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.

rss feed

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, […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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, […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

Club Review: Tessa Souter

Club Review: Tessa Souter

July 25, 2021 | By | Add a Comment

While her strong suits are her highly original sense of rhythm and acute use of surprising accents, jazz singer Tessa Souter ensnares listeners by embedding abundant emotion in every tone she produces.  Yet her intense expressivity is not text-driven.  She doesn’t parse lyrics to stress meanings of specific words, but rather encapsulates the entire emotional […]

Read More

Comedy Review: Comic Dave Konig with Musical Director Elliot Finkel

Comedy Review: Comic Dave Konig with Musical Director Elliot Finkel

June 21, 2021 | By | Add a Comment

Three-time Emmy-winning actor Dave Konig’s comedy show, playing at Don’t Tell Mama on various dates through August 29, is a laugh-a-minute, Borscht Belt-style joke-fest aimed at middle-aged audiences.  For a solid hour, Konig hurls forth his Seinfeld-like observational humor (“Don’t you hate it when…?) in the loud, high-voltage fashion of the angry comedian.  There are […]

Read More

CD Review: Nicolas King “Act One—Celebrating 25 Years of Recordings”

CD Review: Nicolas King “Act One—Celebrating 25 Years of Recordings”

February 15, 2021 | By | Add a Comment

Listening to singer Nicolas King’s new, fun-filled CD, Act One—Celebrating 25 Years of Recordings, reminded me of Easter mornings as a kid, when I was surprised over and over again discovering all the colorful, tasty little treats the Bunny had hidden among the nooks and crannies of my familiar home environment.  Though most of its […]

Read More

CD Review: Liz Callaway “Comfort and Joy: An Acoustic Christmas

CD Review: Liz Callaway “Comfort and Joy: An Acoustic Christmas

January 3, 2021 | By | Add a Comment

A mellow CD of Christmas songs featuring vocalist Liz Callaway accompanied by the quiet acoustic guitar-playing of Peter Calo, Comfort and Joy: An Acoustic Christmas may be the perfect soundtrack for what this year will surely be a low-voltage, less-festive-than-usual holiday season.  One might think a solo singer supported only by a guitarist wouldn’t generate […]

Read More