Thursday, September 18th, I went for the first time to Don’t Tell Mama’s on West 46th Street to see a monthly “soiree” showcase, hosted by Grace Cosgrove. Don Rebic music directed/played piano, Steve Doyle played the upright bass, and Eric Michael Gillett directed.

The Singer’s Soiree is produced by Grace to create, as she puts it, “an on-going lab for top-notch singers. It is a place for great singers to perform, try out new material, and expand their audiences. Each show also introduces a newcomer.”

I hope to be the next newcomer, or at least be on the waitlist as the next newcomer.

Thursday’s performance featured Grace herself, singing “Embraceable You” and ‘Tis Autumn” to bookend the night. The wonderful and inspirational Margaret Wright sang “The Shape of Things,” “Fifty Percent,” and “Bye Bye Blues” and blew me away. I swear, when I grow up I want to be just like Margaret – beautiful, energetic, and still singing with power and passion and grace. Next, La Tanya Hall brought us some samples of songs she will be singing in her upcoming act September, 29 2008 at Feinstein’s at the Regency. Reading up on her biography, I was sooooo impressed with the number of jazz & rock greats she’s sung with. She sang inspired “Fever” and “The Nearness of You,” and I could tell the lyrics came out of her with thought and passion.

Jay Rogers…wow…he took a moment to come out from behind the bar to sing two funny songs, written by Keith Thompson, that defy description. Let’s just say they were witty, very naughty, and complimented Mr. Rogers’ zany humor perfectly. Next, John Koprowski sang a Hollywood Medley of “Say Goodbye to Hollywood,” “Picture Postcards from L.A.” and “Celluloid Heroes.” Maybe it was his heartfelt singing, maybe it was the rum & coke, or maybe it was because I just left Los Angeles, but something in his medley made me a bit emotional.

KT Sullivan then took the stage. Oh man is this woman is quite a find. She first sang a Blues Medley, then a humorous song I once knew (but obviously forgotten – June Allyson sang it in “‘Til the Clouds Roll By”) called “Cleopatterer.” She ended her trio of songs with a touching, and soprano-ranged, version of “Old Man River.” KT has a very honest sense of herself. Not too much and not too little, she certainly knows how to *act* her way through a song and not let a moment go by. Luckily, she has a series of performances starting on September 23rd and going until October 11th at the Algonquin Hotel, singing a tribute to Jerome Kern entitled “All The Things You Are.”

The “Newcomer” of the night was next, Amanda Peters, who sang “The Woman in the Moon” and a sultry, sexy version of “Summertime.” She might be a “newcomer,” but she certainly held her own onstage and brought a youthful, vibrant vibe onstage as she belted her work out. Next, Cynthia Crane – the self-proclaimed “Saloon Chantreuse” – brought her spunky self onstage. I want to steal from this woman, I swear. She sang a great comedy song, “Jose Cuervo,” and then a heartfelt “I Wonder What Became of Me” by H. Arlen & J. Mercer. She has a number of CD’s out, which I’m sure will pass through my hands one of these days.

I look forward to the next Singer’s Soiree, and I’m happy there are producers out there like Grace who truly want to create an environment where good, solid work can flourish. Of course, I gave Grace my information, and hopefully a time will come when I can blog about my turn to be introduced as the “Newcomer” at Grace Notes Singer’s Soiree.


p.s. Oh and I spoke to Eric Michael Gillett afterward about possibly directing my re-vamp of my cabaret act. We will tawk over cawfee about the possibilities soon…TBA.