Marvelous Wonderettes

December 20, 2008

The Marvelous Wonderettes

I have no idea what the actual plot of this show is, but it seems to feature every girl-group song ever recorded (or even conceived).  So if you’re a big fan of the genre and welcome a very-slightly different sounding approach to your favorite material you’ll love this recording.  If you want interpretation, insight, or emotional connection, this probably isn’t the CD for you.

  1. Welcome / Mr. Sandman

  2. Lollipop / Sugartime

  3. Allegheny Moon

  4. All I Have to Do Is Dream / Dream Lover

  5. Stupid Cupid

  6. Lipstick on Your Collar

  7. Lucky Lips

  8. Secret Love

  9. Mr. Lee / Born Too Late / Teacher’s Pet

10. Sincerely / Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight

11. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me

12. Welcome Back / Heat Wave

13. It’s in His Kiss

14. Wedding Bell Blues

15. You Don’t Own Me

16. With This Ring

17. I Only Want to Be With You

18. That’s When the Tears Start

19. It’s My Party

20. Son of a Preacher Man

21. Leader of the Pack

22. Maybe

23. Maybe I Know

24. Needle in a Haystack

25. Rescue Me

26. Respect

27. Thank You and Goodnight / Sincerely

Santaland Diaries

December 20, 2008

santaland.gifI saw the City Artistic Partnerships production of David Sedaris’s The Santaland Diaries Friday night and I was awestruck.  I mean the show was lovely, but what had me agape was that the theater was sold out.  As someone who has performed in the space any number of times with different companies, I know that getting audiences into that space can be a challenge.  (And companies that mount at the Warehouse often use a strategy that combines an “if we build it they will come” attitude with a dependance on the psychic abilities of their audience to find the actual production.)  It could be that I’m impressed because the show was sold out (on a Friday!) and hitherto completely off my radar.  So congratulations City Artistic Partnerships!!!!

As for the show, despite the publicity photo, it is a one-person telling of humorist David Sedaris’s experiences as an elf at Macy’s one holiday season in New York.  Although much of the humor of the script comes from satirizing rather obvious and expected targets, it hits them with dead-on efficiency, and presents a nice mixture of snarkiness and sentiment. 

Joe Brack performs the piece with energy and conviction.  He resembles a younger Jim Carrey.  At the beginning of the piece I felt he was working a tad hard (much the way I think Carrey tends to work a tad hard), but the audience was generally enthralled for the 80ish minutes of the piece, and he finished with a charm and grace.

All the other elements — direction, sets, lights, sound, box office, and refreshments — were handled with a level of aplomb that gives me great hope for the future of City Artistic Partnerships.  I’ll make sure that they’re future projects are on my radar!

Stephen Holden on Simon Green on Noel Coward

December 18, 2008

The NYTimes reviews the Simon Green’s Noel Noel show: “For those not intimidated, the show, which runs through Jan. 4, is a swift, entertaining immersion in the Coward style led by a charming practitioner of the elevated parlando cabaret approach, in which singing and talking blend together. In Mr. Green’s variation, emotion is stifled below a facade of civilized amusement. The singer, echoing Coward’s attitude, looks askance at his own demons — the same demons that everyone else has — and translates anger, fear, lust and sorrow into bons mots, aphorisms and clever rhymes. Chaos is held at bay with compulsive wit.”

VoixDeVille — Past and Future

December 18, 2008

Burgess Guitar & Fork

I went to VoixDeVille at Indigo at the Atlas Theater last Saturday.  I got my cheese plate and a Diet Coke!!!!  So things are looking up service-wise.

It was great to see Terri Allen, Lonny Smith, and Justin Ritchie do their In Full Light piece.  The three are terrific performers and I loved them singing their songs.  I also love a show where Help is the second-oldest song in the line-up.  And Mary Sugar provided fabulous musical support (but what else would one expect). I feel that these terrific performers have not yet achieved their full potential with this piece, especially in terms of show structure and connective  tissue.  So it’ll be interesting to see if there’s a next edition.

The rest of the evening was more of a mixed bag than the previous time I went.  But there was a pleasantly mixed crowd, so let’s hope we see more!!!  Congratulations to Scott Burgess — host and producer — to how far you’ve gotten this so far!

Here’s the line-up for Saturday:*

martin&lewisTHE CROONER AND THE COMIC – pays tribute to America’s beloved show business duo, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Bringing this comical duet back to the stage are Eric Richardson as Dean Martin and Matt Macis as Jerry Lewis.  With their impeccable timing, world class vocals and over-the-top antics, this Martin & Lewis tribute will leave audiences caught up in this wild pair’s hijinx, begging for more!

ERIC RICHARDSON (The Crooner) –  is an actor, vocalist, celebrity impersonator and an overall master of “character” having played diverse roles ranging from Fagin in Oliver, to Sky Masterson in Guys & Dolls, to that homespun lawyer, Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. He has appeared on stage, in film and on several TV series. His approach to any character lies in his pursuit of detail, which makes every one of his characters unique and whole.
MATT MACIS (The Clown) –  began his professional career at age 16 in Ken Davenport’s Awesome 80s Prom. At age 19, he was deemed “a genuine find” by the Washington Post for his work in Bat Boy (Landless Theatre Co., DC). Now 20, his resume includes a national tour, TV, film, and work as the “Lewis” half of the Martin & Lewis Tribute. He is also the world’s youngest working professional Michael Jackson tribute artist. GOOGLE him!

John McBride
John McBride
John is half-black, half-Italian, mixed with a little Jewish, and probably some other stuff, but he is 100% funny. At least that’s what his mom says. John’s material inspired by the stupid things his friends say, his romantic misadventures, and food he doesn’t like – has been quoted in the Washington Post. McBride was a finalist in DC Improv’s Funniest Person in DC contest 2007. He has worked with comics Ted Alexandro, DC Benny, and Tony Rock, and is a regular at the DC Improv. He co-writes the popular blog “Not Hating Just Saying,” featured on

 Don’t Miss this on-going one ring circus of quality shows featuring performers who are making a different kind of noise. Experience something you cannot get in your living rooms, on any TV set, home theater or computer. VoixDeVille the voice of the city.

DISCOUNTS!: Check out for our special December Button Discount.

The Indigo Room
Atlas Performing Arts Center
1333 H St NE
Box Office 202-399-7993 x2
For booking information call Scott Burgess
202-399-7993 x121
The Atlas is accessible by MetroBus, Rail and Taxi
Contact the Box Office for Tickets and More Details or


Doors: 7:30 pm
Performance: 8:00 pm
Tickets: 15.00 (buy on line at

It’s the divaest time of the year at Signature!

December 17, 2008

DECEMBER DIVAS at Signature Theatre

Holiday Performances December 17 – 20, 2008

Get into the spirit of the season when December Divas Priscilla Cuellar, Marissa Lesch, Margo Seibert, Bayla Whitten, and Rachel Zampelli belt out refreshingly different holiday offerings for six performances December 17 – 20 in Signature’s ARK Theatre turned cabaret. Patrons can take a break from the shopping frenzy and enjoy an unconventional musical take on the season, Signature style, while sipping choice wine and beer and chef-prepared fare right at their tables. A sold-out success last season, December Divas will have audiences smiling all the way to New Year’s Eve. Tickets for all shows are $30 and can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at (703) 573-7328 or visiting Doors open 30 minutes before each performance.

For December Divas performances, stage director Matt Gardiner and music director Howard Breitbart have compiled a fascinating assortment of seasonal music including Motown classics such as Stevie Wonder’s “Someday at Christmas,” seasonal standards like “Moonlight in Vermont” and “A Winter Romance,” oldies like “Blue Christmas” and Joni Mitchell’s “River,” and film music such as “Christmas Time is Here” from A Charlie Brown Christmas and “Silver & Gold” from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. If you’re looking for a different yet festive take on the holiday season, make December Divas a holiday gift to yourself.


  • Wednesday, December 17, 2008 at 8:30pm
  • Thursday, December 18, 2008 at 8:30pm
  • Friday, December 19, 2008 at 7:30pm and 9:30pm
  • Saturday, December 20, 2008 at 7:30pm and 9:30pm

Tickets and info.

Blind Item — L’Accordeoniste

December 17, 2008

I heard a bit of gossip at the DC Cabaret Network December open mic that was so good that I had to pass it on.*

It seems that a noted local diva is taking accordian lessons with the intention of accompanying herself.  Thinking about it for two seconds it SeeMed like an apt choice.  And although I’ve heard her singing other Piaf songs in her journeys in another time, another place, I’ve never heard her sing the classic L’Accordeoniste.  Maybe now she will.

I took this news to heart becuase there’s a song in my repertoire, Paris in the Rain, that I always wanted an accordian break on.  I was hoping at one time to work on it with the wonderful Sue O’Neil Johnson (a former champion accordian player as well as a pianist, librarian, and friend).  But that was before her much too early passing.  So I’ve been tempted myself.  And I’m inspired by seeing performers determined to pick up new skills!

* I was unable to confirm this with the diva in question since she wasn’t at the open mic.  Presumably she was at home, madly perfecting Lady of Spain.

Come See The Mall the Merrier

December 16, 2008

Would you believe I just wasn’t doing enough for the holidays?

Anyway, I’ve just joined the cast of The Mall the Merrier*, a holiday romp set in a shopping mall during the holiday season. 

Others in the cast include Barbara Papendorp, Elver Ariza, and Scott Sedar.  (I’m such a late addition to this project I’m not even on the postcard!)

We run alongside (and on the set of) The Santaland Diaries at the Warehouse Theater (1021 7th St NW, Washington DC).  Thursday & Friday, December 18 & 19 at 9:30pm and Saturday – Monday, December 20-22 at 7:00pm.

Tickets and additional information.



*Please do not confuse this with the upcoming sociopath piece The Maul the Merrier

DC Cabaret Network Open Mic — The December Edition

December 16, 2008

Wowie.  I just got back from the DC Cabaret Network Open Mic.  Everyone was in holiday cheer, and it was a terrific evening.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Toys for Tots efforts.  There were even 3 Marines who showed up to pick up the donations and explain a bit about the program.  The audience saluted them with two rousing choruses of the Marine Corps Hymn.  And then Emily Everson offered a moving story about visiting Arlington Cemetary and being awed at the young ages she saw on the tombstones followed by the perfect segue — “…and now I’m going to sing a song from the Muppets.” 

And the musicians!  In addition to the always-amazing Mary Sugar at the keys, we were joined by Paul Aebersold playing a mean accordian and the phenomenal Curtis Johnson on saxophone.  And your blogger made a rare foray on the soprano recorder during Silent Night.  Oh, and Mary Sugar felt comfortable enough to end 20 years of not singing in public with her amazing version of Someday at Christmas.

People bought wine a plenty and Molly Rupert brought a classic angel food cake.  Thank you to all who made it such a special evening, sharing your talent, warmth and time!!!

Here’s what people sang:

  • Terri Allen
    • May I Suggest
  • Toni Rae Brotons
    • Tear Up the Town
  • Emily Everson
    • Christmas Wish
  • Matt Howe
    • I Love a Piano
  • Charlene James-Duguid
    • Polish Christmas Song
  • Andrea Klores
    • Bill
  • Jody Knox
    • I Love Paris
  • David McMullen
    • It’s Amazing the Things That Float
  • Marianne Glass Miller
    • I Don’t Remember You
  • Michael Miyazaki
    • All Those Christmas Cliches
  • Byron Murray
    • Sweet Little Jesus Child
    • On the Road to Bethlehem
  • Kathy Reilly
    • Humphrey Bogart
  • Justin Ritchie
    • Thankful
  • Lonny Smith
    • The Song Remembers When
  • Ron Squeri
    • Silent Night
  • Ron Squeri & Michael Miyazaki
    • The Better Tree
  • Brenda Steele
    • Everything
  • Mary Sugar
    • Someday at Christmas
  • Christie Trapp
    • Christmas Lullaby
  • Eileen Warner
    • On the Banks of the Ohio
  • Maris Wicker
    • You Took Advantage of Me / Walkin’ After Midnight

Ethan Mordden on Florenz Ziegfeld

December 15, 2008

Cover ImageI just finished reading Ethan Mordden’s biography of Florenz Ziegfeld

The book intertwines narratives about Ziegfeld’s life and work.  Mordden also presents a fascinating history of the development of the New York theatrical scene between the 1890s and 1930s, and the establishment (not to mention construction) of what we consider “Broadway” today.

Mordden has a sweeping knowledge of the history of theater in the 20th century, as displayed in his series examining Broadway musicals by the decade.  And he manages to make connections between events, or show the minor event that was the genesis of a larger event with sweeping clarity and snappy prose.*

It’s also great to become acquainted with talents and personalities of the day such as the Schuberts, Anna Held, Fanny Brice, Marilyn(n) Miller, and Bert Williams.  Mordden also has fascinating takes on the material written for the shows — like why Blue Skies may be the most famous song introduced in a Rodgers & Hart show.**

*Mordden is probably the one author I know who is fonder of parenthetical footnotes than I am.

** Yes, I know it’s an Irving Berlin song.  And therein lies the story.***

*** Take that, Mr. Mordden!

Classics from a classic …

December 13, 2008

Seems Like Old Times..

Before she was known as Andrea Marcovicci’s mother, Helen Marcovicci had a considerable nighclub career appearing at such boites as the Maisonette, The Glass Hat, and La Vie Parisienne under the name Helen Stuart.

On this disc, the singer offers a collection of classic songs beautifully sung and beautifully thought.  It is a particular delight to be re-acquainted with songs such as Seems Like Old Times, I’ma Fool to Want You, and For All We Know.

And the always-wonderful Shelly Markham provides sturdy, nuanced music direction.

1 Smiles
2 My Melancholy Baby
3 Seems Like Old Times
4 It All Depends on You
5 I Don’t Know Why (I Just Do)
6 The Twelfth of Never
7 Autumn Leaves
8 I’m a Fool to Want You
9 Don’t Blame Me
10 In the Still of the Night
11 Russian Lullaby
12 Blue Skies
13 For All We Know