DC Cabaret Network Board Showcase

February 29, 2008

The Board of the DC Cabaret Network is performing a showcase Sunday night to celebrate the start of “Cabaret Month.”  It will include performances by Judy Simmons, Cindy Hutchins, George Fulginiti-Shakar, Emily Everson, Chris Cochran, Terri Allen, and Sally Martin.

Sunday, 2 March, 7:00pm

Arts Club of Washington (2017 I Street, NW, Washington DC)

Reservations are highly recommended and should be sent to:  (please include your name, phone number and address) info@dccabaretnetwork.org

$10 for non-members and $5 for members (cash only)

DC Tango Festival Activities

February 29, 2008
Tango at the Shore – Saturday, March 8, 2008   at 6 p.m.  — Avalon Theatre
Enjoy a tango show and dinner at the historic Avalon Theatre, an 85-year old art deco theater in Easton, Maryland, one of the ten best small arts towns in the U.S. Features musicians and dancers from Argentina- Rodolfo Zanetti and Juan Pablo Jofre Romarion on bandoneons, Claudia Gargiulo, singer, and Alicia Orlando and Claudio Barneix,  tango dancers; from Washington, DC – Amy Beth Horman on violin.  This concert benefits the Eastern Shore Chamber Music Festival.  For tickets, call 410-819-0380.

Tango in the afternoon – Tuesday, March 12, 2008 at 1:30 p.m. — O’Connor Auditorium, Trinity University

Concert lecture, a little bit of tango history and lots of music, with the duo Zanetti-Jofre Romarion.  Free and open to the public. Trinity University, 125 Michigan Ave, NE, Washington , D.C  

 Tango at the Embassy  – Thursday, March 13, 2008 at 8 p.m. — Embassy of Argentina

First time in Washington , DC !  Two master bandoneon players from Argentina the duo Zanetti & Jofre Romarion perform Astor Piazzolla’s Five Tango Sensations and other authentic tango favorites, with the talented Amy Beth Horman on violin, and the Pan American String Quartet.  Embassy of Argentina 1600 New Hampshire Ave., NW Washington DC. Limited seating capacity.  General admission – $30. Payable at the door, or for advance purchase, call 240-242-8032 or 202-884-9008.  

Tango at the University – Saturday, March 15, 2008 at 8 p.m. — Notre dame Chapel, Trinity University

Join PASO at the beautiful Notre Dame Chapel of Trinity University.  Zanetti and Jofre Romarion, bandoneons, and tango singer, Claudia Gargiulo together with the Pan American Symphony, bring you the drama and passion of both traditional tango songs and the modern tango interpretations of Astor Piazzolla.  Trinity University, 125 Michigan Ave, NE, Washington , D.C. General Admission- $30.  Payable at the door, or for advance purchase, call 240-242-8032 or 202-884-9008. Visa and MasterCard accepted.  Limited seating.

Tango Night at the Movies – Thursday, April 3, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. — Embassy of Argentina

Tango in Broadway (El tango en Broadway) with Carlos Gardel,1934, Argentina, 83 min, by Louis Gasnier. Spanish with English Subtitles. Embassy of Argentina, Auditorium Heroes de Islas Malvinas. 1600 New Hampshire Ave., NW. Free and open to the public

Tango Dance Workshops – Thursday, April 3, 2008 at 6 p.m. — Trinity University

Choose from 5 levels; each workshop lasts 1 hour. $25 per workshop. Special 2 hour Musicality workshop with Octavio Brunetti – $40

Milonga Brava – Friday, April 4, 2008 at 9 p.m. — Embassy of the Republic of Argentina

Celebrate a fun-filled week of tango with a spirited dance party  a Milonga!  Dance demonstration and Argentine wine!  Bring your dancing shoes! Admission at the door-$20. 1600 New Hampshire Ave., NW Washington DC

[El] Tango y [Ella] la Milonga – Saturday, April 5, 2008 at 8 p.m. — GW Lisner Auditorium

Join members of PASO and Latin Grammy winners Maestro Raul Jaurena (bandoneon) & Octavio Brunetti (piano), Marga Mitchell, singer, and dancers Carolina & Anton and Annatina & Hernan for a unique show in two parts:  [El] Tango y [ella] la Milonga  a depiction of the early days of tango; Modern Inspirations  the evolution of tango to the mastery of Astor Piazzolla. General Admission, Reserved Seating – $36 Ticket Master and Phone Charge 301-808-6900. or in person at the Lisner Box Office 202-994-6800 ( 730 21st St. NW , Washington , DC , open Tues.-Fri. 11a.m.-5 p.m.) 

Pasion por Tango – Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 8 p.m. — GW Lisner Auditorium

Joining PASO, direct from Argentina , The Bruno Cavallaro Quartet entertain brings you an evening of delightful music, with singer Claudia Gargiulo, and tango dancers. General Admission, Reserved Seating – $36; Ticket Master and Phone Charge 301-808-6900, or in person at the Lisner Box Office 202-994-6800 ( 730 21st St. NW , Washington , DC , open Tues.-Fri. 11a.m.-5 p.m.). 

Ciudadana Locura – City Madness The Cavallaro Quartet – Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 8 p.m. — Mexican Cultural Institute

Direct from Argentina the Cavallaro Quartet, will be presenting their new CD “CIUDADANA LOCURA” to the Washington audience. Winners of the “2007 Tango Revelation Award”  The Cavallaro Quartet brings you the drama and passion of both traditional tango and the modern tango interpretations of Astor Piazzolla and Bruno Cavallaro  Mexican Cultural Institute, 2829 16th Street, NW Washington, DC 20009. Tickets $30 general admission $25 for Institute members. For tickets call (240) 242-8032 or 202- 884-9008 

Milonga Mania – Friday, May 16, 2008 at 8 p.m. — Embassy of the Republic of Argentina

The Cavallaro Quartet will perform authentic tangos for your dancing pleasure Dance demonstration and Argentine wine!  Bring your dancing shoes!  Admission at the door-$25 1600 New Hampshire Ave., NW Washington DC

Pan American Symphony Orchestra, Discovering Music of the Americas since 1991

We thank you for your continued support of the Pan American Symphony Orchestra as we bring you Washington’s most unique classical repertoire. Please check our website http://www.panamsymphony.org/ for the latest concert information and details about the orchestra.


Stephen Holden on Freda Payne

February 28, 2008

The New York Times weighs in on Paynes’s show at Feinstein’s: “Even today not many jazz singers can deliver scat improvisations with the velocity and timbral control that Fitzgerald wielded while tossing off passages that suggested another language passing through her, the jazz equivalent of speaking in tongues. Ms. Payne can not only do it, but the voice she adopts for the task is strongly reminiscent of Fitzgerald’s, especially at the upper end.”

Reminder: Mandy Patinkin at Strathmore

February 28, 2008

Mandy Patinkin appears at Strathmore on Saturday Night, 1 March at 8:00pm.  Paul Ford music directs.

2008 Helen Hayes Awards Nominations

February 28, 2008

OK, awards are a looney process.  And the great news is that the Helen Hayes awards evaluated 189 professional productions with the work of actors in more than 2,000 roles in the Washington DC area in 2007.  And that does not include the bounty of work done by the many fine community theater groups as well as small theater groups that do not achieve  the the 16 performance minimum set by the Helen Hayes Awards.  So we really do live in a region of theatrical riches. 

And without having seen all 189 plays, it’s hard to have too strong an opinion about the nominations just announced

I’m thrilled that the amazing performances, technical elements, direction, and overall production of Souvenir at Studio were recognized, and very happy that Carolee Carmello’s excellent turn as Aimee Semple McPherson got a nod.  And at least the leads of The Musical of Musical, The Musical were nominated.

I was sorry that Nancy Robinette didn’t also get a nomination for her amazing performance in Well, and I’m mystified the The Musical of Musicals, The Musical didn’t get nominations for its supporting players, as an ensemble, costumes, or directing.

Tina Fabrique is Ella FitzgeraldAnd the bone I’ve picked before.  While I fully believe that Tina Fabrique’s performance in ELLA fully earned a nomination, I do not understand why it came in the “resident” category.  With a star, director, sets, costume, and wig that had a life before Arena Stage in previous productions in California, Ohio, Florida, and Connecticut (and at least a subsequent production in St. Louis), it totally escapes me how this production fits the Helen Hayes Awards rule as stated: “In general, if the original intention, as of opening night, is that the production is developed, produced, and contracted for Washington D.C. and is only to be produced in the Washington area, it is then considered a resident production.    All other productions shall be considered non-resident.” 

When I contacted Chad Bauman, Director of Marketing and Communications at Arena Stage, about the nomination he responded, “…when I last wrote, I said that Arena Stage had filed ELLA as a non-resident musical with the Helen Hayes Awards.  As we moved through the technical process of the show, significant elements of the production were updated, changed and adapted for this incarnation.  As such, the artistic staff of Arena Stage felt strongly that it had become an Arena resident production, therefore the production’s designation was changed from non-resident to resident.  I was unaware of the change in designation when I wrote you previously. 

“You should also know that the incorporated updates have since stayed with the production as it traveled to the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.”

(Pictured, right — a publicity photo used for the September Florida Stage stand of Ella)

Wendy Lane Bailey / Laurel Masse Masterclass Re-Scheduled

February 28, 2008

Words & Music: A Comprehensive Performance Class for Singers by Wendy Lane Bailey and Laurel , has been rescheduled forMasse Saturday March 15th. We have only a few slots left! To sign up contact Park Road Management at parkroadmanagement@verizon.net , (646)831-0359.

A great opportunity for those who couldn’t make the previously scheduled session!

Report: Michael Vitaly Sazonov at CHAW

February 27, 2008


I FINALLY made it to see Michael Vitaly Sazonov’s show, My Well Schooled Heart: The Education of a Young, Modern Day Romantic, when it played CHAW Monday night.

Let me say, right off the bat, that Sazonov is a terrific young performer.  He combines movie star looks with a brooding intensity tempered by an occasional mischievous grin.  He has a terrific vocal attack when singing, an obvious commitment to his material, and makes some fascinating melodic choices.  And Alex Tang as music director certainly remains on his game, providing cinematic support for a very intricate piece.

Unlike a cabaret act where the singer has chosen a roster of songs that are occasionally connected/interrupted by patter, Sazonov has created an extended monologue with musical interludes.  Sazonov discourses on his experiences with love and romance, emotional game-playing, and healing with a fervent intensity.  And he lapses into a terrific collection of songs.  But the piece feels like a shotgun marriage of Spalding Gray and Michael Buble.  On the other hand, with its verbal twists and turns, its “sampling” of material, and the feeling of multiple jump cuts, we may be seeing the birth of GenZ Cabaret. 

I really respect and really loved the commitment that Sazonov brings to the material, and his passion and desire to communicate.  But I never felt that he was having a conversation with me as an audience member.  And the sheer barrage of words occasionally felt like an assault, which sadly often didn’t allow a lot of time to process the very meaty text he scripted.  And the protean energy he expended in his performance occasionally exhausted me.  And made me feel old.

Which brings us to the age issue.  It’s really hard for someone in the usual cabaret audience demographic to hear someone of Sazonov’s youth say, “I remember my first love” without thinking “You should, it was only last week.”  No matter how well-contexted, Blame It On My Youth should at least be saved for someone’s  4th decade.  But like Spring Awakening, the occasional callowness of his script is part of the charm of hearing the genuine, affecting discoveries that someone of his age is making.

And a huge plus on the age factor — at least half of his audience was made up of people under 30.  So if anyone is drawing that demographic to hear this material, I will keep celebrating and encouraging his work.

I look forward to seeing Sazonov grow and his work mature.  And catching him early, you’ll all be able to say, “I remember when…”

Here’s the list of what he sang:

  • If I Ever Say I’m Over You
  • So in Love
  • I Fall in Love Too Easily
  • Blame It On My Youth
  • TwentySomething
  • It’s All Right With Me
  • Sway
  • What Is It About Her?
  • Lonely House
  • Being Alive
  • Better Than I
  • You’ve Got Something
  • Now and Forever
  • Day By Day
  • Grateful
  • Moon River