You know Linda Purl, for her work on Movies of the Week, Happy Days, The Bold and the Beautiful, Matlock, Murder She Wrote, The Office and more. Recently she released her fourth album of standards, This Could Be the Start, and she celebrated its debut with a special concert Monday, September 11th at The Green Room 42.
Standards such as “This Could Be The Start,” I’ve Gotta Lot of Living,””Shall We Dance,” “Caravan,“Blue Moon,” “Let’s Get Lost,” “Taking a Chance on Love,” “Here’s To Life” and more were given a sultry, laid back, come hither approach. You can tell Ms. Purl is an actress first, as these song, all told stories that wrapped you in their spell. The lyrics become front and center, but are thrown away with a knowing that surpasses time. Part of the magic is the alternating rhythms to the originals that make these versions stand out and draw you in.
Part of this intoxication is her musical director Ted Firth, who is a musical genius. Purl has been working with him for 15 years. When ever I fall in love with an arrangement, inevitably it is always Ted Firth at the helm. Firth was on piano with David Finck on bass and Ray Marchica on drums. Purl smartly uses the best of the best.
During Ms. Purl’s patter we learned about her love of hiking, she hails from Colorado, her partner, Patrick Duffy, and their sourdough starter company, as well as painting old trees with paint and glitter.
Purl knows how to keep her audience in the palm of her hand and wanting more. She is warm, engaging and a song stylist, that will keep you coming back for more.
All photo’s and video are Magda Katz
Santino Fontana Brings Voice, Comedy and Showmanship To 54 Below
Tony Award® winner Santino Fontana brings his tremendous talent to 54 Below and it is a show that wraps you up in his humor, charm, vocal prowess, laid back demeanor, jeopardy style musical choices and over all entertaining. By the end of the show you feel as if you know him or at least a part of him. Starting off with Charles Strouse and Lee Adams’s “Stick Around,” the night turned into a Russian roulette of material. The audience picked numbers and as Santino put it “if you don’t like the show, it’s your fault.” First up for my show was the naughty but amusing “Making Love Alone” followed by Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella‘s “Do I Love You,” which made for an amusing combination of songs. During Cinderella Mr. Fontana had shoes that were built up 2 inches inside and 2 inches outside, which cause a tremendous amount of pain, so the song told the story of his plight, which made the song take on a much different meaning. Sondheim’s “Anyone Can Whistle,” was sung for a Carol Burnett tribute, that luckily we were treated to.
His guest for the evening was Sarah Steele (“The Good Wife,” The Humans, The Country House) who sang “out There On My Own” from Fame. On the 14th it will be Greg Hildreth (Company, Disney’s Frozen, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella). Click on the name and you can hear that version.
Showing off his baritone side with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “If I Loved You.” We almost got to see Santino in Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields”s Sweet Charity, instead we got hint of what that would be like with “Too Many Tomorrows.” A hilarious version of “I feel Pretty” from West Side Story lightened the mood and had the room in tears. Recreating his duet “Love Is An Open Door” from Frozen, Santino channeled Dorothy Michaels from Tootsie. Again the room was laughing with the sheer comedic genius that won Mr. Fontana a Tony Award. Bringing the energy to a calmer state was the emotional Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley’s “Who Can I Turn To?”
Vocally the most impressive song of the night was “Joey, Joey, Joey” from Most Happy Fellow. Mr. Fontana’s voice was glorious in the tones and the subtle texturing. Keeping in the ballad mode and honoring Marilyn Bergman he launched into the iconic “Where Do You Start,”while accompany himself on the piano, which was highly impressive. Back to the uptempo mode “I Met A Girl” from Bells Are Ringing, was given a rigorous, amusing take. This was his original audition song. Lerner and Loewe’s “How to Handle a Woman,” from the recent Camelot, showed how Santino would have made an excellent King Arthur.
Another favorite moment of the night was “Buddy’s Blues” from Follies. Already a personal favorite, this made me want to see Santino play this role at a later date, though personally I would cast him as Ben.
For the finale songs “The Music In You” from Cinderella, told how he and the cast loved watching the magnificent Victoria Clark perform. “This Can’t Be Love” from 1938 Rodgers and Hart musical The Boys from Syracuse, ended up in an encore, of Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones’s “They Were You” from The Fantasticks, which made my guest producer Pat Addiss extremely happy.
Santino was backed by his musical director and accompanist Cody Owen Stine, who played flawlessly.
Santino Fontana opened September 10th at 54 Below and you can still catch this marvelous show tonight September 14th. 54below.com
This is a do not miss!
Talking With Mauricio Martínez About His New Show 5’11, Based in NYC and More
I met Emmy Award winner Mauricio Martínez when he was performing in Children of Salt and have watched him ever since. He then became known for the Broadway musical On Your Feet!, but before that he appeared in the Emmy Winning TV Show El Vato NBC, the hit Señora Acero Telemundo and several Mexican telenovela. T2C talked to this prolific actor/ singer to learn more.
His new show at 54 Below talks about all the self-tape sides filling up his Dropbox. In his new show, 5’11, Based in NYC, Mauricio is putting those to good use in a musical “What If…,” sorting through what might have been. Pushing aside the ring light, you will lean more about this uber talented Mexican American.
His show on October 5 and 6 at 7pm is at 54 Below. The show feature Linedy Genao (Bad Cinderella, On Your Feet!) and Alexis Michelle (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”) and is written by Mauricio Martínez & Robbie Rozelle, with musical direction and arrangements by Brian J. Nash. Directed by Robbie Rozelle.
Video by Magda Katz
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Linda Purl Not Just An Actress
Last night Linda Purl took the audience at The Green Room 42 on a magical journey.
In 2020 Linda Purl starred as Ryan Spahn mother in Vivian Neuwirth’s Mr. Toole at 59E59 Theaters.
Ms Purl just released her fourth album of standards, This Could Be the Start. If the CD is anything like the concert this s a must have,
Daisy Jopling and Frank Shiner Raise Money To Give Kids The Gift 0f Music
Classical/rock violinist Daisy Jopling, vocalist Frank Shiner and her fabulous band performed at Chelsea Table + Stage Saturday, September 9 at 9:30 PM. The duo perform an eclectic mix of music from blues and standards to classical. The magical band that accompanied them included Ray DeTone on guitar, Sofia Gould on saxophone, Jeff Miller on piano, Lavondo Thomas on bass and Dan Weiner on drums.
17 year old, Sofia Gould was a Daisy Jopling student and one of the reasons this foundation is so needed.
For a special treat 17 year old Melisa Muñoz played a mean trumpet.
Daisy tours the world with her own band, and also runs a music mentorship foundation.
The Daisy Jopling Foundation has given 6,810 children world class music performances for free.
4,500 hours of time volunteered.
1,000 residents given free tickets to our concerts.
920 children served in their mentoring programs.
Partnered with over 50 non-ройt organizations to.
transform their student’s lives.
Daisy was the first international violinist to perform a major concert at the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt on November 4, 2022, collaborating with Egyptian stars Hany Adel, Wust El Balad and Noha Fekry.
Daisy started off by playing a concerto at the Royal Albert Hall in London at the age of 14, the opening of the Vienna Festival, 53 stunning concert halls in China, creating “Illuminance” on Bannerman Island, NY which aired on PBS in 2021 and 2022, and performing her own “Awakening” Concert at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center.
Frank Shiner released his debut album, The Real Me, in 2014, A second LP, Lonely Town, Lonely Street, he released on his own Bakerson Records label. He is now writing a musical about his dad, in which he debuted one of the songs.
They ending the concert with “Joy To The World.” This was a great night of raising funding for children and music.
Adrienne Haan Timeless Songs from the Silver Screen
I have seen Adrienne Haan at the Triad a number of times and she has surprised me in the past with various spectacles on the stage – a tuba included in her mini orchestra on the tiny Triad stage, multiple costume changes or her amazing rubber face expressions. In her latest show at the Triad which you will be able to catch on Tuesday September 12th Ms Haan proves that all she really needs to keep her audience happy are a great song list, her musical director, Richard Danley on piano and just her voice and open personality.
The title of the show “Timeless Songs from the Silver Screen” is a wonderful homage to many of the great songs from the cinema. Even her glittering silver dress is a salute to the industry and the composers of the songs she will sing during the 90 minutes. Starting the show with a medley of standards is a nice way to set the mood for the evening. Upbeat tunes including Hooray for Hollywood, 42nd Street and Steppin’ Out with My Baby really epitomize the last song of the four – That’s Entertainment.
Interspersed with her song selection is Ms Haan’s usual conversation about her personal experiences – this time with her love for film and of their leading men, Johnny Weissmuller and Sean Connery as well as some little-known tidbits about the movie industry. We all know about Hollywood but she spans the globe with tales from the French and German cinema.
As she relates the time from silent films to “talkies” she covers some of the well-known composers: Irving Berlin, Charles Strouse and Frederick Lowe; but I had no idea that silent film icon, the Little Tramp, himself, Charlie Chaplain wrote the music to Smile and Eternally from his film Modern Times. It is in these two tunes that Ms Haan allows herself to show off her vocal range. Whether she is scatting through Blue Skies or humming in Smile or trilling her notes in Eternally she interprets the meaning of a song with heart and power.
Her song selection is one that provides history. It was news to me that the 1930 movie Blue Angel with Marlena Dietrich was filmed in German and English as there was no dubbing at the time, so, accordingly, Ms Haan sings Ms Dietrich’s signature song in both languages.
As I said earlier I have seen Ms Haan a number of times and have been impressed with her pianist Mr Danley all along; but, I was surprised to hear how well he sang in a duet of As Time Goes By. With Ms Haan sitting on the piano the two sang the song to each other in such a way that showed the love and admiration for each other after their 22 years of working side by side.
Ms Haan likes her leading men but she also had to pay tribute to the famous ladies of the cinema – the beautiful red head Rita Hayworth and iconic blonde Marilyn Monroe. Adrienne’s Put the Blame on Mame was a fun energetic tune and when she sang Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend she sparkled as brightly as the song’s title subject. Adrienne loves her audiences and they enjoy her so she always chooses a song to which she walks into the crowd and interacts (teasingly flirts) with the men and this time to the men’s delight it was My Heart Belongs to Daddy.
After the show I had the opportunity to talk to the creative director, Ms Laurence Pierron, who told me what the inspiration was for this tribute to the silver screen. She told me that when she heard of the passing of film composer Michel Legrand that she was literally physically sobbing. He and she were both born in the city of Montreuil, France so she felt a special bond with the composer. She of course then had to include Mr Legrand’s Oscar winning song The Windmills of Your Mind / Les Moulin de Mon Coeur in the cycle which Ms Haan sings with the emotion it was meant to inspire.
Before the final medley of favorites Ms Haan sings three tunes that differ widely in tone and energy. Your Love from the film Once Upon a Time in the West by Italian composer Ennio Morricone, is sung as a stirring anthem. Henry Mancini’s Moon River is a classic most famously sung by Andy Williams and other male performers; but, it brings on a new feeling when heard with a woman’s voice. Ms Haan performs the theme from Goldfinger with the fierceness and intensity that depicts the furor and danger of James Bond’s most evil nemesis.
While Ms Haan is the main attraction of her shows, she is a generous performer and she again shows this by handing over the stage to two wonderful musicians; concert pianist, Mira Armij Gill and violinist, Francisco Salazar who performed the very difficult piece written by John Williams, Main Theme of Schindler’s List. As they played this moving piece the audience remained still and silent until the final note, but then erupted in applause. Adrienne’s generosity is also evident in that both Sunday’s and Tuesday’s shows are supporting severely injured Ukrainian soldiers receiving treatment in the United States. Two charities are being supported by Ms Haan and the production team so they ask for you to donate at www.kinddeeds.org and www.u24.gov.ua
As usual Ms Haan creates magic on the stage at the Triad. Her voice, her energetic movement and professional use of the theaters space brings joy to the audience. Whether she is sitting on a stool, the piano, or the edge of the stage; whether walking back and forth or through the audience or dancing, leaning against the wall or lying on the floor she makes each movement and pose important to the song.
This is the fourth show I have seen of hers; I have enjoyed everyone for different reasons; I can’t wait to see what she does next.
She has one more show at the Triad 158 West 72nd Street on Tuesday, September 12 at 7PM.
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