Big Night Out’s Holiday Extravaganza is everything the title suggests – you’re out at night for a big night of holiday fun with this crowd. Once again, co-hosts Jennifer Wren and Bill Zeffiro guided singers and songwriters through a fantastic night of holiday musical cheer. Piano accompaniment was by Bill Zeffiro, Mark Janas, Nicholas Levin, Scott Ethier, and Paul Rigano.
16 songs in all were performed, from the amazing belt-ballad “Kiss Me, Santa,” music by Andrew Abrams, lyrics by Joan Ross Sorkin, and sung by Broadway-veteran Kenita R. Miller (a Broadway veteran)…to an absolutley jaw-droppingly funny “Agnostic Christmas Shoes,” written and sung by Eric March. David Rigano showed off his Cole Porter-esque lyric writing in his original song “(Let’s Go) Under the Mistletoe.” Ritt Henn, whose height makes his ukulele look even smaller, sang his original “Me Home on the Street,” with lyrics by Joan Ross Sorkin. Perhaps the standout, and most amazing performance of all, was Julie Reyburn, who sang holding her young daughter. The song, music by Mark Janas with lyrics by Peter Napolitano, was the perfect song for Julie to sing to her child – “First Christmas” – and her daughter chose to vocally “insert herself” into the mic at the most opportune moments. It was a lovely, riotous moment on stage.
Another lovely moment was David Caldwell as he sat at the piano and sang his composition “Spring,” about the beautiful transitional clues Nature gives us as Winter thaws into Spring. His lyrics are absolutely gorgeous, and caused many a tear in the audience. Bill Zeffiro sang with Jennifer Wren a few times, including his “What the Hell? It’s Christmas,” “Ballad,” and “Uh Oh, Here Comes Christmas” with David Caldwell (a rare moment when Bill sang in FRONT of the piano for once!). Kathy Hart brought “I Live in New York” herself to the stage, and accompanied Jennifer Wren as she sang Hart’s “Maybe Next Year.” Wren also sang “Lots of Love (From Me To You),” music by Ben Martini and lyrics by Horowitz and Spector. The Rigano brothers (lyricist David Rigano, music by Paul Rigano) had their song “It’s Christmas” artfully sung by Chloe Cahill. Nicholas Levin’s song “Another Christmas” was sung by Lynelle Johnson, while the entire show ended with an amazingly funny original song by Horowitz and Spector “Shows to Go Ya,” featuring Bill Zeffiro, Bobbie Horowitz, and “friends” – which turned out to include Summer Broyhill and Johanna Weller-Fahy, amongst others.
Each extravaganza from Big Night Out proves to be a down-to-earth and extremely fun evening. Now they have moved to The Reprise Room at Dillon’s Restaurant and Bar, which is a very nice space (and includes a grand piano!) with a fuller menu but still the cheap price ($10 cover, 1 item minimum, 1/2 off the cover for MAC, AEA & EMC members). Go & have fun! And don’t forget – whether there’s a composer showcase that evening or not, at least the first half of the two-hour evening (from 9pm to 11pm) is an OPEN MIC, so bring your sheet music and SING!