On hiatus…

January 17, 2011

OK, when I opened the Washington Post this morning and saw the review of Sutton Foster’s show at the Kennedy Center that was totally off my radar, I realized how inattentive I’ve been to this blog. 

In explanation, I really have been busy with my new job and I’ve been planning Ron & my wedding which is happening next month.  So I’m going to make official what my loyal readers have suspected, that I’ll be taking a break from doing this blog until April.

It’s comforting to know that I leave you in good information hands, with Matt Howe’s terrific cabaret site and the DC Cabaret Network blog and Web site.

Here are brief versions of things I’ve been meaning to do longer items on:

Please also keep checking the Cabaret at Germano’s Calendar.  Some great acts are scheduled, including Lonny Smith, Paul Pompeo, Marianne Glass Miller and Eileen Warner doing their Cabaret About Nothing as well as the ever-dependable Gary Rubin and Guss Moss not to mention some fascinating-sounding programs.

I had mixed feelings about Sunset Blvd at Signature.  Although I loved the staging, I had quibbles with Florence Lacey’s portrayal of Norma Desmond.  And part of me wonders if the problem came from her singing the role too easily.  Could it be that watching a performer struggle and triumph with material (e.g. Elaine Stritch in Night Music) is more interesting than watching someone apparantly coast through difficulties?

Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and AnecdotesSpeaking of Mr. Sondheim, Finishing the Hat is a must read for any singer, actor, or writer.  Although Sondheim has insightful and cutting analyses of many Golden Age songwriters (fascinating observation: Ira Gershwin tries to be as brilliant with his lyrics as George is with the music and fails) his most biting analysis is saved for his own work.  However, he offers many structural notions about theater writing and how they subsequently shape performances that make it a must-read for performers also.

Two more really fun books: A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers by Will Friedwald is an amazing reference volume with highly-insightful essays on a large number of performers.   Broadway Musicals: The Biggest Hit and the Biggest Flop of the Season – 1959 to 2009 is a fun, dishy look at fifty years of Broadway musicals.

I saw Andrea Marcovicci do her torch song show at the Oak Room.  If you ever have a chance to see her in this venue, you’ll really get the essence of pure cabaret.  She is an exquisite storyteller and makes everyone feel that she’s singing only for you in her living room.  Shelly Markham’s accompaniment is genius for his ability to know how to fit into Marcovicci’s musical needs.  And the show she did was a triumph of structure, especially given the great humor she  managed to conveyin what could be a realy downer topic.

Sad news on the passing of Margaret Whiting.  What was missing from the coverage I saw was her great contribution and support of the contemporary cabaret scene, including the teaching she did for the O’Neil cabaret program and her constant presence on the scene in New York.

DC Cabaret Network Open Mic

January 17, 2011

The DC Cabaret Network had its monthly open mic last Monday, 10 January.  The always-wonderful Mary Sugar played, and here’s a round-up of who sang what*:

  • Kathy Reilly
    • Throw it Away,
    • A Time for Love .
  • Joanne Schmoll.
    • P.S. I Love You.
    • Can This be Love?
  • Sarah Wilson
    • Angel.
    • Through The Fire
  • Eileen Warner.
    • I Don’t Know How to Say Goodbye.
    • He Plays the Violin
  • Stephanie Daley.
    • Tammy
    • Taking a Chance On Love
  • Pam Jackson.
    • Downtown
    • Spread a Little Sunshine
  • Nancy Huddleston.
    • Love Of My Life
    • Mean To Me
  • Ron Squeri.
    • River
    • Inside My Body Is A Dancer
  • Emily Everson
    • Sunshine On My Shoulders.
    • I Want A Hippopotamus
  • Terri Allen.
    • What The World Needs Now
    • The Very Thought Of You
  • Kathy Reilly.
    • A Time for Love
  • Andrea Creel.
    • Ordinary Kind of Woman

 The next one is scheduled for Monday, 7 February at the Atlas Theater.  Additional details.

Julia Nixon at Signature

January 11, 2011

January 11 – 15, 8:30pm

Helen Hayes Award-winner and DC’s favorite Dreamgirl Julia Nixon returns to Signature with her critically acclaimed and intimately personal cabaret The Impossible Dream through Saturday.

This return engagement showcases Nixon’s soulful vocal instrument and features the music that has provided support and strength throughout the challenges of her life. In the vein of Sarah Vaughan, this powerhouse performer blends jazz and R&B in an unforgettable act. In a cabaret about her unique career and life, Nixon (Broadway’s Dreamgirls and Studio’s Caroline, or Change) will feature the songs “The Impossible Dream”, “Look to the Rainbow”, and “I Did It My Way” as well as R&B staples, jazz standards, and classic show tunes. It will be an uplifting, joyous night of song.

Tickets are $35.

To purchase tickets to Julia Nixon’s cabaret

DCCN Open Mic on Monday

January 8, 2011

The next DC Cabaret Network Oopen Mic is this Monday, 10 January, at the Atlas.

Mary Sugar has been freed from the Oklahoma pit and will be at the keys.  (Bit of advice, don’t make her play The Farmer and the Cowman for a while.)

More info