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Review: The Scalicis Open A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY: CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF DORIS DAY at The Green Room 42

Review: The Scalicis Open A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY: CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF DORIS DAY at The Green Room 42

Doris Day in the house, in the person of Amanda Scalici

Tribute acts abound in the cabaret and concert industry, with performers presenting shows and evenings devoted to a particular artist (or artists) on a regular basis. Why, only this year there have been more Judy Garland tribute shows than you could shake a Wicked Witch at. Just a matter of weeks ago Seth Sikes performed an hour of Barbra Streisand songs, and in a few weeks Marissa Mulder will be doing her John Prine show. Each time a singer decides to take on the task of presenting a tribute show, they take a risk. What if comparisons between them and the artist they are honoring fall on the wrong side of the Opinion Line? What if their script ends up playing like a live Wikipedia entry? What if their favorite artist is not an easy sell to the public? There are many factors that go into the making or breaking of a tribute show on the cabaret and concert stages of the world.

And, of all the famed and beloved singers prone to being the focus of a tribute show, Doris Day is the most difficult... at least, in the opinion of this writer.

Doris Day is a niche focus for a club act. Even though the Minnelli and Streisand and Garland fans are the most dedicated, the most judgemental, the most ardent fans in the industry of audience, Doris Day lands in a place all her own, rendering her an untouchable. Should a singing artist opt for a Doris Day tribute show, they run the risk of being held up against America's Sweetheart for the last half a century. The Doris Day sound is so specific and admired that a singer is setting themselves up for almost certain failure, and the Doris Day brand is so wholesome that an hour of Doris Day has every possibility of coming across as twee. Many are the risks that one takes when deciding to do a Doris Day show.

So why on earth would Amanda Scalici decide to do a Doris Day show?

Because she can.

Review: The Scalicis Open A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY: CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF DORIS DAY at The Green Room 42 When The Scalicis took the stage at The Green Room 42 on September 18th to do their show A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY: CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF Doris Day (too long a title, by the way), just looking at the band was impressive. All the evidence pointed toward a night of exceptional music. There were seven (count them: SEVEN) musicians on the stage, leaving just enough room for the vocalist, which is fine because Ms. Scalici didn't need room on the stage, she only needed room in the air.. FOR HER VOICE. With father Robert Scalici right up front, acting as bandleader and guitarist, Amanda was clearly at home and comfortable and equal to the task of presenting the music of this cherished actress and singer, one of the most revered in the history of show business. And even though Amanda Scalisi was doing no impression of Doris Day, even though she was simply singing with the instrument with which she was born, she sounded like Doris Day. To reiterate: this was no impression. Nevertheless, this could have been Doris Day herself. That isn't to say that Amanda Scalici's voice, that her interpretive skills, are not all her own, are not unique, are not individual, because they are. Amanda Scalici stands on her own, as a singer and as an onstage personality. BUT if you closed your eyes during the show, you might ask yourself, "Is this a Doris Day record?"

Please allow me a moment to talk from the heart. Speaking personally, I don't want to hear anyone sing Doris Day for an hour. I can go home and listen to the albums. BUT. If I'm going to a club to hear someone sing an entire program from the Doris Day catalogue, Amanda Scalici is the person I want to be listening to.

Review: The Scalicis Open A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY: CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF DORIS DAY at The Green Room 42 The quality of the musical entertainment provided by Amanda and Robert Scalici (and their bangarang band) is at the highest level. For fifty minutes (Note One: the show needs to be at least ten minutes longer - at LEAST ten minutes) the Scalici band wowed the crowd. Jaws were agape, hands were in the air, shouts filled the ears. The music was incredible, and that is the foundation of a good club act. It is also to the Scalici team's benefit that Amanda is so at-ease on the stage, since she does all the talking, and this was not just a music show - there was discussion about Doris Day, about her life, and about Amanda's relationship with her (although that last element was on the scant side). Amanda managed to stave off that Wikipedia vibe by having every single fact memorized, by reading nothing from a script, and by talking to the audience like they were in her living room. Far too often actors go up on a nightclub stage and speak in their best Eve Harrington Sarah Siddons Speech mode, and that is deadly to the pace of a show and to the audience connection. Thank goodness Amanda Scalici is not one of those actors: she is natural, she is affable, she is enjoyable. Her script never sounds rote and (best of all) never sounds gossipy or disrespectful. Many is the time that an artist doing a tribute show has lost the good favor of this writer by being either gossipy or disrespectful or both. Not here. That is a boon to the band - although there were moments of clunky transition as text segued into song, but this was the band's (and Amanda's) first outing with this show - with some more opportunites at rehearsal and performance (and some detailed work with director Sue Matsuki) that is sure to smooth out.

Review: The Scalicis Open A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY: CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF DORIS DAY at The Green Room 42 So, what do we have here? A band that is Aces, a singer that is remarkable, a script that is natural - all good things. We also have a show filled with music that is mostly from Day's singing career, lots of big band heaven, and Amanda has that big band vibe about her - these aren't compositions that lend themselves to a lot of acting choices, and (during this show at least) that doesn't seem to be what Ms. Scalici is interested in. Practically every number was executed by Amanda Scalici standing at the microphone, singing brilliantly, stepping upstage to allow the band their turn, then returning to the microphone to bring it home. With songs like "Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries" and "Choochoo Train" or "Shanghai" and "Sentimental Journey" the emotional trajectory might be better back-burnered, allowing for the voice and the band to do the heavy lifting, which would appear to be what The Scalicis are going for here. There was plenty of excitement from a "Lullaby of Broadway" number, belting from a fine "I've Got The Sun In The Morning And The Moon At Night," and lilting loveliness on "Secret Love" but the clear goal of The Scalicis in this show was to spotlight Doris Day's time in front of the microphone, not her acting moments.

Review: The Scalicis Open A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY: CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF DORIS DAY at The Green Room 42 Except that the show is called CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF Doris Day. There was more to Doris Day than these stand-at-the-microphone-and-sing milestones. No Pajama Game? No Love Me Or Leave Me? Not even a "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps" or a "Please Don't Eat The Daisies"? Note Two: give the people what they came for - one hundred years of Doris Day. Expand the show by ten or fifteen minutes, throw in "Shaking the Blues Away" and "I'm Not At All In Love" and make it a more complete, rounded-out exploration of Doris Day's life's work. It was certainly wonderful (and essential) to hear the signature tune "Que Sera, Sera" but there is more, much more of Doris Day into which one can dive - and more of Doris and Amanda is always going to be a good thing, though one might suggest (Note Three) that even though everyone in the world knows the words to "Que Sera, Sera" it is folly to invite the audience to sing along at the start of the number. It drowns out the voice that needs, that deserves, that must be heard. Ms. Scalici might save her sing along moment until the third chorus, thus protecting the integrity of her own performance and, indeed, the performances of all the stellar musicians on the stage with her - for the Scalici Doris Day show (whatever the title or however long it is) is a good show that is off to a good start. It will be fun to come back and see the production as it continues to evolve and find its voice and its place - and, besides, it would be a pleasure to hear this band and Amanda Scalici's voice any time it is possible.

The SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY personnel:

Directed By: Sue Matsuki
Stand-In Director: Gretchen Reinhagen

Amanda Scalici - Vocals
Robert Scalici - Guitar
Mitchell Endick - Alto Sax, Flute, Clarinet
Alex Jeun - Trombone
Michael Ponella - Trumpet
Tom Glusac - Tenor Sax
Mike Campenni- Drums
Geoffrey Morrow - Bas
s

Find great shows to see on the Green Room 42 website HERE.

The Scalicis have a website HERE.

Review: The Scalicis Open A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY: CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF DORIS DAY at The Green Room 42

Review: The Scalicis Open A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY: CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF DORIS DAY at The Green Room 42 Review: The Scalicis Open A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY: CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF DORIS DAY at The Green Room 42 Review: The Scalicis Open A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY: CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF DORIS DAY at The Green Room 42 Review: The Scalicis Open A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY: CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF DORIS DAY at The Green Room 42

Review: The Scalicis Open A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY: CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF DORIS DAY at The Green Room 42

Review: The Scalicis Open A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY: CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF DORIS DAY at The Green Room 42 Review: The Scalicis Open A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY: CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF DORIS DAY at The Green Room 42

Review: The Scalicis Open A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY: CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF DORIS DAY at The Green Room 42

Review: The Scalicis Open A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY: CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF DORIS DAY at The Green Room 42 Review: The Scalicis Open A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY: CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF DORIS DAY at The Green Room 42

Review: The Scalicis Open A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY: CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF DORIS DAY at The Green Room 42 Review: The Scalicis Open A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY: CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF DORIS DAY at The Green Room 42 Photos by Stephen Mosher

Visit the Stephen Mosher website HERE.


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From This Author - Stephen Mosher

Stephen Mosher is the author of The Sweater Book (a collection of his photography featuring celebrated artists from the entertainment communities of New York, Los Angeles, and London), Lived In Cra... (read more about this author)


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