Lina Koutrakos / Rick Jensen Workshop Concert

March 29, 2010

OK, we spent the workshop today putting the final show together.  Lina and Rick shared the process they use to assemble a show, demonstrating it on the one for the class.  Then it was the nitty-gritty of actually doing it all.  Particular congratulations to Daryl Anderson, ToniRae Brotons, Emily Everson, and Jennifer Blades who at 12:30 were informed that they were doing duets and had them ready by the 6:00pm show under the brilliant guidance of the teaching team.

For anyone interested, here’s a link to the recording I made of the concert.  (Unfortunately we were seated in front of the cafe area, so you also get the hum of the kitchen equipment.)

Here’s what people sang:

  • Hooray for Love — Jennifer Blades
  • Come In From the Rain / Why Did I Choose You ? — ToniRae Brotons / Darryl Anderson
  • I Never Say Anything / My Superman– Chris Cochrane
  • I’ll Get Up Tomorrow Morning — Christy Trapp
  • All of My Life — Darryl Anderson
  • Baby, You Can sleep While I Drive — Marianne Glass Miller
  • When I Fall In Love — Elcindor Johnson
  • It’s a Jungle Out There — Emily Everson
  • Do Right Woman, Do Right Man — Jean McMahon
  • Sleepy Man — Emily Everson & Jennifer Blades
  • Yard Sale — Michael Miyazaki
  • How Did We Come To This ? — Christy Frye
  • On the Other Side of the Tracks — ToniRae Brotons
  • Bye Bye Blackbird — Company

Marianne Glass Miller on Susan Werner

March 31, 2009

Choices, choices!  Ron and I decided to see In Full Light at Germano’s Friday night.  Thankfully for all of us, Marianne Glass Miller was at Susan Werner’s concert at WolfTrap and filed this report:

I’m a big Susan Werner fan, as some of you may know.  And, as much as I love her CD’s, from the folk rock of Last of the Good Straight Girls to the neo-Great American Songbook style of I Can’t Be New, they pale in comparison with her live performances.  Onstage, she is utterly relaxed, engaging, and very funny (think wry wit), but what draws me back to her live concerts is how in command she is of her musical gifts.

Her concert at the Barns at Wolf Trap last Friday night was a treat.  Werner launched into her show with “Hey Hey” (I believe this is a brand new song), then straight into a mini-set of tunes from The Gospel Truth, her 2007 album described by critics as “agnostic gospel” (and by Werner herself as “secular hell-bound material”).   She was accompanied by her excellent percussionist, Trina Hamlin, and by a new bass player, Julia Biber.  At first, there was something a bit tentative about Biber’s playing and I was missing Werner’s long-time bass player, Greg Holt.  Later, it became clear why Biber was part of the band.  Werner has just released a new CD called Classics in which she covers pop songs from the 60’s and 70’s with arrangements for string quartet and classical instruments.  During the last portion of the show when Werner showcased several of these new songs, Biber’s playing lost its tentativeness and her accompaniment was rich and beautiful.  There was even a funny bit in which Biber mimicked other classical cellists’ playing styles and facial expressions, including Yo-Yo Ma’s.

Werner’s voice is rich and supple, and she uses it to best serve her material, whether it’s the smooth lounge style of “I Can’t Be New” or the sardonic folk sensibility of “Probably Not.”  She is equally masterful on guitar and piano.  Her songs encompass so many different musical styles, it would be limiting to call her a cabaret or folk singer.  I think she is truly a great musical communicator.  Don’t miss her the next time she’s in town.

Here’s the set list:

  • Hey Hey
  • Why Is Your Heaven So Small
  • Thy Kingdom Come
  • Sunday Mornings
  • Did Trouble Me
  • Probably Not
  • Time Between Trains
  • Give Me Chicago Any Day
  • I Can’t Be New
  • May I Suggest
  • The Movie of My Life
  • Lonely People
  • Mercy Me
  • I Listen to the Wind
  • Hazy Shade of Winter
  • Help Somebody

Marianne Glass Miller at CHAW

February 7, 2009

I got to see the debut performance of Marianne Glass Miller doing her first solo show, So Far at CHAW. 

Part of me wants to joke that the show should be called About Time since Marianne has been a solid musical presence in DC (dating back to the Off The Circle days with fondly-remembered performers like Pam Bierly, Dorie Legg, and Ann Johnson) without ever actually having done a solo show.  But the proof is in the pudding.  It’s obviously terrific that she waited until she was good and ready to do a show on her own terms because this was a wonderful debut outing.

One of the hardest things for most people approaching their first show is to get their persona right.  But Marianne was the same charming, open, witty, approachable person on-stage than she is off.  I thought she did a terrific job of picking interesting, varied material that she filtered through her own distinct sensibility so it seemed like a cohesive whole.  And she had a variety of charming moments throughout.  One of my favorites was when she admitted an early ambition of being one of Bette Midler’s backup singers, and lip-synched to a recording of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy doing the back-up moves.

George Fulginiti-Shakar provided terrific, imaginitive support and the sure hand of stage director Judy Simmons was evident throughout.

Toward the end of the show, Marianne said “I always used to think of myself as the supporting actor, not the leading lady.”  Well tonight it was lovely to see her take and hold center stage so convincingly.  And best of all, she’s doing it all again Saturday night.

Here’s the song list:

  • When I See an Elephant Fly
  • Take Me to the World
  • Another Night at Darryl’s
  • My Husband Makes Movies
  • Why Walk When You Can Fly
  • Not While I’m Around
  • I Get to Show You the Ocean
  • I Don’t Remember You
  • I Can’t Be New
  • The Last Song
  • It’s the Strangest Thing
  • Before the Parade Passes By
  • (encore) On My Way to You

I have to admit a slight disappointment that she didn’t sing my favorite songs from her repertoire, Come Down From Your Tree and Make Me a Kite, but it just shows the depth of her repertoire.  OR maybe it’s a start for her next show!

Report: CHAWbaret 3

April 22, 2008

In my absence from town, the wonderful Marianne Glass Miller provides this report from CHAWbaret.  Thanks Marianne!!!

“CHAWbaret 3: This STILL Isn’t Over,” the cabaret showcase at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, drew friends, family and cabaret aficionados this past Friday and Saturday nights.  
Hosted by Dean Reichard, who was also one of the performers, the showcase featured Lynne Barstow, Matt Howe, Ilene Photos, Kathy Reilly, Mary Reilly, Justin Ritchie and, yes, myself, all under the inspired musical direction of Amy Conley. 

Here are the songs and who sang them:

  • Comes Once in a Lifetime (Styne/Comden and Green) — Kathy and Mary
  • I’d Rather Be Sailing (Finn)–  Justin
  • Woman Be Wise (Wallace) — Ilene
  • Nobody Does It Like Me — Mary
  • Everybody’s Girl (Kander and Ebb) — Matt
  • Finding Home (Gordon/Landau) — Matt
  • Dance (McBroom) — Mary
  • The Last Song (Goldrich/Heisler) — Marianne
  • Apathetic Man  (Goldrich/Heisler) — Dean
  • Kind of Woman (Schwartz) — Ilene
  • Celibacy (Boyd) — Lynne
  • Take Me to the World (Sondheim) — Marianne
  • The Trouble with Men (Tanner) — Dean
  • Someone to Fall Back On (Brown) — Justin
  • Some Other Time/Goodbye for Now (Bernstein/Comden and Green/Sondheim)–Kathy
  • Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (Idle) — Company



Yale Memories: Marianne Glass Miller

January 12, 2008

      This past spring, my daughter and stepdaughter were patiently awaiting letters from the colleges they had applied to but, ironically, I was the first one in the family to get an acceptance letter: “Oh my God!” I screamed.  “I’m going to Yale!”

      If I had to describe my experience at the Cabaret Conference at Yale, I’d say it was one part boot camp, one part summer camp and one (very large) part epiphany.  For ten amazing days, away from the usual markers of home/work/children, I lived and breathed cabaret, surrounded by people as passionate about it as I.  The stunning Yale campus, complete with quaint courtyards, incredible architecture and a dining hall straight out of Hogwarts, underscored the uniqueness of the experience: I was clearly not in Rockville anymore.

       Our schedule was grueling: early morning classes, a quick lunch, various workshops, a hurried dinner, then the evening treat – a faculty concert nearly every night.  These concerts were one of the highlights of the program.  At each concert I watched a faculty member bring to life some of the feedback and advice I’d heard them give me or a colleague that week.  Every concert was completely different and utterly personal, which reminded me that as much as I admired and even envied some of the voices and acting abilities of the other participants, the point wasn’t about being other than me: it was about becoming me. 

      One of my favorite experiences was working in small groups, the eight of us rotating among the various faculty teams.  As the week went on, our group formed a strong bond. We saw each other start to take risks, approach the same song from a completely different vantage point, drop some of the polish and add more truth.  Of course, Sally Mayes helped speed that process along with her acting exercises that, by the end of our session, had all of us in tears.  I went through a lot of tissues that week.

       It’s difficult to sum up what I learned at Yale.  Some of what I learned was captured in my notebook and on digital voice recorder, and I still refer to these notes when I work on a song.  But I know I’m still absorbing what I learned, like a saturated field slowly drinking in the moisture.  Now when I watch a cabaret artist perform or begin work on a new song, I know I’m seeing, hearing and thinking in a way that I didn’t before – before the summer I went to Yale.