by: Susan Hasho
Scott Alan as a songwriter was born to make singers happy; and there were a lot of happy people January 19th at 54 Below for his show Scott Alan & Friends. Many accomplished singers and a packed house all gathered together to celebrate his abundant gifts as a writer and performer, and his new CD, Scott Alan Greatest Hits Volume One.
Alan viewed it all behind the piano and introduced each performer starting with a gorgeous quartet of Marty Thomas, Marissa Rosen, Gilyana Castillo and Christina Cataldo singing the rousing I’m a Star. The show was staged by Jen Bender who created a smooth flow of songs and 24 performers.
Natalie Weiss and Christine Dwyer sang The Distance You Have Come/I’ve Already Won with all the depth and power the song inspires; Lilla Crawford (Red Riding Hood from the movie Into the Woods) passionately expressed Watch Me Soar; James Monroe Iglehart (Aladdin) brought his gorgeous bass to Again; and Joshua Henry (The Scottsboro Boys) powerfully opened his heart in Behind These Walls.
One of the high points was Natalie Weiss’ performance of Anything Worth Holding On To. She was asked to fill in for this song and learned it last minute. Armed with lyrics in front of her, she shared deep facets of her talent and soul—and was thrilling.
Scott Alan is opening a musical in London called Home in September and he introduced five songs from it. High, sung by Erin Davie, was a whole character study in, well, being stoned (and funny). Jessie and Abby Mueller sang Always/Goodnight, a beautiful and graceful goodbye.
To close the evening, Alan told a story about recently talking to a man contemplating suicide and shared his own deep struggle with depression. So moved by this conversation, he wrote the song called Don’t Give Up Now and it was this song he sang at the end of the show.
To review this evening by mentioning songs or even high points is to miss the mark; it will not capture the enormous heart that these songs express or the respect the singers obviously have for the material. To work with an artist that gives a singer a whole world to express is a great occasion and to be present when so many talented people are inspired and at the top of their game is a gift. The rafters were raised, enough said.
The band was stellar. Andy Collopy and Scott Alan on piano, Chris Delis on guitar, Shannon Ford on drums, Charlie Rosen on bass, Allison Seidner on cello, Kiku Enomoto on violin,and David Fallo on viola.
Singers: Lisa Brescia, Ashley Brown, Danny Calvert, Gilyana Castillo, Christina Cataldo, Julian Cihi, Lilla Crawford, Erin Davie, Christine Dwyer, Eden Espinosa, Joshua Henry, James Monroe Iglehart, Marcus Paul James, Mykal Kilgore, Chad Kimball, Abby and Jessie Mueller, Julia Murney, Christiane Noll, Jessica Phillips, Marissa Rosen, Elizabeth Stanley, Marty Thomas and Natalie Weiss.
54 Below – 254 West 54th Street, New York City www.54 Below.com