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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Club Review: Ari Axelrod’s “Ari’s Arias”

Club Review: Ari Axelrod’s “Ari’s Arias”

December 19, 2021 | By | Add a Comment

One of the many things that Ari Axelrod gets right on stage is sharing his gratitude. A medley of “Never Never Land” (Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green) and “Pure Imagination” (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley) opened his evening at Birdland Theater, creating a fairytale mood; as if we were all going on a trip […]

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Club Review: Stacey Kent

Club Review: Stacey Kent

December 11, 2021 | By | Add a Comment

Stacey Kent sings from a part of the jazz vocal tradition that I particularly admire. She’s one of the post-Anita O’Day singers who has found her lane in a mellow groove.  Her sound is perfect for Brazilian styles, technically accomplished, with even tone and dynamic markings peaking at mezzo forte. She doesn’t need to shout […]

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Club Review: Ann Kittredge’s “Movie Nite”

Club Review: Ann Kittredge’s “Movie Nite”

October 18, 2021 | By | Add a Comment

Ann Kittredge was in her element at Birdland Theater with her latest cabaret offering, “Movie Nite.” In a show packed with well-chosen songs from classic (and sometimes more contemporary) Hollywood, Kittredge and her team’s creative instincts were on-target: she sounded as if her voice has come home to her ideal material, her vintage sequined dress […]

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Club Review: Susie Mosher’s “The Lineup”

Club Review: Susie Mosher’s “The Lineup”

October 4, 2021 | By | Add a Comment

Susie Mosher is a hell of a good host. She wrangles a weekly Tuesday variety night with a rotating group of performers at Birdland Theater; when I was there on September 14, her crowd seemed to be a crossover between local Broadway and cabaret fans, tourists, and an enthusiastic office party. She was ready for […]

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Club Review: Amy Jo Jackson’s “The Brass Menagerie”

Club Review: Amy Jo Jackson’s “The Brass Menagerie”

September 27, 2021 | By | Add a Comment

When Amy Jo Jackson says she’s offering the CliffsNotes guide to Tennessee Williams’s body of work in The Brass Menagerie, she’s being cheeky. It’s far too modest. But she would know that, because she knows exactly what she’s doing. The characters from Williams’s plays are emotionally linked with troubled members of his own family, and […]

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Club Review: The Royal Bopsters

Club Review: The Royal Bopsters

September 13, 2021 | By | Add a Comment

A lucky few who braved torrential rain got to hear The Royal Bopsters’ second set on Wednesday, September 1. The Pangea stage was challenged to make room for four singers and their rhythm section: their close harmonies were echoed in the tight spacing. A legitimate heir to the vocalese tradition—especially Lambert, Hendricks & Ross—these four […]

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Club Review: Alex Leonard  and The Sutton Place Trio

Club Review: Alex Leonard and The Sutton Place Trio

August 9, 2021 | By | Add a Comment

“What Is This Thing Called Love?” is a deceptively simple 1929 Cole Porter tune that alternates major and minor chords, and is a perennial favorite of jazz musicians. Pianist and singer Alex Leonard set it up as a ballad, sliding in on lead vocals for the first verse, then switched it up with a tempo […]

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Club Review: André De Shields’ “Black by Popular Demand (A Musical Meditation on How Not To Be Eaten by The Sphinx)”

Club Review: André De Shields’ “Black by Popular Demand (A Musical Meditation on How Not To Be Eaten by The Sphinx)”

August 9, 2021 | By | Add a Comment

Three women emerged silently in low light from the back of the house; winding between café tables, eyes scanning the horizon, parasols aloft; the pianist and percussionist shimmered a soundscape for them as they made their way to the stage; everyone had a hat. André De Shields is not just a legendary artist—veteran Broadway performer, […]

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Club Review: Rachelle Garniez’s “Gone to Glory” Album Release Concert

Club Review: Rachelle Garniez’s “Gone to Glory” Album Release Concert

July 19, 2021 | By | 1 Comment

Rachelle Garniez opened Gone to Glory by biting off a big piece of “Killed by Death” (Motörhead: Ian “Lemmy”  Kilmister, Würzel (Michael Richard Burston), Peter Gill, Philip Campbell). For the past five years, Garniez and Pangea have celebrated the legacies of recently-passed recording artists; it started in 2016 with the losses of David Bowie and Prince. […]

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Music Review: Artemisia LeFay— “Ghosts of Weimar Past”

Music Review: Artemisia LeFay— “Ghosts of Weimar Past”

June 21, 2021 | By | Add a Comment

Many of us who are crawling out of our pandemic isolation might be ready to dive into hedonism—in the hope that it could serve as a tonic for the underlying rumble of fear we’ve lived with for the past year. Enter Artemisia LeFay’s timely Weimar-themed show at Don’t Tell Mama, Ghosts of Weimar Past, where […]

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