"I don't sing because I'm happy; I'm happy because I sing"

Thursday night was my evening off from “Ruddigore” Rehearsal (April 24-May 24, 2009, www.theater1010.com!), so I enjoyed an evening out with Pete at Big Night Out, one of the two classy, laid-back open mics I regularly go for. I sang with Kay during the first act, then sat back and watched the Composer Showcase for John Meyer.

This was a unique night for Big Night Out, which usually offers a more traditional Composer Showcase in which many songs are performed by many different singers, one after the other. But this night, some classic work by Meyer was sung and played by John Meyer himself, Bill Zeffiro, Jennifer Wren, and Summer Broyhill. After singing, each performer took turns interviewing Meyer about his history, work, and experiences with some of Broadway and Hollywood’s stars (as it states on John’s website, “His songs have been sung by Eartha Kitt, Margaret Whiting and Judy Garland, among others”). It was a fantastic, classy hour of music, and I was so proud and awed by the talent onstage (oh and Jennifer Wren’s reinterpretation of Judy Garland’s “Get Happy” costume was fantastic and sexy as well).

What made the evening especially…uh…especial…was that Jennifer herself was having a “going away” party that evening itself. Cupcakes and a birthday song celebration marked the one year anniversary of Big Night Out itself, and Jennifer announced a sabbatical from BNO for a little while. In the meantime, Summer Broyhill, myself, and Alex De Souze will alternately take over Jennifer’s half of the co-hosting duties. My evening is TBD, based on my performance schedule for “Ruddigore” (April 24-May24, 2009, www.theater1010.com!). I wish Jennifer the very best days of relaxation & reinvigoration, and look forward to seeing her on the BNO stage again!

So, my husband buys us muppets for Christmas via www.jay.thepete.com, and I have Kay the chanteuse making appearances at open mics. Then, I audition and get the singing/puppeteering role of Ruth in “Ruddigore.” I email TimeOut New York Magazine a few weeks later in the hopes that they might do some overall research regarding puppetry – classes, theater companies, construction, etc. And they answered in this week’s magazine, page 6 of the “You Asked for It” section!

Click the thumbnail image for a larger version.

On April 11th, I sang with Bill Zeffiro, Jennifer Wren, and Summer Broyhill on two of Zeffiro’s original music pieces at Sandi Durell’s 8th Annual Songwriters Showcase, which was dedicated to new music by contemporary composers. Bill and Jennifer solo’d and dueted to “What the Hell, It’s Christmas” and “The Road to Ruin,” while Summer and I sang backup.

We also heard music by David Conforte, Hector Coris, Alyce Finell, Annie Lebeaux, Peter Napolitano/Mark Janas/Matthew Ward, June Rachelson-Ospa/Kezia Hirsey, Brad Ross, Bill Zeffiro and Jeff Blumenkranz. Singers included: Eric Comstock & Barbara Fasano, Marni Nixon, Kevin Reed, Trisha Rapier, Julie Reyburn, Sandi Durell/Trudi Mann/Donna Trinkoff, Katherine Pecevich, and Gabrielle Visser. Tracy Stark accompanied some of the artists as well. A true highlight of the evening was seeing Marnie Nixon there, singing Peter Napolitano’s original song “You’ll Never See ‘Em Again.” The lyrics are about an older woman reminiscing about the stars of the silver screen decades of the 40’s and 50’s – to have Nixon sing these lyrics was incredibly poignant and meaningful. It was also cool to see UCLA friend Trisha Rapier, who I remembered as a big-brassy-voiced singer from my College days. We also heard songs by Jeff Blumenkranz, who also creating the BMI Workshop Songbook Podcast.

On April 12th, I sang for Brian Allen Hobbs – his work was sung at the Transport Group’s Composer Showcase “Dream Makers and Heartbreakers.” After profusely thanking him for the wonderful evening the Thursday before, we enjoyed singing and watching about an hour and a half of original pieces. I sang a Country-style musical duet with Brian entitled “Gimme a Loser/I Wish I Could Be Your Hero,” which has lyrics by UCLA-buds Colin Ebeling and (Rock of Ages Director) Kristin Hanggi. Aurora Rose sang a second song by Hobbs, “That Greenwood Tree,” a gorgeous blues piece that highlit her incredibly mature voice. We also heard work by Julianne Wick Davis, Todd Almond, Adam R. Perlman (lyrics) and Margaux Stephanie Reynolds (music), Gaby Alter, and numbers from NYMF-favorite “College: The Musical” by Drew Fornarola and Scott Elmegreen.

On April 14th, I took part as a singer for the BMI composer workshop class – in particular, for composer Eric March in a solo piece. I’ll not divulge any content of the class in respect for the artistic writing process. I will say that, after just 2 hours listening to the critiques and topics raised within the group, I have a great deal more respect for the songwriting craft. I learned so much about the infinite choices a songwriter must sift through, and all the bye considering past songwriters while keeping his or her own style and individuality intact.