July 31, 2009
Saturday night, I got to see an amazing concert at the Metropolitan Room, a benefit for Help is on the Way, a group that assists youth with AIDS. The concert was organized by Lina Koutrakos and Lennie Watts as part of their Summer in the City cabaret workshop.
The theme of the concert was “Broadway Our Way,” with artists interpreting songs from the Great White Way. Highlights included Koutrakos’s interpretation of Shall We Dance as a woman debating whetehr a brief sexual encounter was worth her while, Terese Genesco rocking the room with A Lotta Living to Do, K.T. Sullivan’s addled reading of Colored Lights, and Karen Mason poignant pairing of Now I Have Everything and Married. Moreover, Mary Foster Conklin got me to not hate Something Good and Jenna Esposito found a great audience involvement moment in Down With Love, getting the crowd to shout the “take it away” repeats.
Here’s the line-up — truly a great cabaret sampler:
- Mary Foster Conklin
- The Gentleman is a Dope
- Something Good
- Jenna Esposito
- Old Devil Moon
- Down With Love
- David Gurland
- David Gurland & Julie Rayburn
- Bill / Happiness is Just a Thing Called Joe
- Teresa Genesco
- A Lotta Living to Do
- Somebody Loves Me
- Sidney Meyer
- I’m a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad Man
- Lina Koutrakos
- Lennie Watts
- Karen Mason
- Almost Like Being In Love
- Now I Have Everything /Married
- K.T. Sullivan
- My Husband’s First Wife
- Just Once / Colored Lights
July 28, 2009
Late Night Cabaret
(Cole Porter Songs for a Summer’s Eve)
with Barbara Papendorp
and Amy Conley
Fri. July 31 at 10:00 PM
Sat., Aug. 1 at 10:00 PM
Location: Flashpoint, 916 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001
(just steps from Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro)
Tickets: $12 – email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 478-414-1921,
or buy at the door – (Senior and Student Discount Available)
July 28, 2009
Bradford Newquist’s CD, It’s All Right With Me is a terrific collection of songs by Cole Porter.
Newquist’s collection of Porter songs is beautifully thought out and gorgeously executed. He gives sensitive, intelligent readings of Porter’s lyrics and has the vocal chops to go from ballad to hot swing with the greatest of ease. And the arrangements featuring Patrick Holland on piano, Christopher Ray on bass, and Christopher Crisanti on drums and percussion are the sort that would make any singer envious.
Newquist conveys many moods of Porter, from the playful (It’s All Right With me), to the tender (Do I Love You), and uber-charming (Don’t Fence Me In). The CD is particularly well-engineered for a cabaret release and deserves to be the background for umpteen cocktail parties.
That said, for me it misses phenomenal-ness by being a bit by-the-numbers. The only obscure song out of the fifteen tracks is Nobody’s Chasing Me. While the performances and arrangements are wonderful and terrific to listen to, none break new ground or provide stunning new insights into the material. And while Newquist is a great performer with a great instrument, after spending an hour listening to his CD, I didn’t feel I knew anything about him except that he’s someone with great musical taste, talent, and intelligence.
But don’t get me wrong, if you’re at all a Porter fan, or an American songbook fan, this is certainly a CD to investigate.
July 23, 2009
The NYTimes on Charlap & Co’s Sondheim & Styne concert at the 92nd Street Y: “
Mr. Charlap, a keyboard wizard who continually surprises, went on to inflect the song’s Broadway chords with his own jazz modulations and deliver an exquisite piano solo free of clichés. This demonstration was one of several pertinent music lessons inserted into “Sondheim & Styne” on the second night of the Y’s Jazz in July Summer Festival, which runs through next Thursday. The concert put the show tunes of Mr. Styne and Stephen Sondheim through the jazz wringer and found a natural compatibility between the genres.”
July 22, 2009
Note: I bought a bunch of CDs of Chicago cabaret performers while I was there that I’ll be reviewing as I listen to them.
I really enjoyed Joan Curto’s CD, May I Suggest. It features, thoughtful, well-executed readings of a variety of interesting material. (And no surprise, these Chicagoans discovered Windy City native Susan Werner before the rest of us did.) Her vocals are impeccable and the arrangements are well suited for her particular gifts.
- Comes Love
- Make Me a Kite
- How Deep Is the Ocean
- Happy As the Day Is Long
- May I Suggest
- If I Were a Bell
- And I Love You So
- Mister Monotony
- Much At All
- It Never Entered My Mind
- Shakin the Blues Away
- Good Night, New York
July 22, 2009
Just got to tour the new Web site for City in a Swamp.
The site has links to songs (both YouTube clips and audio) from the three revues that the group has done. The songs by Nick Zill and Howard Bennett are a great source for people looking for special material — especially of the political sort. The clip above is the lovely Nkemjika Ofodile dealing with alternative medicine.
July 20, 2009
OK, when I started this blog, I’ll admit I had ambitions of keeping an up-to-date calendar of local events. If anyone clicks the “Calendar” link at the right, they’ll see how long ago I gave up.
So thank you to the fabulous Matt Howe for starting his own “DC Area Cabaret Performances” calendar!!!!!! I know we’ll all find it a great resource!
July 18, 2009
It was also irksome to miss Judy Simmons’s new show, A Date With Judy, because I was on the road.
Ron said the evening was terrific. And Matt Howe forwarded a link to some spectacular pix of the performer and friends attending. (Thanks, Matt!)