Piaf Centennial Celebration – Town Hall

  • The Cast
  • Robert Osborne
  • Molly Pope
  • Kim David Smith
  • Marilyn Maye
  • Little Annie
  • Amber Martin
  • Gay Marshall
  • Meow Meow
  • Vivian Reed
  • Elaine Paige & Luke Frazier
  • Aaron Weinstein
Marilyn Maye & Elaine Paige - backstage (Photo Kevin Alvey)

By: Sandi Durell

A very eclectic 100th Birthday tribute was in store for audiences at The Town Hall on December 19th when producers Daniel Nardicio and Andy Brattain conceptualized the event and various talents as an homage to the Little Sparrow. Backed by the American Pops Orchestra (out of Washington, DC), conducted by young Luke Frazier, the evening was hosted by TCM’s one and only Robert Osborne.

Edith Piaf songs are reflections of her life of love, loss and sorrow – a tortured and troubled soul, abandoned at birth, leaving a legacy of music that began as a street performer, discovered in the Pigalle area of Paris, and finally making her way into American culture, performing in the late 40s at the Versailles nightclub in New York City and in the 50s, when a New York critic gave her a glowing review, catapulting her onto the Ed Sullivan Show and into Carnegie Hall.

This iconic singer-songwriter came alive with a diverse combination of talents including Molly Pope who opened with “Milord/Ombre de la Rue” followed by the ever-popular Marilyn Maye, sounding more powerful than ever, with an intertwined “I Love Paris/C’est Magnifique,” trailed by the droll brilliance of violinist Aaron Weinstein in a jazzy “I Shouldn’t Care/J’M’en Fous Pas Mal” (played in French per Mr. Weinstein).

Electro-pop artist Kim David Smith sang Piaf’s self-penned “Padam,” and performance artist Little Annie (aka Little Annie Anxiety Bandez) dramatically offered up “If You Go Away/Ne me quitte pas” and “Autumn Leaves/Les feuilles mortes.” Powerful New York vocalist and comic Amber Martin highlighted a very appealing “Cause I Love You/Du matin jusqu’ au soir” (with music by Piaf).

A definitive Piaf interpreter, diminutive but mighty Gay Marshall, resounded in spirit and song with “Pigalle,” La Foule” and “L’Accordeoniste” followed by Melissa Madden Gray, better known as Meow Meow, actress/dancer/cabaret performer, hailing from Australia and the UK, in scanty costume giving a striking performance with “La Vie En Rose” (by Edith Piaf and Louis Guglielmi) and “Mon homme marié" (lyrics by Meow Meow and music by Thomas M Lauderdale). The spiritual power of Broadway’s Vivian Reed offered “Heaven Have Mercy” and “Mon Dieu.”

The evening came to a close with the fine vocals of “the first lady of musical theatre,” West End and Broadway’s Elaine Paige singing “No Regrets/Non, je ne regrette rien” and “Hymn to Love/Hymme a l’amour” (by Piaf and Monnot).

Edith Piaf has left an indelible legacy of songs heard in films and music ongoing, this tribute a memorable highlight of her life appreciated by the many who filled the seats at Town Hall.

Photos: koitzphoto.com