My Favorite Week
DC cabaret veteran Beverly Cosham is visiting Toronto as I type this, and I doubt that October in Canada has ever been cooler.
I’ve gotten to see Bev twice this week—last night at a weekly open mic called “Curtains Down” (more on that in a moment) and last Thursday, when Bev was my first DC guest at Jill’s Living Room, a monthly open mic I set up this summer.
First, a word about Jill’s Living Room. It doesn’t take place in my actual living room, but in a rehearsal space at the Second City Training Center in downtown Toronto (which means that sometimes we get the room decorated with huge portrait of John Candy). I designed JLR to be a “safe place” to sing, where people could feel comfortable trying out new material, or even singing a piece twice if the first time wasn’t quite right. For myself, I wanted a safe place to test drive my new songs, as well as a place to where I could get more comfortable actually singing. The jewels in the crown of JLR are the pianists we’ve been able to attract. We’ve had five JLR’s so far and four different pianists, all considered among Toronto’s best. Their experience and warmth go miles toward making anyone who steps up feel in safe hands.
Bev Cosham doesn’t need a safe place to sing, and she’s so good, she probably makes any accompanist feel safe and secure, not the other way around. But she graced my little shindig with her honey voice anyway, bringing her Toronto pal Edie along for good measure. I got to introduce her to musical director and pianist extraordinaire Michael Barber, and together, they made magic out of Michelle Brourman and Karen Gottlieb’s “My Favorite Year,” as well as “Old Love” and “Whoever You Are.”
Now let’s just say the turn-out wasn’t great. Afterward, we went out for drinks, and it was suggested that Bev also hit “Curtains Down,” a public open mic hosted by the gracious and beautiful Jenni Burke. Currently taking place every Monday night in the martini bar at the Pantages Hotel, the night regularly attracts the cream of Canada’s musical-theater crop. It was a perfect opportunity for more people to hear Bev sing. Natch, Lady Cosham was game.
And of course, she dazzled. Jenni gave me the mic to introduce her, and I kind of stammered something about an amazing singer who’s been around and done it all while remaining down-to-earth, genuine, giving and warm. Jenni later put it better when she called Bev “the real deal.”
Bev sang “My Favorite Year,” “Skylark” and an impromptu duet with Jenni of “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.” People tend to chat and visit a lot at the Pantages, but they quieted down when Beverly was singing. And many came up to her afterward to pay their respects. I felt pretty proud, and I think Edie did too.
Thanks to Beverly for enhancing my week, for supporting my “living room” and my music, and for making me look good to all my new performer friends up here in Canada. And thanks to my dearest Robert for always being there and for taking the photos.
Top photo: Jill, Bev and Michael Barber pose with John Candy at the October Jill’s Living Room
Middle: Bev casts a spell on the crowd (and mistress of ceremonies Jenni Burke) at “Curtains Down,” the only place to be in Toronto on a Monday night