Sunday, May 5, 2019

The Salon Wrap-Up for May 5, 2019: "Good & Evil"

Mark Janas introduced our co-host for the evening Monica Salvi, who opened with a short exploration in reminiscence and dictionary definitions of our night's theme. She and her pianist, Michael Ferreri, segued seamlessly into Frank Wildhorn's "Good 'N' Evil" from Jekyll & Hyde. Stunningly beautiful, Monica seemed very at home in the intimacy of a cabaret stage. Her coquettish soprano swung from operatic to pop sultry at a word, at times Snow White, at others Linda Eder, but always affecting.

Monica is an Italian who has lived in London for the past 13 years. She came to New York three weeks ago to rehearse with her pianist for a performance of her show "Mad Women in My Attic" in Prague this coming summer. Two years ago, she won the Best Cabaret Award for this show at the United Solo Festival here in New York.

A perfect encapsulation of our co-host Monica Salvi, photo credit.
Monica gave us a COSTUME CHANGE after the break, earning this Blogette's mad props and use of all caps. She had opened the night in a black halter dress, but she returned in a fabulous crimson beaded and fringed dress, replete with black opera-length gloves, a black fur stole, and later a necklace-turned-headband of devil horns. She commandeered a couple audience members to be her "flames," waving the candles in circles for the length of her song "My Angel Put the Devil in Me" (a 1930s-esque standard commissioned for the Doctor Who TV show). Monica really shone in this song; not only did she connect beautifully to the lyric, her physicality was a perfect match to the song. Her sighs and breathy moans and squeals countered her devilishly bright belt for a feast of vocal texture.

We then had an onstage (but perfectly chaste!) costume change into a third dress, a charming green velvet number, to accompany her musings on why her friends predominantly suggested sexy women songs for this night's theme. She then vividly inhabited the many personalities of "Should I Be Sweet?" by Vincent Youmans (from Take a Chance). She then turned to the subject of villains, noting wittily that "No one is really evil any more in the movies - only in the real world," and earning a huge laugh and setting us up for "The Ballad of Booth" by Sondheim from Assassins.

Incredibly, Monica brought us a fourth dress to finish the evening, a very fun iridescent wrap dress. She brought us back to the good/saintly side of life with "Blow Gabriel Blow" (Anything Goes). Her resonant belt was thrilling, and she invited us all to join in with her for the second and third times through the Cole Porter classic, a rousing way to finish the night.

Salon Spotlight

Susanne Mack was our Salon Spotlight tonight, accompanied on piano by Paul Greenwood. She opened with a story about being caught in a fight between two teenage boys many years ago while pregnant in Switzerland. She was an arresting storyteller; the room was spellbound. She then sang "Blackbird" (The Beatles) from her upcoming show "Where I Belong" (info below), full of warmth. Then, switching moods, came David Bowie's "Heroes", which showcased her full, strong voice. A native German, she lamented her struggles with being foreign (especially with the good/evil opinions of her country) in Little Big Town's "Boondocks," with a natural luminescence.

Her upcoming show, "Where I Belong," is playing Pangea for four nights this month: Thursday May 16, Friday May 17, Thursday May 23, and Thursday May 30, co-directed by Barb Jungr and our fabulous Salon producer Tanya Moberly, with musical direction by Paul Greenwood.

Classical Corner

Mark Janas noted that with his Bach and Wagner pieces during the pre-show, combined with our many diverse performers tonight (Italian! German! Japanese! Israeli! and more!), it was a very international show. He then demonstrated natural musical sounds that exemplify good and evil, like open, Copland-esque chords for the former, for example.

But he shared that what first jumped to his mind for tonight's theme was the ending of the 1940 Disney film, Fantasia: the juxtaposition of Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain" with Schubert's "Ave Maria", responsible for many a child's nightmares. (Apparently, for the classically minded, conductor Stokowski's version is considered a bit butchered.) He shared with us the history of "Night on Bald Mountain," including the fact that Mussorgsky never heard his masterpiece during his lifetime, because his teacher felt it wasn't very good. (Whaaat?!) Similar to Saint-Saens's "Danse Macabre", the defining "evil" characteristic of music like this is the half-step interval - think of the Jaws theme we all know so well.

He was joined by Matthew Martin Ward to bring the fiendish, dark, and furious piece to life, specifically a four-handed piano reduction of Rimsky-Korsakov's orchestration of Mussorgsky's piece. The two pianists worked so well together. There were goosebumps throughout the room by the time they were done, both from the mood of the piece and the excellence of the performance. The ending was beautiful and surprising (at least to this Blogette who had only ever heard the Fantasia version that cuts to Ave Maria), featuring plenty of those open consonant chords that seem to indicate a basic, moral goodness, as Mark had said earlier. Truly, what a treat!

Roster of Performers for the Evening (in order of appearance):

Click link to visit the performer’s website or other links, when available.

All piano accompaniment by Mark Janas unless otherwise noted.

Co-Host: Monica Salvi (Michael Ferreri at piano)

Ann Talman
Nancy Morgan
Bob Simonello
Bar Ashkenazi
Hiroko Kaza (Etsuko at piano)
Sheryl Spanier (Paul Greenwood at piano)
Sally Darling (Matthew Martin Ward at piano)
Matthew Martin Ward (self at piano)
Emily Ellet
Barb Malley
Candice Oden
Salon Spotlight Susanne Mack (Paul Greenwood at piano)
Classical Corner
Co-Host: Monica Salvi (Michael Ferreri at piano)
Tanya Moberly
Richard Eisenberg
Bennett SilversteinJoshua Bennett
David Ballard
Co-Host: Monica Salvi (Michael Ferreri at piano)

Special thanks to our pianist for the evening, Mark Janas, and to musicians Matthew Martin Ward and Paul Greenwood. Thanks also to David Ballard on lights and sound, and the handsome, spry waitstaff (Joshua and Leo) and management at Don't Tell Mama. Also thanks to our videographer for the evening, Zoltan Suhy.

Ongoing Shows:

Most Tuesdays (6pm): Peaceable Hour with Sarah RiceJanice Hall, and Mark Watson at St. Clements Church, free, see schedule for details -, 423 West 46th Street, NYC.

Wednesdays-Sundays: Adam Shapiro is performing in Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish at Stage 42, 422 W 42nd St, NYC.

Upcoming Shows:

Thursday, May 16th, 2019 (7pm): Tanya Moberly and Barb Junger direct Susanne Mack in "Where I Belong" with Musical Director Paul Greenwood at Pangea, 178 2nd Ave, NYC.

Friday, May 17th, 2019 (7pm): Tanya Moberly and Barb Junger direct Susanne Mack in "Where I Belong" with Musical Director Paul Greenwood at Pangea, 178 2nd Ave, NYC.

Friday, May 17th, 2019 (7pm): Tanya Moberly directs Stephanie Trudeau in "Chavela: Thing of Me; Songs Stories of Chavela Vargas" with David Lahm on piano and Diego Cebollero on guitar, Don't Tell Mama, 343 West 46th Street, NYC.

Thursday, May 23th, 2019 (7pm): Tanya Moberly and Barb Junger direct Susanne Mack in "Where I Belong" with Musical Director Paul Greenwood at Pangea, 178 2nd Ave, NYC.

Thursday, May 30th, 2019 (7pm): Tanya Moberly and Barb Junger direct Susanne Mack in "Where I Belong" with Musical Director Paul Greenwood at Pangea, 178 2nd Ave, NYC.

Monday, June 3rd, 2019 (7pm): Matthew Martin Ward in "Everybody Rise: A Resistance Cabaret" at Birdland, 315 W. 44th Street, NYC.

Monday, June 10th, 2019 (7pm): Nancy Morgan presents "That Was Then. This is Now." with pianist Tom DeFrancesco at Don't Tell Mama, 343 W. 46th Street, NYC.

Thursday, June 20th, 2019 (7pm): Bennett Silverstein presents "Born to Be Bennett" at Don't Tell Mama, 343 West 46th Street, NYC.

Thursday, June 27th, 2019 (8pm): David Ballard will be part of the 50th Anniversary NYC Gay Men's Chorus performance "Quiet No More: A Choral Celebration of Stonewall" at Carnegie Hall, 881 7th Ave, NYC.

Thursday, July 11th, 2019: Marnie Klar will be performing at Parnell's, 350 E 53rd St, NYC.

NEXT SALON: May 19th, 2019
Reminder that there's no Salon next week! We will be back on Sunday, May 19th, with "Stories About, For & By Women" featuring guest host/pianist Bobby Peaco and a fabulous quartet of co-hosts: Helane Blumfield, Lynda Rodolitz, Peggy Schwartz, and Deborah Zecher, who I gather are well qualified to sing on the subject of women. And our Salon Spotlight will be Taylor Beyer

Submitted by Emily Ellet

Blogette for The Salon
Email me if I missed anything!

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