Cabaret Feed

The Monday Journal: Worshipping at the Temple of Funny Girl #funnygirl, #leamichele, @leaBRCom, @jujamcyn,

Good morning and Happy Monday! Hope you had a great weekend! After last weekend's rain-o-palooza, this weekends clear skies and sunshine (and 70 degree temps) was definitely welcome!

We started off the weekend by seeing "Funny Girl" starring Lea Michele on Broadway. We all know the show has gotten rave reviews since Michele joined last autumn and I have to say, those raves are well deserved.

ProgramI haven't been to a Broadway show in years, not just because of the pandemic, but for some time before that - I mostly got tired of being annoyed over the glare of everyone using their cell phones as well as people arriving late, people talking during the show, and, in one case, a woman next to me eating soup out of her purse (on one hand I admired her ability to keep it all balanced, but on the other hand, must she slurp SO loud?? lol). 

Anyway, during Friday night's show, three people in front of us arrived during the first scene and promptly spent the entire show frantically texting; then a person behind us spent the show crinkling some plastic wrap (by the middle of the second act, the Mister could no longer stand it and turned around with a sharp look and a  "do you mind???").

There was also the incident a couple rows in front of us - a woman, who had been seated on the aisle, took it upon herself to re-assign her seat. We know this because when the two people whose seats those actually were showed up, the woman complained LOUDLY how inconvenient it was for her to move back to her actual seat. The two people insisted on sitting on their assigned seats, clearly confused why this is even an issue, and the woman harumphed her way back to her own seat and then we saw her COMPLAIN to her friends. That was some world class gaslighting going on there. 

BUT you know what? Michele (and the rest of the cast) is SO GOOD that none of that really mattered. Lea Michelle is frikkin BRILLIANT as Fanny Brice - her rendition of "Don't Rain on My Parade" was so magical that it elicited applause BEFORE SHE HAD FINISHED and the excitement generated in the audience at the end elicited the type of reaction reserved for a sporting event - I felt like a straight guy watching Monday Night Football! ;) What a treat!

And what an honor to have been in this room watching her performance - Michele is clearly having the time of her life and she generously shares her joy with the audience. I am so grateful. Days later, just thinking of that number, well, I get chills!

And, Lea, if you are reading this (I know you're not, but, my friends, humor me, please! lol) - pitch someone a sketch/music variety show ala Carol Burnett - your comic timing is amazing and the Mister and I both agreed that very few people could pull off a revival of the genre - and you are at the top of the list!

Also: we are looking forward to the day when you are at a point in your life when you can play Mama Rose and/or Dolly. I know those days are a bit far in the future :) 

As mentioned above, the rest of the cast, the costumes, the staging, the set - all brilliant as well.  Thanks to all involved for a fabulous theater experience! 

On a semi related note, if you know of Fanny Brice, you also know that she created the character of Baby Snooks. We looked Fanny up on You Tube and, wouldn't you know it? Someone posted a Baby Snooks radio program from 1951 - it's hilarious and 100% holds up

Michele's run in "Funny Girl" ends on September 3, 2023 - if you have the chance it's 100% worth your time and $!


Seduce. Destroy. Heal. The Magic of Carol Lipnik

The other night, my pal Ro treated me and two of our friends to see the wonderfully talented Carol Lipnik at Joe's Pub. I'm not saying anything out of turn when I say that Ro is one of the most adventurous people I've ever met when it comes to seeing performers and shows that he knows little to nothing about except that someone he likes recommended them.

I've been fortunate to be on many of those expeditions over the years and, as you might expect, there have been uhmmm mixed results. Sometimes the show is great, sometimes not -- and we do this to each other... usually about five to ten minutes in, depending on who has invited whom, will turn to the other if it's bad and say "I'm sorry" to which the other shrugs and grits their teeth and orders another drink (Heaven help us if we're at a show without a bar; I generally try to focus on my 'to do' list) LOL . If you live in New York City, you owe it to yourself to get out and at least sample as much of what is out there as possible because you never know when you're going to find a gem.

CarolSo Ro has been trying to get me to see Carol Lipnik for some time and I've kind of resisted as when I've asked "what does she do?" and the answer is "hard to describe", which usually raises a red flag for me.

Happily in this case, this description was true- there is no real way to describe what you'll experience when you see Carol Lipnik - but I'll try.

First off, she's a singer, and a damn fine one at that eschewing traditional 'covers' of other people's songs, and, instead opting to perform numbers that she and her pianist have written. Sure, there were a couple songs that one could describe as "covers" but when you hear "The Twist" done as sort of beat poetry, it doesn't really feel like a cover, it feels like an entirely new piece.  Her final piece was a straightforward rendition of "Moon River" and I've not heard it sung so beautifully since I had the good fortune to be at a book signing a decade ago, where, impromptu, Margaret Whiting gave it a go (and we all joined in, because, geez, how could you not?).

So, secondly, you're not really getting a concert, you're getting an 'experience' that is unique - where else can you hear a song inspired by a William Blake poem? Or where else can you hear a song with the lyrics, "the anesthesia is wearing off" and make it sound at once sound Buddhist and political? You see? Hard to describe. There are howls (hers and yours) and a song about a werewolf and... well, you get the drift. This is not a woman who sings about being "back in style"; nothing that bland.

There are stories (real? imagined? Who knows? It genuinely doesn't matter) that place the audience in the role of meditative listener - and yet we were invited to participate so not once did I feel like a passive audience member simply hearing someone else as in most concerts.

Finally, there's her personal motto: SEDUCE. DESTROY. HEAL. Something in each of us at the concert certainly could relate to all of that.

What's also wondrous about Carol Lipnik is that she (smartly) avoids current topics (Ok there was the obligatory Trump dig which felt sort of out of place but given how much of a lout Trump is and has always been, it's easily forgiven) which gives the show a timeless feel.  Given her Earth Mother vibe, this show could have existed in it's current form 10, 20, 30 years ago without one word, one note changed. How often nowadays do we get to experience that? Usually a lesser talent substitutes topical humor for actual wit.

She has one final show, tomorrow night, Thursday, March 17 at 7pm (doors open at 6). Shockingly there are still tickets available - run, don't walk to get your tickets and enjoy an hour of the mysterious.

(And thanks to Ro for continuing to push me out of my comfort zone by recommending/inviting me to new things!)

Jumping for Joy on Saturday: Patti Graham's Crackerjack Performance and This Afternoon's Short - "Closet Space"

Good morning.. er... afternoon all .. hope you've spent your week Jumping for Joy - a friend asked why all the sudden motion on this blog and in the Jumping for Joy Facebook group after a long dormancy - and the answer is quite simply that the world today - especially right now - is so bleak what with the campaign running on and on and on that I thought we could all use some reminders of the things that we have that make us happy  (and by the way, can we, in the future, just start the Presidential election process around May 1 of the election year? How many years do you really need to vet a candidate who has been in the public eye for decades? Although this is nothing new - I remember in, I think it was 2008, when people were asked on the eve of the election who they were voting for and they claimed that they still didn't know.. .I call BS on that and think these people just wanted to be on camera, but I digress).

PattiBLOGAnyway, I'm trying in my own way to bring some Joy into my life and I hope along the way that you find something to be Joyful about as well. On Thursday night I joined my former colleagues for a night of music sung by the incomparable Patti Graham who performed as part of the Uncle Floyd show at the Cutting Room. Patti is a former work friend as well and has an amazing other life as a fantastic performer. I heard her CD of old romantic standards a couple months ago but having the opportunity to see her perform on stage live was a real treat. The hour flew by it wasn't even marred by the boisterous group behind us who, I think, thought that they were at a football game not a cabaret concert. Oh well. LOL Anyway, the highlight (for me) was her rendition of "I'll Be Seeing You" - the best word that I can find to use to describe the performance is "exquisite"... tender, emotional, but not maudlin. That's quite a feat to accomplish that. When Patti has her next performance, I'll make sure to alert you all because she's someone that you shouldn't miss! You can read her bio here.

You know, it's one of those things that people tell you when they find out that you work in corporate America - that all your other non work interests will end...  But I believe in a work-life balance and Patti's proof of how one can have your awesome job and still find the time to pursue your passions. If that's not an expression of Joy, I don't know what is. :)

Today, a little video that I found about the joys of discovery. Me, I don't think that I would have put my husband in the closet, I think that I would have first put a $20 and see what happened with that first LOL. It's very Twilight Zoney and gave me that spooky/prickly feeling that I like so much. Joy comes in many forms! :) And in this case, "Jumping for Joy to be Creeped Out!"

Closet Space from David F. Sandberg on Vimeo.