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: Josephine Sanges’s “The Funny Girl in Me”

Club Review: Josephine Sanges’s “The Funny Girl in Me”

August 2, 2022 | By | Add a Comment

In cabaret, the overall quality of a performer is often much more important than the beauty of a voice—or even the skill of a vocalist; I’ve gradually been won over to the side of acting choices. But Josephine Sanges’s sound stopped me in my tracks. She has the bright ping-ring quality of Streisand in her […]

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Club Review: “Broadway’s Next Hit Musical”

Club Review: “Broadway’s Next Hit Musical”

July 19, 2022 | By | Add a Comment

You know that gothic musical, Haunted Garden, and its brooding lament that’s been done to death: The Pavement Grows Flowers While Our Garden Is Empty? It’s a chestnut in the American Songbook.  Cue record scratch. Um—no, you don’t know it. It’s never been heard before and you’ll never hear it again—it existed in an instant […]

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Club Review: Kavita Shah

Club Review: Kavita Shah

June 1, 2022 | By | Add a Comment

I first heard vocalist and composer Kavita Shah accidentally. Needing a walk after a long day last fall, I wandered over to  55 Bar, a classic West Village dive jazz club where many of the greats have played and where the cover is $5. (Ed. Note: 55 Bar recently closed.) It was Diwali, the Hindu […]

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Club Review: Madelaine Warren’s “Invitation”

Club Review: Madelaine Warren’s “Invitation”

June 1, 2022 | By | Add a Comment

Madelaine Warren’s most recent cabaret offering, Invitation, featured well-chosen, often cinematically-inspired repertory from 1933-1989. Warren brought conviction and emotional connection to this set, packed with romantic songs that took her on an arc from joy to disappointment and back again. Her legit soprano sound did take some time to sound fully warmed up, but fortunately […]

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Club Review: Meg Flather’s “Rodgers & Hammerstein 2021+”

Club Review: Meg Flather’s “Rodgers & Hammerstein 2021+”

April 1, 2022 | By | Add a Comment

If you ever get stuck in thinking that the Rodgers & Hammerstein songbook can be dated and dusty, you haven’t yet heard Meg Flather sing from it. With multiple albums as a singer-songwriter, her legit sound is sweet, easy, and perfectly blended—and personal. That’s a tricky thing to do, to sing standards as if you […]

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Club Review: Celia Berk’s “On My Way to You—Improbable Stories That Inspired an Unlikely Path”

Club Review: Celia Berk’s “On My Way to You—Improbable Stories That Inspired an Unlikely Path”

March 3, 2022 | By | Add a Comment

Celia Berk drew a large and enthusiastic crowd to the Laurie Beechman Theatre for “On My Way to You: Improbable Stories That Inspired an Unlikely Path.” Berk brought a room-filling sincerity and warmth that was wisely punctuated with humor. “Anything I Can Do” (Irving Berlin from Annie Get Your Gun) featured lyrics changed to “Anything […]

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Club Review: Tim Connell’s “Dreamin’ Again”

Club Review: Tim Connell’s “Dreamin’ Again”

January 31, 2022 | By | Add a Comment

Tim Connell’s latest offering, Dreamin’ Again, featured music director and longtime collaborator James Followell on piano, and was directed by Steven Petrillo. The show was out for a second run at Pangea after having been delayed, just like most things, since March 2020. Connell’s song list was varied and interesting, while still being cohesive and […]

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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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