Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Salon Wrap-Up for December 8, 2013 "Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home"

One of the exciting things about coming to The Salon each week is finding a song to match the unique theme of the evening. (Ok, yes, it’s also exciting to spend time with my Salon family enjoying beautiful music!) I found it a particular joy to explore the theme for this week, which was “Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home.” It made me search for the love, security, and comfort of each song, leaving me with all sorts of warm and fuzzy feelings that carried me through the night.
Our fearless host, Mark Janas, was performing at the Winter Rhythms festival tonight, so we were proud to welcome our Guest Host, 5-Time MAC & 2-Time Bistro Award Winner Rick Jensen! As a Songwriter, Rick has been recorded by Lee Lessack, Lina Koutrakos and the late Nancy LaMott. As a Musical Director, he has accompanied Jason Graae, Liz Callaway, Barbara Fasano, Tovah Feldshuh & Lisa Yaeger, among many others.

Guest Host, Rick Jensen -
Speaking of the amazing performers above, our Co-Host was Lisa Yaeger! Lisa just finished her cabaret debut, IT MUST HAVE BEEN LOVE, with Rick Jensen at The Metropolitan Room. She has toured the country with Nickelodeon and was featured on the 2012 Broadway Cares album along with Ricky Martin and Cyndi Lauper. Her voice can also be heard on television jingles from PBS Kids to the Style Network. Most recently Lisa was a top 10 finalist in the 2013 Metro Star Challenge. And here she was, leading our open mic!

Co-host, Lisa Yaeger -
Kicking off the theme in style, Lisa sang a rousing edition of Arlen & Mercer’s “Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home.” Lisa welcomed up our first singer for the open mic portion of the evening, Zach Wobensmith, who still (self-admittedly) obsessed with Noel Coward and brought us a fun, “Matelot.” Zach told us he has been spending an inordinate amount of time in church...singing carols and hymns, of course. He also has a “thing” at Lincoln Center involving children’s opera - I’m so glad that someone is bringing the arts to the next generation! In keeping with the theme, Sarah Kimball sang a sultry and clever song about King Tut, “Dead Egyptian Blues” by Michael P Smith (with Rick Jensen on surprise backing vocals!) Sarah just finished her second cabaret show earlier this year, but hopes to have another one and a CD very soon!

Jamie Salzano, who just finished a lovely show at The Metropolitan Room, brought in a Rick Jensen original - “Go Ahead And Dream.” On December 15 you can see Jamie performing at 54 Below in a show called “Let The Angels Sing” with a whole host of talented singers. Congrats, Jamie! Adam Shapiro, fully bearded for his upcoming Adam Sandler film, gave us an earnest and hilarious “Lonely Jew At Christmas.” This song is a part of his upcoming show, “No Chestnuts” which part of a double bill at Urban Stages at the Winter Rhythms Festival on Saturday December 14 at 7pm. With a song like the one he sang tonight, you know this show won’t have the traditional carols you expect to hear this time of year! Richard Eisenberg was next with one of my very favorite songs of his - “Winter Arrives.” Alternately foreboding and hopeful (both in music and lyric), this song just tugs at your heartstrings. You can see him perform in Bobbie Horowitz’s Christmas Cabaret on Saturday December 14 from 2-4pm.

Deciding to carry forward the mini-theme of “seasons” started by Richie, Richard Burns (aka Robin Kradles!) came to the stage with the gentle, sweeping, “Blame It On The Summer Night” by Stephen Schwartz. Richard/Robin is bringing back his show on February 16 at the Duplex, but next up he’ll be doing a group show with Lennie Watts’ class on December 18 at Don’t Tell Mama. Get out to support him! Longtime Salon regular Gretchen Reinhagen sang a powerful and fun, “Love Will Keep Us Together” by Neil Sedaka. Gretchen is part of the double billing at Winter Rhythms (with Adam Shapiro as the second part of the bill) on December 14, where you’ll hear a bunch more amazing songs from the 70s. Steve Sieck came to the piano and sang/played a fun, original tune, “(Not That There’s Anything) Wrong With That.” You can see Steve at the Iridium this Tuesday, December 10, with shows at 8:30pm and 10:30pm.

Our amazing server, David Ballard, sang a powerful, “On The Street Where You Live,” with Rick coming up with the music on the fly (I loved his arrangement!) Yours truly (Erin Cronican) sang Maury Yeston’s “Home” from the musical, Phantom (taking the theme a tad literally!) I’m excited to be working on a workshop revival of an old musical by Zina Goldrich and Cornelia Ravenal called “Two’s A Crowd.” Not sure if there will be a public presentation of the work, but I’ll keep you all posted! Next up was a sexy and wispy performance of “Love For Sale” by tonight’s Etceterette, Shana Farr. Shana tells us that this Cole Porter tune was banned from the radio, and after that spot-on performance we can see why! Shana’s album has received a nomination for a Broadway World award - be sure to get on there and vote. (There are many other Salon regulars who are also nominated, so there are tons of great people to vote for!)

Salon Spotlight

Our Salon Spotlight featured TIMELESS – Donna Elliott, Bob Diamond & Marcia Roney! This happy trio presents an elegant evening of songs and stories told with grace, charm and humor, from their perspective of a “certain age” – an age that is timeless.

Director Gretchen Reinhagen introduced the group, who presented 3 amazing songs that were worth the price of admission alone. The first was “The Grass Is Always Greener,” a sassy and brassy duet performed by the ladies. The next was “Button Up Your Overcoat” - a charming (and kind of naughty!) story duet between Bob and Donna. The third was a lovely trio, kicked off by Marcia, of “Why Can’t I Forget?” Their show, TIMELESS, will be at The Duplex – 61 Christopher St, NYC 10014 – December 14th at 4:30pm & December 17th at 7pm. For more information:

Jensen’s Corner

When the Mark Janas is away, the Rick Jensen will play! (Egads. That’s awful. And yet I can’t seem to delete what I just wrote. Forgive me!) We were excited to hear what Rick would give us during Jensen’s Corner. Unfortunately, I did not get song titles for his pieces

1) For his first song, Rick told us a story about when the song was written. It was years ago while he was visiting Coney Island, and sometimes he thinks things haven’t changed much since then.

2) Rick then said that, as a composer, he of course wanted to write a Christmas song. So, he played/sang through one of his cheeky contributions to the holiday canon, which he said has unfortunately not allowed him to “hang his hat” at his brother & sister-in-law’s house ever since it was performed back home.

3) Rick moved to NY from Minnesota many moons ago, and talked about his favorite relative that he didn’t really get a chance to see after moving. She passed away this past Friday, so he performed a song which he wrote when her husband (his uncle) had passed away about 10 years ago.

Second Set

Bringing back the second set, our co-host Lisa Yaeger, started her 3 song set with “Sixteen Bars” a great song by Peter Mills that showed off some belting chops (as every good 16 bar song does!) Her second song was “I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance” (made famous by Bing Crosby, a good choice for this time of year!)which really showed of her sweet soprano. The final song of the set was the contemplative, “The People That You Never Get To Love” - a lovely number by Rupert Holmes about those missed connections we have in our lives.

Tanya Moberly, our wonderful producer, brought in the driving dream-chasing song, “On The Other Side Of The Tracks” from the musical Little Me. Tanya just finished up her show, “I Love NY Songwriters” at Don’t Tell Mama to rave reviews. I’m not-so-secretly hoping that she brings the show back so more people can see it. Next up was Stephanie Joiner, a newbie to The Salon, who sang a sweet and lilting, “Desperado.” We sure hope you come back to The Salon soon, Stephanie! We welcomed Jennie Litt back to The Salon, who sang a fun, “Christmas in the Doghouse.” You can hear that song at 54 Below on Sunday, December 15 (along with Sarah Kimball) at 54 Below. What a great lineup of singers!

Ann Dawson told us a funny yet touching story about life and love in the city, as she segued into her song, “Take Me Back To Manhattan.” It’s been a while since I’d heard Ann at The Salon - it was wonderful to see her again. Jaye Maynard was next with a heartfelt, “Whistling Away The Dark.” She talked to us about a friend whose memorial was today in California. Because Jaye couldn’t be there she dedicated her performance to this friend tonight. Thank you for sharing your love and talent with us tonight, Jaye. Much healing to you.

Bob Diamond came back with a brief but energetic “Zip A Dee Do Dah”, which he used to promote his next show, “My Memories of the Movies” which he’s doing in February! I’ll be sure to post the details when they become available. The always lovely Amy Beth Williams was next with

“Why Can’t I Forget.” Normally we guarantee that performers will be the only ones to sing their song in an evening. But because Amy Beth didn’t have a 2nd option with her, Tanya made an exception and I’m so glad she did. I love that I got to hear this song twice this evening, with two veteran performers interpreting it ever so slightly differently. To close the evening, our wonderful co-host, Lisa Yaeger, sang a glorious, “Amanda Sang.” It was wonderful being able to hear such a wide range from this lovely singer throughout the evening!

Next week - our last week before our holiday break - the optional theme for The Salon is “Home For the Holidays – A Salon Family Celebration!” Remember, any material, on or off theme, is always welcome at Salon.

Our Co-Host will be 4-Time MAC, 2-Time Bistro, Nightlife and Julie Wilson Award Winner Julie Reyburn! Julie just finished a revival of FATE IS KIND with Mark Janas at Urban Stages. Her recordings include: The Broadway Musicals of 1940, Heaven Knows - Cast Recording, War Brides – Cast Recording, her debut solo CD, Fate is Kindand Bistro Award winning recording, Live at Feinstein’s. She is also a member of the MAC award winning vocal group Marquee Five: For more information:

Next week's Co-host, Julie Reyburn!

Our Salon Spotlight will feature Lianne Marie Dobbs! Lianne has been nominated for a Broadway World Award for Best Female Vocalist and her debut CD will be released this Friday! Theatre credits include White Christmas, Jekyll & Hyde, How to Succeed In Business..., Smokey Joe's Café, Of Thee I Sing, A Little Night Music, Merrily We Roll Along andRagtime, among many others. For more information:
Salon Spotlight, Lianne Marie Dobbs

We’ll see you next Sunday!

- Erin Cronican
Blogette for The Salon
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