Last night, The New York Pops, continue its 34th season at Carnegie Hall with the iconic music of John Kander and Fred Ebb. As an early birthday present to Mr. Kander whose birthday is March 18th, the The New York Pops dazzled in their renditions of a medley and “Hot Honey Rag” from Chicago, “Minstrel March”from The Scottsboro Boys and the hot Latin samba “Gimmie Love” from Kiss of the Spider Woman. Under the leadership of conductor and arranger Steven Reineke, the 78-piece never sounded better adding banjo, and a really hot searing trumpet section.
The concert featured highlights from Kander and Ebb’s five-decade partnership, with guest artists Cassie Levy and Tony Yazbeck. In listening to the concert you were deftly aware of how the iconic Liza Minelli was their muse. Nine of the songs performed were either penned for her or brought to life by her fabulous renditions.
Ms. Levy who looked sensational in her gowns, has a effortless belt that soars in the material. Starting out with “Sing Happy” from Flora the Red Menace, to Mein Herr from Cabaret, Ms. Levy had the chops, but something was missing. It is truly hard to capture what has been in delved into our brains by such spectacular performances.
Next up were duets by Ms. Levy and Mr. Yasbeck from Cabaret. “Money, Money” and the title song “Cabaret” were highlighted and again Joey Grey and Liza or Alan Cummings performances have left marks that are hard to reach. Sometimes it is not how fabulous your voice is, but the way you bring the intention of the words across. It takes a really fabulous actor or actress to do this. Yazbeck started his solos turn out with “Coffee in a Cardboard Cup” from 70 Girls 70. Back to Chicago Ms Levy took on “Roxie” as Yazbeck showed us how he will sound when he plays Billy Flynn next month in “Razzle Dazzle” and “All I Care About Is Love.”Ending up the first act was “Ring Them Bells” written for the TV special Liza with a Z.
Tommy Newsom’s arrangement of “Gimmie Love” from Kiss of the Spider Woman was a smoldering way to start the second act and The New York Pops never sounded better. Ms. Levy returned with Streisand’s “How Lucky Can You Get” from the film Funny Lady. With just a piano the beautiful “Sometimes a Day Goes By” from Women of the Year saw Mr. Yasbeck on just a stool. I fell in love with this song when I heard Bryce Pinkham sing this at Birdland. I would have liked to have heard a orchestral version.
Tony Yazbeck had a chance to really show what he can do in “City Lights” from The Act. Tap dancing and finally showing what he does best, this song and dance man had a chance to really shine.
Ms Levy in the program was to sing “Colored Lights” from The Rink, but that number was skipped. She did however perform the comedic “Everbody’s Girl” from Steel Pier. This song was brought to life by the hysterical Debra Monk and again Ms. Levy missed a lot of the jokes. I really wished Leslie Kritzer was performing with the Pops, because these songs needed a comedian as well as a fabulous voice.
Yazbeck was brought back with “You, You You” from The Visit and “But The World Goes Round” from the film New York, New York. Yazbeck also let on that he was starring in John Kander and Susan Stroman new musical based on the Henry James’ novella The Beast in the Jungle.
Ms. Levy finally had a star turn with “Maybe This Time” from Cabaret, which she nailed and hit out of the park.
John Kander and Susan Stroman were in the attendance and the whole audience sang “Happy Birthday,” to this prolific American composer.
Rounding up the night up was The New York Pops, Ms. Levy and Mr. Tazbeck singing the theme song to our city “New York, New York.”
The New York Pops is a national treasure and it is always a pleasure to spend a evening hearing them.
The New York Pops’ 34th season will conclude with You’ve Got a Friend: A Celebration of Singers and Songwriters on Friday, April 21, 2017, 8:00PM featuring Will Chase, Jessie Mueller, and Adrienne Warren. The concert will pay tribute to the soundtrack of a generation, inspired by the music of James Taylor, Carole King, and more.
Storm Large Brings The Sexual Heat Along With Powerhouse Vocals To 54 Below
Doris Day’s “Que Sera, Que Sera, takes on a hint of sexual subversive overtone as flower child Storm Large makes her way through the audience at 54 Below handing out possies.
If you do not know who Storm Large is, she is a musician, actor, playwright and author, who shot to national prominence in 2006 as a finalist on the CBS show Rock Star: Supernova. Large currently performs nationally with her own band, and tours internationally with the Portland-based band Pink Martini. Large also appeared on America’s Got Talent on June 14, 2021, performing a cover of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” which is when I became obsessed.
Large is raw, real, human, and oh so female, and her new show has her explaining her life and how she empathize with all of us during being locked down. Her take on Jay Livingston and Ray Evans “Crazy Train” took on a deeper and more profound epiphany.
Lauper’s and Large’s ode to self-gratification, brought back the 80’s “She Bop“. Large talks between the numbers and we learn how Ms. Large dealt with not performing, in Prince’s “Nothing Compares To You“.
You will never think of Grease’s “Hopelessly Devoted to You” in the same way again after the “Carrie: version Storm maps out. You definitely get a glimpse of the demons that she battles or rather plays with.
Connecting so strongly to lyric and having a range that is unbelievable, Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Shovels & Rope’s “After The Storm” and The Kinks “Strangers” told of heartbreak, longing, loss as Storm played the drums and ukulele. She is multi-talented and it is mind boggling how she is not more nationally and internationally beloved.
A lot of the audience knew Storm’s “8 Mile Wide” from her hit one-woman show Crazy Enough. This song is a female empowerment ode of being who she is and she does not apologize. Despite the song being about her anatomy, this was her father’s favorite song. She sang it to him before he died.
The Hollies “Air That I Breathe” and a song by Storm and her amazing musical director James Beaton, “Angels in The Gas Station” were dedicated to her father. Beaton is also who does Storm’s arrangements including the fabulous “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”, that sadly she did not grace us with,
Playing in her band are musicians that are all stellar in the own rights with Matt Brown on Bass, Scott Weddle on Guitar and Greg Uklund on Drums.
You can catch Storm Large: Loving Storm, tonight at 54 Below and I highly recommend you do. If you have never experienced this super nova you will be glad you did.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: New York Pops and Marvelous Marilyn Maye
“The astonishing Marilyn Maye sings with the magnificent New York Pops led by Maestro Steve Reineke this Friday evening, March 24th at Carnegie Hall. They are remarkable talents and remarkable people.
Cabaret legend Marilyn Maye takes the stage with The New York Pops for a program of standards and musical theater classics that make clear why she’s been celebrated as one of America’s greatest jazz singers for more than 50 years. Hear favorites by composers who include Porter, Lerner and Loewe, Loesser, and Sondheim, as well as Maye’s special version of “Too Late Now,” which was selected by the Smithsonian Institution for its permanent collection of 20th-century recordings.
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.
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