Go see a show !!!

June 7, 2011

Part of what got me back to the blog is that there’s such a plethora of great stuff happening in the next week or so that I would feel bad if people weren’t aware of it!

Broadway Duets at Signature Theatre

Signature closes its cabaret season with a program featuring Felicia Curry, James Gardiner, Jake Odmark and Bayla Whitten (6/7 – 6/12).

An Evening with Julie Halston

The Atlas Theater presents that funny lady who has creating so many enduring characters in Charles Busch plays as well as inspiring so many students at the Cabaret Conference at Yale.  (Thursday, June 9)


Sing Books with Emily, the Cabaret

The amazing Emily Everson does the adult version of her Sing Books with Emily gig at Maggie’s Cabaret (Friday, June 10)

 Mary Reilly in Here We Are at Last

Mary finally makes her long-awaited solo cabaret debut at Germano’s with music direction by the great Christopher Denny and direction by the amazing Barry Kleinbort. (Sunday,  June 12)

Two Guys: A New Cabaret of Songs By Mark Braswell

Local songwriter Mark Braswell has his work sung by Ryan Burke and Sam Ludwig with a special guest appearance by Jacqueline Grabois with music direction by Alex Tang at the Black Fox Lounge (Sun June 12/ Monday June 18)

And the list above doesn’t even include Side by Side by Sondheim or Follies!

Matt Howe and Maris Wicker in a “Cabaret Doubleheader”

March 20, 2010

Maris Wicker and Matt Howe presented a “Cabaret Doubleheader” at the Sitar Arts Center last night, with each presenting their separate show, all under the terrific music direction of Alex Tang.

Wicker was up first in a springy-yet-cabaretish ensemble of black chiffon printed with peachy pink blossoms.  Her show, The Passage of Time, was indeed inspired by the first line of the James Taylor song, “The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time” which Wicker said had become, of late, a mantra for her.  Highlights of the show included a lovely medley of the Waters of March and You Can’t Rush Spring, and a quietly passionate reading of How Glory Goes.  I also have to say that her anecdotes were some of the most movingly charming patter I’ve heard on a cabaret stage in a while.

Matt Howe’s show, Happing Ending, took a comic exploration on the thesis “life is a musical, and where’s my happy ending!”   That search for a happy ending gave a framework for a variety of material from a medley of “happy” songs, Cool Rider (from Grease 2), and even I Honestly Love You.  Particularly effective was the way he presented his title song twice in way that reflected the journey he took in the show.  It was great to see Matt look so comfortable on stage, and see him effective deploy both his sense of humor and his touching seriousness.

On a personal note, here’s something that really thrilled me.  I happen to know that both of these performers are people who regularly invest a lot of resources – time, thought, effort, and yes, money, into their craft.  And it is great to see those investments pay dividends with each being the best I’ve seen them!

The program repeats tongiht (Saturday) with Maris Wicker at 8:00pm and Matt Howe at 9:30.  Tickets and info.

The Passage of Time set list*:

  • Walkin’ Shoes
  • Secret O’ Life
  • The Best of Times / It’s a Good Day
  • Times Like This
  • Waters of March / You Can’t Rush Spring
  • Lullaby
  • A Child is Born
  • Time Enough for Love
  • Happy Talk
  • I Do What I Can With What I Got
  • Our Love Rolls On
  • Love Is Here to Stay
  • How Glory Goes
  • On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever)
  • Encore: My Ship

Happy Endings set list:

  • Born in a Trunk
  • Happy Endings
  • Wanna Sing a Show Tune
  • Happy Medley
  • Cool Rider
  • Hymn for a Sunday Evening
  • Nobody Does It Better
  • I Never Has Seen Snow
  • I Honestly Love You
  • Losing My Mind
  • Isn’t This Better ?
  • Thank God I’m Old
  • It’s a New World
  • Encore: I Love a Piano

*I love the way they had their set lists discreetly taped to the floor of the stage.

Thanks, Joe!!!

January 17, 2010

From a note from Joe Peck…

…Just for the heck of it, though, I’m attaching a copy of the song list from the 1/14 performance of Joe Peck: Noche Caliente! with Alex Tang at the piano and Tim McKay on percussion at the Arts Club. We had a great time, and the folks really seemed to enjoy the show.

 Joe Peck

  • Como Fue
    • Words & Music by Ernesto Duarte Brito
  • Quando, Quando, Quando
    • Words by A. Testa / Music by Tony Renis
    • English Words by Pat Boone
  • Oye Mi Canto
    • Words by Gloria Estefan
    • Music by Gloria Estefan, Jorge Casas & Clay Ostwald
  • Beautiful Maria Of My Soul
    • Words by Arne Glimcher / Music by Robert Kraft
    • Spanish Words by Antonio Banderas
  • Summer Samba
    • Words & Music by Marcos Valle & Paul Sergio Valle
    • English Words by Norman Gimbel
  • On A Clear September Night
    • Words & Music by Joe Peck / Arranged by Alex Tang
  • Guantanamera
    • Words & Music by Jose Fernandez Dias
    • Music Adaptation by Pete Seeger /
    • Add’l Words adapted by Hector Angulo based on a poem by Jose Marti
  • You Sang To Me
    • Words & Music by Corey Rooney & Marc Anthony
  • Ever Since We Met
    • Words & Music by Bob Levy
  • I Yi Yi Yi Yi Like You Very Much
    • Words by Mack Gordon / Music by Harry Warren
  • Cuanto Le Gusta
    • Words & Music by Gabriel Ruiz / English Words by Ray Gilbert
  • What A Difference A Day Made
    • Words & Music by Maria Grever / English Words by Stanley Adams

Joe Peck makes Bethesda Muy Caliente Saturday Night !!!

December 1, 2009

Having both just finished performing in an extended run of the critically acclaimed show “Adding Machine: A Musical” at Studio Theatre, Joe Peck and accomplished music director Alex Tang will join forces to bring you “Noche Caliente!” at the Bethesda Theatre on December 5 at 10 p.m. Part of the Bethesda Theatre’s Late Night Cabaret Series, this show is the perfect way to heat up a winter night! It’ll be a highly entertaining evening of hot songs with sizzling Latin rhythms — classic Latin favorites (like Guantanamera, the Summer Samba, etc.) along with popular contemporary tunes (ala Marc Anthony, Gloria Estefan) and original songs. Percussionist Janet Thompson will round out the trio. Of course, all will be presented with Joe’s typical humor and charm. Be sure to make your reservations early by emailing info@bethesdatheatre.com below.

Joe Peck: Noche Caliente!

December 5, 10 p.m.

Bethesda Theatre

7719 Wisconsin Ave.

Bethesda, MD

Admission – $15

Reservations – info@bethesdatheatre.com

Mary Foster Conklin on “Renegade Cabaret”

June 28, 2009

A message from the great Mary Foster Conklin:

Dear Michael –
Hoping that you’re well.  Just wanted to share an article with you about a left of center cabaret venue, featuring an old friend of mine.  The article appeared in yesterday’s NY Times:
Tell your DC pals that if they are up in NYC this summer, to come to the Highline Park at Tenth Avenue and 20th Street around 9pm and definitely check it out.  They’ve got a page on Facebook and a website is coming.  They are looking to expand their performer roster, so don’t be surprised if you hear of a certain singer with a punk past singing the blues on the fire escape very soon.  🙂
Take care.  Best, Mary

And in a later message …

I went last night – it’s truly a New York experience.  Beth is a terrific singer, but also has logged many years as a street performer.  During the Bush years she was part of a group of women called the Missle Dick Chicks, who traveled around the country causing general havoc wherever Republicans roamed free.  This offbeat cabaret venue is the perfect vehicle for her talents.
I’ll be making my debut next Tuesday.  Wish me luck.  mfc

BTW — Thanks also to Alex Tang for sending a copy of this!

Rachael Goldman at the Arts Barn

June 10, 2009

Come see Rachael Goldman, Gianmarco Saresi, Stephanie Bonte-Lebair, and Tim Rogan in an exciting programme of cabaret and musical theater with fabulous accompanist, Alex Tang, Sunday, June 14th at 4:00 PM at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn. Songs will include favorites from Sondheim, Goldrich and Heisler, Schwartz, Bernstein, Bolcom, Carnelia and more. Admission is free. You won’t want to miss it!

Gaithersburg Arts Barn , 311 Kent Square Rd, Gaithersburg, MD

Showcase Rehearsal

February 25, 2009

I had a rehearsal last night for the DC Cabaret Network showcase on Sunday at the Arts Club with Alex Tang and Judy Simmons.

I think all veteran performers have their own tricks and secrets for working with a music director and stage director in these situations.  Click here for mine.

And here’s the secret behind the secret.

Before the rehearsal, I prepped with Mary Sugar to put my thoughts together about how I want to do the songs I chose.  After we got through with At Long Last Love (bell tone before the intro, two verses cutting the “love” at the end of the verses, modulation into the third verse, tag after the third verse, “three and out” at the end), I said to her, “Well, you must go through this a  lot.”  Her  response was, “You know, most people just want to  sing things the way they’re written.”   So much said  in one little statement.

In my Helen Hayes round-up column, I forgot to congratulate Judy Simmons on being Helen Hayes nominated for Goodnight, Moon.  When we were discussing the Helens, I couldn’t help but pass along the bit of gossip that a local performer, directing a recent project, several times during the process was heard to say, “You know, I was nominated for a Helen Hayes award!”  Mercifully, I wasn’t there, because it would have been too tempting to use the Ann Hampton Callaway line from  Sibling Revelry, “Who won that year?”

Anyway, it’s shaping up to be a great show.  Ron’s two songs are looking good.  Mary Reilly who had the rehearsal slot before Ron and me sounded wonderful and Emily Everson is planning two songs I love.

Here’s ticket info:

The DC Cabaret Network is delighted to present the fourth DC CABARET NETWORK MEMBERS ONLY SHOWCASE.  Please join us for a wonderful evening of Cabaret featuring our own DC Cabaret Network Members on Sunday, March 1st at 8:00pm at The Arts Club located at 2017 I Street, NW.  These talented Cabaret performers will be accompanied by the extraordinary Musical Director Alex Tang and directed by Judy Simmons.  Wine and sodas will be available for a small fee (cash only bar).
Reservations are highly recommended and should be sent to:  (please include your name, phone number and address) info@dccabaretnetwork.org
$10 for non-members and $5 for members (cash only)

Variety on a Saturday Night

November 25, 2008

Burgess Guitar & Fork

Ron and I caught the second installment of the VoixDeVille series at Indigo at the Atlas Theater Saturday night.  Scott Burgess (left) is the emcee and put together a terrific lineup for the evening.

After Burgess played and sang a couple of numbers, Vijai Nathan, a terrific storyteller did a piece about trying, as an Indian-American girl, to adapt to her Jewish fiance’s family.  Mark Jaster and Sabrina Mandell of Happenstance Theater did a lovely set of early 20th century songs.  Later Jaster played the musical saw accompanied by Burgess on guitar.  Karen Bariss did some delightfully un-slick magic*, and Terri Allen, Lonny Smith, and Justin Ritchie performed selections from their forthcoming show (which at present seems to be titled In Full Light), accompanied by Alex Tang.

Burgess has expressed the fact that he was influenced by Ed Sullivan as a child and it clearly shows in the variety of the assembled talents.  And of course, the best part is that if an act isn’t to your taste it will soon be over and something new will be up.** A series like this ultimately depends on the taste of the booker, and from what I saw, this venture seems to be off to a good start.

J L T shot1
If I can ever get a link to promotional Web site or a contact e-mail address, I will happily provide it so that the show can find an audience (which is always difficult if an audience can’t find the show).The one disappointing aspect of the evening was the food/beverage service in the room itself.  I can understand being out of the cheese plate and not making coffee/tea available but NO DIET COKE????!!!!  After Ron tried ordering 3 reasonably common drinks and being told they weren’t available, he settled for bottled water, and he never got the cheesecake he ordered.  On an economic front, I hardly begrudge a room a $10 minimum per person; but I find it irksome when the offerings are this limited and scattershot.

* I am long-inured to the fact that if I want to see stage magic, I have to go without Ron.  However, he really enjoyed her act.

** I always think of Charlene James-Duguid saying that in the bygone days of the Source Theater Festival she could always get her husband Jim to the evenings of ten-minute plays for this very reason. 

Upcoming: Victoria Clark at the KenCen Dec 6

November 23, 2008

Fifteen Seconds of Grace

One of the concerts I’ve been looking forward to the most this year is Victoria Clark’s appearance at the Kennedy Center December 6 as part of Barbara Cook Presents series.

I’ve found myself with one-degree-of-separation from Clark on several fronts:* Alex Tang was a classmate of hers at Yale, Barry Dennen did Sound of Music with her in St. Louis, Alex Rybeck has played for her frequently.  But in a direct experience, her Fifteen Seconds of Grace was one of my favorite CDs of 2007.  And the Jeff Blumenkrantz podcast with her is charming.

I’m surprised that there are still tix left for the show, so thought you’d like to know now.


*Though it hasn’t helped me get her to do an interview for this blog.

CHAWbaret 4

October 28, 2008

Ron and I caught the latest iteration of CHAWberet on Friday night, titled Cabaret Connections. 

The evening had a theme of “family” with the performers exploring the theme from all angles — tender, sardonic, heartfelt, and even spooky!  All of the performers delivered material in very personal interpretations, and there was a fascinating variety of material.  Matt Howe assembled everyone’s contributions in an amazingly cohesive, charming fashion and Alex Tang provided music direction that both supported the needs of individual performers and provided a unifying feel for the evening.

The program repeats Friday, November 7 and Saturday, November 8.

Here’s what people sang:

  • Mama Says (Dean Reichard)
  • Be Kind to Your Parents (Dean Reichard & Catherine Satterlee)
  • Someone to Watch Over Me (Cahterine Satterlee)
  • I Won’t Mind (David McMullen)
  • Way Ahead of My Time (David McMullen)
  • She’s Always a Woman (Emily Leatha Everson)
  • I Love to Be Unhappy (Emily Leatha Everson)
  • Real Emotional Girl (Dean Reichard)
  • Family Theme (Ensemble)
  • Live Alone and Like It (Matt Howe)
  • Hello Again (Matt Howe)
  • Older Sister (Catherine Satterlee)
  • My Dogs (David McMullen)
  • The Story Goes On (Emily Leatha Everson)
  • Brotherhood of Man (Ensemble)

In one of the more charming moments of the show, Matt took a picture of the audience and performers which he was kind enough to share with this blog.  When Matt sends me the photos from the next 2 shows, I sincerely hope there are more people in the house since this is a show that deserves to be seen!!!