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Here's what I've enjoyed seeing or reading so far...hope you enjoy them as well!

Entries in Composer (9)

Tuesday
Mar192013

The New York Pops: Luck Be A Lady starring Megan Hilty, featuring Ryan Silverman: Grand Evening of Major Talent

Steven Reineke, Music Director and Conductor of The New York Pops, Photo Credit: Michael TammaroMegan Hilty, Photo provided by Dan Dutcher PRLead by Steven Reineke, Music Director and Conductor of The New York Pops, The New York Pops: Luck Be A Lady: Megan Hilty sings Sinatra and More, starring Megan Hilty and featuring Ryan Silverman, was a grand evening of major talent! The combination of the New York Pops, Megan Hilty, and Ryan Silverman was like no other. They all merged perfectly together, yet able to shine on their own.

Megan Hilty and Adam Rothenberg backstage, Photo Credit: Stephen SorokoffA few of my favorite numbers of the night were Megan singing "Luck Be A Lady," "Autmn Leaves/When October Goes," "Backwards Barbie Medley-A Tribute to Dolly Parton" (which included many of my favorite Dolly hits like "Backwards Barbie," "Why'd You Come In Here Looking Like That," "9 to 5," and "Here You Come Again"), "Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend," and "Second Hand White Baby Grand." Megan's voice is so strong. She has such a range from vocals to styles of music. The more Megan sang, the more I melted with awe. I also loved when Megan and Ryan teamed up to sing "Almost Like Being in Love/This Can't Be Love."

Ryan Silverman, Photo provided by Dan Dutcher PRAdam Rothenberg and Ryan Silverman backstageRyan had his moments in the spotlight as well with "What Kind of Fool Am I," "Night and Day," and "Sway." Ryan definitely made me a fan. He has a voice I could just listen to for hours. I can't wait to see more from him. I know it's going to be wonderful!

The evening would not have been without the extraordinary New York Pops and their Musical Director/Conductor Steven Reineke. Every time I attend a Pops concert (and I feel so fortunate to have been able to attend a few), I am constantly reminded of just how wonderful it is to hear a full orchestra play some of the greatest music of our time. The Pops did not disappoint. This time around they played "The Lady Is a Tramp," "New York, New York," "Tico, Tico" and "Mack the Knife." They sounded terrific yet again!

As if the show, the talent, and the music weren't enough, "Call Me Adam" was invited backstage after the show for press photos! Check below for all the fun we had...

 Megan Hilty on the red carpetMegan Hilty turns aroundRyan Silverman and Megan HiltySteven Reineke and Megan HiltySteven Reineke, Megan Hilty, and Ryan Silverman sharing a laugh

Monday
Mar042013

Eric Michael Gillett: Careless Rhapsody at 54 Below: Perfection

The first time I had heard Eric Michael Gillett sing was in 2011 when he performed Cast of Thousands: Gillett Sings Carnelia at The Laurie Beechman Theatre. Two years later, Eric Michael has bestowed his magnificent talent upon 54 Below for a week of shows dedicated to the songs of Lorenz Hart entitled, Carless Rhapsody: An Evening Dedicated to the Lyrics of Lorenz Hart, with music direction by Don Rebic. I had the honor of attending his final night.

Eric Michael's voice is golden! He really knows how to use his gift perfectly. From the quiet moments to big belty numbers, Eric Michael delighted the crowd with so many wonderful songs. What I enjoyed most about this show, aside from getting to hear the glorious voice of Eric Michael, was this show brought out a comedic side to Eric Michael I had not previously seen. It was great to see Eric Michael add many comedic moments to several of the songs throughout the night. I could tell what a fun time he was having on stage and that transcended equally to the enthusiastic crowd. 

While Eric Michael scored big with the whole evening, some of my favorite numbers of the evening were "The Heart Is Quicker Than The Eye" (from On Your Toes), "You Took Advantage of Me" (from Present Arms), "I Could Write A Book" (from Pal Joey), "Falling in Love with Love" (from The Boys From Syracuse), "My Romance" (from Jumbo), "My Funny Valentine" and "I Wish I Were in Love Again (from Babes in Arms), "My Heart Stood Still" (from One Dam Thing After Another), "This Can't Be Love" (from The Boys From Syracuse), and the encore "Sing For Your Supper (from The Boys From Syracuse) which featured Eva Kantor, Bailey Means, and Marissa Mulder.

Carless Rhapsody may have ended its run, but there are plenty of opportunities to see Eric Michael around the city! First up is as director/host of The Amanda McBroom Project The Laurie Beechman Theatre on March 8, 9, 15, 16 all at 7pm. Then there is his new bi-monthly series We Lost It at the Movies also at The Laurie Beechman Theatre. Call 212-695-6909 for reservations and more information on these shows.

For more on Eric Michael be sure to visit http://www.ericmichaelgillett.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

Monday
Feb042013

Karen Mason's Unfinished Business: Tear Up The Town

Before you read this review, purchase your ticket (enter code ADAM10 to receive a special discount just for being a "Call Me Adam" fan), and then read about the brilliance you will see when you attend Karen Mason's Unfinished Business, a developmental production presented by CAP21 Theatre Company.

Last year, I attended a developmental reading of Unfinished Business (click here for that review), so I was thrilled to be asked to revisit the show in this next developmental stage. While containing its heart and humor, Unfinished Business is now stronger, tighter, and flows better than it did the first time around. I loved this show the first time around, but tonight, I was even more engulfed! With one of the most powerful voices out there, Karen Mason once again brought Brian Lasser and his music to life. Her stage presence matched her vocal power. She knew exactly when to let the notes out and when to hold back.

In Unfinished Business, Karen Mason pays tribute to Brian Lasser, her long-time friend and collaborator. Karen took the audience back to when she met Brian and continued on through his death from AIDS and her move forward. This very touching story intermixed with humorous moments, touched my heart in so many ways. It made me think of my very close friends and family whom I cherish so much. While I'm fortunate to have most of them still with me, Unfinished Business did force me to think of what I will remember most about them when they're gone. It was a tough place to go to, but Karen's talent along with Brian's music (and a few other composers) made it easier to explore.

Looping their story together were a mixture of Brian's songs with a few other songs from such composers/lyricists as Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, Jule Styne, Bob Merrill, Barry Kleinbort, and Paul Rolnick. My favorite Brian Lasser songs were "I Made A New Friend," "Hello, Tom," "Tear Up The Town," "He Waits For Me," "Carry Me Away" (with additional lyrics by Barry Kleinbort), and "The Lucky Ones." I also enjoyed Brian's collaboration with Geoff Leon & Edward Dunne on "I Eat" and with Gary Gardener on "Becoming My Mother." Karen's husband, Paul Rolnick, wrote my favorite song of the night, "We Never Ran Out of Love (We Just Ran Out of Time)."

Karen delivered these songs with such enchantment; I was glued to her performance and very wrapped up in this story. Brian's catalog of songs were a true reflections of what was happening in his life. He wrote many upbeat and positive songs when life was good, but when life got tough, Brian had a sadder song to match. Check out the video below to see Karen sing one of Brian's more upbeat songs "Tear Up The Town"

Since this show is still in the developmental stage I would like to suggest cutting just a scene or two about Karen and Brian's rise up. I loved learning about their growth, but if 10 minutes of the show were cut out, I think it would be that much stronger. I would also like to see the show end with "We Never Ran Out of Love (We Just Ran Out of Time). I think that song really captures the love Karen and Brian held for each other. 

Unfinished Business is one of the most touching stories of friendship, love, and loss I have seen in a while. It shows how one person can change the course of our whole life and what happens when that person is no longer with us. It teaches us the importance of time, finding the strength to move forward, and how one person, while no longer here physically, will always live within us spiritually.

If you are looking for a show that will "Tear Up The Town" and is at the start of something great, then I highly suggest checking out Karen Mason's Unfinished Business at CAP21. The remaining performances are February 5, 6, 11, 12, 13. Showtime is 8pm. CAP21 is located in New York City at 18 West 18th Street (between 5th & 6th Avenue). Click here for tickets and enter code "ADAM10" for a special $10 ticket just for "Call Me Adam" fans!

Thursday
Nov222012

Will Reynolds Poems and Moon Songs: Rising Composer

There's a new composer on the rise and his name is Will Reynolds! I had first seen Will in NYMF's Baby Case this past summer and was very taken by his performance and on November 11, 2012, I was introduced to Will Reynolds the composer in Libra Theater's presentation of Poems and Moon Songs: The Music of Will Reynolds at the Underground Lounge in NYC.

Will's style of music is very unique because he takes poems and sets them to music in addition to writing his own original songs. I was blown away by the humor, heart, and sophistication Will put into his lyrics and music. Will has a natural knack for telling stories of love and loss through song, some consisting of a comedic nature. A terrific cast of talent was put together for this wonderful evening of music: Sara Jean Ford, Marissa McGowan, Jeremy Morse, and Zachary Prince hit all the right notes throughout the evening.

My favorite songs of the night were "Heartsong" sung by the whole cast (based upon the poem by Mattie Stepanek), "Can't Fall Asleep" sung by Marissa, "Heart, We Will Forget Him" sung by Sara/Marissa, "Hope" sung by Zachary, (both songs based upon poems by Emily Dickinson), "Si Vous Me Suivez" sung by Jeremy, and "Winter, Wait for Me" and "Spring" sung by Sara. All of these songs struck a chord with me because they reflected the many moods of love/loss I have experienced. I also particularly liked how the songs were sung with big voices, control, and lots of love and enthusiasm!

I'm thrilled to have been able to part of this evening. In addition to seeing some great new talent and experiencing Will's music for the first time, profits from the evening went to Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, for Hurricane Sandy relief. 

Will's music and style is definitely going to bring a new dimension to whatever medium he uses it in (here's hoping it's theatre). 

If you weren't able to be part of this special evening, there is another chance to hear Will's music...this Monday, November 26 at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center (111 Amsterdam Avenue and 65th Street) from 6:00pm to 7:30pm as part of "Broadway's Future Songbook. FOR FREE, you'll get to see excellent talent along with one of NYC's newest rising composers, Will Reynolds!

Thursday
Aug302012

Love Songs: A Musical: Always and Forever

With the potential to make its way to Broadway, "Love Songs: A Musical" is Steven Cagan's new musical in development, written and composed by Steven, directed by Lynne Taylor-Corbett, and musical direction by Gerald Sternbach. On Tuesday, August 28, 2012, I was fortunate enough to see an hour-long version of this new work and I'm sure glad I did. 

Starring Tony Award winner Debbie Gravitte ("Jerome Robbins' Broadway"), Drama Desk Nominee Bryce Ryness ("Hair"), Kevin Spirtas ("Dr. Craig Wesley" on "Days of Our Lives"), Fleur Phillips, Ken Clark, and Ashley Kate Adams, "Love Songs" tells the story of a wedding weekend at the Loews Regency Hotel with the groom stuck out of town, the bride discovers she's pregnant, and two other couples, both in the wedding party, appear to be mismatched and ill-fated. What ensues is an evening of laughter, fun, and figuring things out.

Cast of "Love Songs", Photo Credit: Jim BrammerSteven assembled a terrific cast of actors whose vocals blended together wonderfully and on-stage chemistry sizzled! It was great to see Debbie on stage and I hope this is the show that brings her back to Broadway! She has such power in her voice that is always a delight to hear! I had never heard Kevin sing prior to this show and let me say, he's got it! He has a wide vocal quality that puts him in my category of performers I go see even if they sang the phone book. Bryce is always a delight to see, he has a terrific singing voice in addition to his fine acting skills! He really knows how to use his voice to get that perfect feeling out to the audience. As for Fleur, Ken, and Ashley, this was my first introduction to them, and I must say, I'm a fan! The vocal range of Fleur and Ashley were out of this world! I was amazed at the high notes they could hit. Ken was able to stand his own and delighted me with his talent.

Adam Rothenberg and Kevin SpirtasSteven has written some fantastic songs. He knows how to use a lyric to tell a story. My favorite numbers were "Lo & Behold," "Love Me," "I Am In Love With You," "I'm Rose," "Pitter Patter," "Carpe Diem," "Without You," "Sweet Tomorrow," "So It Seemed," and "Always and Forever." I thought "Lo & Behold" and "Always and Forever" were great ways to open and close the show. They featured the whole cast and were uplifting songs. I loved "I'm Rose" because Debbie Gravitte got to really show her stuff. To me, "Pitter Patter," is a tribute to one of our greatest composers/lyricists of our time, Mr. Stephen Sondheim and Bryce nailed it, proving yet once again, the amazing talent that is Bryce Ryness. I loved Kevin's voice on "Carpe Diem," just one of the songs that got to showcase his great voice.

This presentation of "Love Songs" was only an hour. The complete show is done in two acts. It would be interesting to see the full two acts. While most of the story was told with in this hour production, I definitely thought there were some pieces missing, but this shorter version works. I am also intrigued to hear the songs that were left out. This version did contain a lot of ballads with a few upbeat numbers mixed in. I would like to see a few more upbeat songs in it only because there were a few moments my mind wandered with so many ballads.

Steven Cagan and Adam RothenbergI have to say, Steven definitely has something special on his hands with "Love Songs." Overall, I had a great time and this hour long version did leave my mouth watering for more. I do hope this show has more of a life because Broadway can always use a show that makes people feel good and that is what "Love Songs" does.

With just one performance left, "Love Songs: A Musical" plays at Feinstein's at Loews Regency (540 Park Avenue at 61st Street) through August 30th! Click here for tickets! 

For more on "Love Songs: A Musical" visit http://www.lovesongs-amusical.com and follow the show on Facebook!