Jenna's Two Cents Blog   

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Time For An Update!

Hello all!
Sorry it's been so long since the last post - between rehearsing 2 shows, seeing a lot more, and coming down with a cold, it's been tricky to carve out a good chunk of time to sit at my computer! Here I am, though, with plenty to report on!
On Wednesday, February 6th, I had the honor of performing at Barnes & Noble as part of their "Any Wednesday" series. The performance was celebrating the release of my CD, 13 Men...and Me!, so we did a number of selections from the CD. I was joined by my fantastic band (Fortune Esposito on guitar, Richard Schacher on piano, Michael Blanco on bass, Bobby Sher on drums and Brian Broelmann on tenor sax), and we had a great turnout. A big thank-you to everyone who came to B&N that evening!
That Friday, February 8th, I debuted my brand new show, Takin' A Chance On Love, at John's Harvest Inn in Middletown, NY. Chock full of love songs, the show is a musical journey through the course of a romance. I'll be performing it at the Metropolitan Room in March and April, so it was great to have a chance to try it out in front of a hometown crowd. It went very well, and I'm very excited to perform it again next month!
On Saturday, February 9th, I had some friends in town who were visiting from Texas and wanted to get a sense of New York cabaret, so I took them to see Gashole at the Duplex - and they LOVED it! Gashole is one of the most fun shows in town, and because each show is made up of random requests from the audience, you're basically guaranteed to never see the same show twice! Karen Mack and Michael Holland do a fantastic job of creating improbably medleys and covering pop music from the '70s and '80s and have a blast doing it. Their harmonies are spot-on and their exuberant irreverance is extremely contagious! My friends had a great time and so did I!
The next day, I showed them the other end of the NYC cabaret spectrum by taking them to Feinstein's to see Andrea McArdle. Best known as the original "Annie" on Broadway, Ms. McArdle put on a terrific show, including such musical theatre staples as "It Might As Well Be Spring," "Everybody Says Don't," and an interesting pairing of "Simple Little Things" with "I Dreamed A Dream." She absolutely killed with a passionate, "What Kind Of Fool Am I?" and, much to the satisfaction of the audience, closed with "Tomorrow." It was a lovely show and I was very happy to be able to show my out-of-town friends such a classy room!
On Tuesday, February 12th, I headed to the East Village to see a screening of Garrison, a film which was written and directed by my best friend from high school, Kerry Valderrama. Oh, yeah - he also starred in it, too! Inspired by the Fort Bragg killings of 2002, Garrison has been Kerry's pet project for the past several years, and I was really excited to finally get to see it. And I am SO happy I did. The movie was extremely well done, and even if I did not know Kerry at all, I would still be blown away by it. It's already won a number of awards, and it's entered in a few more upcoming festivals. I'm hoping it comes back to NYC so I can go see it again - if it does, I'll be sure to post ahead of time!
On Valentine's Day, I had the pleasure of seeing one of my all-time favorite performers, Rufus Wainwright, at Radio City Music Hall. This was the 9th time I've seen him live, and believe me, there's a reason I keep going back! He is, hands down, the most exciting and original composer of contemporary pop that I know of. His compositions are a seamless blend of classical, jazz, rock and pop music, and the orchestrations and harmonies are extraordinary. On this night, there was an extra-special addition, too. For one of his encores, he brought out Sean Lennon (his opening act) as well as his (Rufus' that is) mom and sister to join him on "Across The Universe." How cool is that?! It's not every day you get to see the son of a Beatle singing a Beatles song on the stage of Radio City! It was a fantastic concert, and I can't wait for the next one!
On Saturday, February 16th, I did a double-header at the Metropolitan Room, taking in Maureen McGovern at 7:30 and Heather Sullivan at 10:00. What a night! I was so happy to be able to catch both of these shows. I'd never seen Maureen McGovern live before and let me tell you, there is a reason she is such a big star! What a voice! What a presence! She put on one of the most beautifully sung shows I've seen. Packed to the point of overflowing the crowd at the Metropolitan Room just would not stop applauding at points! Featuring songs from singer/songwriters of the '60s, Ms. McGovern brough her lovely voice and powerful acting skills to such songs as Simon and Garfunkel's "America," Joni Mitchell's "The Circle Game," Carol King's "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," James Taylor's "Fire And Rain" and the Beatles' "Rocky Racoon." Okay, so maybe "Rocky Racoon" isn't the biggest acting song in the world, but it is one of my favorite Beatles songs, and I was thrilled that she included it!
After a brief break (and some snacks down the street at Cafe 50 West), I was back and ready for Heather Sullivan, one of the well known singing Sullivans (sisters KT and Stacy and brother Tim are all singers too!), in a rare NYC performance. Based in L.A., Heather is a talented singer/songwriter, and it was a treat to get to hear her live! Joined by Mark Peterson on bass and Kahlil Kwam Bell on percussion, Heather put on a most enjoyable show that was a combination of songs she'd written and covers that she loves to sing. She opened with Billy Joel's "Piano Man" and did a medley of some of her favorite Carol King songs, which the audience just ate up! She was joined by a number of guest performers throughout the evening, which was just so much fun. Marcus Simeone and Lynn Loosier each performed one of Heather's original tunes, and sisters Stacy and KT each did a duet with Heather. One of the most touching moments of the evening came when Heather's mother, Elizabeth, joined her onstage for "Remember You," which was written by Elizabeth herself. My, what a talented family! Altogether a great night!
I've spent the past few days kind of down for the count with a nasty cold, but am starting to feel a little bit better and am hoping to make it to Jamie deRoy's show at the Metropolitan Room tomorrow night! Also coming up, my friend Miles Phillips is bringing back his beautiful show, "Quiet Stars" for one performance only - Saturday, March 1st at 5 p.m. at the Metropolitan Room. I saw the show in the fall and was really moved by how beautifully constructed and beautifully sung it was - and I'm really looking forward to seeing it again! And as I mentioned before, I've got some shows coming up myself - get those pens uncapped and calendars opened! I'll be at the Metropolitan Room on Monday, March 24th at 7 p.m., Sunday, March 30th at 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 6th at 9:30 p.m. - hope to see you there!
Check back for another update soon!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Giants Win!!!

Wooooooooohoooooooooooooooo!!!! Yay Giants!