Raissa Recommends

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Raissa Recommends New Shows, A New Class and my Own Show - January 2010

Dear Friends:

Happy New Year! We are starting the year off with a bang. So much to recommend to you and I will be attending most of these shows - all of them, if I could!

First, my director and friend, Eric Michael Gillett brings another new show, "All My Best", to Feinstein's that is a wonderful mix of his greatest hits and some terrific new stuff, on January 15th and 16th. You won't want to miss this. Eric is revisiting some of my favorite songs from shows he did years ago, that I never had the chance to see as well.

Starting on January 28th, is a fantastic class that I took last season with Paul Bogaev, which focuses on vocal technique and audition material for the shows that are being produced in theatre, today. Paul is unique in that he works very effectively in all vocal styles, from pop and rock to opera, and gets great results from ALL levels of singer. He's adept at combining the acting with the vocal technique, showing how they really go hand in hand in helping you achieve the desired result, in a safe manner. As a "legit" singer, this has been amazingly helpful to me in navigating the current trends in pop/rock. Paul works individually with each student for approximately 20 minutes during the class and I find that I learn just as much from watching my colleagues work with him, as I do when it's my turn. Additionally, for this next session, Paul is offering students the opportunity to be videoed, so they can watch themselves later - an invaluable tool. There are several sections and times available for these classes, and space is very limited, so I recommend you contact Maureen Hammill at hammillmm@aol.com or at 917-656-1504 to set up an appointment/consultation.
Oh, and just to give you a mere sampling of Paul's pedigree: he's won Grammy's and Emmy's for his work on Broadway's AIDA and the TV version of ANNIE, been nominated for a Tony Award for his work on BOMBAY DREAMS, supervised, produced and conducted the music for the films: CHICAGO, and most recently, NINE. His many Broadway credits as Musical Director include: TARZAN, SUNSET BOULEVARD, LES MISERABLES, CATS CHESS...etc., etc. It seems that Paul has worked with just about everybody including: Phil Collins, Sting, Glenn Close, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx, Beyonce Knowles, Celine Dion, Liam Neeson, Michael Bolton, Harry Connick Jr., Fergie, BARBRA STRIESAND!!!...you get my point.

Monday night, 1/4, I was at the Beechman to herald the arrival of Phil Geoffrey Bond's new book, "All The Sad Young Men", featuring performances of some of B'way's finest, along with Phil reading his own new work. All attending receive a copy of the book with their cover charge as well. Quite frankly, I could listen to Phil read the phone book, and when he reads his own stuff, it's magic. It was one of my favorite nights in theatre or cabaret. This new book also contains his first book, "My Friend, The Cat", so it's a double bonus if you go to http://www.amazon.com/ and order it!

Next, one of my favorite comedians that has often opened for Eric Michael, Richard Cramer, performs at Carolines Comedy Club on Broadway this Wed. 1/6 at 7 pm - I'll definitely be there! And speaking of favorite comedians, I'll be performing with another of my fav's, Danny Leary, when we both appear as guests on Q Talk on Friday, 1/29 at the new, earlier time of 9:45 pm at the Metropolitan Room.

Another dear friend and tremendously talented lady is Julie Reyburn, returning to Feinstein's with her CD release show on January 12th, and I hear that they've added a few new songs as well as the ones featured on the CD. I was at the show they recorded and I can promise you that this CD will be fantastic, as well as getting to see Miss Julie live! You can also catch her this week at Lincoln Center Triangle Barnes and Noble for her CD signing and free concert featuring some selections from it. I'll meet you there at 6 pm.

And thank God that Gretchen Reinhagen is returning to the Metropolitan Room with her hit show, "Special Kaye", her tribute to Kaye Ballard, because I missed this phenomenal show last month, and everyone raved about it. I get another chance to see it this month, Jan. 17th & 24th at 4 pm, and Feb. 4th at 7:30 pm.

Jackie Draper is at the Beechman on 1/17 at 4 pm with her show, "Something New In My Life", her 10th and newest show, and I can't wait to see this lady in action. Also at the Beechman that same week, on 1/22, is Roger Anthony Mapes, reprising his hit show from last year, "House of Joy" and boy was the house full of joy during this show. I can highly recommend it - what an uplifting experience it was to see Roger in all his glory - go!

Tuesday, 1/19, Shaynee Rainbolt innaugurates a new space for all of us to check out - Ashford and Simpson's Sugar Bar, 254 W. 72nd, NYC, 2 sets, 7:30 and 10 pm for, get this, only a $10 cover and NO MINIMUM! Dinner is available too, and I'm looking forward to seeing this talented lady at this new venue.

More must sees: Karen Oberlin in "A Wish", this Sat. 1/10 @ 8:30, Daryl Glenn in "Daryl Sings Steve" on 1/17 @ 8:30 pm, and Sue Matsuki in "Ella & Me" Sun. 1/31 @ 8:30 pm all making their Feinstein's debuts! It is so exciting to see so many talented and generous performers taking this exciting step!

And last, but I hope not least, if you didn't get a chance to see me at Feinstein's in October, I'm reprising the show I did there, as a special, one night only benefit for Cabaret Cares at the Beechman on January 31st, at 7 pm. I'll be joined by my musical team of Ritt Henn on bass, Mayra Casales on percussion, Sean Harkness on guitar and my musical director and arranger, Mark Janas on piano. My director, Eric Michael Gillett, joins me onstage for 2 numbers, and I'll be performing the song written for me especially for this show, by Tony Award nominated composer, Michael John LaChiusa.

See you at the shows! Blessings to you and yours as we head into 2010.

Love and Light,