Tudor City Greens Concert…Chilly in the Park
I was extremely happy about my performance at the Tudor City Greens concert last Wednesday (the 22nd). Although it was outdoors at noon in the somewhat chilly wind, we had a great turnout full of enthusiastic audience members who braved the cold, wrapped up like we were.
Highlights of the show included Roger Mapes singing his song “Control Queen” on guitar, Sarah Rice performing a lovely ditty about offing her past husbands, and Scott Barbarino and the Bev-Naps singing classic 50’s doo-wop with tight harmonies and a few comedic twists. As the theme of the evening was “Witchcraft,” we saw some themed music (Raissa Katona Bennett sang “Witchcraft”, while Mary Foster Conklin sang “The Richest Man in the Graveyard.”) I dusted off my comedy song “Fifteen Pounds” and was able to bring in a witch-y themed song by singing “Children Will Listen” as sung by the Witch in “Into the Woods.” Raissa & I sang backup to Lennie Watts, and Eric Michael Gillett closed the lunchtime show with a power ballad containing enough energy to raise the dead.
Raissa herself blogged on the event with a lot more detail and some fun pictures of the event – you can see how we’re all bundled up against the cold 🙂
Julie Reyburn @ The Metropolitan Room
Saturday late afternoon, I traveled to The Metropolitan Room for the first time to see Julie Reyburn’s cabaret show, directed by Peter Napolitano (no not this Peter, this Peter) and music directed by Mark Janas. She had a GREAT five-piece band featuring her husband on electric guitar, drums, and Ritt Henn on upright bass. The sound was perfect, the mood simple and straightforward, and Julie can SING! She has an incredibly supple voice, able to mix and match her way through classic American standards, blues/rock, and lovely ballads. She also has a great humor and ease about herself; I was taking mental notes about banter & song introduction. Mark Janas included some lovely cross-mixing of songs in his arrangements, and the band was superb. Of particular delight were the duets between Julie and her husband, and a crazy-energetic one between her and Ritt Henn (on an original composition of his). It was also great to hear songs like “Mama Will Provide” and a belted “When You Wish Upon a Star” – songs not commonly heard in Cabaret. She also performed a heartbreaking song from a new musical, “Pinocchio in Chelsea,” written by Peter Napolitano and Mark Janas.
Julie Reyburn’s show will bring her show back to The Metropolitan Room on Tuesday, November 25 @ 7pm and again on Saturday, December 6 @ 7:30pm and Saturday, December 13 @ 7:30pm. I highly recommend it, and I enjoyed the venue a lot also.
Playing “Dress Up” at the Algonquin Salon
Sunday afternoon (a change of time for this one day of the Salon schedule), Pete & I went over to the Algonquin Hotel for the open piano lobby, before I had rehearsal for Definitely Dickens. The theme this week was “Dress Up,” and I took the opportunity to do something I’ve always dreamed of doing – dressing up like Alex from “A Clockwork Orange” and performing the song “Singing in the Rain.” Mark Janas, his usual genius at the piano, struck up a bluesy version from memory and I got to check that “to do” off my list. Unfortunately, I had to leave early for rehearsal, but I enjoyed all the singers and inventive costumes there.
Trip Through Central Park & Chris Wade’s “Anonymous Lives”
My friend Grae Drake of the PopcornMafia.com podcast & other shenanigans in Los Angeles came to visit Monday. Took half the day to walk with her and my husband through Central Park, starting at the NorthWestern corner on 110th street and walking sort of zig-zagged through the park, until we ended at the Apple Store on 5th Ave, waaaaay down on the SouthEastern corner. We took pictures, stopped to marvel at the stereotypically-beautiful fall colors emerging from the trees (a few “When Harry Met Sally“-esque poster backdrops were available thanks to nature doing her thing). I’ll blog about our day on another post, since we took a lot of cool pictures and discovered a few interesting things for the first time in the park.
We ate dinner in Hell’s Kitchen and then walked to the Dionysus Theater Complex to see fellow holiday caroler Chris Wade showcase some of his original pieces of composition in a work entitled “29Lives.” As stated in the program, “Anonymous Lives” is technically the 13th volume of “29Lives” for composer, Chris Wade. “Anonymous Lives” is the first “29Lives” to have been directed and conceived for revue, versus the previous “concert-cabaret” style. The show was directed by Stephen Brotebeck and had an eclectic cast consisting of Roberto Araujo, Scott Barnhardt, Allison Rae Carlsen, Bradley Hoff, Erik Sisco, Amanda Stocker, and Molly Tynes. Of particular standout was a sexy belt-ballad by Molly Tynes entitled “I Wanna Remember This Night,” a heartfelt “Out of My League” sung by Allison (lyrics by Jana Cudney), a fierce flaming-queen character piece “I’m Fiona” by Brad, and my personal favorite of the night, “Now I Know” sung by Roberto (the song incorporates the stress of having to push away a particularly “unflushable” former lover via text messages, voice mail, and Facebook, so it tickled this geek’s funny bone).
Chris has a natural tendency towards emotional melodies and is able to nail some awesome harmonies in the multiple/choral numbers he has written. He is in the BMI composer’s program (along with my UCLA-alum friend Brian Allen Hobbs), so I look forward to seeing an already solid base of talent grow in the coming year. And I also hope to sing with Chris in a quartet one of these upcoming Holiday days as we don our gay apparel (a.k.a. traditional “Dickens” garb) for our gig in the Definitely Dickens Holiday Carolers here in New York.