Mar 12, 2012 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
It’s a long way from a church basement in Taunton to the spotlit stages of midtown Manhattan!
Marissa Mulder, who got her start singing in musicals and concerts at St. Ann’s Church on 4461 Onondaga Blvd., in Syracuse, is now a 20something budding cabaret star being reviewed by The New York Times.
A ravishing redhead with a gorgeously girlish voice, Mulder now performs at the prestigious Metropolitan Room, at 34 W. 22nd Street. Why not? Last summer she won the club’s annual MetroStar Talent Challenge.
Mulder has also headlined at La Mediterranee, an authentic French restaurant at 947 2nd Ave., and recently debuted at the Don’t Tell Mama piano bar/cabaret on West 46 Street’s Restaurant Row.
The SUNY Geneseo grad is making the most of higher education in the Big Apple. She’s working with pros like music director and pianist Bill Zeffiro and the veteran bassist John Loehrke. She frequently performs the songs of Mickey Leonard, who wrote soundtracks for the TV sitcom “Happy Days.” Leonard occasionally accompanies her on piano.
She’s also wise to align herself with another Syracuse native, award-winning vocalist Karen Oberlin, who directs Mulder’s performances. Oberlin made sure to invite New York Times pop critic Stephen Holden to attend when Mulder presented “Illusions” last week at the Metropolitan Room.
‘Bounce and twinkle’
In the March 8 edition of the Times, Holden wrote, “Ms. Mulder, who comes from Syracuse, has a voice with a bounce and a twinkle that recall that much-missed pop-jazz pixie, Blossom Dearie, who died three years ago. Unlike Dearie, a minimalist to her bones, Ms. Mulder has a Broadway side that reared up now and then. But her best singing was quiet and friendly.”
Among the tunes that Holden heard were “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” “Never Never Land” and a gripping “Nobody’s Heart.”
Van Heusen tribute
Mulder returns to her old stomping grounds this weekend to perform a tribute to yet another Syracuse native, legendary songwriter Jimmy Van Heusen. Her show, “Look to Your Heart,” is slated for 5 p.m. Sunday, March 18, at the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel Ballroom, 801 University Ave.
Van Heusen’s swinging melodies are heard in standards such as “Come Fly with Me,” “High Hopes,” “Going My Way,” “Swinging on a Star” and the iconic “Ring a Ding Ding.”
When he was born in Syracuse in 1913, Van Heusen’s name was Chester Babcock. A handful of his surviving relatives now live in Skaneateles.
CNY Jazz Executive Director and drummer Larry Luttinger calls Van Heusen’s tunes “joyous and life-affirming.” Luttinger likes the idea of a Syracuse gal singing the songs of a Syracuse guy: “There’s no better way to celebrate Chet’s considerable catalog than invite an up-and-coming cabaret star back to her home town to perform songs that have become part of America’s—no, let’s say the world’s—musical heritage.”
Sunday’s show is the third in CNY Jazz’s 2011-2012 cabaret series. An instrumental set will kick things off at 5 p.m., and Mulder’s one-hour show starts at 6 p.m.
Tickets cost $30 at the door, and $12 for students with ID. Sheraton SU will offer a cash bar and buffet stations. All attendees will receive validated parking in the Sheraton SU garage; 479-5299; cnyjazz.org.
‘The Drunkard’ sings
What’s all that noise coming from Baldwinsville on weekends? It’s the sound of delighted audiences booing the bad guy and cheering the hero as Baldwinsville Theatre Guild stages a musical version of the ageless melodrama, “The Drunkard.”
The cast of 17 sing, dance and drink their way into your hearts.
Maxwel Anderson, who last graced the BTG stage in the title role of “Othello,” affirms his range here as our hero, Edward Middleton. While Anderson’s Othello was serious and restrained, his Edward bounces all over the stage battling the demon alcohol. His knees knock, his hands tremble, his face contorts and his eyes bulge. His resonant baritone is showcased on several numbers including Act 3’s “Garbage Can Blues.”
Chicago-bred actress Ceara Windhausen portrays Edward’s long-suffering spouse, Mary, who weeps more than she speaks. But the real treat comes when Windhausen sings! Her supple soprano soars on tunes such as the opener, “Something Good.”
Kathy Egloff does double duty. As Edward’s demented foster sister, Agnes, she screeches out “A Bird in a Gilded Cage.” Later she plays a torch singer belting out “Nobody Knows and Nobody Seems to Care.” Although he plays the villain, Lawyer Cribbs, Jon Wright’s self-assured stage presence and solid singing help hold the show together. He’s on stage more than any other cast member.
Directed by Jon Barden and Deb Taylor and produced by Steve Borek, “The Drunkard” will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday, March 16, and closes at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 17, at the Presbyterian Education Center, 64 Oswego St., Baldwinsville. Tickets cost $20 for adults and $17 students; 877-4183; baldwinsvilletheatreguild.org.