Earlier this year, I was asked to direct the Joe’s Pub concert that was part of the prize of NYMF’s ‘Next Broadway Sensation’ competition. My first reaction, because it was me, after all, was a terrified ‘NO!! I can’t do that!!’. You see, I have an unfortunate hang-up, which is that I like to feel I know how to do something before I do it. This is probably the evil love-child of my inner perfectionist and my inner self-defeatist, but it’s pretty stupid – after all, if you never did anything you didn’t already know how to do, babies would have to just stay at the pooping/crying/sleeping phase, since everything from sitting up to talking doesn’t come built-in. Anyhoo, despite never having directed a cabaret concert before, I decided to overcome my inner larval baby and say yes, because really, it was time to step out of my safety zone. Plus, I’ve been around these things all my life, how badly could I really mess it up? (Actually, you know what? Don’t answer that.)
Turns out, saying yes was the best decision ever. I met Hannah Whitney, the winner and thus the star of the concert, and realized that this was going to be cake – Hannah, in addition to just being an awesome girl in general, has the kind of easy, soulful voice that makes you wonder why she isn’t just singing everything, all the time. Plus, the Musical Director was Xander Rovang, whose tall, be-tattooed beauty is matched only by his musical genius, so not only would it be cake, it would be cake with cherry on top and a side of ice cream. Hannah had a fleet of talented friends to act as guest artists and back-up singer, and the most excellent Andrew Kober agreed to stop by for a duet. And, best of all, I realized that when you’re directing a concert featuring a super talented singer, with a musical director who is intimidated by nothing, you can simply choose songs you have always loved and hope that they like them too. And then you can spend an evening listening to them! So it was really just a win/win/win.
As it turns out, Hannah’s brother Tim is as talented with a camera as Hannah is with her vocal cords, so they have put together a sizzle reel of the evening. So instead of listening to me tell you how excellent she is, you can just have a listen/watch for yourself. Enjoy!