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Posts Tagged ‘Feinstein’s at the Regency’

When three time Tony Award nominee Kelli O’Hara sings, people listen! People listen so intently they are taken away from their daily lives to another world, a world of extraordinary talent, beauty and passion. I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Kelli after her triumphant opening night of her one woman show “Beyond the Ingenue” at Feinstein’s at the Regency (click here for my review).

From Oklahoma to New York City, Kelli O’Hara moved here to pursue her dream of becoming a performer and a performer she has become, in every sense of the word! Kelli made her Broadway debut in “Jekyll & Hyde” then going on to star in “Follies,” “Sweet Smell of Success,” and “Dracula.” Kelli earned her three Tony Award nominations in a row: her first nomination was for her performance in “The Light in the Piazza” co-starring Matthew Morrison, she received her second nomination for her performance in “The Pajama Game” co-starring Harry Connick Jr, and her third nomination was for her performance in “South Pacific,” co-starring Paulo Szot and Matthew Morrison.

In between “The Pajama Game” & “South Pacific,” Kelli made her Carnegie Hall debut in the NY Philharmonic production of “My Fair Lady” and released her debut album “Wonder in the World.” Kelli then went on to perform solo concerts at some of the biggest halls in New York and DC including Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Town Hall, Cooper Union, Joe’s Pub, and Cafe Carlyle.

Off-Broadway and regionally, Kelli has been seen in “Sunday in the Park with George” (Reprise) “My Life With Albertine” (Playwright’s Horizons), and “Beauty” (La Jolla Playhouse). In addition to theatre, Kelli’s film and television credits include “The Dying Gaul,” “Alexander Hamilton,” “NUMB3RS,” “All My Children,” and the upcoming animated series “Car Talk.”

There are two chances now to catch Kelli live on stage: Now through October 30 at Feinstein’s at the Regency in her one woman show “Beyond the Ingenue” and then November 18-21 in “Bells Are Ringing” at Encores! For more on Kelli, be sure to visit http://www.kelliohara.com.

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? My voice teacher Florence Birdwell in Oklahoma. She’s pretty amazing. She was my mentor and inspired me to come here and do what I’m doing.

2. What’s the highest and lowest note you can sing? Well, I sang a high F above high C in “Magic Flute,” an opera. The lowest note I sing is probably F below middle C.

3. Who’s the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Mmmm…Hugh Jackman because I almost have worked with him a few times and it just hasn’t worked out yet. I would also love to work with Megan Mullally.

4. If you couldn’t be doing what you are doing now, what career would you choose? I would be a teacher. I love teaching. I teach, but not full time, just when I can. What do you teach? I teach musical theatre master classes.

5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? No one’s me. So I’m the only one who can do things the way I do them.  So be proud of it and sell it.

6. Favorite way to stay in shape? Jogging.

7. Favorite skin care product? Clinique Exfoliating scrub.

8. Favorite store to shop in? Anthropology for sure.

9. Favorite website? Etsy.com

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Wonder Woman.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? My husband, Greg Naughton.

12. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? I can imitate people’s walks almost perfectly.

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There are many performers with talented and powerful voices, but then there are those with exceptional ones like Kelli O’Hara, a three-time Tony Award Nominee. When Kelli sings, a hush comes over the room so you can not only hear her pristine voice, but feel it throughout your soul and that is exactly how I felt while watching Kelli O’Hara sing at Feinstein’s at the Regency in NYC on Tuesday, October 19, 2010 in her one woman show “Beyond the Ingenue.”

Singing some of the greatest songs written as well as new ones, Kelli knows how to hit each note with the perfect amount of energy, vocal power, and most of all heart! Grateful, personable, and delightful are just some of the ways to describe Kelli’s personality in between songs (and when I got to interview her after the show, which will be posting soon). She really has worked hard to get to where she is and deserves all the success she has had!

Her set list ranged from showtunes to standards to new music as well as taking songs written for men and singing them as if they were written for women.  “Somebody, Somewhere” by Frank Loesser, “The Beauty Is” by Adam Guettel from “The Light in the Piazza,” “This Nearly Was Mine” from “South Pacific,” and “I Could Have Danced All Night” really showcased her high vocals to everyone’s delight! Kelli’s fun/comedic side was displayed perfectly during “Just In Time” (a beautiful song about finding your true love) by Jule Styne/Betty Comden & Aldoph Green, and “Opera Country” (a song about a country singer who wants to sing opera) by Dan Lipton/David Rossmer, and “You’re Always Here” written by Tom Kitt/Brian Yorkey for Kelli in the style of a Stephen Sondheim song which she also sang as part of Sondheim’s 80th Birthday celebration. Other shining moments came when Kelli sang the Frank Sinatra hit “All The Way” by Jimmy Van Heusen/Sammy Cahn, “Finishing The Hat” by Stephen Sondheim, “Tomorrow Lies In The Cradle” by The Weavers, and “Somewhere” by Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim.

Kelli will be at Feinstein’s at the Regency until October 30! If you never seen Kelli O’Hara live, now would be a great time to go see her! Her voice will leave you wanting more…

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Everything that has happened with the growth of “Adaumbelle’s Quest” has been a true dream come true for me! Tonight was no exception. Not only did I get to see and interview Kelli O’Hara at Feinstein’s at the Regency in NYC, but I had the very fortunate opportunity to get a picture with five “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participants all at the same time: Billy Stritch, Christine Pedi, Michael Feinstein, Bobby Cronin, and Jim Caruso! It was a real moment in time for me. Thank you Billy, Christine, Michael, Bobby, and Jim for taking the time to take a photo with me. It meant so much! Thank you Dan Fortune and Miller Wright for helping me have this wonderful evening! I feel so fortunate to be able to have moments like this and hope there are more to come!

 

Billy Stritch, Christine Pedi, Michael Feinstein, Bobby Cronin, Jim Caruso, Adam

 

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If you’re looking for an album to lose yourself in, then I’d suggest picking up Jane Krakowski’s “The Laziest Gal In Town,” recorded at her 2009 Feinstein’s at the Regency cabaret debut. This live recording feels as if you’ve been whisked out of your seat and transported to Feinstein’s at the Regency, one of the most intimate and personable nightclubs in New York City.

With a beautiful voice and controlled belt, Jane knows how to deliver a tune and interact with the audience using her humor, sensuality, and sultriness at just the right moments. “The Laziest Gal In Town,” “I’m Old Fashioned/Old Fashioned Girl,” and “Let’s Face The Music And Dance” allow Jane’s pristine voice to sparkle. Bringing out her more humorous/fun side are the tunes “A Little Brains, A Little Talent,” “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend,” “When I Get Low I Get High/Wacky Dust,” “Rubber Duckie,” and “Tweet,” a song written specifically for Jane by Scott Whitman and fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Marc Shaiman to the tune of “Zip” from “Pal Joey.” Jane sings about the infusion of twitter into everyday life along with announcing the latest celebrity headlines that were taking place during the time of recording. “An Englishman Needs Time,”  “My Handy Man,” and “Thirteen Men” brings out Jane sultriness & sensuality.

Far from being “The Laziest Gal In Town,” Jane has entertained audiences on such hit television shows as “Ally McBeal” and “30 Rock” as well as on stage “Guys and Dolls,” the 2003 Broadway revival of “Nine” (for which she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Muscial) and at Encores! “Damn Yankees” (which starred Cheyenne Jackson). Now would be the perfect time to expand your love for Jane Krakowski and purchase “The Laziest Gal In Town.” Both relaxing and upbeat, this feel good album is one for your collection.

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I had the distinct pleasure of getting to interview Michael Feinstein this past June after seeing him perform live at Feinstein’s in his show “Cool Swing.” He was genuine, funny, and excited to answer my questions. Known as one of the greatest preservers and interpreters of The American Song Book, Michael Feinstein is a multi-platinium selling recording artist as well as a five-time Grammy Award nominee. He has performed in some of the most prestigious venues around the world such as Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl as well as the White House and Buckingham Palace. Michael is nationally recognized for his commitment to the American popular song, both celebrating its art and preserving its legacy for the next generation.

Michael’s most recent recordings include “The Sinatra Project” which earned him his fifth Grammy Award Nomination and “The Power of Two” recorded with Broadway’s very own Cheyenne Jackson. His many other recordings include “Remember: Michael Feinstein Sings Irving Berlin,” “Isn’t It Romantic,” “The MGM Album,” “Michael Feinstein Sings The Burton Lane Songbook, Vol. 1,” “Michael Feinstein Sings The Jule Styne Songbook,” “Pure Imagination,” “Michael Feinstein Sings The Burton Lane Songbook, Vol. II,” “Michael Feinstein Sings The Jerry Herman Songbook,” “Forever,” “Michael Feinstein Sings The Hugh Martin Songbook,” “Such Sweet Sorrow,” “Nice Work If You Can Get It: Songs By The Gershwins,” “Michael & George: Feinstein Sings Gershwin,” “Big City Rhythms,” “Romance on Film, Romance on Broadway,” “Michael Feinstein with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,” “The Michael Feinstein Anthology,” “Livingston And Evans Songbook Featuring Michael Feinstein,” “Only One Life: The Songs of Jimmy Webb,” “Hopeless Romantics Michael Feinstein & George Shearing.”

In addition to being a successful recording artist, Michael has also lent his talents to Broadway. This past spring he starred in the new Broadway Show “All About Me” with Dame Edna and he has written the score for two upcoming stage musicals: “The Night They Saved Macy’s Parade” and “The Gold Room.” He is also currently developing “The Thomas Crown Affair” into a Broadway musical with MGM Onstage.

This October be sure to catch Michael’s new three-part documentary series on PBS entitled “Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook” (October 6, 13, and 20). In 2011, Michael will serve as the Artistic Director of the Carmel Performing Arts Center  in Carmel, Indiana. This $160 million, three-theatre performing arts center will host an annual international Great American Songbook festival, along with diverse live programming and a museum to house Michael’s rare memorabilia and manuscripts. For much more on Michael, be sure to visit http://www.michaelfeinstein.com.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? My early inspirations were Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Al Jolson, and watching variety television such as Carol Burnett, the corny Mitch Miller Show, the Lawrence Welk Show. When I was a kid, my parents always had these music shows on so I was indoctrinated with the music, fell in love with it, and it became such a part of my life that I wanted to make a living doing it. I didn’t necessarily want to become a performer right off the bat, but I wanted to be involved in music.

2. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Well most of the people I would have liked to work with are dead, but of those that are still alive, I would have liked to work with Doris Day. I asked Doris Day to sing with me 20 years ago and she’s well retired and was very, very sweet, but resistant and that would be a dream because I think she is one of the greatest living vocalists.

2a. Who dead would you have liked to work with? I would have loved to work and collaborate with many of idols such as Ethel Waters, George Gershwin (and been accompanied by him), Oscar Levant, and Fred Astaire. I knew Peggy Lee, but I never got to work with her which would have been great to have done. She was a funny, funny lady.

3. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? That’s a difficult question to answer because early in the morning I’m a basso profundo and I can sing very, very low notes that don’t stay with me during the day. In high school chorus, I was a second tenor and I can sing falsetto up to C’s & D flats, but my range isn’t great. I discovered a lot of singers whose work I admired didn’t necessarily have the biggest range, so I take that as some form of solace.

4. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? It’s funny because most of the dreams I dream about are dreams about old Hollywood, old performers, the old studios, and being part of that, so maybe I had a past life there. Romantically there are probably many movie stars I could dream about, but no one in particular.

5. What’s your proudest moment? I think my proudest moment was buying my parents a house. They had retired and moved to Las Vegas. They had a house and sold it and I persuaded them to come back to California. I was able to buy a house for them near me and that was something that felt wonderful.

6. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I can make my eyes change color at will. I can make them change from shades of green to shades of blue back and forth. I asked a opthamologist once if it was possible and he said it wasn’t clinically possible, but he’s seen other people do it.

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? Sex would be the favorite, I don’t know if it keeps you in shape, but that’s my favorite. Seriously though, the way I do mainly stay in shape is the treadmill with listening to music or watching television. That’s the primary way, even though when I’m in Los Angeles, I love hiking in the hills of Griffith Park it’s very solitary and the air is so crisp.

8. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs. I don’t think I’ve ever worn boxers, but now you got me thinking I should try them.

9. Favorite website? I go on IMDB a lot.

10. “Mary” or “Rhoda”? Phyllis.

BONUS QUESTION:

11. Favorite hobby? I love going to flea markets. I love archiving music. I love taking old ’78s and ’33s and digitizing them and preserving them.

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Showmanship, stage presence, wit, and a booming personality are just some of the words I would use to describe Michael Feinstein performing in his new act “Cool Swing” at Feinstein’s at the Regency. Michael has made a career out of preserving the great American Songbook and thank goodness for him. With a voice and style as crisp and pure as the country air, Michael can take any song, make it his own while keeping the intentions behind the songwriters original concept. In between songs, Michael knows how to engage an audience with his quick wit and heartfelt stories about the composers and musicians who inspired him.

If you’ve never seen Michael live on stage, this would be a good time do so. He’s performing at Feinstein’s at the Regency through June 19. Click here for tickets! (Interview posting soon…)

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On Tuesday, April 6, 2010, I had the honor and privilege of interviewing powerhouse vocalist Linda Eder after seeing her opening night performance at one of New York’s legendary nightclubs “Feinstein’s at the Regency.” Gracious and personable, Linda gave the audience an evening to remember singing many songs from her new CD “Soundtrack” as well as an array of songs from her career, including “Someone Like You” and “Vienna.” It was one of Linda’s original songs, “Nice Day for Flying” that really had the audience cheering. With one of the biggest voices in contemporary music, Linda Eder is a performer to see! She truly has the voice of an angel and a belt that no one can rival. Linda’s music reaches across many genres, pop/folk, standards, Broadway, and original compositions. Her concerts have been broadcast on PBS & Bravo and she was the creator and host of “Trail Mix,” a primetime television special for Animal Planet. Linda continuously tours the country performing to sold-out crowds and often teams up with Michael Feinstein for “Two For the Road.” Her powerful rendition of “Gold” was selected for the 2002 Winter Olympics opening ceremonies. Linda also starred on Broadway in “Jekyll & Hyde” for which she won a Theatre World Award and was nominated for a Drama Desk & Outer Critics Circle Award. Linda also starred in the Goodspeed Opera House’s production of “Camille Claudel.” Linda will be at “Feinstein’s at the Regency” until April 17, so if you are able to make it, it’s a night you won’t forget! For more on Linda, be sure to visit http://www.lindaeder.com.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? Judy Garland first and as far as style it was opera singer Eileen Farrell, then as a young teenager it was Barbra Streisand. These three ladies are the real reason I sing.

2. What is the highest note you can sing? I don’t know if I can hit it anymore since I’ve had my son, but the highest note is F above double high C.

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? I’d have to say two…In the pop/country style, I’d love to sing with Bryan Adams and in the standard style I’d love to sing with Michael Buble. I think we could go head to head pretty good.

4. What’s your proudest moment? Personally my proudest moment is the birth of my son and professionally my proudest moment would be the first time I played Carnegie Hall.

5. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Right now it would be my boyfriend, which is a good thing. He’s amazing!

6. Favorite way to stay in shape? Horseback riding.

7. Favorite skin care product? My lotions and potions are usually given to me in gifts baskets, but I recently got a coconut/almond hand cream that is the most amazing thing I’ve ever smelled in my life; you just want to eat it.

8. Books or Magazines? Books.

9. Favorite website? Youtube.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Superman.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite hobby? Horses.

12. Favorite scented candle? Vanilla.

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