No Song is Safe From Us

No Song Is Safe From Us - The NYFOS Blog
 |  Penny Ross

“Sing for Your Supper”, a Rodgers and Hart trio from The Boys from Syracuse is irresistibly goofy, especially when it’s done so enthusiastically by world class singers. I couldn’t decide who did it better—the Broadway stars Rebecca Luker, Audra McDonald and Mary Testa or the opera legends Frederica von Stade, Marilyn Horne and Renee Fleming.




 |  Penny Ross

Let’s start with Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer. To know their music is to love it.  They wrote a string of classic songs without ever managing to write a hit Broadway show.  “Come Rain or Come Shine” was written for St. Louis Woman that lasted 103 performances in spite of its gorgeous score. Eileen Farrell, accompanied by Leonard Bernstein, performs it here.




 |  Mary Birnbaum

What a week this has been! There are so many fantastic songs out there that it was hard to pick just one a day. Thank you NYFOS for asking me to play this really fun game. Today’s selection is “Feeling Of”, written (and performed) by the super talented Melissa Lusk for her band BOY GIRL PARTY.




 |  Mary Birnbaum

This is one of my favorite conventions in theater—the character who has one (showstopping) song. This song from Jason Robert Brown’s incredible score is sung by Whitney Bashor, who plays the ex of the leading man. She only appears for this moment, but lends so much depth and realism to his backstory. Bashor has a really gorgeous voice and I look forward to hearing more from her soon!




 |  Mary Birnbaum

For a Tuesday, I thought something a little more serious (just a little though) could be in order. I have always loved the songs of Reynaldo Hahn and particularly love Susan Graham’s compilation of Hahn’s songs—”La Belle Epoque”. A particularly summery one is “Quand je fus pris au pavillon”, an upbeat memory song about losing your heart to a fancy lady in her pavillion. The piano captures the exhilaration of youthful love and Susan Graham’s voice sounds so honeyed and sweet.




 |  Mary Birnbaum

This super creative setting of a teenage girl’s extracurricular activities by the UBER talented Kristen Childs has come to mind because her new musical, Bella: An American Tall Tale has just opened at Playwrights Horizons and I’m dying to see it. The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, which was a total delight in the early 2000’s, had several of my all time favorite performers in it— Adriane Lenox, Darius DeHaas, Jerry Dixon, LaChanze. There are a lot of selections that bear listening to, but “The Skate” is one of my favorites.




 |  Lee Stern

Last year I saw a ‘new’ musical theatre piece that was a collaboration between lyricist Vid Guerrerio and the greatest musical theatre composer of them all…Mozart. The piece was called Figaro (90210), and it brilliantly updated the opera to present-day L.A. Susanna is an illegal immigrant who has been working in a sweatshop, and is now a maid working for ‘Paul Conti’, a shady businessman who has promised to sponsor her for a green card in return for services rendered. First performed in L.A. before the presidential primaries a couple of years ago, it was/is of our moment and of all time (since it is Mozart!).




 |  Lee Stern

Instead of going to my senior prom, I took my high school girlfriend by train from New Rochelle, only ‘forty-five minutes from Broadway’ to dinner at Sardi’s and for a performance of A Little Night Music. (I ‘came out’ within two years, it took Gail a little longer). A year later, I saw the first incarnation of Side by Side by Sondheim in London; by then I was a confirmed Sondheimite.




 |  Lee Stern

‘As you are dreaming time flies’. One moment you are a kid watching Rosemary Clooney on a black and white TV singing ‘God help the mister who comes between me and my sister/and God help the sister who comes between me and my man’ (Irving Berlin from White Christmas). Years later you are lucky enough to be able to sit at the top of Rockefeller Center with the snow falling over New York skyscrapers. Rosie is ten feet away from you achingly singing a heart-wrenching Jimmy Webb ballad (he had come a long way from ‘Up Up and Away’). And then you find this video clip of the California babe who had pounded out ‘You’re no good, you’re no good’. She too has mellowed and deepened, two goddesses in duet. It was in fact Linda Ronstadt who first brought the song forward, and brought Clooney aboard.