Road Report — Trudi Mann Open Mic

November 17, 2008

Ron and I got to spend another lovely and inspiring Sunday afternoon at the always-amazing Trudi Mann’s always-lovely Open Mic.  One of the highlight’s was hearing the amazing Richard Rodney Bennett (oops, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett) who stopped in, as well as just getting to sing accompanied by Jon Delfin and Sadi Zane.

Here’s what and who you missed if you weren’t there:

  • Richard Rodney Bennett
    • Judy (Trudi)
    • Angel Eyes
    • In the Wee, Small Hours of the Morning
  • David Burke
    • Lookey, Lookey, Lookey
    • The Butler Song
    • Mary’s Bar
  • Susie Christy
    • You Light Up My Life
    • I’ve Got a Lot of Living to Do
  • Henry Dee
    • Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans
    • Non Dimenticar
  • Caroline Ferenge
    • I’ve Got the World on a String
    • Just in Time
  • Judy Gallagher
    • On a Wonderful Day…
    • Tennessee Waltz
  • Joe Gimble
    • It’s a New Day
    • Skylark
  • Helena Grineaux
    • Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You
    • For Good
  • Ken Greeves
    • Now I Know
    • Love Came on Stealthy Fingers
  • Peter Kyle
    • The Rose
    • This Land Is Your Land
  • Angelo Lovullo
    • Blame It On My Youth
    • I’ll Remember April
  • Trudi Mann
    • Out of This World
    • I’m Too Old to Die Young
  • Jackie Messina
    • Loverly
    • For All We Know
  • Michael Miyazaki
    • At Long last Love
    • Dog Passages
  • Ray Norman
    • I Don’t Look Good…
    • Sure Thing
  • Earl Okun
    • When I Fall in Love
    • AI Don’t Know How…
  • Joe Regan
    • Hi Lili, Hi Lo
    • Baby, Baby All the Time
  • Bernice Sacks
    • While We’re Young
    • A Lot of Livin’
  • Richie Shalon
    • On My Own
    • The Long and Winding Road
  • Sheldon Silverstein
    • If I Were a Rich Man
    • Chicago (My Kind of Tonw)
  • Ron Squeri
    • So In Love
    • False Starts
  • Frank Stern
    • Emily
    • Feel Like Makin’ Love
  • Tom Wright
    • Almost Like Being In Love
    • Love Is a Many Splendored Thing

Your blogger extends special thanks to the lovely Joe Regan who could always identify the (almost embarassingly many) songs I didn’t know.

Howard Sings Ashman

November 16, 2008

Howard Sings Ashman

Wowie! This CD gathers tapes of Howard Ashman, the songwriter noted for Little Shop of Horrors and a plethora of Disney cartoons, singing a number of his songs. One of the most fascinating aspects of this CD is that the songs are in various levels of development. So it is often fascinating to hear what an earlier draft of a familiar work contained, and to witness the artistic process in the change. It was thirilling to hear a riff that eventually went unused in Smile that ended up in Part of Your World. (As a special plus, this CD features Ashman’s demo of the show Smile, with him singing nearly the entire pre-production score with composer Marvin Hamlisch.)

However, the CD is delightful beyond the level of let’s-hear’how-the-songwriter-tried-to-sing-it. Ashman’s version of Disneyland features an amazing yearning consistent with the man that wrote Somewhere That’s Green. And his song Sheridan Square is a deeply touching song about the ravaging impact of the AIDS epidemic. Sadly, the epidemic claimed Ashman in 1991, however this CD is another piece of a legacy that lives on.

New Barbara Cook CD

November 15, 2008

Rainbow Round My Shoulder

In my excitement over the Patti LuPone release, the other important cabaret CD of the week, Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder by Barbara Cook, totally went off my radar.

Of course Cook sounds amazing, and she delivers all her material with her trademark combination of beautiful singing with intellectual and emotional clarity. And she delivers a well-balanced combination of standards and lesser-known material.  Interestingly she has chosen to re-record two Sondheim songs combining them with pop standards.  The I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Right Myself a Letter / I Wish I Could Forget You rpresents a fascinatingly original stalkerish take on the first song; Lost In the Stars / No More presents a great reading of the Weill standard with a version of No More that has grown significantly since her last recording of it (and it doesn’t hurt to have a full orchestration this time, either).

I have to say that her collaboration with Lee Musiker is starting to pay off. Her arrangements are starting to get some distinct musical ideas again instead of simply being very pretty, very competent standard accompaniments. However, I long for her to do another wacky-but-it-works moment like the kazoo/tuba break in Them There Eyes.

1. There’s a Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder – Barbara Cook, Jolson, Al
2. Where or When – Barbara Cook, Rodgers, Richard
3. Cookin’ Breakfast for the One I Love – Barbara Cook, Rose, Billy
4. He Loves and She Loves – Barbara Cook, Gershwin, George
5. Lucky to Be Me – Barbara Cook, Bernstein, Leonard
6. If I Ever Say I’m Over You – Barbara Cook, Bucchino, John
7. Sooner or Later – Barbara Cook, Wolcott, Charles
8. I’m Through with Love/Smile – Barbara Cook, Kahn, Gus
9. Love Is Good for Anything That Ails You – Barbara Cook, Friend, Cliff
10. I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter/I Wish I Could Forge – Barbara Cook, Ahlert, Fred
11. Harbour – Barbara Cook, Allen, Peter
12. Old Devil Moon – Barbara Cook, Lane, Burton
13. Lost in the Stars/No More – Barbara Cook, Weill, Kurt
14. Hallelujah, I Love Him So – Barbara Cook, Charles, Ray
15. For All We Know – Barbara Cook, Coots, J. Fred

(Ron made the insightful comment that Cook’s pictures are starting to resemble that other Southern cook — Paula Deen.)

Stephen Holden on Baby Jane Dexter

November 14, 2008

The NYTimes reviews the force of nature: “The bluntest of singers, Ms. Dexter delivers lyrics in big, hearty bursts of energy. She gets into trouble only when she tries to apply musical frills. When she sings too high or too softly, her voice begins to wobble and crack. But when belting in the expansive chest voice that dominated Wednesday’s show, she exerted a formidable command.”

James Fitzpatrick’s Oratorio

November 14, 2008


DC-area music director and friend-of-this-blog James Fitzpatrick debuts his new oratorio (talented man that!!!):

The Chartered Course”an Oratorio by James R. Fitzpatrick. This exciting choral work celebrates the 300th Anniversary of the Annapolis Charter and was commissioned by the City of Annapolis.

The work will be conducted by the composer. Featured soloists are Sally Martin, soprano;  Byron Jones, Tenor, Derrick Thompson, Baritone; with Suzanne Orban, Cello and Erik Apland, Piano, the Colin Lett Chorale,The Heritage Harbour Chorus and The St. Margaret´s Chancel Choir

There will be two performances:

Wed, Nov 19th 7:30pm at the Heritage Harbor Lodge Auditorium, 759 River Strand Loop

Annapolis, MD 21401


The second performance is on Thursday, Nov 20th at 7:30pm

St. Margaret’s Church

1601 Pleasant Plains Road

Annapolis, MD 21409


For tickets and reservations, call (410) 974-0200 EXTENSION 20 or go to

Price: $15

Another Tallulah play?????

November 14, 2008

©2008 Craig Schwartz has reported that Valerie Harper is portraying Tallulah Bankhead in a project with Broadway aspirations.  This follows Kathleen Turner’s project of a few years ago.

However, I have to admit that my favorite of all is Tovah Feldshuh’s amazing show Tallulah Hallelujah — which just happens to be captured in a live performance on CD.  The last few track are phenomenal, almost unlistenable in their intensity.

Stephen Holden on Brian Stokes Mitchell

November 13, 2008

The NYTimes weighs in on the crooner at Feinstein’s: “And there you have Mr. Mitchell, a singer who dares you to be happier than you ever dreamed. Because he seems a living, breathing example of a man living comfortably in that exalted state, that dare has the weight of a serious challenge.”


November 13, 2008

Florence Henderson

John Simon weigh’s in on the “lovely lady”‘s cabaret engagement: “There was, first, the heartening fact that age could not stale talent and appeal such as hers. Henderson’s accomplished renderings were as youthfully vibrant yet subtly shaded as they were in the various musicals she starred in on Broadway and elsewhere.

“…If you had the misfortune of missing Florence Henderson this time round, be confident that such an indestructible and indispensable artist will show up again somewhere on your horizon. When she does, avoid committing the same mistake twice.”

Hopelessly self-referential

November 12, 2008

OK, it’s an Internet thing, but I’m oddly thrilled that Rebecca Luker(‘s people) copied my post about her recent KenCen concert onto her site under “Reviews” as well as including a link back to here.  And the only thing that got edited out was the reference to Sally Martin’s CD.

A great offer from Arena

November 12, 2008

Here’s a very customer-friendly offer from Arena Stage. 

Cabaret fans —  it’s your chance to see both Maureen McGovern and Alice Ripley (who amazing doing I Miss the Mountains when she was at the Kennedy Center early this year) at a real discount.  I have to admit that the Irving Berlin revue makes me nervous, but I’m maintaining a resolute rosiness about it.

I realize that the last several weeks have been difficult for many of you, as they have been on us and the rest of the country. In this time of exceptional growth and opportunity for Arena Stage, the nation finds itself in a period of extraordinary turmoil.  I am reminded that in times like these, we prevail by coming together as a community, uniting in our belief in our country and our hope for better times in the future.Arena Stage has been a cultural hub for our community for almost 60 years. We have rejoiced in the plentiful times, and have endured the lean ones together. Together we will see one another through this difficult time as well.

I recognize that we have an important obligation to our community-to provide the highest quality entertainment at reasonable prices so that our entire community can access our productions. With the recent economic downturn, citizens are being forced to make some difficult decisions, so we want to do our part to lighten the load.

Agree or disagree with the congressional economic plans, I figured that you would be interested in a more attractive bailout than we have seen in recent weeks. So I challenged my team to provide the same level of high caliber entertainment at the lowest possible cost. And they developed Arena Stage’s New Deal as our own version of a stimulus package.

For one day only, on Friday, November 14, from 12:01am until 11:59pm that night, all tickets for the first week** of each remaining production in Arena Restaged Part One will be on sale for $25 each, plus applicable fees. This represents a savings on over 25,000 tickets of up to 60% off regular ticket prices.

As priority seating is a benefit of subscribing, subscribers have already secured a great majority of our prime seats, so these tickets will mostly be in non-prime locations.

During difficult times, people need an opportunity to leave their concerns behind, even if only for a night, and enjoy a break from the day-to-day.  We hope that by drastically reducing our prices, Arena Stage’s New Deal provides this opportunity to our entire community.


All best,
Molly Smith
Artistic Director

**P.S. The dates eligible for the $25 tickets are as follows:
Next to Normal — November 21 through November 28, 2008 (no show November 27th)
Irving Berlin’s I Love a Piano — January 29 through February 4, 2009 
Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance — February 6 through February 11, 2009 
Crowns — March 27 through April 1, 2009 
A Long and Winding Road starring Maureen McGovern — March 31 through April 5, 2009 
Legacy of Light — May 8 through May 13, 2009 
Sweet Bird of Youth — May 29 through June 3, 2009