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.

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