Scott Siegel’s Great American Songbook Series

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:5 mins read

Scott Siegel’s Great American Songbook Series

YouTube Video

April 23, 2020

Reviewed by Ron Forman

Scott Siegel

As for many businesses, the Covid-19 lockdown has been devastating to the cabaret world. Just about every venue where cabaret artists could find work is closed. Some of these artists have been streaming videos to keep busy, but producer Scott Siegel had a unique idea—to put on a YouTube video show where the performers would actually get paid.

online pharmacy with best prices today in the USA

Using GoFundMe, he raised money to put on a streaming video show, similar to the shows he has produced at The Town Hall, the Streicker Center, and Feinstein’s/54 Below for many years.

The template for Siegel’s shows is always the same: gather a cast of wonderful vocalists, and match them with songs appropriate to their sound and style, adhering to a common theme. What makes Siegel’s shows special is that he introduces each song with a brief interesting, informative and often amusing comments about the song and singer. This show features songs chosen from the Great American Songbook, many of them especially appropriate to the lockdown.

Christina Bianco, whose YouTube video featuring her many imitations has had millions of views, opened the show in her own booming voice with “Don’t Rain on My Parade.” Michael Winther was accompanied by Emma Venarde on bass for a soft and touching “Rainbow Connection.” Lianne Marie Dobbs, accompanied by guitarist Luke Darnell performed a very dramatic “If I Ruled the World.

online pharmacy with best prices today in the USA

” (The close-ups displaying her facial expressions were especially moving.) All the way from Australia, Phillipa Lynas performed an especially appropriate “I’m Not Afraid of Anything” from Jason Robert Brown’s Songs from a New World. Siegel’s comments about the events leading up to Dionne Warwick’s recording of “Alfie” led into Gabrielle Stravelli’s performance. Her sound and phrasing were on a par with Warwick’s iconic recording. Normally known only as a pianist, John Fischer displayed his considerable vocal skill as he accompanied himself with dazzling work on piano for “New York State of Mind.
online pharmacy with best prices today in the USA

Siegel used one song not strictly from the Great American Songbook—“La Vie en rose.” Kelly Rabke showed off her beautiful soprano as she performed the song in its original French.

online pharmacy with best prices today in the USA

The camera showed only the upper half of Brian Charles Rooney’s body to emphasize his wonderfully hopeful facial expressions as he sang “Tomorrow.” Willie Falk performed a soft and meaningful “In Whatever Time We Have.” One of Siegel’s rising stars, Mia Gerachis,also only had the upper half of her body videoed for her very dramatic “On My Own.” The Drinkwater twins, Jon and Matthew, blended their voices nicely for their rousing performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” featuring Matthew’s accompaniment on guitar. Even on video, Metropolitan Opera star John Easterlin’s magnificent voiced thrilled me on “Without a Song.” Geoffrey Gee’s beautiful piano solo led into Maxine Linehan’s next-to-closing number, “Over the Rainbow.” She included the verse, beautifully sung in her memorable performance. Cooper Grodin closed the show with a moving video of him playing with his children and then banging on their toy drum as he sang a song of the Great Depression, “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime,” ending by holding the final note on the word “dime.” Here’s hoping Scott continues to present these virtual shows.

Ron Forman

Ron Forman has been a Mathematics Professor at Kingsborough Community College for 45 years. In that time, he has managed to branch out in many different areas. From 1977 to 1994 he was co-owner of Comics Unlimited, the third largest comic book distribution company in the USA. In 1999,after a lifetime of secretly wanting to do a radio program, he began his weekly Sweet Sounds program on WKRB 90.3 FM, dedicated to keeping the music of the Great American Songbook alive and accessible. This introduced him to the world of cabaret, which led to his position as a reviewer for Cabaret Scenes.