'Stars in the Margin' Huge Hit at the Zipper Factory

There are evenings one will ALWAYS remember. The eclectic evening of music entitled "Stars in the Margin" presented by Martha Plimpton, Lucy Wainwright Roche and Dan Lipton was one of these. 

How did this come about?  Actress Plimpton and musician Lipton met during the run of the Tony-winning Tom Stoppard play Coast to Utopia at Lincoln Center. Lipton who played the gorgeous theme and incidental music on the piano for the play and its CD (and he even performed on stage in the third installment Salvage) while Plimpton picked up a Tony nomination, and won both a Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award.  She'll be making her Broadway musical debut soon in Pal Joey.

 Lucy Wainwright Roche is a singer and a songwriter and met Plimpton through mutual friends on MySpace. That led to the two singing a song together at Joe's Pub which they then recorded.  They then corralled pianist/composer Lipton to help put together an evening of music with their friends.  According to Lipton, "So Stars in the Margin is kind of a natural outgrowth of some friendships and the desire to create a fun musical opportunity. Everyone did songs that they would, or could, never do anywhere else. It was an eclectic bunch of people doing an eclectic bunch of songs." And what a show they presented.

 Stars in the audience included Michael Cerveris, Jason Kravitz Steve Rosen, Mike Myers, Billy Crudup, Jack O'Brien, Josh Hamilton, Alicia Witt, and Howard McGillin.

The sold-out Zipper Factory theater audience highly anticipated the evening and they were treated to an incredible evening of music.

Plimpton and Roche began with Coldplay's  "Strawberry Swing". There was a great duet between the talented Julian Fleisher and Plimpton doing a funky arrangement of "Movin' On Up" and "9-5" ("The Jeffersons/Dolly Parton).

Roche and Plimpton did a beautiful rendition of "Irreplaceable" (Beyonce).

The Tony-winning play August: Osage County was well-represented with Sally Murphy and Jim True-Frost. True-Frost and James Waterston (Buffalo Gal at Primary Stages)  performed Van Morrison's "Meet Me in the Indian Summer" with a country-western blues accent. Plimpton then joined True-Frost for Richard Thompson's "A Heart Needs a Home".

"Casper the Friendly Ghost" was a cute number sung by Mike Doughty, Plimpton and Roche.

Composer Gabriel Kahane sang a duet of his clever song "Craigslistlieder" with Sally Murphy. Murphy then joined the two women hosts in a Roche number "Worst Part".

Roche was then joined by her folk-singer brother Rufus Wainwright and sang the beautiful Leonard Cohen classic "Hallelujah".

There was even a short film shown starring David Rakoff, David Hill and Plimpton.

Composer Eli Bolin sang his clever song "American Cheese" with Roche and Plimpton.

British folk-singer John Wesley Harding sounded terrific doing a Steely Dan number "Dirty Work".

Television Producer Eric Gilliland ("My Boys") did a fantastic whistle to Plimpton's gorgeous solo of Bruce Springsteen's "Thunder Road".

It is always great to see and hear a "legend". I'm referring to Roche's dad, Loudon Wainwright III (his latest CD "Recovery" was just released ). First he did a duet with his daughter singing "Still the One" by Shania Twain.  He then proudly sang his "When I'm at Your House" with his wife Suzzy Roche and daughter Lucy and David Mansfield on violin.

This was followed by Roche and Plimpton singing another Springsteen tune, "Hungry Heart".

The entire cast then hit the stage for the finale singing John Legend's "I Can Change".

I hope Roche, Plimpton and Lipton do this again. It was quite a night!

For comments, write to cgshubow@broadwayworld.com.

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From This Author Charles Shubow

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