"I don't sing because I'm happy. I'm happy because I sing." - William James

On October 12, 2015, five casts from Los Angeles, New York, and London were brought together at Feinstein’s/54 Below to sing two reunion concerts of bare by Damon Intrabartolo and Jon Hartmere. Directed by Kristin Hanggi; Music Directed by Jesse Vargas; Conceived and Produced by Benjamin Rauhala.

Backstage at Feinstein's/54 Below, October 12, 2015. Photo: Benjamin Rauhala.

Backstage at Feinstein’s/54 Below, October 12, 2015. Photo: Benjamin Rauhala.

Original Casts of Bare Reunite at 54 Below Tonight By Olivia Clement

bare Casts Remember the Pop Opera That Rocked L.A. and NYC With Memories and Never-Before-Seen Pics! By Michael Gioia

BWW TV Exclusive: BARE’s Back! Watch Highlights from the Reunion Concert! By BroadwayWorld TV

From the September 23, 2014 performance at 54 Below of “The Songs of Scott Evan Davis,” this song entitled “If the World Only Knew.” This and more video can be found on Sierra’s YouTube account.

Davis showcased one of the songs he has written for Arts Connection, an organization creating musical projects for students on the autistic spectrum—If the World Only Knew—which was sung by Sierra Rein through a puppet, Kay the pal.

Read the entire review here.

Stephen Sorokoff was on hand at 54 Below to document its Halloween Sondheim special “Into Sweeney Todd’s Woods“. The show featured Len Cariou (Sweeney Todd’s original Sweeney), Sarah Rice (Sweeney Todd’s original Johanna), Pamela Winslow Kashani (Into the Woods’ original Rapunzel), as well as Kristy Cates, Scott Coulter, Claybourne Elder, Matt Farnsworth, Marquee Five, Trent Armand Kendall, Rob Maitner, Teri Ralston, T. Oliver Reid, Julie Reyburn, Lucia Spina, Jessica Vosk.

View photos from the event at Broadwayworld.com

Read an article and view photos, video and a slide show featuring Marquee Five‘s opening song “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd” (below) at Times Square Chronicles.

Plus! Read an interview of Phil Geoffrey Bond by Jena Tesse Fox on BroadwayWorld.

“In Broadway By the Letter: Act One (a set of songs representing the first half of the alphabet), this fabulous five-some once again delivered delicious harmonies on a variety of song styles, standout individual performances, and intricate yet accessible vocal arrangements from group member and Musical Director Adam West Hemming…cleverly covered the letter B with Bombshell, the faux Marilyn Monroe musical from the late, lamented TV show, Smash, and beautiful brunette Sierra Rein–voluptuous in both voice and body–zeroed in on the Mark Shaiman/Scott Wittman song “They Just Keep Moving the Line,” and belted it out of the park like Joe DiMaggio would a baseball in his prime.”

Read the full review of the Broadwayworld.com review and commentary by Stephen Hanks here.

Stephen Hanks, Cabaret reviewer, has been busy these past few months and took some time to do a writeup of a number of shows he’s seen! Check out the second page of his article on Broadwayworld.com – near the 3/4 mark, he writes about the Neil Sedaka Tribute/Concert for City Greens concert “Love Will Keep Us Together, that Marquee Five was a part of. It was so memorable, so wonderful to hear him sing again – especially on a brand new piece of music for his upcoming CD.

Here’s a picture I grabbed of Mr. Sedaka (from my seat on the stage) of him at the piano (center, in blue):

Also visible: Terese Genecco on drums, Sean Harkness on guitar, and the head of Kenneth Gartman.

Here’s a picture my husband took of Mr. Sedaka speaking to the audience, with me blurrily clapping in the background. He must have just told a charming joke:

“THE TOP TEN: Close to 11pm this past Monday night, the results of the voting were revealed and the top 10 were listed on the club’s website. Interestingly, three of the women who made it through have been nominated in the last few years for MAC awards: Billie Roe, Nikki MacCallum and Sierra Rein – as part of the group Marquee Five—actually winning. She and another lady in the top 10, Lianne Marie Dobbs, were among those who’d had 2012 MAC Award-winning Bill Zeffiro at the piano for them.”

Read about the MetroStar Challenge night on July 30th, and more about the Top 10 singers (of which I am one) here: “The Race Is On! Top Ten Are Chosen in MetroStar Talent Challenge” By Danielle Miceli.

Danielle Miceli has been documenting the MetroStar Challenge since the first night, and will continue to do so until the winner is announced on August 20th! Coverage of the 3rd Preliminary Round and the announcement of the Top 18 can be read here.


Marquee Five sings at The Concert for City Greens August 1st

From Producer Raissa Katona Bennett:

Wow – we have big news for the August 1st Concerts for City Greens – our third concert of the season is a tribute to the music of rock ‘n roll legend, Neil Sedaka, with an appearance by the man himself!!!

You’d better come early and bring your own chair on: Wednesday August 1 at 6:30pm at Tudor City Greens. (Rain date: Thursday August 2 at 6:30pm.) Paying tribute to the Brooklyn-born hit maker “Love Will Keep Us Together – the Songs of Neil Sedaka” stars the ASCAP Award-winning singer-songwriter Jim Van Slyke, the MAC-winning harmony group Marquee Five, and the actress Carole Demas, co-star of TV’s Magic Garden, and the original Sandy in “Grease.” Also appearing in this special tribute to Sedaka’s six decade-long career will be his niece, newcomer Holland Grossman, who makes her Broadway debut in “Rebecca.”

The Broadway and cabaret veteran Raissa Katona Bennett is the evening’s host and producer. Returning as series regulars are Bennett’s side-kicking drummer — the 4-time MAC & 2-time Bistro Award-winning big band innovator Terese Genecco; the Windham Hill recording artist Sean Harkness on guitar (2012 MAC Recording of the Year), and the composer-pianist Bill Zeffiro. The concert’s featured instrumentalists are David Caldwell, Kenneth Gartman and Ian Herman on piano, and Skip Ward and Matt Scharfglass on bass.

One more of the eight semifinalist songs competing in the Concerts for City Greens song contest receives its concert premiere: the musical theatre writer and actor Will Reynolds performs his “If the World Looked Like You.” The semifinalist tunes, all of which celebrate the different roles green spaces play in the lives of New Yorkers, are being performed throughout the season. The contest’s finalist songs, chosen after the summer, will be showcased at a special gala concert at Feinstein’s at the Loews Regency, in the fall or winter of 2012. (TBA)

Conceived and developed by Raissa Katona Bennett, Concerts for City Greens (formerly The Concerts for Tudor City Greens) is dedicated to exposing diverse audiences of all ages to free, professional live music in city settings, while linking with other community groups and organizations to promote effective dedication to the “greening” of cities. Bennett won the 2010 Bistro and 2011 MAC Award for hosting “The Concerts at Tudor City Greens.”

The series’ current 5th annual season continues September 12 and October 3, both Wednesdays at 6:30pm. Four of this summer’s concerts are being dedicated to the music of four of the song contest judges: Amanda McBroom (May 30), Neil Sedaka (August 1), Ann Hampton Callaway (September 12) and Michael John LaChiusa (October 3). (The other judges are the quadruple-platinum songwriter and Today Show regular David Friedman, and the two-time Emmy Award-winning MTV executive Matthew Parillo). For information visit www.raissakatonabennett.com

The concerts take place at the South Park of Tudor City Greens Park (between 41st & 42nd Streets, and 1st & 2nd Avenues)