Raissa Recommends

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Raissa Recommends Reservations - 10/14

Hello Friends!

I'm happily preparing for my debut at FEINSTEINS, on October 19th. I have a lot of "first's" happening on October 19th: I am honored to report that I will be performing a brand new song, written for me by Tony Award Nominated Composer, Michael John LaChiusa! As if that isn't exciting enough, my director, Eric Michael Gillett, will be making a special guest appearance with me, in this show. And, for the first time, I will be featuring a band full of my favorite musicians - Mark Janas, my Musical Director and arranger, on piano, the irrepresible Ritt Henn on bass, the stunning guitar work of Sean Harkness, and the soulful Mayra Casales on percussion. I'm so thrilled about this, AND the fact that they will all be playing on my new CD, too!

Tickets are on sale now, by the way, so make your reservations soon by going to the website or calling 212-339-4095. If you are planning on coming to Feinsteins on 10/19 for my show, I urge you to make reservations soon. The management sets up the room according to the number of reservations on the books, and they can't set up extra tables too close to show time. I'm happy to say that we are over 1/2 reserved at this point, but I would hate for anyone to be turned away. There is a $30 cover (plus additional service/handling charges) and a $25 food/beverage minimum. Premium seating is available.

Last week I was able to take a break from rehearsing and see some pretty incredible shows, which you should all be on the lookout for. Some will be returning, and others are on-going. In the former category, Valerie Lemon wowed them at Feinsteins with her fantastic Hamlish show! It was SRO, and Garrett and I were grateful that we had made our reservations early. Be sure to catch Val the next time she graces the NY Cabaret stages with her presence.

Earlier in the week, I experienced the wonder and talent that is Roger Anthony Mapes, in what may have been his first cabaret outing of this sort in Manhattan. It was his CD release performance, and one of the most fun, life affirming shows I've ever experienced. Oh, and, in addition to that, Roger can SING! His band was incredible - fantastic musicians all - keep your eyes open for a return engagement.

I attended the 20th Annual Cabaret Convention last week, too. It was my first time and I was blown away by the talent, and the love that Donald Smith has for this community and the artform. We owe him and his staff Mabel Mercer Foundation a huge debt of gratitude for keeping their tireless work in keeping the artform alive.

At the Cabaret Convention, I became a huge fan of Beckie Menzie and Tom Michael, amoung others. I wish I had the chance to meet them after and tell them how great they were, but I didn't so I'll do it here! They are visiting us from the Windy City and will be performing one night only, at the Metropolitan Room on, you guessed it, Monday, October 19th, at 7 pm. The bad news is, I can't go see them, because I'll be getting ready for my show at Feinsteins. However, YOU all can go see them, then pile in a cab and make it to my 8:30 show at 61st and Park in plenty of time. I highly recommend you do, and be sure to make reservations!

2 more shows to recommend: I was in the house for the opening of How To Be A Good Italian Daughter (In Spite of Myself) at the Cherry Lane Studio Theatre on Columbus Day (fitting!). Run, don't walk, to see the amazing Antoinette LaVecchia in this one woman show, that I believe she wrote herself! It will especially ring true if you are Italian - or Jewish - or a daughter - or married to a daughter - or divorced from a daughter - you get the idea. Google the show to read the great reviews.

Finally, reserve now and save the date, Oct. 26th, 9:30 pm, 212-695-6909 at the Beechman, for the premiere concert version Pinocchio of Chelsea, written by Peter Napolitano and Mark Janas. This MAC award winning team, (for the song from the show, "Come Home") is being presented as a benefit for Cabaret Cares. The show will feature the talents of Eric Michael Gillett, Nick Cearley, Lennie Watts, Christopher DeProphetis, Mick Bleyer, Stephen Wilde, Marcie Henderson, David Vernon, Tyrone Robinson, Kyle Hines, Brian Fahey, and Jeff Biering. You can bet I'll be there.

Hope you are all having a great week and see you at the shows!

Love and light,


"Live simply, love generously,
care deeply, speak kindly." Rev. Shay St. John