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.
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?
Speaking 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.