Planet Michael — Tonight’s the Night

November 30, 2007

Well, tonight’s the night I launch Planet Michael onto the world at 9:00pm.  I’m very excited to be debuting my new show at INDIGO at Atlas.  I love the material I’m doing, Alex Tang sounds terrific, and I’ve got a great encore (if the audience lets me have one).

The Atlas Performing Arts Center is located at 1333 H St NE (just a little need to highlight — NORTHEAST) in DC.  I’ve never really had trouble finding parking around there.  And the theater has valet parking.  Here are directions.

 See you there!!!

I even got a mention in the Friday Washington Post!!!

Karen Akers in New Orleans

November 30, 2007

Karen Akers' Interesting article from the New Orleans Times-Picayune about Karen Akers and her new Jule Styne show, currently at Le Chat Noir.  “No time restraints or interfering publicists for Akers. She talks enthusiastically about whatever interests her: the brilliant young conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who conducted the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela at Carnegie Hall recently (“He is pure music; brilliant. His hands literally translate what we’re hearing and watching, somehow”), the Master Class she’ll teach for the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts while here; and why she doesn’t believe in perfection. ”

A mention in Liz Smith’s column.

Stephen Holden on Michael Feinstein

November 30, 2007

The NY Times review of Michael Feinstein’s holiday show at Feinstein’s.  (So where else would you expect him to do it?)

 “Beneath the festive trappings of Michael Feinstein’s annual holiday extravaganza (this year’s edition is titled “Winter Dreams”) is one of his most personal shows. Along with the usual frolics — a peppy Jerry Herman Christmas medley, a playful recreation of Kay Thompson’s vocal arrangement of “Jingle Bells” with three backup singers — is a program in which Mr. Feinstein pays heartfelt tribute to departed friends and musical idols. “

Stephen Holden on Victoria Clark

November 28, 2007

The Times on the recent Victoria Clark engagement.  “You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the girl.  … fundamental true grit that smacks of her hometown, Dallas, seeps through her impeccable musical training. ”

I still say her CD, 15 Seconds of Grace, is one of the best recordings of the year.

A Busy Weekend at Indigo

November 28, 2007
Friday, 30 November — 9:00pm

Planet Michael featuring Michael Miyazaki

 Saturday, 1 December — 7:30pm

December Songs featuring Joanne Schmoll

 Saturday, 1 December — 9:00pm

 That’s the Way I Remember It featuring Joe Peck

 Three great shows coming up!  Make it a cabaret weekend!

Indigo at the Atlas Performing Arts Center
1333 H Street NE

Carols for a Cure — Volume 9

November 28, 2007

Carols For A CureCarols For A CureCarols For A CureNow that Thanksgiving is over, I could finally bring myself to listen to the new edition of Carols for a Cure

Every year, as a fundraiser for Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS, the casts of current shows record a holiday-themed track.  The collection always contains a mix of holiday oddities (The Monotone Angel from The Curtains company), special material (Drowsy on Christmas Day from The Drowsey Chaperone) and fierce versions of standards (What Child Is This? by Spring Awakening).

The current strike on Broadway has cut short the season where casts usually raise money for BC/EFA.  So buying this CD is a way to do some double holiday giving.

Christmas Carol 1941 at Arena

November 28, 2007

I just saw Christmas Carol 1941 at Arena.

Oy vey!

The experience feels like playwright James Macgruder wanted to write an anti-war play set in Washington during WWII, but the only way he could get it produced was by grafting it on to A Christmas Carol.  (Sort of like avant garde filmmakers who can only get jobs in porn.)  And to give it a holiday edge, why not shoehorn in some forgettable songs by Henry Krieger and Susan Birkenhead?

Some valient performances, serviceable choreography, and costumes that told a better story than the script. Some thoughts:

  • Why? Why?  Why?
  • Did the director or anyone on staff sit in any of the seats behind the set piece that obstructs the view in the corner of the theater?  Or did they decide that obscuring this play enhances the experience so the ticket price is a wash?
  • Did nobody heed the warning when they noticed that even Nancy Robinette at full twinkle couldn’t make the dialogue work?
  • Were they so desperate to get Floyd King that they made the leading actor portray him throughout the piece?

Here’s the Washington Post review.

Fall 2007 Cabaret Collection

November 27, 2007

I put together seasonal playlists of tracks from new* CDs.  Here’s what I’d recommend for your iPod this fall:

1. Slow Me Down (Emmy Rossum) — Inside Out

2. Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars (Queen Latifah) — Trav’lin’ Light

3. Quando Calienta El Sol (Betty Buckley) — 1967

4. Time Between Trains (Susan Werner) — Time Between Trains

5. Apathetic Man (Lauren Kennedy) — Here And Now

6. BTW, Write Back (Andrea Burns) — A Deeper Shade Of Red

7. & 8. Ireland (Orfeh) — Legally Blonde, The Musical

9. Robert Frost (Jack Donahue) — Strange Weather

10. Buddy On The Nightshift (Andrea Marcovicci, Barbara Brussell, Maud Maggart) — Kurt Weill In America

11. Speak Low (Barbara Brussell) — Kurt Weill In America

12. With Every Breath I Take (Amy London) — When I Look In Your Eyes

13. Even Now (Barry Manilow) — The Greatest Songs Of The Seventies

14. Break Each Other’s Heart Again (Reba McEntire & Don Henley) — Reba Duets

15. Dance (D’Arcy) — Don’t Fence Me In

16. You Haven’t Changed At All (Karen Mason & Eddie Korbich) == The Broadway Musicals Of 1945

17. Take Your Shoes Off Baby (Roberta Sherwood) — Introducing Roberta Sherwood

18. It Feels Like Home (Nathan Gunn & Kristen Chenoweth) — Just Before Sunrise

19. Tonight (Kristin Chenoweth & Hugh Panaro) — A Place For Us

20. Seasons of Love (Jonathan Larson) — Jonathan Sings Larson

21. Another Time, Another Place (Sally Martin) — Another Time, Another Place

22. Fifteen Seconds of Grace (Victoria Clarke) — Fifteen Seconds of Grace

Mabel Mercer on YouTube

November 27, 2007

OK, I’ve just learned how to post YouTube videos to my blog.  World watch out!  It makes sense that we start with the great Mabel Mercer singing “These Foolish Things,” one of my all-time favorite songs.

Andrea Burns CD

November 27, 2007

The new CD from Andrea Burns is consistently fun, if a little uneven.  She clearly has a knockout voice and a feisty presence which clearly come through.  And in the ever-deperate hunt for “up” material for cabaret, Love Quiz and BTW, Write back are both charmers.

Here are the tracks:

  • The Wish

  • What More Do I Need

  • Through the Eyes of Grace

  • A Little Brains, A Little Talent

  • Love Quiz

  • Man With the Child in His Eyes / Something Wonderful

  • Chelsea Morning

  • Some Days

  • Out Here on My Own

  • BTW, Write Back

  • Up on the Roof

  • I Hava a Love