Scena Theater Brecht Fundraiser at the Goethe Institute

June 6, 2009

Brecht Evening – Texts, Songs & Scenes by Bertolt Brecht.

June 9th, 6-10pm / Goethe-Institut Washington / 812 Seventh Street, NW

I’ve been asked to perform in a fundraiser for Scena Theater at the Goethe Institute Tuesday night, June 9th.  Barbara Pappendorp and Michael Sazanov are also slated to sing, and I believe people from the cast of Mother Courage will also be reading some Brecht poems.  It should be a more fun time than “Brecht evening” implies.  Really! 

More info.

Going Psycho (Cabaret)

July 19, 2008

I finally caught Psycho Cabaret, the DC Cabaret Network entry in this year’s Fringe Festival.  What a terrific show!  From the moment Chris Cochran, Lonny Smith and Michael Sazonov launch into Stress at the top of the show to the time that the company concludes with As We Stumble Along, the show is 55 minutes of delights.  They’re too numerous to list here, but special favorites include Emily Everson’s take on Don’t Touch Me (from Young Frankenstein), Lonny Smith’s Run Away with Me, Judy Simmon’s Another Winter in a Summer Town (from Grey Gardens), and Terri Allen’s Saturday Night.  I always love Michael Sazonov’s work — his What Is It About Her? was up to his usual standard of excellence; and even though I didn’t quite buy The Lies of Handsome Men told from a heterosexual male perspective, it’s thrilling to watch an artist make fascinating, bold, risky choices.  Also, Jeff Tucker was doing an amazing job mixing sound throughout the show.

I do have to take whoever is doing the marketing for this show to task.  The communications I’ve seen from the DC Cabaret Network have a “please support us” / floss your teeth rationale as the argument why people should see this show.  And I think that does a disservice to the people performing.  People should see this show because it’s a terrific show!

The songs…

  • Stress  — Ensemble
  • Don’t Touch Me — Emily Everson
  • You Wnna Be My Friend — Arlene Hill
  • Twisted — Terri Allen
  • What Is It About Her? — Michael Sazonov
  • I’m Not My Mother  — Chris Cochrane
  • Run Away With me — Lonny Smith
  • Another Winter in a Summer Town — Judy Simmons
  • Sweet Dreams — George Fulginiti-Shkar
  • Shattered Illusions — Ensemble
  • Lies of Handsome Men — Michael Sazonov
  • I Don’t Remember Christmas — Chris Cochrane
  • Would You Let Me — Roy Zimmerman
  • What Am I Doin’? — Lonny Smith
  • Saturday Night — Terri Allen
  • Ghost of a Chance — Arlene Hill
  • The Best Thing to Happen to Me — Judy Simmons
  • As We Stumble Along — Ensemble

Michael Sazonov on YouTube

May 14, 2008

Fresh from his terrific turn in Scena Theatre’s The Plague, Michael Sazonov has put together a YouTube Video:

Hello Lovely People,

I hope this email finds you well.  I have some good news:  I’ve finally ventured into the nether regions of the galaxy and put something on YouTube… I’m not as skillfull as I would’ve hoped, because my laptop wouldn’t hold anything near a movie length in size, so I’ve developed what I hope to be a rather nice photo montage over my rendition of ‘If I Ever Say I’m Over You’ by John Bucchino.  As some of you may know, I recorded it almost 6 months ago for my debut CD and cabaret/one man show entitled MY WELL SCHOOLED HEART.. Soon I’ll have some of the songs from one of the three live performances up online as well…
Thank you so much for your time and I hope you enjoy the song and video! 

Take Care,

Report: Michael Vitaly Sazonov at CHAW

February 27, 2008


I FINALLY made it to see Michael Vitaly Sazonov’s show, My Well Schooled Heart: The Education of a Young, Modern Day Romantic, when it played CHAW Monday night.

Let me say, right off the bat, that Sazonov is a terrific young performer.  He combines movie star looks with a brooding intensity tempered by an occasional mischievous grin.  He has a terrific vocal attack when singing, an obvious commitment to his material, and makes some fascinating melodic choices.  And Alex Tang as music director certainly remains on his game, providing cinematic support for a very intricate piece.

Unlike a cabaret act where the singer has chosen a roster of songs that are occasionally connected/interrupted by patter, Sazonov has created an extended monologue with musical interludes.  Sazonov discourses on his experiences with love and romance, emotional game-playing, and healing with a fervent intensity.  And he lapses into a terrific collection of songs.  But the piece feels like a shotgun marriage of Spalding Gray and Michael Buble.  On the other hand, with its verbal twists and turns, its “sampling” of material, and the feeling of multiple jump cuts, we may be seeing the birth of GenZ Cabaret. 

I really respect and really loved the commitment that Sazonov brings to the material, and his passion and desire to communicate.  But I never felt that he was having a conversation with me as an audience member.  And the sheer barrage of words occasionally felt like an assault, which sadly often didn’t allow a lot of time to process the very meaty text he scripted.  And the protean energy he expended in his performance occasionally exhausted me.  And made me feel old.

Which brings us to the age issue.  It’s really hard for someone in the usual cabaret audience demographic to hear someone of Sazonov’s youth say, “I remember my first love” without thinking “You should, it was only last week.”  No matter how well-contexted, Blame It On My Youth should at least be saved for someone’s  4th decade.  But like Spring Awakening, the occasional callowness of his script is part of the charm of hearing the genuine, affecting discoveries that someone of his age is making.

And a huge plus on the age factor — at least half of his audience was made up of people under 30.  So if anyone is drawing that demographic to hear this material, I will keep celebrating and encouraging his work.

I look forward to seeing Sazonov grow and his work mature.  And catching him early, you’ll all be able to say, “I remember when…”

Here’s the list of what he sang:

  • If I Ever Say I’m Over You
  • So in Love
  • I Fall in Love Too Easily
  • Blame It On My Youth
  • TwentySomething
  • It’s All Right With Me
  • Sway
  • What Is It About Her?
  • Lonely House
  • Being Alive
  • Better Than I
  • You’ve Got Something
  • Now and Forever
  • Day By Day
  • Grateful
  • Moon River

Michael Sazonov at CHAW — February 25th

February 17, 2008
He’s the Energizer bunny of local cabaret artists …
Michael Sazonov encores his show, My Well-Schooled Heart, at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (545 7th St SE, Washington), Monday,  25 February, 2009 at 8:00pm.
Tickets are $15 and reservations are available at 202-664-1138.

Michael Sazonov this Friday

January 30, 2008

Michael Sazonov reprises his show, “My Well Schooled Heart” this Friday, 1 February.

‘My Well Schooled Heart’ is a cabaret-style, one-man show exploring the education of a young, modern day romantic.   
It’s this Friday, February First at 8 pm
Are twenty dollars and include your first beverage and hors d’oeuvres and a great seat in an intimate setting.  Tickets are only sold at the door starting at 7:15 on the night of the performance.   
Maggie’s Place and St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church is located at 1820 Connecticut Ave NW (about seven blocks north of Dupont Circle). 
For more information, or call 202/363.1830.

This Weekend at INDIGO

December 6, 2007

Two shows that look terrific!

Michael Sazonov- MY WELL SCHOOLED HEART, the education of a young, modern day romantic
Michael takes you by the hand as he travels on that bumpy road through Love, Loss, Lust, and Life using his extraordinary voice to passionately evoke such musical contemporaries as John Bucchino, Andrew Lippa, and Stephen Sondheim as well as reverently conjuring some of his other favorites…Cole Porter, Kurt Weill, and Sammy Cahn. Delicately blending contemporary wit and classic charm, this is a journey that will seduce you with its daring, marvelously funny revelations.
Friday, December 07, 2007 at 9:00 PM

Mary Stout and Sally Martin
‘Tis the season to set your heart singing with two of the shining lights of cabaret. From the just- completed Broadway production of “Beauty and the Beast” comes the warm voice of Mary Stout. Whether her songs are designed to make you laugh or take you back to the days of the Red Hot Mamas or even bring a tear to the eye, Mary Stout wins acclaim whenever she performs. Then add the shimmering soprano of chanteuse Sally Martin, whose new CD “Another Time, Another Place” has been praised as “a dazzling array of choices” by acclaimed author and lyricist Judith Viorst. Combined, Mary Stout and Sally Martin bring the ultimate evening of song to the new Indigo room at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. Musical direction by James R. Fitzpatrick and with Deborah Brudvig on cello. Don’t miss this delightful, funny, and sophisticated entertainment. It’s a great kick off to the holidays!
Saturday, December 08, 2007 at 7:30 PM & 9:30 PM

Shows are $22.50 with a two drink minimum

INDIGO — Cabaret, Jazz  and Comedy at the Atlas Performing Arts Center1333 H Street, NE, Washington, DC202-399-7993  BOX OFFICE