Hamptons Summer Songbook by the Sea: Come to Cabaret!

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:7 mins read

Hamptons Summer Songbook by the Sea

A Preview—Come to Cabaret!

The Triad, NYC, May 7, 2024

Reviewed by Alix Cohen

“This has been a long time coming,” sighed Donna Rubin, co-producer with Josh Gladstone of the first full cabaret season at the not-for-profit LTV Studios. With support from Eleanor and Howard Morgan, the former musical-theater actress and the former artistic director of Guild Hall have booked a roster of popular artists ordinarily seen in Manhattan clubs. Having put a toe in the water last summer, LTV will offer Saturday-night shows at its studios from June 22 through August 31 in Wainscott, New York. There will no longer need to be lengthy drives or crowded jitneys to see your favorites. On May 7, a preview of the program was unveiled at New York’s Triad Theater.

Josh Gladstone and Donna Rubin

Tovah Feldshuh began the evening with a glimpse of Aging Is Optional (G-d, I Hope It Is!) She sang Dar Williams’ “When I Was a Boy” youthfully with feet firmly planted (high heels off) and chest puffed out. “I won’t forget when Peter Pan came to my house, took my hand/I said I was a boy/I’m glad he didn’t check.” As rendered, it was an actor’s scene-in-one. A brief monologue as WYOY’s fatalistic Miss Chronic broadcasting Kaddish and Coffee followed. (It was written by Larry Amoros.) Feldshuh has increasingly added this kind of skit to shows. The segment ended with a yearning “Never Never Land” (Betty Comden and Adolph Green/Jule Styne). Second star to the right and straight on till morning – a new cabaret venue! Her MD/pianist was James Bassi.

James Bassi and Tovah Feldshuh

The extremely dapper Mark Nadler along with fascinator-hatted KT Sullivan presented Always: The Love Story of Irving Berlin. “I think about how he wrote songs that shaped America, but what if he’d written in his own language?” Nadler posited, then he rendered “White Christmas” in Yiddish with signature brio. Berlin’s first wife tragically died five months after their honeymoon, but a second love match lasted 63 years. A First Date Medley duet included romantic circumstances from “Steppin’ Out with My Baby” and “It Only Happens When I Dance with You.” They performed the songs with palpable warmth. Sullivan ended with a light soprano interpretation of “You’d Be Surprised,” replete with playful gestures. The accompaniment by Nadler bubbled.

Mark Nadler and KT Sullivan

David Alpern—former reporter/writer/senior editor Newsweek—introduced Steve Ross and Karen Murphy in Best of the Versed: Celebrating Opening Lyrics You May Not Know to Songs You Thought You Did. “I weave with brightly colored strings/To keep my mind off other things” began “Falling in Love with Love.” (Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart from The Boys from Syracuse.) Would you have known? Murphy convincingly assumed the character. It would be easy to imagine her in the musical. “Oh, I got a message from below/Twas from a man I used to know” sang Ross; that’s from the verse to “Pack Up Your Sins and Go to The Devil” (Berlin.) His inflection showcased the song as it was wryly written. Who better than Ross to represent Cole Porter? “Though with joy I should be reeling/That at last you came my way/There’s no further use concealing/That I’m feeling far from gay.” he followed with touching wistfulness. (“After You, Who?”) Ross accompanied himself and Murphy at the piano.

David Alpern (L); Steve Ross and Karen Murphy

Mark Singer and Darcy Dunn submitted Leonard Bernstein’s and Stephen Sondheim’s “Tonight” in tandem with Frank Loesser’s “Luck Be a Lady” from their upcoming evening titled Headliners and One Liners, and then duetted on Henry Mancini’s and Johnny Mercer’s “Moon River.” Their voices blended nicely. “We’re the only ones you haven’t heard of tonight,” they quipped. The arrangements were deftly bespoke. (Julia Mendelson was pianist/MD.) I’m unclear as to the meaning of the show’s title.

Darcy Dunn and Mark Singer

Perfectly Frank – A Century of Sinatra featured Sal Viviano who strolled from the back of the theater, drink in hand. “A Hundred Years from Today” (Joseph Young & Ned Washington/Victor Young), “You Make Me Feel So Young” (Mack Gordon/Josef Myrow), and “My Funny Valentine” (Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart) were performed by this certified crooner. The Catskill jokes might be replaced by a few Sinatra anecdotes. Alex Rybeck accompanied at the piano.

Alex Rybeck and Sal Viviano

Anna Bergman opened with “The Museum” (Addy Feiger/Francesca Blumenthal), which was about how to meet a better class of men. “There’s something about the lighting/Something about the hush/That makes a guy respect you/While giving you the rush.” The droll song landed well as performed by the classy Bergman. “The Merry Widow Waltz” (Franz Lehar/Carl Haffner/Richard Ganz; English lyric by Ruth & Thomas Martin) followed with her signature operatic panache. A medley of “I Wish You Love” (Charles Trenet; English lyric by Albert Askew Beach) and “I’ll See You Again” (Noël Coward) invited us to the Hamptons. Bergman shared with the audience. Her show is titled The Song Is You. He accompanist was Phil Hall.

Phil Hall and Anna Bergman

Paris to Broadway was excerpted by confirmed Francophile Christine Andreas whose glorious soprano and French never disappoints. We heard “La Mer” (Charles Trenet; English lyric by Jack Lawrence), “The Last Time I Saw Paris” (Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein II), and “Valse D’Amour” (Marcel Achard/Marguerite Monnot) to which one couldn’t help but sway. On the Broadway side, Andreas presented a sparkling “She Loves Me” (Jerry Bock/Sheldon Harnick) which reminded us of her successful years on the boards. She was accompanied by her husband, pianist Marty Silvestri.

Marty Silvestri and Christine Andreas

Also on the summer program but not in tonight’s show were Jeff Harnar and Karen Akers.

Tickets are available now, and donations are gratefully accepted. Support the art of live cabaret music however you can, wherever it appears.

Eleanor and Howard Morgan in association with LTV Studios present
Hamptons Summer Songbook
Produced by Donna Rubin and Josh Gladstone
The series: Saturdays, June 22 – August 31

LTV Studios 
75 Industrial Road, Wainscott, NY

Alix Cohen

Alix Cohen’s writing began with poetry, segued into lyrics then took a commercial detour. She now authors pieces about culture/the arts, including reviews and features. A diehard proponent of cabaret, she’s also a theater aficionado, a voting member of Drama Desk, The Drama League and of The NY Press Club in addition to MAC. Currently, Alix writes for Cabaret Scenes, Theater Pizzazz and Woman Around Town. Additional pieces have been published by The New York Post, The National Observer’s Playground Magazine, Pasadena Magazine and Times Square Chronicles. Alix is the recipient of six New York Press Club Awards.