MAUREEN McGOVERN is a truly remarkable talent – as witnessed by the attendance at the famed Rrazz Room. McGovern, with her tonal purity of voice, really knows how to wrap the words around the tunes. Mind you, there are some really difficult instrumental passages – but she gets them in like it was a piece of cake.
She cleverly interplays with the piano. It’s all so perfectly worked out. You are left with awesome wonder when it’s all over. Her repertoire is truly vast. Maureen sings Folk, Country, Pop, and even a little bit of opera. Yep, she has a tremendous range of music that is not cluttered.
Pete Seeger is one of her favorites. And who doesn’t like his music? And, as usual – whenever I hear a Seeger song – my eyes begin to get a little teary. It’s McGovern’s fault. One of my special favorites was “Turn, Turn, Turn.” The song makes some political points as usual. Maureen brings out the soul and purpose of the music. Fantastic!
McGovern has picked music that tells stories. And she lets us in on the secret. It’s simplicity of the singing, and a genuine earnestness to perform in front of an audience. An Audience I might add – that went berserk for her.
McGovern knows how to pick the right music. She has demonstrated that in her long, illustrious career. Good music is good music – and McGovern has delivered her share of it over the years. Music, that varies from haunting to the dark and romantic. Hey, if you want to relax? Just order a glass of wine in the low lit candle light at the Rrazz Room – as McGovern delivers us the most incredible, crystal clear voice, that brings you close to tears and her friend Paul Simon. This is live music. And nothing in the world can compare to live performances. “I’m just trying to survive the Digital World” – Mc Govern said. And she does exactly that with these memories – “Jimmy Web” – “Paul Simon, now in his 70’s” – “Kenny Rankin” – “Judy Baron – ‘Why Can’t I Forget Him?” and as I mentioned above “Pete Seeger (now 93).” And then of course, McGovern did not forget to honor Bruce Springsteen. One song from McGovern is worth at least one million tweets!
ON STAGE THROUGH MAY 4TH
RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating) –trademarked-
Laura Bananti. Courtesy Photo
LAURA BENANTI – BROADWAY ACTOR AND SINGER
Benanti was born in New York City. Her mother was and is a vocal coach of former actress. Benanti changed her last name when her parents divorced and her mother married Salvatore Benanti.
She was always interested in musical Theatre. She has been in “The Sound of Music” still very young (18) she played one of the nuns and understudy to Maria.
Benanti has been in “Swing” and“Nine” -- among others. Her all-around talents led her to The Public Theatre’s fabulous premiere production of Christopher Durang’s play “Why Torture is Wrong, And the People Who Love Them.” She also appeared in the Lincoln Center theater production of Sarah Ruhl’ “In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) at the Lyceum Theatre.
Benanti has also supported the “World AIDS DAY” concerts – Pippin and Children of Eden. In addition to all of that Benanti has been on Television and on film. Laura also appears on many original cast albums. She also appeared as a guest artist on the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C.’s live album -- “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught”: The Song of Hammerstein & Sondheim, taken from a performance at the Kennedy Center. She also can be heard in the cast album of “Gypsy.” How does she do all of this? Well, she has said: - “Musical theatre is my first love…I want to take my music and orchestrate it in a kind of old fashion style, and take some standards and ‘popularize’ them—you know, do a true crossover. I’m working on it.”
Here are a few of her accomplishments. She was best featured actress (nominee) for “Swing!” – Nominee for “Into the Woods” as Cinderella – Won Tony for her role as Gypsy Rose Lee – and she was a nominee for the Tony for “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” – She won the Drama Desk Award for “Women on the Verge” and she won again for the Drama Desk award for ‘Gypsy’ – and she was the Drama Desk nominee for “Into the Woods”.
NOW THIS WONDERFUL TALENT – Laura Benanti is going to bring the Fairmont’s Venetian room back to life. She has songs to sing – wonderful songs, and she is fun on the stage also. From Hammerstein to Sondheim and beyond – she knows all the tunes. And lucky for us, we get to see and hear her in the glorious famed Venetian Room on the top of Nob Hill.
I’ve heard many of Benanti’s songs – and she can take any old song and make it brilliantly fresh.
At the Fairmont Hotel Venetian Room (Top of Nob Hill), May 12th at 8:00 p.m. Presented by Bay Area Cabaret
LOOKING FORWARD: There will be Rainbows everywhere: On May 31-- the beginning of that shake and bake musical “The Full Monty” being put on by the amazing “Ray of Light Theatre” – presented on the Eureka Stage (Jackson @ Battery) in SF. Terrance McNalley wrote the book and David Yazbeck wrote the Music & Lyrics. With Ray of Lights reputation – its bound to be “A Knockout!”
42nd STREET MOON concludes season wit “Zorba” at the Eureka Theatre. Plays May 2 – 20. From the Oscar-winning film to the stage, Zorba has had a long life. You may not know that Zorba is a musical on the stage. It has a powerful score. Harold Prince on Broadway originally directed the musical. Artistic Director Greg MacKellan will move into that seat for this production. Runs May 2 thru May 20. http://www.42ndstmoon.org/
THE TOM JUDSON SHOW – A CABARET
Judson has great skills, as you can see. He not only has super abs, but he is a Crooner, plays the piano and sings an eclectic selection of songs from obscure gems. He keeps the pace going with music, anecdotes and stories about some of the celebrities he’s crossed paths with, during his career. His body alone will sell out the house. I’m sure of that. Plays May 2 – 12. It’s part of the 2012/2013 Pride season. Photo by: John Skelicky. At New Conservatory Theatre - Van Ness @ Market.
AND THAT’S A WRAP!!!!
(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he produced and hosted a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED)))
The Photo of Lee Hartgrave Boy Reporter is by Jim Ferreira – Film Noir & Hollywood Glamour. www.lafterhall.com.
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