By: Linda Amiel Burns
On Monday night, October 14, 2013, Bobbie Horowitz produced and hosted a wonderful evening at The Metropolitan Room to pay tribute to three important songwriters. The show was called "Great Songwriters – Up Close" and the honorees were legendary composer Ervin Drake, Jerry Livingston (through his son Dennis – also a songwriter) and John Meyer. A cast of fine singers was called upon to give a sampling of some of their material, some songs were well known and others more obscure. Pianist Bill Zeffiro served as musical director and Sean Harkness was on guitar.
First up were the songs of John Meyer as Bobbie opened up with a song that they wrote together called "When The Curtain Goes Up On A Musical." John’s book, "Heartbreaker" was about his short-lived relationship with Judy Garland near the end of her life. The novel is being turned into a show to be produced Off-Broadway this spring. Judy recorded his song "I’d Like to Hate Myself In The Morning" which was beautifully performed by Rosemary Loar. Stacy Sullivan’s rendition of "After The Holiday’s" couldn’t have been more heartfelt or perfect. Adam Shapiro sang an amusing "The Psychologist’s Song" with a German accent from one of John’s shows.
Jerry Livingston has a large catalog of hits including the iconic Mairzy Doats" and "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo" from Disney’s Cinderella film. These were sung by Bobbie’s son, David F. Slone, as the audience joined in to sing along. The hit from that film was "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes" and Marissa Muldur’s bell-like voice was just right for that song. Scott Coulter’s played the piano and sang the incredible "Twelfth of Never" recorded by many singers but made famous by Johnny Mathis. Kat Gang performed the lively "Midnight Jump" and this set closed with a song by Dennis "Such a Curious Feeling" sung by Adam Shapiro about falling in love. Dennis has recently released an album of his own songs called "The Stories In My Mind"
recorded at the Metropolitan Room in 2011.
Ervin Drake has had many well-deserved tributes this year. He is 94 years young and he and his wife Edith are very supportive of singers and attend theater and cabaret events all around town. One of his many hits, "Good Morning, Heartache" was performed by jazz singer, Laurie Kraus and John Gabriel sang the Frank Sinatra classic, "It Was a Very Good Year. The remarkable Stacy Sullivan sang "In The Afternoon", a song that was never recorded and should be. However the thrill of the evening was when Ervin Drake stood on stage to perform "I Believe" and imbued his own special meaning into the lyrics of this inspirational song.
Kudos to Bobbie Horowitz and her team for honoring these talented songwriters and putting together an excellent evening of cabaret.