Jamie deRoy & friends

Benefit for The Entertainment Community Fund (formerly The Actors Fund)

Shee’s baaaack! The hostess with the mostess, indefatigable promoter/fan (a large number of audience members are acknowledged and credited) Jamie deRoy presented the latest in her ongoing series of musical benefits Monday night at Birdland. “There’s a Party Going On” she sings with confidence and bravado. (Bryon Sommers/Ralph Fredericks- additional lyric Barry Kleinbort.)

Opening guest Karen Mason performs “Pick Yourself Up” (Jerome Kern/ Dorothy Fields) beginning conversational, then boosting tempo: “Maybe by the time I’m forty/Or before I’m rigormorty” she suggests, tongue firmly in cheek, slowly revolving to include the entire room. “If I Close My Eyes” (Billy Goldenberg/Marilyn and Alan Bergman) follows. Who else would find a song from the film Up the Sandbox? Restrained, but ripe with feeling, eyes closed, she takes us with her.

Karen Mason; Santino Fontana with Ritt Henn

Santino Fontana is introduced as “our prince”- he’s played several Broadway princes, “and our daddy ”- the actor is a new father. Far from both he sings “Making Love Alone” a very funny masturbation song by Cheryl Hardwick/Marilyn Miller delivered straight from the hip (or vicinity thereof). “Who can describe the special sweetness/Of knowing the speed you’re going is right?” “Who Can I Turn To?” (Anthony Newley/ Leslie Bricusse), Fontana says, “relates to both making love and The Entertainment Community Fund.” Textured accompaniment backs vocal expansion.

Just finished with his Peter Allen tribute show, accompanied at first by Ritt Henn’s quick-fingered, precision bass, Clint Holmes performs a bouncy, jazz version of “The More I See You.” (Harry Warren/ Mack Gordon) Ron Abel joins with whirly two-step piano. Holmes fingers the air like an instrument. From an untitled musical, the artist then shares “1944” about his interracial parents in the 40s/50s. The well crafted tribute is specific and lovely. Definitely musical material. He sings with heart.

Clint Holmes; Jason Kravits with Ritt Henn

Comedian/vocalist Jason Kravits improvises two songs based on audience participation and indulges in a bit of mind-reading NOT. Gentle humor is of the ba-dump-dump, classic Catskill type, lyrics clever- especially those providing an ode to Battery Park which emerges a ballad. Holmes jumps in to end the number as a duet.

Currently in the excellent A.R.T. production, Los Otros, Luba Mason performs “Don’t Shoot the Hooey to Me, Louie” (Robert and Richard Sherman), a nonsense song satirizing iconic lyrics of the 40s. It’s a head bobbing, foot tapping turn that comes out sounding cool. “After all we’ve been through the last three years…” introduces Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now” in an evocative folksy rendition showcasing terrific control and finesse. Mason bends and dips as the tune courses through her. It ends a rallying cry with fading vibrato.

Luba Mason; Luba Mason with Jamie deRoy and Ritt Henn

DeRoy closes the show with her signature “Jews Don’t Camp” (David Buskin) Asked to join a group of campers after a music festival, the singer responds, “Jews don’t camp/If it hasn’t got a lobby, I don’t want it for a hobby/It’s cold and damp/Jews don’t camp…” Look it up on YouTube. DeRoy throws herself into the  comedy with verve, undoubtedly agreeing with its premise.

An entertainment for a grand cause.

Photos by Maryann Lopinto

Jamie deRoy & friends
Benefit for The Entertainment Community Fund (formerly The Actors Fund)
Barry Kleinbort – Director
Ron Abel – MD/piano
Ritt Henn – bass

Birdland 
315 West 44th Street

About Alix Cohen (1429 Articles)
Alix Cohen is the recipient of ten New York Press Club Awards for work published on this venue. Her writing history began with poetry, segued into lyrics and took a commercial detour while holding executive positions in product development, merchandising, and design. A cultural sponge, she now turns her diverse personal and professional background to authoring pieces about culture/the arts with particular interest in artists/performers and entrepreneurs. Theater, music, art/design are lifelong areas of study and passion. She is a voting member of Drama Desk and Drama League. Alix’s professional experience in women’s fashion fuels writing in that area. Besides Woman Around Town, the journalist writes for Cabaret Scenes, Broadway World, TheaterLife, and Theater Pizzazz. Additional pieces have been published by The New York Post, The National Observer’s Playground Magazine, Pasadena Magazine, Times Square Chronicles, and ifashionnetwork. She lives in Manhattan. Of course.