that repeats itself throughout the song. In a Fugue, there is a specific number of voices that ring out at the same time, so you have to listen to the various themes and note where they show up throughout the piece. As a further example, he played Bach’s D major prelude, in which I heard the theme most pronounced in the left hand bass notes.
Finally, he played a Bach Fugue (presumably also in D major) which was intended as the first movement of an Italian concerto where the soloist would be backed by a full orchestra. As Mark pointed out, these pieces brought to mind a grand ballroom or concert hall with everybody in ornate outfits and powdered wigs and lots of observances of pomp and grace. For a last minute change in program, it was a wonderful classical corner.


We were so excited to welcome back co-host Sarah Rice to the stage to sing the title song from Ivor Novello’s musical Glamorous Night. Sarah’s first song of the evening was also by Ivor Novello and, as Sarah put it, singing Novello’s music is like eating sherbet. It’s a sweet and refreshing treat. (I’m paraphrasing, but it was a wonderful analogy)
In addition to her busy performing schedule, Sarah also does lots of work with Zani’s Furry Friends, a wonderful organizations that goes into animal shelters and rescues pets who would otherwise be euthanized. Her annual benefit concert, Love Makes The World Go ‘Round, which benefits Zani’s Furry Friends is this weekend at the Laurie Beechman. For her second song, Sarah sang Jerry Herman’s And I Was Beautiful, saying that she thinks this would be the inner monologue of one of the pets in the shelter waiting to be adopted. The song itself was gorgeous and with that visual attached to it, I got choked up. Thankfully, Sarah then concluded her set with the hilarious song Tone Deaf, in which she claimed her musical director was solely responsible for her voice by being able to match her pitch. While I assure you, that is not the case with Sarah, it was really fun to hear her try to sing off pitch. Truly, there is nobody like Sarah Rice and I am so thrilled whenever I get to see her perform.

Speaking of thrilling performances, you know who follows the co-host in the Second Set. Salon Producer Tanya Moberly! Tonight, Tanya showed us her sensitive side by singing the Rodgers and Hart staple, My Funny Valentine. Tanya always invests in whatever song she decides to sing and it really is inspiring to see someone that committed to what they are singing, especially when they sound as great as Tanya does.
Tanya’s newest show, I Love NY Songwriters has two more performances at Don’t Tell Mama on Dec 3 at 7 and Dec 4 at 9:30. If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you catch one of these two final performances.

Next up was my fellow etceterette for the evening, the lady that Sarah dubbed “The Princess Of Cabaret”, which I find charmingly appropriate. Fresh from her debut at the Carlyle, Marissa Mulder! Accompanied by Bill Zeffiro, Marissa sang The Folks Who Live on the Hill. It was simple and breathtaking. Marissa will be appearing with Sarah in the Zani’s benefit on Nov 30 and will be part of the tribute to the movies of Frank Sinatra on December 7 at Urban Stages.
Bill kept Marissa on stage and since the holidays are upon us, the two of them sang Bill’s quintessential Christmas song (with some new lyrics) What the Hell, It’s Christmas! The song is wonderful and funny and is quickly becoming the Baby, It’s Cold Outside for the new millennium. Bill can be seen every Tuesday at La Mediteranee and you can hear his songs in Tanya’s I Love NY Songwriters show at Don’t Tell Mama.

SO, since it was a small, but mighty group tonight, we were able to hear a few encores from people…

First to return to the stages was Madeline Warren who sang a medley of I Got Myself in Bad and Just Friends. Fabulous!

Tony Imgrund returned to give us another musical theatre classic, Younger Than Springtime from South Pacific. Gorgeous!

Gretchen Reinhagen sang Diary, which I suspect was dedicated to her wife Deb. So Great!

Barb Malley, telling us her love for Jacques Brell, gave us I Loved. Beautiful!

And just before we ended things, Susan Hodgdon gave us a lovely rendition of I Concentrate on You. Susan is working on a new show with Bill Zeffiro that we’ll be hearing more about after the new year.

And thus, Sarah took the stage one final time with one final Ivor Novello song, Why Is There Ever Goodbye? and the (metaphorical) curtain fell on another beautiful Salon.

DEC 1, NO SALON. Happy Thanksgiving/Chanukkah

Salon returns Sunday December 8 with special guest host Rick Jensen and co-host Lisa Yeager. The optional theme is…Any Place I Hang My Hat is Home.

I hope everybody had a wonderful Thanksgiving and continues to have a wonderful holiday season.

-Adam Shapiro, Blogette for the Salon.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Salon Wrap-Up for November 17, 2013 "Crooners & Swooners"

What a great night!  Hello, Salon gang!  This is your guest Blogette, Candice Oden.  If you missed this last Sunday's Salon, you missed a good one!  We didn't have a huge crowd, but that didn't stop anyone from bringing their A Game -- and our co-host, Frank Dain, was no exception.

MAC AND Broadway World Award Nominee Frank Dain opened our night as the embodiment of "Crooning & Swooning," himself.  He was the perfect person for the job.  He started the evening singing "Hello, Young Lovers," and left us anxious to hear what he had in store of us later.

The very talented Jennylind Parris started the open mic portion of the evening, showing us her skills by singing "Happily Ever After" by Marshall Barer and Mary Rodgers.  She has two upcoming gigs -- one is her show A Woman of Character: A Tribute to the Incomparable Carol Burnett at the Metropolitan Room on 12/6 at 7pm and 12/21 at 4pm, AND SHE IS NEXT WEEK'S SALON SPOTLIGHT!  Best of luck, Jennylind -- we can't wait!

Next was the bubbly and fantastic Caroline Kearney with "The Way You Look Tonight" by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields.  Her beautiful talent and commanding presence was such a delight.  She has just started working with Natalie Douglas on a project -- hurry up, Caroline!  We want more of you! :)

Matthew Martin Ward came up next to the piano and touched us all with "Say You'll Remember" by Tom Toce and Peter Millrose, which he pulled from the show that he musically directed of the lyrics of Tom Toce, Hopelessly In Love.  Such a beautiful choice, Matthew.  The album of the Hopelessly In Love performance, which took place on October 10, is now available on iTunes and other retailers.  Congrats, Matthew!  This is fantastic!

A chunk of talent (and I mean TALENT) that is performing in Rob Lester's Humpty Dumpty Cracks Up: The Nightmare Of Cabaret came up to the stage next.  First was our gorgeous and talented Marnie Klar singing "Glitter In The Air" by Alecia Moore (Pink) and Billy Mann.  It has been such a privilege to watch and listen to Marnie grow as a singer, and we are all looking forward to her doing another show with the amazing Tanya Moberly!  Newbie Remy Block graced the stage with a voice and presence so warm and welcoming, it was as if she'd welcomed us into her home.  She is performing her beautiful rendition of "Tennessee Christmas" by Amy Grant in her upcoming show Pull My Mistletoe with her cabaret trio, Impending Bloom, at Don't Tell Mama on 12/11 and 12/15.  Then it was the fabulous Wendy Russell (with whom I've had the great pleasure of working with recently with Bobby Cronin and Alan Mogul), singing "Who Are You Now?" so beautifully, silencing everyone in the room through her very last note.  This is a song from the Broadway show Funny Girl (as opposed to the film version) that was, apparently Barbra Streisand's favorite -- and it's obvious why.  Beautiful job, Wendy.  We are looking forward to your Lovely Ladies of Cabaret performance as part of Cabaret Cares on 11/20 at 7pm!

Up next came the amazing Cynthia Farrell, singing the epic "Being Alive" as though she was born to sing it.  She is a force to be reckoned with.  You can see her in action in Cynthia Farrell For Real 2.0 on 12/7 at 9:30pm at the Metropolitan Room.  Her amazing friend Carla Bianco (#1 Billboard songwriter and former Maureen in Broadway's RENT) was next at the piano playing and singing her own "Lean Into You."  Catch her tomorrow, 11/18 at Klimat Lounge.  You will NOT regret it.

And it was time for our server/singer/BMI songwriter extraordinaire, David Ballard with "On The Street Where You Live" by Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner.  David is always such a privilege to hear, as you know, and, if you can make it to Massachusetts in March, you can catch him reprising his recent cabaret debut, Having It All.

As you know, David Ballard is followed by the Etcetterettes!  I sang "Gold" by Frank Wildhorn and Nan Knighton (from the musical Camille Claudel), and the amazing and beautiful Sarah Rice followed with 1918's fantastic "Loves' Cigarette" (music by Harold Fraser-Simson), which was in the 1933 film A Southern Maid. Sarah will be performing among a slew of other outrageously talented singers in the Zani's Furry Friends benefit on 11/30 at 7pm at The Laurie Beechman Theater, and she will be performing her Noel Coward and Ivor Novello show Glamorous Nights & Careless Rapture at Urban Stages on 12/6 at 7pm.  Both events should be absolutely amazing.

And the Etceterette's performing means it's time for the Salon Spotlight!  Tonight's Salon's Spotlight was Rob Lester and Company with a sneak peak performance from Humpty Dumpty Cracks Up: The Nightmare of Cabaret.  The show is filled with Salon alumni and other cabaret pros, and the scenes and songs performed are sure to have cabaret vets laughing from start to finish.  (You will not want to miss Tanya Moberly as Little Bo Peep.)  Humpty Dumpty Cracks Up (written by Robert Lester) will be performed at The PlayRoom Theater on 11/23 at 2pm and 11/25 at 6:30pm and at The Duplex on 11/24 at 3:30pm.

And now ... [trumpets, please] ... Classical Corner!  What an amazing Corner it was tonight.  The focus was on Franz Liszt, who, Mark said, was really the world's first rock star.  He caused something calling Lisztomania in the UK-- people going completely nuts, women literally throwing their hotel keys onto the stage.  He would even play London Bridges Falling Down and have people swooning in the aisles.  The piece that Mark played for us was a funeral march with a subtitle of "October, 1849."  Due to Liszt's known association and admiration for Chopin, it is interesting to note that October of 1849 is the month that Frederic Chopin died.  We assume, then, that this piece is, indeed, for him.  Mark, naturally, had all of our jaws on the floor, particularly with this performance -- quite honestly, from this editor's point of view, the best I have ever heard Mark play.  Mark pointed out the fantastic use of the middle pedal of the piano in this piece, the sostenuto.  On an upright, the value of the sostenuto is not as "grand" as it is on a true grand piano.  The magic of the sostenuto pedal is that it will sustain the note you press while holding the pedal down, but not the other notes you play.  The result from this awesome intricacy combined with the pure talent and magic of Mark Janas' fingers (and the work of Franz Liszt) created a Classical Corner to be beat by none other.  IMPECCABLE work, Mark.  You constantly prove that you are above the rest. :)

Second Set

Our co-host returned to open the second set of the evening, and what an opening it was.  Frank sang "I'll Be Easy To Find," "Call Me Irresponsible," and an arrangement combining "All The Things You Are/The Nearness of You."  Frank delivers his songs like a conversation.  His charm and silky smooth voice invite you into his world, making you yearn to catch up with him over drinks while his record plays in the background.  His arrangements combined with that juicy voice take you to a 1930s nightclub; and when his voice builds, you truly experience his passion.  He is totally free in expressing himself in an honest and vulnerable way that isn't as common as we would like.  Thank you so much, Frank, for sharing your gifts with us.

Our fearless Tanya Moberly was up next to resume the open mic portion of the evening.  She sang "It Never Entered My Mind" from Rogers' and Hart's Higher & Higher (1940), and she did what she does best.  One of her greatest skills is always leaving you feeling as though you've just seen a piece of her soul.  You can see more of that genius in action at her show I Love New York Songwriters on 12/3 at 7pm and 12/4 at 9:30pm at Don't Tell Mama.  Do not miss it.

MAC Award-Winner Joan Jaffe (Best Musical Comedy Performer) followed with a song from her upcoming show, Food, which will be at Don't Tell Mama on 11/30 and 12/1.  In addition to catching this fabulous dame at DTM, you can also see her in a sketch this Saturday night on Saturday Night Live!

Richard Eisenberg came up next to the piano.  That's right -- the piano, not the mic stand.  He swapped his usual witty patter with his beautiful "You Used To Love Me," and touched us all.  Richie is one of the 18 composers whose work Tanya will be singing in her show, and any opportunity to hear the work of Richard Eisenberg should not be missed.  He is a true gem.

It was Barbara Malley who followed with "Old Devil Moon" by Burton Lane and E.Y. Harburg.  I happen to know that she was nervous to sing it tonight, and she was amazing!  Barb, that is the best I've ever heard you sing!!!  Please bring that song back soon and dazzle the crowd again.

Jordan Siwek came to the piano following Barb with "L-O-V-E" by Kaempfert and Gabler.  Jordan shared that he has been heavily influenced by Nat King Cole and Oscar Peterson, and it was clear in this performance -- this kid so talented, it's scary.  He will be joining Barbara Malley, Tanya Moberly, and the rest of the gang in Humpy Dumpty Cracks Up.

Our last open mic-er was the beautiful, talented multi-award-winner Janice Hall, singing "Errol Flynn" by Amanda McBroom (you can catch her at Winter Rhythms on 12/13), followed by the amazing Frank Dain wrapping up the evening with "Misty."  A perfect end to a perfect evening.

Next week is sure to be amazing as we have Sarah Rice as our co-host!!!  The theme is "You Made Me Love You," and, as mentioned earlier, our Salon Spotlight is Jennylind Parris!  This will undoubtedly be an amazing night.  Doors open at 6:15pm!  I hope to see you then! :)

- Candice Oden, Guest Blogette for the Salon.  Please email me if I got anything wrong.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Salon Wrap-Up for November 10, 2013 "The Blame Game"


Hello Saloners! It’s been awhile since I’ve spoken to you in blog form, but it’s your friendly neighborhood etecterette of the male persuasion, Adam Shapiro! What a fun night it was at this week’s salon as we played “The Blame Game”. Our founder and host, Mark Janas welcomed everybody and reminded us that it was the final day that Mercury was in retrograde, so if you had been experiencing any difficulties with phones, computers, or just general foul ups, you could feel perfectly free to blame it on Mercury!

Our hostesses this evening were a pair of delicious dames, brassy broads, gorgeous gals. One of them is a Broadwayworld Award nominee. The other is a Broadwayworld Award winner as well as a two time MAC Award winner. Jackie Kristel and Alison Nusbaum! Alison started the evening off with Ricky Ritzel at the piano and a Frank Loesser ultimate classic, “Adeliade’s Lament”. Lord I wish I could blame a man every time I got a cold! It was a perfect vehicle for Alison. (Side note: It’s also a role she would rock on stage. If anyone has a production coming up…just saying.)

Our first singer from the crowd was the man who sparkles as much as his name would suggest, Bob Diamond, who sang the beautiful John Bucchino song “Sweet Dreams”. Bob will be a guest in Patricia Fitzpatrick’s show at Don’t Tell Mama on Nov 21, he’ll be reprising his trio show Timeless at the Duplex on Dec 14 and 17, and is working on a new solo show that will premiere at Don’t Tell Mama in February.
Next up was someone else we all know and love, the beautiful, purple clad, Barb Malley! Barb sang Cy Coleman and Joe McCarthy’s “I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life”, which, despite its title, was a reflective song about love on the rocks. It was a more serious side of Barb, which I was enjoyed very much. Barb will be appearing in the upcoming cabaret musical Humpty Dumpty Cracks Up at The Play Room Theater on Nov 23 and 25 and then at The Duplex on Nov 24. The show features many members of the Salon family and sounds like a hoot!

My good buddy Elaine St. George took the stage next to sing “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” and charmed everyone, though, I suspect, no one was more charmed than her fiancĂ© Dane who was sitting in the audience. Just a hunch *wink wink. Elaine will be presenting the final performance of her Steve Goodman show this Thursday, November 14 at Don’t Tell Mama. If you haven’t seen the show, make sure you get there!
Bennett Silverstein was next up and made the delightfully apropos observation that since Salon was on Sunday nights and featured a cavalcade of fabulous performers, we were “The Ed Sullivan Show of Cabaret”. I like that…a lot! Bennett sang Jimmy Van Heusen’s “Darn That Dream”, a song about the letdown of waking up from a wonderful dream and being frustrated that it wasn’t reality. I can relate. Anybody else? Bennett then told us he’ll be performing at the Cotton Club on November 16 and will, at the end of the month, be playing the judge in Miracle on 34th St, the musical in Bay Ridge. Field Trip!

Next was Bill Krakauer! Accompanied by Matthew Martin Ward, Bill gave us Hoagey Carmichael’s “Hong Kong Blues” which, while not necessarily the most politically correct song, showed Bill’s love of lyrics and of Carmichael’s style. Bill will be doing his show “Act II: 87 and still singing!” at the Stage 72 (Triad) this Thursday at 7:00.
Next to take the stage was the gorgeous and newly cropped Parker Scott, who sang Craig Carnelia’s song “Flight” about things a person wants to achieve in life. The song really showed Parker’s passion and his soaring vocal abilities. He did his show, Someone at the Metropolitan room this week. As he explained, the title of the show is largely because we all want to prove that we are someone, to which Alison replied “We are indeed Parker. We are indeed”. Such fun!

Then came a lady I’ve had the pleasure of working with, the beautiful Danielle Erin Rhodes! For a petite blonde woman, you wouldn’t believe the voice that can come out of her and tonight was no exception. She sang “I Wonder Why”, a song of frustration about love not turning out well and her performance brought to mind a young Bette Midler. (Think “Stay With Me”). Danielle is currently doing a workshop of “Hell’s Belles” (in which she plays Janis Joplin, Joan Crawford and Alice B. Toklas…you know, because you do.), and in 2014 will be playing a dream role, Fantine in Les Miserables in Arkansas. Congrats lady! You’ll be wonderful!
Following her was acclaimed singer and editor-in-chief of Cabaret Scenes magazine, the one and only Frank Dain, who gave us the Matt Dennis/ Earl Brent song, “Angel Eyes”. Frank has the voice of a true crooner and if you want to hear more, make sure you are in attendance at next week’s salon, because Frank will be our co-host! He said he was checking things out tonight and I think we’ll be in for a wonderful night with him next week.

Now, at this point, if you needed anything, you were just going to have to wait a few minutes, because our next performer was the sensational singing server, David Ballard! David sang Boy George’s “Stranger in this World”, a song about blaming your mother. It was a great choice for David, who gave us some great vocals this week (and every week). David will be doing a performance of his debut show “Having it All” at his church in MA in March and is planning another performance in New York TBA.

My turn! My turn! Yes, yours truly (Adam Shapiro) took the stage next to sing “I Can’t Let Go” from Smash, saying that sometimes there is nobody to blame, but yourself. I have a busy schedule coming up (Woohoo!) Performing in a Chanukkah show at the Metropolitan room on Dec 2 and 5; in That Way, a new show by Barry Levitt and Peter Napolitano on Dec 10; reprising my solo cabaret No Chestnuts (Not Your Normal Christmas Show) on Dec 14 (on a double bill with Gretchen Reinhagen); and finally, in “From All of Us to All of You. Seasonal Songs and Disney too!” on Dec 15, all of which will be part of Urban Stages’ Winter Rhythms festival.
My fellow etceterette tonight was one of my favorite people, Maureen Taylor! Maureen told us that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” and then launched into the hauntingly beautiful song “Wanting” from Rags. As I expected, it was a brilliant performance. Maureen had lots of love for the Salon crowd and says she is looking forward to opening new chapters in the coming year. We love you Maureen!

Now it was time for our Salon Spotlight, who, this week, was one of the warmest, most delightful people I know, about to reprise her debut solo show A Kid Again at The Duplex on November 17, Mary Lahti! Mary took the stage while her husband Jim took his place at the piano, because he is also her musical director. (AAAWWW!) Her first selection was the title song from her show “A Kid Again” about returning to a simpler time, which she then paired with the adorable “I’m Five” about the wonders of simply being five years old.
Mary claimed that as a child, she was a “goodie goodie” and never blamed her brothers for anything, so to make up for that, she married Jim. (hehe) She also told us, and I must agree, that there is something to be said for childish innocence and sang the Joni Mitchell classic “Both Sides Now”. I’ve heard this song several times, but to hear it from someone trying to reclaim some of the innocence of her childhood was really special and caused me to hear the song in a way I never have before. Lovely choice.
Her final song was not from her solo show, but from her upcoming performance in “The Lois Morton Songbook” and caused her to ask if any of the other singers in the room had ever had a crush on their pianist. (No comment) The song was the hilarious “In Love with a Piano Man” and had everybody laughing with lyrics like “When I hear his fortissimo, I could just kiss him. Oh!” Be she a kid or an adult, Mary Lahti is a joy just as she is.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for CLASSICAL CORNER with Mark Janas, who this week, brought a special guest, who has performed with Mark now for multiple Classical Corners, the gorgeous soprano, Maria Fernanda Brea! Mark and Maria met at the, now closed, Ido Sushi for their opera open mic. Maria is now Mark’s student at Manhattan School of music and will soon be heading to San Francisco to do Elixir of Love with the West Bay Opera Company! Very exciting!

Tying in this week’s theme, Mark and Maria brought us two arias that dealt with lost love and both of the women in the songs are blaming their misfortune on somebody else…

The first song was “Gretchen am Spinnrade” (Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel) by Franz Schubert based on a text from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's “Faust”. In the song, Gretchen tries to keep her mind off of her love for Faust (which Mephistopheles has helped him gain) and, at one point, becomes so distracted by his kiss that she forgets to keep spinning and has to start the wheel again. Mark pointed out how the piano accompaniment was meant to feel like a spinning wheel being operated, with the right hand playing the wheel, and the left hand playing the foot pedal. (He also told me later that this was considered Schubert’s first successful song) It was certainly successful tonight and Maria sang the bajeepers out of it.

The second song was Pamina’s aria “Ach, Ich Fuhl’s” (“Ah, I feel it”) from “The Magic Flute”, in which she blames Tamino for summoning her and then refusing to speak to her, which she believes to mean that he no longer loves her. (When, in actuality, he is bound to a vow of silence as part of a trial to win her as his wife). Mark claims this is one of the most beautiful and most difficult arias that Mozart ever wrote. Listening to Maria sing it, I both believe it to be true and marvel at her ability to make such a difficult song sound so effortless.


After a little break, Ricky Ritzel took to the piano again and our co-hosting team, Alison Nusbaum and Jackie Kristel returned to the stage! Jackie and Alison are getting ready to open their duo show, Together Again…For the Last Time at Don’t Tell Mama this Friday, November 15 at 7:00 and they have such great chemistry, something tells me this show is going to be an event! To start off their set, they claimed to be such good friends that…they share everything. They then sang “I Got it From Agnes”, a song in which they spoke of a mysterious “it” which was being passed between a group of friends… I don’t know what “it” is. Any ideas? After claiming the only thing they have in common is…men, Alison took the mic to sing the hilarious “He Vas My Boyfriend” from the Young Frankenstein musical. Anyone who saw Alison’s MAC Award winning show knows how she rocks those Mel Brooks numbers and tonight was no different. Then, Jackie took the stage alone to sing the hilarious “Dieter’s Prayer”, in which she asked to be granted the serenity to avoid all those calorie laden foods that go from the lips to the hips during the holidays. Jackie…1) I hear you. 2) Girl, your body is fantastic and your voice is too!

Speaking of someone with fantastic body and voice, it was time for the producer of Salon, Tanya Moberly! Tanya’s song was right on theme, blaming a boy for causing her endless frustration, “’Cause You Won’t Play House”. Fabulous as per usual. Tanya has two more performances of her I Love NY Songwriters show at Don’t Tell Mama on December 3 at 7:00 and December 4 at 9:30. Many of the songwriters showcased in her show are ones that she met here at The Salon including Richard Eisenberg, Dan Furman, Ritt Henn, Bobbie Horowitz, Nicholas Levin, Liz McNamara and Bill Zeffiro (plus many others!)

Salon newbie Andy Prescott, a restaurant pianist in Bucks’ County, was next to take the stage and he claimed his song was for all the girls who have broken up with him. He proceeded to sing Lieber and Stoller’s “I, Who Have Nothing”, getting more and more worked up in the song and finally flinging himself to the ground in a fit of passion! To say he made an impression is an understatement and we hope he comes back to give us more.
Then came a beloved familiar face. Matthew Martin Ward sat at the piano and asked for a volunteer from the audience. Erin Maya (who you’ll hear more about later) volunteered and proceeded to answer several questions of the “Pick a Letter/Number”, “Heads or Tails”, “Favorite Color” variety. (The answers were E, Tails, 2, 4, 5, 6,72, and Magenta). Matthew used her answers to inspire an impromptu piano piece in the key of E minor in 2/4 time. (I’m still not completely clear how Magenta played a part, but it was a beautiful piece and the fact that he can do it on the spot completely floors me)

Someone who would look great in Magenta though, was Susan Hodgdon who, with Bill Zeffiro on the piano, sang John Meyer’s “I’d Like to Hate Myself in the Morning”, stating that it’s worth it to raise a little hell the night before. The question is…who does she blame for the night before? Sue’s voice was gorgeous as always and she is working on a new show, which she hopes to debut next year.
Bill Zeffiro stayed at the piano and was joined by the beautiful Victoria Rae Sook, who was dressed for the red carpet and looked stunning/ made me feel underdressed. (She and bill had just come from singing at a benefit). Victoria then made my favorite statement of the night; “Some songs you memorize. Some, you know by heart”. CHILLS!!! She then proceeded to sing an up-tempo, jazzy arrangement of “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid. What a cool and creative spin on a song that is usually so legato and wistful! Victoria stayed on stage to duet with Mr. Zeffiro on a very cute arrangement of “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries”. They sounded great together and, by the way, don’t ask Bill to keep repeating “It’s the berries”. Believe me, he will. The two are doing a reading of a play that Bill has written with Victoria’s company, Ensemble Atria, on November 19 and Bill has gigs out the wazoo at Don’t Tell Mama, and (very exciting) at the Carlyle.

Our next few singers were all Salon virgins! It’s always so wonderful to have new people find Salon and to perform for the first time! First up was Tara Siesener, who has played Tracy in Hairspray many many times. She sang Michael John Lachiusa’s “He Wanted a Girl”, a beautiful, but sad song about a man who wanted a girl so different from him that he missed a girl who was just like him. Luckily, that didn’t happen for Tara, who announced that she is engaged and will be getting married this year. (YAY!) And that she will be putting together a show for the Duplex very soon. We look forward to hearing more from her and about her show as it develops.
The lovely Ellen Lindsay was next and said that her song made her think of why she came to New York. She then proceeded to sing “Easy Money” from Cy Coleman’s The Life, which is about a woman who became a nude go-go dancer. I think there’s a story there and I’d love to sit down with Ellen and hear about it over a cocktail. Also, because she seems like a lot of fun. Ellen will be going away to do a production of A Christmas Carol in Maine and we hope to see her back at Salon after she’s done.

Brook Packard (no E) came up and gave us “The Next Best Thing to Love”, remarking how expectations can screw everything up. The song and performance were great and really made me think, mostly about how I hope Brook will come back and sing for us again soon. Fun side note: She also told us that her daughter’s 20th birthday was this week on 11/12/13. How cool is that?! (Side note on my side note: I was writing this exact passage at 9:10 11/12/13. I’m not kidding!)
Now we had met Erin Maya briefly, earlier in the evening when she was Matthew Martin Ward’s volunteer, but now we got to meet her for real and hear what she could do. She sang Joan Jett’s “Do You Wanna Touch?” and prefaced her song by saying it’s usually played on electric guitar. Well I’ll tell you, I thought it sounded just fine with piano, largely because Erin has a rockin’ voice! She sings with the Joel Young Band and, when asked what she’s got coming up, she replied “I’m Chillin’”. Erin, you need to come and chill with us. We reeeally like you!
Our final singer (and Salon virgin) was someone who I’ve had the pleasure of hearing in other venues and she simply calls herself “Champagne Pam”. Between her cool vibe and her smooth voice, she reminds me a little of Cyndi Lauper if Cyndi Lauper were a jazz singer. Tonight, she graced us with “All That I Need is Love” and gave us some great jazzy vocals and threw in some scat in the middle. Her new show “Daddy’s Little Girl” plays Saturday, November 23 at the Laurie Beechman, so be sure to go check her out.

To close out the evening Alison and Jackie, once again accompanied by Ricky Ritzel bid us all goodbye with… “Goodbye” from The Producers and nobody could blame them for being fabulous co-hosts!

Next week, the optional theme for the evening is “Crooners and Swooners”.
Remember, any material, on or off theme, is always welcome at Salon.

Our Co-Host will be Frank Dain! Our Salon Spotlight will be “Humpty Dumpty Cracks Up”

We’ll see you next Sunday!

- Adam Shapiro
Blogette for The Salon

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Update from Producer, Tanya Moberly - November 1, 2013

SALON – that unique, MULTIPLE AWARD WINNING, Weekly Open Mic Event, created and hosted by Mark Janas returns to Etcetera, Etcetera - 352 West 44th Street, NYC 10036 – on Sunday, November 3rd from 7-10:30PM! (Sign-Up Begins at 6:15.)

The optional theme for the evening is “Better To Have Loved and Lost…”

Remember, any material, on or off theme, is always welcome at Salon.

Our Co-Host will be Amy Beth Williams! Amy Beth won a 2012 Bistro Award for Outstanding Vocalist and has been a member of the voice faculty in the precollege division of Manhattan School of Music since 1994 and an adjunct professor at Wagner College since 2001 teaching in theater and music. For more information:

Our Salon Spotlight will feature Jamie Salzano! Jamie will be at The Metropolitan Room – 34 West 22nd St, NYC 10010 – November 9th at 4pm, November 26th at 7pm and December 7th at 4pm. For more information:

Salon continues every Sunday…

November 10th:
Theme: The Blame Game
Co-Hosts: Jackie Kristel and Alison Nusbaum
Salon Spotlight: Mary Lahti

November 17th:
Theme: Crooners and Swooners
Co-Host: Frank Dain
Salon Spotlight: Humpty Dumpty Cracks Up

November 24th:
Theme: You Made Me Love You
Co-Host: Sarah Rice

Salon is an ongoing open entertainment event in which singers, writers and musicians share their talent with each other and audience members.

There is a $10 cash cover collected at the door and a $15 food/drink minimum (cash or credit) per person. (For more information about Etcetera, Etcetera's delicious menu: A 20% gratuity is added to all checks.) There are no reservations; seating is on a first come/first served basis, Doors open and sign up begins at 6:15pm. The evening begins at 7:00, has a 15-minute break at 8:30 and ends promptly at 10:30. If you would like to sign up to perform, see one the evening's 'Etceterettes' to fill out a card with your name, the name of your song, whether or not Mark will be playing for you and any upcoming events you'd like to promote. We do not present performers in order of sign-up, however, indicating requests as clearly and as early as possible as far as time restraints are concerned always makes everything much more possible. ALWAYS BRING SEVERAL SONG SELECTIONS to avoid duplication. All types of material, on or off theme are always welcome at Salon. We enthusiastically welcome instrumentalists, poets, playwrights, essayists, comics, illusionists and performance artists. Please limit your selections to three or four minutes in length (including introductions). Please also bring clear, complete charts for Mark to read. Sitting on the piano is not allowed, nor is flash photography. Please turn off all noise making devices and give performers your undivided attention.

Visit our website at and look for us on Face Book!

Thank you to our sponsors Dr. Garrett Bennett and Father Jeffrey Hamblin, MD!

Looking forward to seeing you all Sunday, November 3rd!


Tanya Moberly
Salon Producer