Starting off on her own Ann Hampton Callaway belts out “Some People” from Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim’s Gypsy. Bound and gagged Liz Callaway hops right up next to her big sister to sing verse two. The medley continues with Hamilton’s “The Schuyler Sisters”, into the most incredible version of “Lullaby of Broadway,” I have ever heard.
These two were cut, at a young age on music by their mother, who was a pianist and a coach. Their first Broadway show, a touring company of Stephen Schwartz’s Pippin, treated the audience to a lush, harmony perfect melodic version of “Magic to Do” and “Corner of the Sky.” To see the Callaway sisters, is to hear harmonies modulate in such an ingenious way as to compliment, while bringing a song into another dimension. These two are truly inspiring.
Wanting to be a dancer and paying tribute to Marvin Hamlisch and Ed Kleban, Liz brought A Chorus Line‘s beat driven “The Music and the Mirror,” to a perfect finish.
In high school, Ann played Mame and if she sang “If He Walked Into My Life” the way she did last night, I would love to see her do this role on Broadway. Better yet Liz as Mame and Ann as Vera and then have them alternate. Now, that’s a revival worth seeing!
At the press meet and greet, I heard this exquisite version of Rogers and Hammerstein’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel. Again the harmonies and the emotional connection make this song a stand out.
Having worked with Stephen Sondheim in her first show and having played young Sally in a concert version of Follies, it was fitting for Liz to sing “Broadway Baby.” After all she was only 19, when she was cast in Merrily We Roll Along.
Keeping in the Sondheim mode and singing a song from Merrily, Ann launched into a devastatingly deep “Not A Day Goes By.” The two collaborated again with Company‘s “Being Alive.” Here’s hoping that the revival coming to Broadway this spring is sung just as connected, with such heart.
Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer’s classic “Blues in the Night,” has never been sung this well. Ann’s version is the best I have ever heard. I wanted to stand up and cheer after this passionate ode to heartache.
Hearing Liz, recreate David Shire and Richard Maltby Jr.’s “The Story Goes On” from Baby, was a blast from my past. I was in the audience when she sang this the first time on Broadway. It was just as amazing now, as it was then.
These two songs would have been worth the whole concert. They were magical and there was still more to come. A Broadway melody captured duets fans had been asking for. I am putting in my request in now for their next show. I would love to hear them do “There’s Always a Women” from Anyone Can Whistle or “We Are Women” from Candide.
Stephen Schwartz’s “For Good” from Wicked brought out such love and acceptance. As the encore “You’ve Got a Friend” had the audience singing along. Not one, but three standing ovations for this well deserved night of musical perfection. There was not an audience member that didn’t know that this is one special evening to be remembered.
The Callaway’s were backed by their gifted musical director and arranger extraordinaire Alex Rybeck on piano, bassist Mary Ann McSweeney and percussionist Ray Marchica. These are some of the best musicians in the city.
Kudos also needs to be given to Liz’s husband, Dan Foster who directed this act with soul. He brought out the best in these two siblings and kept humanity, gratitude and warmth as his platform and it radiated through out the performance.
Sadly, Broadway The Calla-Way at Feinstein’s/ 54 Below is finished, however here is where you can catch these songbirds next:
12/5 Ann at Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Grand Foyer “Ann Hampton Callaway – The Linda Ronstadt Songbook” Free to the public.
12/14 Ann and Liz at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie “Broadway with the Callaways”
12/18 Ann at Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts “Ann Hampton Callaway – The Linda Ronstadt Songbook”
12/19 Ann at The Palladium at St. Petersburg College Performing Arts “Ann Hampton Callaway – The Linda Ronstadt Songbook”
12/31 Ann at Bass Performance Hall “New Year’s Eve – A Gershwin Celebration”
1/12 Ann at New York Hilton Midtown, Sutton Center on the 2nd Floor, “Ann Hampton Callaway – Fever: The Peggy Lee Century APAP Showcase”
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).
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