Author Archive: Penelope Thomas

From Canada, Penelope Thomas came to NY to study dance with Merce Cunningham; then through a series of fortunate and unfortunate events, she wound up back in singing and acting. Credits include lead vocals with FauveMuseum on two albums and live at Symphony Space, singing back-up for Bistro Awards director Shellen Lubin at the Metropolitan Room, reading poet Ann Carson’s work at the Whitney, and touring North America and Europe with Mikel Rouse’s The End of Cinematics. In Toronto, she studied piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music and cello with the Claude Watson School for the Arts, and in New York she studied music theory with Mark Wade. She's taught in the New School’s Sweat musical theatre intensive and taught dance in public schools and conservatories.

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Tovah Feldshuh

Tovah Feldshuh

July 14, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

If Leona Helmsley were in purgatory and she had a free pass to spend an hour topside, would she do a cabaret? It’s a great premise. You’ve got to hand it to Alex Lippard for thinking that this would be a timely moment to wonder how a nasty, larger-than-life New York real estate mogul could […]

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Rachel Ulanet

Rachel Ulanet

June 6, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

The theme Rachel Ulanet explored in her solo debut at Feinstein’s/54 Below was her quest for integrity at a politically conflicted time; it centered around the third song in the set, Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold.” This was Young’s only U.S. #1 single; interestingly, it was recorded at a time when a back injury pushed him […]

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Stearns Matthews

Stearns Matthews

April 19, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

In his recent show at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, Golden Ticket: The Songs of Leslie Bricusse, Stearns Matthews demonstrated that he is working with an embarrassment of riches. Even more than possessing a sweet lyric baritone that testifies to a solid classical training, he radiated intelligence, integrity, and a love of music that he shared […]

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Broadway Sings Rihanna

Broadway Sings Rihanna

April 4, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Rihanna may be to this era what Madonna was to the 1980s: a chart-topping, identity-shifting, fashion-forward, pop mogul. These days when kids bounce around their bedrooms and sing into a hairbrush, you can bet it’s often Rihanna they’re singing. As catchy and glossy as her superstardom is, she also has a fierce, truth-telling quality that […]

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Heather Villaescusa

Heather Villaescusa

March 21, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Heather Villaescusa took first place in last year’s Mama’s Next BIG Act! competition; her new show at Don’t Tell Mama, The Happiness Project (A 10-week Guide), is a lively trip through the fun, angst and domestic hiccups she went through taking on a challenge that scared the pants off her…and winning. Her strong vocals support […]

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John Lloyd Young

John Lloyd Young

February 15, 2018 | By | 2 Comments

Entering wearing sunglasses—commanding in the way you can be only when you’re about to sing a James Bond theme song—John Lloyd Young began his set at the Café Carlyle on opening night with 1967’s “You Only Live Twice” (John Barry, Leslie Bricusse). Violinist Gokce Erem was featured right away with the catchy string theme, establishing […]

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Kayley Hill

Kayley Hill

January 13, 2018 | By | 1 Comment

Fresh from Nashville, Kayley Hill is an heir to the Dolly Parton sound, with a sweet, clear, cut-through voice and a whole lot of power. Her country and rockabilly sensibilities are contemporary: she’s equally at home throwing in a very complex soul melisma as she is working that break between registers or occasionally yodeling as […]

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Shemekia Copeland

Shemekia Copeland

December 23, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

The Blues are the best! From rock blues, to bluegrass and country, to gospel, there’s someone out there who has it worse than you do. If the cause is a cheating lover, a lost job, breaking the law because you had to, or the devil himself, in the blues you’re a good person in a […]

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Eric Hoffman

Eric Hoffman

December 19, 2017 | By | 1 Comment

Eric Hoffman can swing, and he has a versatile baritone voice and a good jazz education as an instrumentalist, but there’s an unexpected twist: he really hits his stride when he’s being a lounge singer. There may be something in the corny fun, nostalgia, and swagger of a lounge act that catches Hoffman’s sense of […]

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Paula West

Paula West

December 2, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

When it comes to singers, do we have to choose between a musician and a storyteller? Any well-realized choice along the spectrum from pure music to pure theatre can work for a vocalist, and in the best singers, it’s hard to tell where one stops and the other begins. Paula West is that kind of […]

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