Raissa Recommends

Monday, February 2, 2009

Raissa Recommends week of Feb. 1st. - updated

Hi Friends:

This is the amazing group of musicians who graced the stage of the Iridium for the January installment of Broadway Jazz on Broadway. From left to right, Musical Director Don Rebic, Chip Zien, Joel Rosenblatt (behind Chip) Ann Harada, me, Rosemary Loar, Sage, Tom Kennedy (behind Sage), Kirby Ward and Beverly Ward. If you read this blog last week, I promised you that things would happen onstage at the Iridium that never happened there before! Kirby Ward started it off by accompanying himself on ukulele, then TAP DANCING like a genius madman on a stage crowded with instruments and cords, while singing "I Could Have Danced All Night", and then bringing his gorgeous and talented wife and Broadway actress, Bev Ward, up to join him on a duet/medley of "Boy Wanted/Soon". We'll be bring Bev back to feature in a future Broadway Jazz, and maybe she'll let Kirby sing with her! Ann Harada drenched the room with her stunning mezzo/belt on "If I Were A Bell", "They All Laughed" and then she and pal, Chip Zien brought the house down with "Everything I Have Belongs to You." Chip proved that not only is he a Broadway legend, but that he also knows how to turn tunes like "Pretty Women" and "Look at That Face" into fantastic jazz choices. And you have not lived until you've seen and heard Rosemary Loar's "Quando Swing" which you can at least hear, if you get her CD available at her website. And three of the most talented and just plain FUN musicians there are, Don Rebic, Tom Kennedy and Joel Rosenblatt, played with aplomb. I asked Don to start the evening out, by singing the verse of "Le Jazz Hot" and then I finished it up. Singing that number with Don, and then singing the gorgeous arrangement he created for me of "Soon It's Gonna Rain", were favorite moments for me. I'm so grateful to all these musicians for joining me onstage and to Scott Barbarino for producing the series.

Tuesday night (2/3) at 8 pm I was back at the Iridium watching Laurie Krauz and Daryl Kojak in TAPESTRY REVISITED, which you can catch once a month at the Iridium. OMIGOD they were great! I'm wondering if there is anything Laurie can't sing - what a full voice, gorgeous range and interpretative style she has. Cannot wait to see her again.

Not to be missed either, is Mary Foster Conklin, when she brings her show, MOON & SAND - Songs of Salty Days and Sultry Night, to the Metropolitan Room this Friday and Saturday, 2/6 and 2/7 at 7:30 pm. She promises to cure our collective mid-winter blues, and if you have ever had the chance to see her perform, as I have, you can bet she will!

I promised I would tell you when David Colbert brought back his incredible show "WHAT THE ?!?!" to The Metropolitan Room. Well he's bringing it for one night only on Sunday, February 8th, at 7pm. This show defies categorization - suffice it to say, it was one of the best nights of theatre/cabaret I've ever spent. Directed by Kristine Zbornik, with Musical Direction by Saloner Charles Lindberg, featuring Tanya Holt and Karen Mack with Matt Scharfglass on Bass/Guitar and Justin Hines on Percussion. GO!

Don't forget two great bargains that are available to you every week: BIG NIGHT OUT with the fabulous Jenn Wren and irrepresible Bill Zeffiro at the Reprise Room at Dillons, 254 W. 54th Street - $10 cover, 1 item minimum. Open mic with incredible talent from 9 to 10 pm, and then a special composers showcase starting at 10. Last week I participated when the work of Hector Coris was featured. My face hurt from laughing and smiling so much! What a great night, great talent (like Jenna Esposito, Sierra Rein, Eadie Scott, Doug Shapiro, Johanna Weller - Fahy, to name a few) and great success for such a wonderful man! And every Sunday night, from 7 to 10 pm, for no cover and no minimum, join Mark Janas and Peter Napolitano for THE ALGONQUIN SALON in the lobby of the Algonquin Hotel on West 44th Street between 5th and 6th Avenue. You can sing, play an instrument, recite a scene, poem, story or just sit back and watch the great array of talent that come to share thier gifts. Sign up starts at 6:30 and this week's co-host is one of my favorite gal pals, Jenna Esposito. See y'all there!

I'm taking a few days off this week to rest up a bit and prepare for renovations to our CT home, and then I'm back in the city to record a demo for one of my favorites new shows, AT THE BACK OF THE NORTHWIND, written by Tom Tierney and Jeff Haddow, and directed by Sam Scalamoni. I played the Mom in a reading of this delightful show last year, and Noah Galvin played by son, Diamond. I am looking forward to reuniting with the wonderful cast to record the show.

Till next week...

Love and Light,