photo: allison michael orenstein

Friday, February 26, 2010

This is Downtown!

I'll be posting the videos from the Our Hit Parade that took place on wednesday but if you're trigger-happy you can find them at

It was a GOOD one!


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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Amber Martin - Consider Me Gone - Our Hit Parade

This was the number one country song of the month at last month's edition of Our Hit Parade. Amber Martin, with PJ Deboy on guitar, who you might recognize for his work in Shortbus, killed it...Reba McIntyre just keeps putting out hit and hit and hit. She really is multi-talented. Broadway, television and now a number one country hit. again....

I really kinda love this song and I love Amber and Paul's rendition.


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Friday, February 5, 2010

Hard - Bridget Everett - Our Hit Parade

I haven't really warmed to Rihanna's album. Everything just seems like the energy has been sucked out of it. Tempos are a tad slower than the songs seem to want to be. But this cover of Hard made me like this song. It happens so often that covers allow me to see in a song something I missed whilst listening to the original version. Add in a couple of kids and Bridget Everett and you have a potent mix.

When we came up with the idea for Our Hit Parade the recession had just hit and we thought back to the depression when productions would have six or seven shows a day. We, of course, are at the ready to produce under that rubric at any time! But in the meantime, it warms my heart that so many young teen and preteen singers have graced the stage of Our Hit Parade. Now all we need is a live horse or two and Ziegfield Follies here we come!!!


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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Neal Medlyn - Fireflies - Our Hit Parade

I really hate audience participation as an audience member. Too much stress that a comic full of acid is going to unleash on me. But when audience participation really works, like it does here, it is kinda magical. Neal brings a woman up to stage with a name that I can't even begin to write down, and has her read a script, lay with him and be on a live video feed. She is so good at her part, but you still can feel the joy of her being an innocent on stage.

I'm not a huge fan of the song, but this performance makes me like it a whole lot more. On the recording, the electronic production gets in the way of me having an emotional reaction to it. Here stripped down to piano (oh right, that's me playing piano!) and Neal, it moves me.

And I can't tell you the joy I felt the first time I saw a firefly! I was probably 33, the age that Jesus died, when I first saw one. We didn't have them in Los Angeles or San Francisco. They really are awe inspiring.


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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Harmonic Possession - Hey Soul Sister - Our Hit Parade

When my friend Pailo drunkely agreed to sing at Our Hit Parade I was shocked. Not because I didn't think he would do a great job, but shocked that he agreed to sing in public. Then we he got together with Adam, Eytan and Carmine and said they were going to do a barbershop quartet number, I was dubious.

Well let me just say, these guys pulled it off. Not only did they turn a fairly awful song into something listenable, but they did a cute skit to go along with it. This kind of performance is what Our Hit Parade is all about. You can almost picture this is black and white coming out of your tiny little television in the 50s. So guys, you rocked it!


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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I Need You Now - Mary Testa

When I was 14 my parents would drive me to a little Musical Theater record store near the Farmer's Market in Los Angeles. I'm still not sure what drew me to it, but one of the first records I bought was William Finn's In Trousers. I had to return it three times because it was on such a small label that they were melting down old vinyl and the first two I got had old record labels sticking out of the vinyl rendering them unplayable.

I am so glad I was persistant because to this day it is probably my favorite album. Surreal, heartfelt with arrangements by Michael Starobin (who went on to do the stunning orchestrations for Sunday In The Park With George), it plays out like a fever dream; in fact the mythology is that William Finn wrote it with a 103 temperature.

I have loved Mary Testa since listening to her sing Set Those Sails on that LP since I was 14. It was an incredible honor to have her do Our Hit Parade and to be able to play piano for her.

Here is a twitter exchange that occurred after Lady Antebellum performed this song on the Grammys:

She was stunning! RT @jambajim Sorry Lady Antebellum. I preferred Our Hit Parade's w/ Broadway legend Mary Testa:
1 day ago from Tweetie

Sorry Lady Antebellum. I preferred Our Hit Parade's version of this song w/ Broadway legend Mary Testa
1 day ago from w

She was stunning! RT Sorry Lady Antebellum. I preferred Our Hit Parade's w/ Broadway legend Mary Testa:

Can not agree more!


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Monday, February 1, 2010

Use Somebody - Trapper Felides with Molly Ephraim and Gideon Glick

I love Trapper. Vocal Coach to most of the kids in Broadway shows, he has been bringing the goods to Our Hit Parade now for almost a year. Here he mashes together Kings of Leon with a darn good story from Shakespeare. I was sad to miss Nature Theater of Oklahoma's production of Romeo and Juliet that just played NYC. They based it on interviews they conducted with people about what they thought the plot was of Romeo and Juliet. I guess most people really had no idea.
This song won Kings of Leon a Grammy award for best record last night. I was just happy that Taylor Swift won Album of the year. In the cab back from viewing the Grammys at a friend's house, I made the mistake of commenting on someone's Facebook post that bemoaned the fact that Lady Gaga didn't win the award. The lashing out I got was worthy of me saying the world isn't round. A hot tip: DON'T COMMENT ON FACEBOOK POSTS BY PEOPLE YOU HARDLY KNOW!

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