Currently in the heart of Broadway there are a number of shows that they say have been written to empower women, to discuss homosexuality and other sexual preferences and a third that takes a historical look at a nation divided. But uptown on 72nd Street just off Broadway in a small cabaret venue one show covers all three of these topics with passion, class and not one of those four-letter words that have become too prevalent in our current Broadway season. Margo & Juliette (A Dance on the Volcano in Weimar Berlin) at The Triad stars writer, director and choreographer of the show Adrienne Haan and co choreographer, Magali Dahan.
When you first sit down at your table at the Triad you realize you are not there for a traditional style cabaret show with 75 minutes of songs and banter; you a greeted with a program listing over 20 songs with an intermission – this will be a real show so sit back and enjoy. These songs are written over 100 years ago but are still fresh and new today sung by these two actress/singers. They tell a story of post World War 1 Germany, suffering from inflation so high deutschmarks are carried in wheelbarrows to pay for weekly groceries ($6 gas doesn’t sound so bad). It was a time when social mores and views on sex were becoming more liberal and the songs of the time showed that, with titles such as Naughty Lola, Blonde Women and I Am a Vamp – some of these sung by the duo as seductive ballads; others as witty dance tunes.
I won’t go into song by song I will just whet your appetite with what to expect. Each of the singers, Ms Haan and Dahan are given solos which truly show off their vocal ranges. They also have some numbers where their comic timing is revealed when they alternate verses, complimenting each other’s voices while telling an entertaining story. Additionally, they give us some wonderful harmonies throughout the evening so that each song is a surprise in its delivery and arrangement.
The two women, Adrienne Haan and Magali Dahan are true performers with voices and personality that can bring an audience to laughter or tears by the delivery of their songs. In addition, I must give raves to their musical director and pianist, Richard Danley who not only keeps up with the duo but also directs them nonstop through the two dozen songs.
As I said this is not just a cabaret; it is a show with all the aspects of A SHOW: a storyline, costume changes (7 different wardrobes between the two, ranging from seductress in fishnet stockings to equally alluring tailored tuxedoes); choreography – jaunty kicks to elegant waltz; lighting and definitely acting. I first saw Ms. Haan in her one woman show at the Triad a month ago and I remarked on her expressive face. Big eyed surprised look, cross eyed confused; open mouthed shock or pursed lips annoyance and a comical new one this show that reminded me of one of Lucy Riccardo’s rubber faced Ewwws. Both women control the stage and they use every bit of it; sitting on the piano, chairs, floor; leaning on the walls and coming into the audience to have fun with their guests. The show is supposedly set in a nightclub called Chaos Cabaret; but the 2 hours spent there are so polished that the name sounds ironic.
This show is entertaining; but, as I said, addresses specific meaningful topics that were relevant in the 1920-30 era of Germany and are still discussed in today’s United States: women’s rights on equality and abortion; sexual preferences; discrimination based on religion or race. The show is not written to preach as some Broadway shows have recently been revived and revised; but, you do get some things to think about after leaving the Triad.
One of my favorite moments of the evening was when the two women embraced in a very passionate kiss; a voice from the audience exclaimed, “Oh no!” which was quickly followed by another audience voice encouraging, “More, more!” It shows that there are many opinions of life today and Margo and Juliette accept them all.
Margo & Juliette has three more performances at The Triad 158 W72nd Street on May 19 and 25 at 7 PM and May 21 at 2PM.
Events For December
Cabaret, Talks and Concerts For December
Tis the season to be entertained. Here are picks:
92 Street Y: 1395 Lexington Ave. 12/2 – 4: Lyrics & Lyricists In the Key of Life: The Genius of Stevie Wonder. Led by Broadway’s Darius de Haas; 12/5: Recanati-Kaplan Talks Death, Let Me Do My Show: Rachel Bloom in Conversation and 12/14: Sharon Stone and Jerry Saltz Talk About Art.
Birdland Jazz: 315 West 44 St. Every Monday at 5:30 Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks and 9:30pm Jim Caruso’s Cast Party; Every Tuesday at 8:30pm The Lineup with Susie Mosher; Every Saturday at 7pm Eric Comstock with Sean Smith (Bass) & special guest Barbara Fasano (Voice); 12/11: Karen Mason for her annual Christmas show “Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!”; 12/12 – 16 Stacy Kent; 12/18: James Barbour returns to Birdland with his annual Holiday Concert: 12/21 – 25: “A Swinging Birdland Christmas” starring Birdland regulars Klea Blackhurst, Jim Caruso and Billy Stritch and 12/28 – 31: Marilyn Maye.
Cafe Carlyle: 35 E 76th St. 12/1 – 9: Sutton Foster; 12/12 – 16: Gavin DeGraw and 12/19 – 31: Michael Feinstein.
Carnegie Hall: 881 7th Ave at 57th St. 12/5: Christmas with Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith; 12/6: Dee Dee Bridgewater with Sean Jones and the NYO Jazz All-Star Big Band; 12/13: Michael Feinstein and Jean-Yves Thibaudet and 12/22 – 23: The New York Pops The Best Christmas of All with Norm Lewis
Don’t Tell Mama: 343 W. 46 St.
Dizzys Club Coca Cola: Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th Street.
Alec Wilder Tribute
Devotees of the Great American Songbook have another reason to love living in New York. Yes, cabaret shows of the music of Porter, Rodgers et al abound here of course, but once a year there is a loving tribute to a lesser-known composer. Some of us may have even passed him on West 44th Street as he was leaving his home in the Algonquin Hotel. This dapper gentleman was Alec Wilder, a musician who wrote classical pieces as well as songs. He wrote words and music, and sometimes let the likes of Marshall Barer, Fran Landesman and even Johnny Mercer supply lyrics. There are a few of these titans who can have one foot in Tin Pan Alley and the other in Carnegie Hall. George Gershwin comes to mind immediately; Cole Porter dabbled but reverted to what he could do best. Wilder also wrote American Popular Song/The Great Innovators 1900-1950, a volume respected by those who love the music of that era.
The Friends of Alec Wilder presented their 38th Annual Concert for an audience of seriously devoted fans of Wilder on November 11th at 54 Below.
Mark Walter, FOAW Board Member and son of noted pianist and friend of Wilder’s Cy Walter, introduced Honorary Host Steve Ross, who along with the ever-amiable Eric Comstock interspersed the music with anecdotes about Wilder which rounded out the portrait of the gentleman being painted so effectively by the rest of the cast.
The afternoon began with one of Wilder’s chamber works, presented lovingly by The Wilderness Trio. Eric Comstock followed, summing up Wilder by saying that his music never went out of vogue because it was never in vogue. Wilder is like that secret ingredient that once having tasted it, one yearns for it thereafter. Eric sang four songs, infusing I’ll Wait with his ineffable sass and charm before being joined by his wife, the spunky and gorgeous Barbara Fasano, who made each lyric come to life in ways Wilder would have appreciated. Sean Smith provided bass support, and the trio which has been a mainstay at Birdland illuminated Wilder’s deep emotional grasp of the human condition.
The Wildebeest Wind Quintet followed with the Alice in Wonderland Suite, which showed Wilder at his classically playful best. Jason Henderson carried some of that lightheartedness into his segment, with two songs that benefited from his natural charm and enthusiasm. Steve Ross made the heart ache a bit with his rendition of the plaintive Did You Ever Cross Over to Sneden’s? before closing the program by encouraging everyone to join him in singing I’ll Be Around, perhaps the best known of Wilder’s songs.
If your interest in Alec Wilder has been piqued, visit alecwildermusicandlife.com.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Sutton Foster and Kelli O’Hara With The NY Pops
One Night Only: An Evening with Sutton Foster and Kelli O’Hara with the NY Pops is happening Friday 8pm, at Carnegie Hall. This unique program by NY Pops conductor Steven Reineke, pays homage to earlier icons of stage and screen who teamed up for memorable concerts.
T2C Talks To Paul Iacono, Unfiltered
Actor and writer Paul Iacono, best known for the films Fame, G.B.F., and MTV’s “The Hard Times Of RJ Berger,” returns to The Green Room 42 in “Paul Iacono, Unfiltered,” His bawdy evening of excess and exposé happens tonight Friday, November 17 at 9:30 PM. T2C had a chance to talk to this 3 decade seasoned performer.
Paul Iacono, is best known for his portrayal of the title character on MTV’s “The Hard Times of RJ Berger.” Paul was first featured on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” at age eight, after she discovered his unique talents for impersonating Frank Sinatra and Ethel Merman Favorite stage credits include Mercury Fur (The New Group), Bridget Everett’s Rock Bottom (Joe’s Pub), Noël Coward’s Sail Away with Elaine Stritch (Carnegie Hall), John Guare’s Landscape of the Body with Lili Taylor and Sherie Rene Scott (Signature Theater), and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs with Donna Lynne Champlin and Michele Pawk (Transport Group). Favorite film credits include MGM’s remake of Fame, Drew Barrymore’s Animal, Darren Stein’s G.B.F., Extracurricular Activities, and Dating My Mother with Kathy Najimy. Iacono’s play Prince/Elizabeth premiered at The Teatro LATEA Theater co-starring Sofia Black D’Elia and Peter Vack, and The Last Great Dame (loosely inspired by his relationship with Elaine Stritch) at Jane Friedman’s HOWL! Happening Gallery. His cabaret “Where’s the Fucking Kid?” premiered at 54 Below, with “Psychedelic Hedonism” following at Joe’s Pub (New York Magazine “Critic’s Pick”), and “Psychedelic Playhouse” at The Green Room 42.
Join Paul for a surreal vaudevillian celebration through the highs, lows, and misadventures from his past five years out of the spotlight. Directed by Eric Gilliland and written by Iacono, Paul weaves insanely personal and wildly hilarious moments from Hollywood to 42nd Street and beyond, accompanied onstage by music director Drew Wutke, with music consulting and arrangements by Peter Saxe.
Paul Iacono, Unfiltered on Friday, November 17 at 9:30 PM at The Green Room 42 (570 Tenth Avenue at 42nd Street, on the 4th Floor of Yotel).
Video by Magda Katz
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