Donato & Leib Set February Sales Record at Sterling's Upstairs at Vitello's

Donato & Leib Set February Sales Record at Sterling’s Upstairs at Vitello’s

Southern California favorites Lori Donato and Gil Leib more than left their mark at Sterling's Upstairs at Vitello's in Studio City, CA last Sunday (February 28). Not only did the charismatic duo successfully premiere their all new show Shades of Blue, inspired by blues-infused songs from Gospel to Broadway and beyond, but set a February sales record at the popular night spot with a full house of adoring and enthusiastic fans, many who endured a five-day wait list for reservations.

The statuesque, glamorously suited and bejeweled Ms. Donato, effortlessly engaged the 100-plus guests with her intellectual understanding of lyrics and a gift of vocal riches found only in the likes of such great singers as Margaret Whiting, Marilyn Maye and Rosemary Clooney. In other words, it is evidently clear that sophisticated singers like these ladies are more than a valuable commodity. They are a study in how to sing a song the way it was intended to be sung by its composers. Thus, that skill not only puts Donato in the same league with Whiting, Maye and Clooney and others like them, but her performance in Shades of Blue proved why.

A much sought after musical director and arranger whose many clients have included B.B. King, Nancy Wilson and Dusty Springfield, Gil Leib's intense brand of musicality and rousing arrangements featured such hits as "Meet Me Midnight", "Blue Motel", "Greenbacks", "Summertime Blues" and a big band medley highlighted by "Movin' on Up" (the theme) from the hit TV series The Jefferson's, and "Buddy's Blues" from Stephen Sondheim's musically prolific Follies. Donato & Leib Set February Sales Record at Sterling’s Upstairs at Vitello’s

Leib adroitly joined Donato for vocals on select numbers throughout the evening, as did bass player Lou Shoch, while other members of The Gil Leib Quartet were featured. Outstanding moments came from the brilliance of Tom Bethke on guitar, with riveting licks by drummer Jack LeCompte; while Leib's red-hot playing melted all of the Baby G's 88 by one. Donato's haunting and intoxicating rendition of Duke Ellington and Paul Francis Webster's "I Got it Bad and That Ain't Good" was the perfect nightcap for the seventy minute music spectacular, enhanced with fine lighting and excellent sound by Ricardo Robinson, and preceded by Vitello's usual sumptuous Sicilian fare.

With marquee royalty like Donato and Leib, Sterling's Upstairs solidifies its stake as the number one supper club in Los Angeles dedicated to presenting the best of nightclub and Broadway performers in an intimate concert setting.


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