Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Little Night Music

Okay ... this is going to be one of those not-so-Jovi, more about music types of posts.

So, I ended up at Joe's Pub last night for the late show ... not the late late show -- they actually had three shows back-to-back-to-back last night. I sooo love that venue. Its very New York - small, dark and crowded ... located right above the Astor Place subway (more on that later.)

Joe's Pub is probably one of the greatest known cabaret places in the country ... and I have seen many an established and rising star there. I remember one night in particular with the incomparable four-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald. Ok, I might be a little biased because we were in school together ... I actually have a great picture of her and me singing in a Martin Luther King celebration at Juilliard. I like looking at that picture ... makes me laugh. Me. Singing next to Audra. Damn! What was I thinking?! LOL

Though some of you may recognize her from her role on "Private Practice" on TV, it is musical theatre that this woman has taken by storm. If you don't know her ... here's a clip of a great song ...

Anyway, back to last night. I ended up being seated at the end of the stage, basically in the crook of the piano. The night was featuring artists from Upright Cabaret which is a group based in Los Angeles. As expected, there were some knock-out performances and I had the chance to hear some songs that really resonated with me ... including a fantastic song called "The Flagmaker, 1775."

One more star, one more stripe
Til you feel the rising sun
One more star, one more stripe
Til this foolishness is done
One more star, one more stripe
We'll be waiting when we've won

Grab a needle, grab a thimble
If it's all that keeps you sane
Think of freedom as a symbol
Think of justice as a game
Think of life with independence
Think of muskets and brigades
Think of taking the oppressors
Think of banners and parades

Someday I'll tell you about my strange connection to Broadway musicals about the Civil War. But, that's for another time. (edited to clarify, that, yes, I do know that the song is connected to The American Revolution and not the Civil War ... )

So, about three acts from the end of the show, David Bryan and Montego Glover, who plays the female lead in "Memphis", take the stage. I know her work, but had only seen the video of her doing "Colored Woman" out in Seattle. Last night they did "Love Will Stand (When All Else Falls)." I swear, every song I've heard from this show is fantastic - and y'all know I'm VERY honest about music. Now, sitting literally five feet away from David you'd think I'd be watching him, but Montego has a powerful stage presence and incredible voice. After that, David performed "Memphis Lives in Me." It was nice to hear it live after having listened to it probably 150 times from the boxset.

After the show, I waited to say a few words to both Joe DiPietro and David. I talked to Joe about being at opening night of previews for Toxic and my review and we joked about the stress of having a blog. (Yes, folks, it ain't as easy as it looks.) He told me they are slated for the Shubert Theatre and are still trying to work out timing of all that.

Then, I spoke with David for a few minutes - did the fan thing and had him sign my Toxic Avenger program, jokingly asked him to make sure there's a bassoon/contra book for the show (highly unlikely given the subject matter, but hey! its worth a shot) and laughed about the subway that came rumbling thru. Seriously, the whole floor starts shaking ... its a hoot.

Honestly, I'm not sure how many people there were familiar with David and/or Bon Jovi ... it was a theatre crowd. But, I can say that I truly believe this musical is going to be a hit. And, even though I have posted this before, I can never hear this song too many times, so remember ...