Author Archive: Lisa Jo Sagolla

Lisa Jo Sagolla is the author of "The Girl Who Fell Down: A Biography of Joan McCracken" and "Rock ‘n’ Roll Dances of the 1950s". A choreographer, critic, and historian, she has written for Back Stage, American Theatre, Film Journal International, and numerous other popular publications, encyclopedias, and scholarly journals. An adjunct professor at Columbia University and Rutgers, she is currently researching a book on the influence of Pennsylvania’s Bucks County on America’s musical theatre.

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CD Review:  Celia Berk’s “Now That I Have Everything”

CD Review: Celia Berk’s “Now That I Have Everything”

October 18, 2022 | By | Add a Comment

A wondrous singer, Celia Berk provides the perfect autumn album with her new CD, Now That I Have Everything.  Her handsome voice emits the warm beauty of fall colors, deep browns, rich reds, golden yellows, and bold orange.  And her album’s beguiling musical selections, reflecting the many facets of romantic love, are rendered from a […]

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CD Review: Jeff Harnar’s “I Know Things Now—My Life in Sondheim’s Words”

CD Review: Jeff Harnar’s “I Know Things Now—My Life in Sondheim’s Words”

July 13, 2022 | By | Add a Comment

Award-winning nightclub and concert vocalist Jeff Harnar has been beguiling cabaret audiences since the late 1980s with his romantic voice and upbeat, boyish persona.  On June 17, PS Classics released I Know Things Now—My Life in Sondheim’s Words, Harnar’s first solo album in 17 years—and it’s truly extraordinary.  Based on the singer’s sung-through stage show, […]

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CD Review: Dawn Derow’s “My Ship: Songs from 1941”

CD Review: Dawn Derow’s “My Ship: Songs from 1941”

January 9, 2022 | By | 1 Comment

In her affecting new CD, My Ship: Songs from 1941, versatile vocalist Dawn Derow celebrates the World War II-era entertainers who comforted civilians stateside and soldiers overseas with memorable recordings of America’s soothing, rousing, and escapist popular music.  Recalling such icons as the Andrews Sisters, Bing Crosby, Glenn Miller, and Duke Ellington, Derow performs 14 […]

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Concert Review: The Andersons Play “A Jazzy Christmas”

Concert Review: The Andersons Play “A Jazzy Christmas”

December 26, 2021 | By | Add a Comment

Ace clarinet and saxophone players, with clean-cut, boy-next-door good looks and winsome, twinkly-eyed personalities, brothers Peter and Will Anderson brought an infectious Yuletide spirit to the  Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre at Symphony Space with their diverting program of jazz arrangements of Christmas music—not the traditional, religious-themed carols, but rather those secular holiday-season songs one never […]

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Club Review: Quinn Lemley’s “Rita Hayworth: The Heat Is On!”

Club Review: Quinn Lemley’s “Rita Hayworth: The Heat Is On!”

November 15, 2021 | By | 1 Comment

  A highly theatrical production, singer Quinn Lemley’s thrilling “Rita Hayworth: The Heat is On!” is an extravagant look at the life of the eponymous Hollywood sex symbol, the glamorous World War II pin-up girl dubbed the “Love Goddess.”  Sporting stunning costumes (by Wendall Goings and Michael Louis) and backed by a slick four-piece band, […]

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CD Review: Jenna Esposito’s “More Amore—Songs from the Great Italian-American Songbook”

CD Review: Jenna Esposito’s “More Amore—Songs from the Great Italian-American Songbook”

October 11, 2021 | By | 2 Comments

Singer Jenna Esposito’s invigorating new album, More Amore: Songs from the Great Italian-American Songbook, is a family affair.  Its rousing arrangements are by the singer’s father, Fortune Esposito.  Her sister, Kelly Esposito-Broelmann, sings back-up, while her nephew, Charlie Broelmann, plays drums, and her husband, Jimmy Cannizzaro, serves as a percussionist and associate producer.  Everyone knows […]

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Club Review: Sierra Boggess

Club Review: Sierra Boggess

September 13, 2021 | By | Add a Comment

The elegant Feinstein’s/54 Below, nestled in the heart of the Broadway theatre district, advertises itself as “Broadway’s supper club,” presenting shows by Broadway performers designed to appeal to Broadway audiences.  Yet while many of the artists it features bring cabaret acts filled with pop tunes and standards, the room really lived up to its Great […]

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CD Review: Tanya Dennis’s “White Sails Blue Skies”

CD Review: Tanya Dennis’s “White Sails Blue Skies”

August 22, 2021 | By | Add a Comment

A romantically mellow, one-mood CD, Nashville-based singer-songwriter Tanya Dennis’s White Sails Blue Skies is a recording you shouldn’t give up on too soon because, despite their emotional sameness, its tracks grow increasingly more interesting, musically, as the album progresses.  Produced and arranged by Dennis, the recording—featuring seven of her own compositions, plus two covers—evolved as […]

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CD Review: The Chris Saunders Band’s “Dancing with the Widow St. James”

CD Review: The Chris Saunders Band’s “Dancing with the Widow St. James”

August 16, 2021 | By | Add a Comment

Multi-hyphenates are not uncommon on the cabaret scene.  Yet while singer-songwriters who also play piano or guitar are easily found, a multi-gifted artist like Chris Saunders is unusual.  Hailing from the San Francisco Bay area, he’s an exquisite trumpeter who also sings and composes in blues, soul, and Latin jazz styles.  His band’s latest CD, […]

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CD Review: Judy Wexler’s “Back to the Garden”

CD Review: Judy Wexler’s “Back to the Garden”

August 2, 2021 | By | Add a Comment

Los Angeles-based jazz singer Judy Wexler’s delectable new CD, “Back to the Garden,” comprises timely re-imaginings of 10 iconic pop-rock hits of the 1960s.  It’s an enlightening and therapeutic album as, from each of its familiar songs, Wexler draws out still-relevant messages and sentiments that help us both understand and cope with our contemporary political […]

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