Bonnie Milligan Gets Happy at Feinstein’s/54 Below
There’s just something irresistable about Bonnie Milligan. Maybe it is her self-effacing sense of humor, the warmth of her spirit, or her powerhouse belt. But it doesn’t matter what her secret is. All that undeniable something drew a packed house to her final concert at Feinstein’s/54 Below on Sunday night.
She opened her show with a Latin infused rendition of “Raise the Roof” that threatened to bring down the basement ceiling with the cheers of her audience.
Most of her legion of adoring fans at Feinstein’/54 Below seemingly saw her debut Broadway performances as Princess Pamela in the Go-go’s musical, “Head Over Heels”, proving that royal beauty doesn’t have to come in a size two. Cleary, Ms. Milligan is not a woman to be denied, as she affirmed by singing Sondheim’s “Everybody Says Don’t.”
As she cheerfully told us, she was delighted to be back from pretending her family home in Ohio was her favorite NYC karaoke place for the last year and a half. Of course, It’s been a while anyway since she worked as a waitress at Landmarc Restaurant in the Time Warner Center, and only got to let loose vocally after work at Duet 53.
Behind all her deliberate casualness is a wickedly sly sense of humor. She had us all going when she claimed to have fallen in love while hiding from the pandemic in Ohio. Turns out she fell in love with Netfix, Hulu, “Golden Girls “, every season of “The Walking Dead,” and all of the Marvel superhero movies, in order, which she revealed with slides behind her as she sang a medley of “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” “Time After Time”, “Time Heals Everything” and “All By Myself”, bringing gales of empathetic laughter from her audience, most of whom have been equally housebound.
Ms. Milligan made no bones about having missed being onstage for all this time, comparing her love for the theater to “The Music That Makes Me Dance” and describing this year of isolation as equivalent to missing “The Man Who Got Away.”
After apologizing for too many ballads, she rolled out the cute and upbeat with her nod to the cheerfulness of Doris Day, and sang “Get Happy.” She also tipped her cap to Cass Elliot singing “Make Your Own Kind of Music.”
Ms. Mulligan’s money notes are her soaring, wailing belts. Great as she is, at times it felt like sitting through a day of “Wicked” auditions. Also, her voice isn’t as strong or full in her lower register, and when she was mixed behind the drums, as she seemed to be too often, it didn’t help her.
However, her quieter moments were always filled with a powerful intimacy, as when she sang “She Used to Be Mine” from “Waitress.”
She was backed in her show by a talented all female band consisting of Meg Zervouils (piano/MD), Sherisse Rogers (bass) and Rosa Avila (drums). They provided solid support for an evening enthusiastically and successfully celebrating Broadway girl power.
My View: The Only Thing Missing Was A Latte ( with extra foam) Marcy & Zina Party at 54 Below
The only thing missing at last night’s party for Marcy and Zina was a Latte choice in the beverage section on the menu at 54 Below (with extra foam). The show, titled Make Your Own Party: The Songs of Goldrich and Heisler was conceived by Scott Coulter and performed by a cast of five. It celebrated over three decades of quirky, heartfelt and utterly contemporary romantic comedy songs written by Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich.
From “Taylor the Latte Boy” to under appreciated altos we were introduced to the cast of characters that inspired these inseparable, irreverent friends to write over three hundred and counting musical love letters to the city, the theatre, and the people who make them sing. The evening was filled with the heart felt stories that these two award winning women have created and was performed by a first rate cast of Broadway super singers. The lyrics, the music, the luscious harmonies…it was the best party of music I’ve ever been invited to.
The Performers: Jill Abramowitz, Cole Burden, Alex Getlin, Joe Kinosian, Kelli Rabke, and Austin Rivers.
Joe Kinosian,piano, Matt Scharfglass, bass
Marcy & Zina have been performing and writing together since 1992. Their critically acclaimed romantic comedy songs have been featured in venues across the world, recorded by artists across many genres, and appear in numerous folios and collected works. Their Off-Broadway musical Dear Edwina earned them a Drama Desk nomination, and other works have been produced by regional powerhouses such as Paper Mill playhouse, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Goodspeed, and the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. Their shows include Ever After, JUnie B Jones, and The Great American Musical, based on the bestselling book by auther/director Julie Andrews.
Reeve Carney: Singing The Divas
After countless sellout performances, Reeve Carney returned to The Green Room 42 to play another solo concert while starring in Hadestown on Broadway. He is best known for his portrayal of Dorian Gray on Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful,” Riff Raff in Fox’s Rocky Horror Picture Show Reimagining, as well as originating the role of Peter Parker in Julie Taymor/U2’s Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. For one night only Reeve performed a collection of songs traditionally sung by Broadway and vocal divas. Starting out was the perfect song to make us take notice. “Ladies Who Lunch” from Company, never sounded so nuanced, poignant or jazzy.
Next up was “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music, “Beauty School Dropout” from Grease and “Losing My Mind” from Follies. Reeve’s girlfriend Eva Noblezada talked him into doing the later song. Reeve has a style that combines rockabilly flare with jazz and rock. It is unique and this spin adds a new take on these familiar songs.
Having shared a dressing room with Patti LuPone “Anything Goes” was sung as a tribute. Not leaving out the great Ethel Merman “”I Got the Sun in the Mornin’ (and the Moon at Night)” from Annie Get Your Gun was delivered ala Reeve Carney.
Dame Shirley Bassey’s “Goldfinger” was a tribute to the 007 genre and brought back memories of Jeff Buckley.
In high school Reeve was not in the schools plays but played “Whatever Lola Wants” for a production of Damn Yankees.
Judy Garland’s iconic “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” was done with pop excellence and a sweetness that made this song his own.
It was at this point that unfortunately I had to leave, as the concert started a half an hour late and if you take a bus out of the city on Sunday, the last one leaves at 11pm. I apologize profusely to Reeve, but was able to critique the rest of the show from a livestream.
Lena Horne’s jazzy, soulful version of “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess hit all the right notes. Liza Minnelli’s “Maybe This Time” from Cabaret was subtle and powerful.
On piano he brought Carol King’s,”Natural Woman” to life, but this version was inspired by Ms. Aretha Franklin.
Still on piano and singing one of his own songs “Up Above The Weather,” a hauntingly wonderful composiition. I look forward to when Reeve does write a Broadway musical.
Back on guitar a tribute to Angela Lansbury “Rose’s Turn” from Gypsy. If you have never heard Reeve’s take on these classic songs, you will hear a fresh, new and really different, but oh so unique vibe.
Closing out the night “There’s A Place For Us” from West Side Story.
Reeve is a musical genius, whose prowess on the guitar, piano and vocals is otherworldly.
You can catch Reeve on April 23, 2023 at 9:30 at The Green Room 42 singing his own music. Ask for “Resurrection,” this is one fabulous song.
Eva Noblezada Shines As She Grows Into An Exquisite Performer
Eva Noblezada at 26, is a two-time Tony-nominee and the star of Broadway’s Hadestown. She can be seen opposite Tony Award-winner Lea Salonga in the independent musical film Yellow Rose, Easter Sunday from Universal and she was in the Audible Theater’s Off-Broadway solo show Nostalgia: A Love Letter to NYC at Minetta Lane Theatre earlier this year. In her newest cabaret show “Let’s Go To The Movies” at The Green Room 42. Ms. Noblezada proves that she is a bonifided star, as she launched into Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman,” and “When Somebody Loved Me” from Toy Story.
Noblezada is now platinum blonde and is infectious, as she shares the most adorable stories mixed with powerhouse vocals. Case in point “Colors of the Wind” from Disney’s Pocahontas.
Ghost’s “Unchained Melody”became a haunting emotionally connected theatre piece. That is one of the best things about Eva, is that not only are the vocals stellar, but she feels every ounce of the lyric and brings it across the stage lights.
In her song choices you can totally see Ms. Noblezada becoming Mulan as she shared the wonderfully written “Reflections,” “Holding Out For A Hero” from Footloose and “Kissing You” from Romeo and Juliet made you want to cherish these flicks again.
My favorite number of the night was one I did not know. I now need to see A Walk To Remember, so I can hear “Only Hope” again and again. Her musical director Rodney Bush was another asset to this not to be missed evening of song.
One of Ms. Noblezada’s vocal hero’s is Liz Callaway and she paid tribute to her with “Journey From The Past” from Anastasia.
Showing off her dancing skills and sexual side “All That Jazz” from Chicago was a cheeky number with lots of sass.
Closing out the show was the classic “Moon River” from Breakfast At Tiffany’s done to perfection.
If you get a chance to see this talented songbird, do not miss the opportunity as Ms. Noblezada has not only grown as a person, but as a legitimate powerhouse performer.
Check The Green Room 42 and Chelsea Table & Stage for Eva Noblezada’s next performances. You will be glad you did.
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