Scott Siegel Salutes "Little Sparrow" Edith Piaf’s Centennial with 54 Below Concert June 13
By: Ellis Nassour
Homage will be paid to the memory, music, and spirit of Edith Piaf, the diminutive dynamo nicknamed "The Little Sparrow," in Edith Piaf: An All-Star Centennial Celebration concert at 54 Below at 9:30 June 13. Piaf, as she known to millions worldwide, was more than the greatest female entertainer France ever produced. She was one of the 20th Century’s most famous female singers. In her trademark black dress, she toured internationally. She became a best-selling recording artist.
Carole J Bufford, Maxine Linehan, Gay Marshall [one of the foremost interpreters of Jacques and Piaf], Molly Pope, and Marni Rice, a Piaf tribute artist – complete with accordion – will explore the poignant tunes of the Piaf songbook. The program will be produced, written, and hosted by Scott Siegel (Broadway by the Year; Broadway Unplugged).
Piaf was also the embodiment of searing power and towering passion, which were deeply etched in the autobiographical songs she wrote or co-wrote. She was born in 1915 and abandoned at birth to be raised by her maternal grandmother, but when her father went off to fight in WWI, he left her with his mother, the madam of a small brothel. It was far from an easy life. A little known fact is that Piaf contracted keratitis at age three and was legally blind until she was seven. As a young teen, she performed on the street with her father and began to sing. Soon, she was a major presence in the cabarets of France. In the 30s, she became a regular at Paris’ Club Le Gemy, off the famed Champs-Elysées. In spite of her fame, she didn’t live a charmed life and was often embroiled in scandal. When Piaf played Carnegie Hall, it was a sell-out. She was later to appear on Ed Sullivan’s The Toast of the Town eight times. She was only 48 when she died in 1963. Piaf was voted a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998.
"The Little Sparrow" left behind a legacy of signature classics about love found and love lost that have become classic. Among Piaf’s greatest hits are "Non, je ne Regrette rien" (1960), "Hymne à l’amour" (1949), "Milord" (1959), "La Foule" (1957), "L’Accordeioniste"(1955), "Padam … Padam …" (1951), and, of course, "La Vie en Rose" (1946).
Musical direction will be by Broadway by the Year’s Ross Patterson.
To book Edith Piaf: An All-Star Centennial Celebration, call (646) 476-3551. Seats are $30 – $40 plus a $25 minimum. Doors open for dinner and cocktails at