Making the Rounds with Russ and a Review by Joe Regan Jr.


Raissa Katona Bennett


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by: Joe Regan Jr.

Despite it being the hottest day of the year Raissa Katona Bennett’s Tudor City Greens Concert in the Park for City Greens was SRO and the artistic lineup was full of major Broadway stars and cabaret artists and composer/musicians. Doris Dear, in full costume with hat and glasses and accompanied by prize winning musical director Rick Jenson did a great channeling of Susan Hayward/Margaret Whiting with “I’ll Plant My Own Tree,” waving a balloon at one point. Dear and Jenson are in residence at Don’t Tell Mama. Dear also closed the show with a smashing “Big Bad and Beautiful.” The musicians this evening were Tom Hubbard on bass, Sean Harkness on guitar, Bill Zeffiro on piano, Cliff Lyons on saxophone, Dan Furman and Andrew David Sotomayer on piano as well.

Also among the major guests were Luba Mason who is appearing at Dizzy‘s Coca Cola with her show “Mixtura“ on August 12.  Sharon McNight, who did a song written in 1898, “Teddy Bear’s Picnic,” is appearing in a series of Tuesdays at the Duplex as well as August 1st at the Rrazz Room in New Hope.  Broadway star Kelli Rabke  told of her private audition for Andrew Lloyd Webber after which he cast her as The Speaker in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” and sang two songs from that show as well as her solo song in “Les Miserables,” showing no diminishment in her vocal power; Shauna Hicks, sang Petula Clark songs from “Blood Brothers” as well as “Downtown.”

Composer David Auxier played a tribute to Dr. Garrett Bennett’s plastic surgery miracles and sang an emotionally moving selection from his new musical “Engaygement” with young Seth Staneck about a blind date’s mutual attraction. The show has several dates at the Metropolitan Room. Katona Bennett also announced you can see more of Staneck because he is currently appearing in ’Naked Boys Singing” off Broadway. Co-host Tanya Moberly sang a song that Auxier wrote for her about how Pluto is no longer a planet!

Katona Bennett herself sang two special arrangements Tom Hubbard did for her; one was a lovely “Remind Me.” with great key changes.

The extraordinary sound and light man was Stuart J. Allyn who has worked with everyone from Billy Joel to Placido Domingo.

For information about future shows go to where Raissa Katona-Bennett keeps information about all the artists and their future dates.The next concert date is: Wed. September 2 at 6 pm.