Raissa Recommends

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Raissa Recommends - week of 9/23/09

Hi Friends:
Busy, busy after the final Concert at Tudor City Greens 2 weeks ago! Needed a little down time - those shows take a lot out of me! Miss Brandy Alexandra Bennett turned 15 years old on Sept. 17th (so she's about 75 years old in human years!) and Garret and Otie and I were very busy celebrating her birthday - she still runs like hell down the hallway and does "race track" in the house in CT where she has traction - hope I'm moving that well when I'm her age!

Now onto working on my own debut show for Feinsteins, doing a guest spot in Phil Bonds, "My Friend, the Cat", at the Beechman as a benefit for Zani's Furry Friends(see last blog posting) and letting you know about some great shows to see.
My dear friend and long time Musical Director, David Caldwell, has a fantastic opportunity to musical direct a world premiere of a new musical. However, it takes him out of town for the whole month before my show, so my good friend, the incredibly talented Mark Janas, has agreed to take the helm as my Musical Director for the Feinsteins gig! Mark and I have done many shows together, and we're excited to see where this new show is taking us, with Eric Michael Gillett directing the project! We'll be joined by a band comprised of Sean Harkness, Ritt Henn and Mayra Casales. So excited to have this Band!

Pictured here, thanks to Ted Story, are the cast, crew, musicians, and alumni of the final Tudor City Greens Concert of the season. (Forgive me for not putting in all the performers links.) Pictured L to R Back row: Karen Oberlin, Sean Harkness, Peter Napolitano, Mark Janas, Dr. Garrett Bennett, Bill Zeffiro, Marcus Simeone, Hector Coris, Lennie Watts, Chris Caswell, Jim Followell, Brad Parks, Steven Ray Watkins, Maureen Taylor. Front row - L to R - Cynthia Crane, Maria Moncado, Rita Gardner, BOROUGH PRESIDENT SCOTT STRINGER, Raissa Katona Bennett, COUNCILMAN DAN GARODNICK, Baby Jane Dexter. Missing from photo: Peter Haas, John DePalma, David Gurland.

It was a pretty awesome night, filled with Broadway and cabaret stars, 350 + people in attendance, and then, because it was the season finale with special guests, BP Scott Stringer and Councilman Dan Garodnick (who were a blast to play around with!) honoring us with their presence, real stars came out on the balmy, breezy night, and the old fashioned lamplights illuminated the singers in the most beautiful way! Many thanks to all who came and all who participated!

"Lovely" is one of my all time favorite cabaret shows. It'll be playing this Friday, 9/25 at 9:15 pm at Don't Tell Mama, and it stars Kelly Briggs and Jerry Christakos as "Christy Van de Camp" and "Dar Williams". I go EVERYTIME I can - I can't go this week, but you can. Reservations are a must! 212-757-0788.
"Lovely" is also the way to describe Maureen Taylor - she's bringing her brand new show to the Metropolitan Room and she described it to me this way: "From the simple to the sublime, Bob Merrill celebrated the "ordinary" man. Rediscover How Much Is That Doggie In The Window, Mambo Italiano, Love Makes The World Go Round, Funny Girl and more....and celebrate THIS "extraordinary" man! Oct.25, 26 & Nov.8,9. 2 Sundays@ 4PM / 2 Mondays@ 7PM. Musical Director: Matt Castle, Director: Peter Napolitano. (Discounts for MAC, Cabaret Hotline, AEA, AFTRA, SAG ) Reservations: 212.206.0440

Now, I don't want to miss anyone, but other TCG alumni who still have fantastic shows coming up, and who come to mind, (because they've recently sent out emails to me) and all of which I've seen, are Karen Oberlin, Sarah Rice, Spider Saloff, Hector Coris, Lennie Watts and Sue Matsuki - click on their links/names and their sites will give you the info - I highly recommend them all!

Oh, and I hope you come see me too, on Oct. 19th at Feinsteins - call 212-339-4095 for reservations!

Love and light,