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

Road Report — Francesca Amari

November 26, 2007

Apologies to anyone logging in over the weekend and not getting an update.  I was on the road, reports follow. 

It was great to see Francesca Amari’s show at the Metropolitan Room.  In the interest of full disclosure, Francesca and I were at “cabaret camp” at Perry-Mansfield together, so I was really rooting for her.  And she didn’t disappoint!  Francesca’s show has a theme of “guilty pleasure” songs.  Francesca has a delightfully fizzy stage persona, and terrific vocal chops.  The show itself was directed by the great Barry Kleinbort and music directed by Chris Denney (now also “beat boxing”), so it was musically and structurally seamless. 

One of the best things that Francesca demonstrated in this show is that anything can be “cabaret” material –it’s an approach and commitment that can make any material work.  And the showed stayed in the cabaret and didn’t ever slip into the “lounge.”  And the biggest compliment in doing this material – the performance and the arrangements were so compelling that nobody thought of singing along to the very familiar material because they were so interested in what Francesca would do with it.  The songs she was singing may have been chestnuts, but Francesca made them into marrons glaces!

 It was great to see the support of the Perry-Mansfield crowd at the show for Francesca – the great Andrea Marcovicci and Shelly Markham were at the show (before having to do two shows of their own that night), and the wonderful David Gaines and Brandon Cutrell were also there.Here’s her set list:

  • I’VE HEARD THAT SONG BEFORE (Cahn/Styne) / ONE OF THOSE SONGS (Holt (Eng. Lyric)/Calvi)

  • WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL (Edwards/Raliegh)

  • CHANCES ARE (Allen/Stillman)

  • LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER (Sedaka/Greenfield)

  • BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO (Sedaka/Greenfield)

  • FAME (Pitchford/Gore) / OUT HERE ON MY OWN (Gore/Gore)

  • THAT’S AMORE (Brooks/Warren) / VOLARE (Migliacci/Modugno)
  • WHERE THE BOYS ARE (Sedaka/Greenfield)

  • KING OF THE ROAD (Miller)

  • I HONESTLY LOVE YOU (Allen/Barry)

  • RAINY DAYS AND MONDAYS (Williams/Nichols) / RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ (David/Bacharach) / I GO TO RIO (Allen/Anderson) / BLAME IT ON THE BOSSA NOVA (Mann/Weil) / COPACABANA (Sussman & Feldman/Manilow)
  • A SONG FOR YOU (Russell)


  • Encore: SING (Raposo)


Road Report — Peter & Jerry

November 26, 2007

I saw Peter and Jerry at Second Stage.  Having played Jerry in The Zoo Story, I was fascinated by the notion that Albee wrote a prequel.  On the one hand, the new piece didn’t disappoint, and the new piece offers an insight into the home life of Peter, and it gives him a monologue that interestingly parallels the “Story of Jerry and the Dog.”  On the other hand, with the way the characters are written, one has the feeling that after the incidents in the second act, Peter left the park, had an affair with his sister-in-law, bought a goat, and decided to take up teaching and drinking.  Or are all these Albee middle age guys just running together in my mind?   I don’t see how Dallas Roberts, Johanna Day (who should be familiar to Arena Stage audiences) and Bill Pullman as Peter could be any better in their roles.

Road Report — Liz Callaway

November 26, 2007

OK – here’s an unflattering admission.  About two years ago, we were waiting for Jason Graae’s show at Helen’s Hideaway to start, when Ron said to me, “There’s a woman at the table behind you, and I swear I know her.”  I snuck a peek at the woman apparently with her husband and teenage son and said, “I don’t think so.  I think she seems familiar because she looks like an older Liz Callaway.”  And then during the show, Jason Graae introduced her from the stage… Oops!!!

So first of all, Liz Callaway looked FABULOUS and ever-youthful for her Metropolitan Room show Saturday night.  Interestingly, she said that this is her first extended solo cabaret run in New York since 1980. 

I found myself unexpectedly thrilled and moved when she launched into the Ahrens and Flaherty “Journey From the Past” that she recorded for the soundtrack of the movie Anastasia.  And she filled an evening with amazingly committed performances with thrilling vocal delivery.  (Note to Stephen Holden – get your head or ears examined.  OK, she’s a big performer.  But c’mon.  I mean come on!  Nobody wants a dialed-down Liz Callaway.  She’s an amazing artist at her peak producing amazing work!)

Alex Rybeck, a great friend to this blog, produced wonderful arrangements and provided amazing musical support, musically rethinking songs like Where Have All The Flowers Gone and making a three piece combo sound like a full studio orchestra on Journey to the Past and Meadowlark.

Here’s her set list (which includes 3 of my 10 favorite songs): 

  • Soon As I Get Home / Journey to the Past
  • You Don’t Own Me
  • Make Someone Happy / Something Wonderful
  • Meadowlark
  • I’m Not That Girl / It’s Just Another Face
  • What Do We Do? We Fly!
  • Growing Up
  • Land of Make Believe
  • Didn’t We / MacArthur Park
  • Where Have all the Flowers Gone?
  • There Won’t Be Trumpets
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane
  • Encore: The Story Goes On

Liz Callaway — Vocal Technician

November 26, 2007

Hearing and watching Liz Callaway, one can’t help but realize that she’s produces the epitome of the “Broadway” sound for women.  She’s a performer who really lives in her mix, and the forward placement of that sound really gives her that distinct clarion ring.  She really doesn’t “belt.”  And the way she navigates from chest mix to head mix, setting up brief and infrequent visits to her head voice and chest voice, and integrating it all into her brilliant seamless sound, really is textbook singing.

 It’s also an interesting contrast to her sister Ann Hampton-Callaway, who tends to sing in chest and generally do the jazz “flip” into head voice rather than mix.


A good explanation for all this technique is probably the fact that Shirley Callaway, Ann and Liz’s mother, is one of the top vocal coaches working with cabaret singers in New York.