Tomorrow night, Friday, September 28, I will be DJing at the Lush & Lively cocktail hour at the Time Out New York Lounge at New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street (between 8th & 9th Ave) from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM. I’m switching it up a little bit, since I have discovered a rich vein of orchestral indie pop, like this devastating song from my new favorite band in the world, MS MR. I’ll be playing a bunch of stuff like this, especially from 7 to 7:30pm.
In general, the music at Lush and Lively emphasizes horns and strings, so there will be jazz (classic and “nu”), latin, international orchestral and big band pop and – of course – lots and lots of disco. The Cosmo special is only $3 from 6:30PM to 7:00 PM, and there are $5 drink specials until 9:00 PM.
Since the election year kicked off, everyone from politicians to celebrities has been giving outpourings of their support for either candidate to be the new head honcho of the country. Most have been usually banal with the wealthy crying over Barack Obama supposedly turning this nation into the former Soviet Union while others depict Mitt Romney as being the total dumb fuck he really is.
Ann Hampton Callaway is a multiplatinum-selling pop and jazz singer/songwriter best known for writing and singing the theme from the TV hit The Nanny. She also has the distinction of writing three songs for Barbra Streisand, and that is the inspiration for her latest cabaret act “The Streisand Songbook” (Ann is also an out lesbian, who gave me the honor of being the journalist to do her “coming out interview” – you can read that here).
La Streisand influenced La Callaway long before Barbra sang Ann’s songs – Funny Girl exerted a strong influence on the young singer (long before she was a songwriter). Some of the most powerful – and powerfully sung – moments in Callaway’s show are from Funny Girl, including a rafter-shaking “Don’t Rain On My Parade”, and “People” artfully mixed with one of Sondheim’s greatest (I won’t give it away, the surprising combination is one of this show’s greatest pleasures).
Ann remarks that Barbra was one of two great influences on her – the other was Ella Fitzgerald. So it’s completely natural that the feel of this show should be Barbra’s beltiness mixed with Ella’s sumptuous jazziness. Indeed, Ann’s interpretation of the song that Barbra co-wrote with Paul Williams, “Evergreen”, is the jazziest take I’ve ever heard of that particular song.
Other high points include Ann’s renditions of the songs she wrote for Barbra “At the Same Time” and “I’ve Dreamed of You” – dare I say it, Ann’s heartfelt interpretation of “I’ve Dreamed of You”, dedicated to her fiancee Kari Strand, was even stronger than Barbra’s recording (though who knows what Barbra might do with it if she sings it on October 11).
Callaway successfully covers all five decades of Streisand’s multi-faceted career, crafting a loving musical portrait of a brilliant, conflicted artist driven to seek pop music perfection. Callaway herself achieves a kind of jazz-pop perfection, a kissing cousin of Streisand’s, and every bit as shimmery and rich.
For tickets, click here.
For more reviews and interviews by Jonathan Warman, see dramaqueennyc.com.