It was a crisp autumn day here in New York.
And New York is alive with music!
Last night, I went to the last installment of this season's Raissa Katona Bennett's Tudor City Greens Series in Tudor City Park.
This ended Raissa's 4th season. Julie Warshaw, who used to be the president of The Tudor City Greens, for several years, used to have jazz ensembles, Brass Quintets, and other smaller chamber concerts. Those shows averaged around 50 people.When Julie stepped down from producing these concerts, she asked Raissa, who is a Tudor City resident, if she would like to take this on. Raissa decided, because of her cabaret connections, to tap into a different type of show. She borrowed a sound system from Eva Swan who runs the highly successful Vocal-ease series (performing at hospotals and nursing homes).It paid off. Raissa produced her first Tudor City concert in September of 2008. Almost 250 people showed up! It was so successful, they decided to do it again the following month. Garrett Bennett, Raissa's very supportive husband and co-producer, invested in a more advanced sound system and they continue to build upon this.
The audience attendance was just as impressive. They decided to return in the series and a new cabaret series was born. From May until October for the past four years, the magic of Raissa along with her Broadway and cabaret connections have made Tudor City Greens park alive with the sound of music. I have even been lucky enough to appear! It has gone on to win Raissa a Bistro Award last year and a MAC Award this year!
Last night was glorious and to hear Eric Michael Gillett, Scott Coulter, Raissa, Tonya Moberly, Carole J. Bufford, and others with the musical cacophony of New York City adding to the music was sublime. You can go to their Fan page on Facebook and get on their mailing list or Raissa's mailing list HERE
You can see these entertainers and others here in New York throughout the month. You have two chances to see Eric Michael Gillett in his critically acclaimed Cast of Thousands: Gillett Sings Carnelia on October 12th and the 26th at The Laurie Beechman Theatre at 7PM. MAC Award-winning vocalist and Broadway performer Eric Michael Gillett in "Cast of Thousands" weaves a rich tapestry of song, as Gillett enacts the lives of the thousands of people with whom we interact every day, but may never come to know. Now, 15 years after it was first performed, Gillett returns to the material that inspired his first songbook collaboration. This show is directed by Arthur Masella and musical directed by Jeff Cubeta who also appeared last night.
Finding His Inner Child, Cowboy and Housewife
By STEPHEN HOLDEN
A cowboy, a housewife, a retired widower, 1940s movie stars and kids of all ages: these are among the host of characters who people “Cast of Thousands: Gillett Sings Carnelia,” a one-man musical at the Laurie Beechman Theater. Its variety of humanity brings to mind the world of Lily Tomlin.
The verb “sings” is really inadequate to evoke the acute empathy with which Eric Michael Gillett transforms theater songs by Craig Carnelia into lived experiences. Not only do you see the world through the characters’ eyes, but you also feel it through their nervous systems via Mr. Gillett’s theatrical shamanism. To disgorge the truth, he is not afraid to risk looking ridiculous. This show, which originated 15 years ago at the club Eighty-Eight’s (now defunct) and has since been revised and updated, is an anthology of work by a composer whose talent, sadly, far exceeds any commercial recognition. Mr. Carnelia’s first Broadway musical, “Is There Life After High School?,” in 1982, closed after only 12 performances.
He wrote lyrics for “Sweet Smell of Success” and “Imaginary Friends” and contributed four songs to “Working.”
We meet the wide-eyed elementary-school student studying exploration in “Magellan.” In “Come On Snow” another boy (or perhaps the same one) fervently cheers on a blizzard that might result in a snow day. The centerpiece, “What You’d Call a Dream,” from the 1985 Off Broadway baseball revue “Diamonds” (with songs by many different composers) is the fantasy of a shy adolescent who imagines hitting the winning home run in the final inning of baseball game. Even if it is a wishful dream, it is a moment of pure joy under “a summer sun high in the baseball sky” that “shines like diamonds.” Not all the songs in “Cast of Thousands” are as inspired.
A meticulous miniaturist with an exquisite sense for detail and emotional nuance, Mr. Carnelia can succumb to sentimentality when he generalizes in songs like “Flight” and “Life on Earth.”
But Mr. Gillett, who is accompanied on piano by Jeff Cubeta, exhibits a wholehearted commitment to Mr. Carnelia’s work, good, bad or indifferent, that every songwriter hopes for.
OCT. 21: NY CAB. CONVENTION & MET ROOM
OCT. 24 & 25: BOSTON w/ GINGER ROGERS SHOW
WINNER OF 2011 NIGHTLIFE AND MAC AWARDS TWO EVENTS on FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21st
The Mabel Mercer Cabaret Convention
Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center
TICKETS: firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 980-3026
Oberlin in October: A Song Soiree
The Metropolitan Room
34 West 22nd St.
Between 5th and 6th Avenues Reservations: 212.206.0440 or
BOSTON on OCTOBER 24th & 25th
GINGER ROGERS CENTURY
Starring Karen Oberlin
Singing the songs of Ginger Rogers
MONDAY, OCTOBER 24, 8PM
Special Guest Appearance by Angela Lansbury
TSAI Performing Arts Center
685 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA.
For tickets, call (617) 353-8725 following the opening of the Ginger Rogers Century Exhibition at
Boston University’s Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, 5:30pm
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 25, 7PM
The Coolidge Corner Theatre
290 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA
"Impeccable classic pop style (and) musical intelligence... Oberlin has a pretty voice, poise and interpretive insight."
-- Stephen Holden, The New York Times
"Thrilling! Oberlin is as lovely to look at as she is to hear... Subtle, elegant and musically spot on."
-- Rex Reed, New York Observer
“How much duller Palm Beach would be these days without Karen Oberlin’s sparkling interpretations!”
-- Darrell Hoffheinz, Palm Beach Daily News
“Riveting… Exciting… Poignant… Oberlin mixes exquisite singing with pithy and charming patter. She is a gifted writer and performer."
-- Barbara & Scott Siegel, Theatermania.com
"Oberlin is joyous to behold."
-- Sandi Durell, Cabaret Scenes Magazine
"11 O'Clock Numbers at 11 O'Clock" at Feinsteins's on October 13th, 20th, and 27th starring Scott Coulter, Christina Bianco, and Carole J. Bufford. $15 + $10 food/drink minimum.
“The 11 O’Clock nightcap zap is an “up” show worth staying up late for.” -Rob Lester, Cabaret Scenes
“SPECTACULAR!” – Will Friedwald, The Wall Street Journal
Producer Scott Siegel, in association with Feinstein’s at Loew’s Regency, is attempting to stretch the boundaries of live entertainment in New York just a little bit further in to the night, specifically on Thursday nights, with a musical revue called “11 O’CLOCK NUMBERS AT 11 O’CLOCK.”
The show stars Broadway by the Year veterans Carole J. Bufford and Scott Coulter, plus Drama Desk Nominee and current star of Newsical, The Musical, Christina Bianco.
Performing 11 O’Clock numbers from across Broadway history from the 1930s to the present, the show is aglow with great music performed at the hour at which they were intended.
11 O'CLOCK NUMBERS AT 11 O'CLOCK
Siegel Breaks New Ground with Inexpensive Revue at Feinstein's
The show is created for Feinstein's and produced by Scott Siegel, directed by Scott Coulter, with musical direction by my musical director du jour John Fischer.
FEINSTEIN’S AT LOEWS REGENCY is located at 540 Park Avenue at 61st Street in New York City.
Scott Coulter is one busy man!
THE STORIES IN MY MIND: THE SONGS OF DENNIS LIVINGSTON, a revue of Dennis' songs that opens Oct 8 at the Metropolitan Room in NY and continues Oct 15, Oct 29 and Nov 27, all starting at 4PM. The multi-award winning cast includes Julie Reyburn, Scott Coulter, Kenneth Graham, Christina Connors and Alex Goley, whose bios you can find below.
Every indication is that Scott as director and Kenneth as music director are putting together what will be an exhilarating introduction to Dennis Livingston's work as a contemporary cabaret songwriter – and a second-generation songwriter at that, picking up the heritage his father, Jerry Livingston, left him as a member of the Tin Pan Alley generation of the 1930s and 1940s.
Many people wait till the time draws closer to a show before buying tickets. That time is now for the Oct 8 opening and it’s none too soon to decide if you prefer coming at a later date.
You can easily purchase the $15 tickets ($10 for MAC and Cabaret Hotline members) online directly from my ticket page at the Metropolitan website:
OR you can go to the Metropolitan’s home page:
http://www.metropolitanroom.com (click on Calendar, click to October, click on the show title to see my ticket page)
This Sunday: A TRIBUTE TO IRVING BERLIN
EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN
can be heard every Sunday 9-11 PM(ET)
over WBAI 99.5 FM
and on the Internet at: www.wbai.org
Sunday, October 9th, 2011
This Sunday on EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN
we present an
One Of their Most IMPORTANT ON-AIR FUNDRAISING BROADCAST
A Tribute to
Featuring An Interview With:
Berlin's Daughter & Biographer
MARY ELLIN BARRETT
Plus, We feature pre-recorded in-studio performance by:
Some of the greatest cabaret entertainers EVER!
MARGARET WHITING...JULIE WILSON...BARBARA FASANO
LINA KOUTRAKAS! Singer/songwriter Lina Koutrakos is a Diva for the ages. Her southern influenced music is rooted in both her nomadic childhood and Greek heritage and it presents us with an artist whose voice is alive with a cultural intimacy we didn’t know existed until we experience her incredible talent. Her one in a million voice is equal parts sensual and sizzle. It can whisper in your ear and peel paint off the walls! She sings with amazing spirit, extraordinary energy, and perhaps most exciting of all, a joyous celebration that will rock your soul.
RONNY WHYTE, RALPH BRANDE & More!
Some of the singers
that will be part of the mix:
NANCY WILSON, CHET BAKER, ANDREA MARCOVICCI,
TOM ANDERSEN, LIZA MINNELLI, DICK HAYMES
MARK NADLER, KAY THOMPSON,
BARBARA COOK, MICHAEL FEINSTEIN, NANCY LaMOTT, IRVING BERLIN & More!
And some of the Songs:
"Alexander's Ragtime Band", "What'll I Do",
"Suppertime", "How Deep Is The Ocean",
"The Best Thing For You", "A Couple Of Swell","Reaching For The Moon", "Always", "You Can Have Him"
"They Say It's Wonderful", "When I Lost You",
"Blue Skies", "I Love A Piano", "Heat Wave",
"Oh, How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning "
and More of YOUR REQUESTS!
Email your favorite BERLIN lyric to email@example.com
and they'll share it with their listening audience.
(Please include your name, city, state, or country
& and why it's your favorite lyric)HELP SUPPORT WBAI-FM
& EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN
Call 212.209.2950 with Your Pledge during this broadcast.
(Please Volunteer to answer
the pledge phones during the show.
Tony Middleton has a Great Show planned for Friday, Oct. 21st
The 1st Show is Sold Out,
but there are still seats available for
the 10pm Show!
TERESE GENECCO & HER LITTLE BIG BAND at IRIDIUM NYC!
1650 Broadway @ 51st St
New York, NY
SPECIAL GUEST STAR VOCALIST KAREN MASON (Broadway's "Wonderland," "Mamma Mia," "Hairspray," "Sunset Boulevard") was scheduled to appear but just booked a show in Chicago and had to leave right away for rehearsals so taking her place will be another Broadway star named Mason: LUBA MASON!! (Broadway's "Chicago," "Jekyll & Hyde," "Sunset Blvd," "How To Succeed In Business," Paul Simon's "The Capeman," "The Will Rogers Follies")
TIX AND INFO: www.TheIridium.com or call (212) 582-2121
I thank all the artists mentioned in this blog for the gifts they have given us and CONTINUE to give us!
Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!
Here's to an INCREDIBLE October for ALL...with NO challenges!
Now, GO OUT AND DO SOMETHING FOR SOMEONE ELSE TODAY!
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Tomorrow's blog will be built upon Steve Jobs commencement speech: Life — and death — in his words! I'M OPEN TO SUGGESTIONS!! I'm also seeking a video question for tomorrow!
Please contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS
TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY!
Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com