Moreno, Minnelli and more highlight Palladium gala

June 30, 2013
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

June 29 was a night to remember for music fans and stargazers as Michael Feinstein offered the second year of the Great American Songbook Hall of Fame gala concerts.

Honorees this year were Frank Sinatra for the posthumous Legend award, Jimmy Webb for the Songbook award (for lyricists and composers), and Liza Minnelli and Rita Moreno for the New Standard award (for any artist "who continues to create the soundtrack of our lives by writing and/or performing music that will stand the test of time and become the pop standards of tomorrow.") The festivities actually began on June 28 with a dinner and Feinstein performance at the Indiana Roof Ballroom.

Having just returned from the Saturday evening portion of the celebration, which featured the concert/tributes and post-show parties, I thought I'd simply outline some of the evening's many highlights. If you attended, please share your favorite moments.

—The Broadway-cred dancers brought in to spruce up the "There's No Business Like Show Business" overture.

—Feinstein's crack about "It's a Small World After All" making everyone want to kill Walt Disney.

—The choice of Webb's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" as the song sung in his tribute. While "Up Up and Away," "Wichita Lineman" and others may be more familiar, "Mistress" is a great Webb tune not identified too closely with one version. And Tom Wopat handled it well.

—The fact that there was only one "cake left in the rain" joke.

—The gorgeous photos of the very young Rita Moreno in her tribute video.

—The fact that Rita Moreno is even more beautiful and poised now (but why no reference to "The Electric Company"?).

—Jimmy Smits' heartfelt tribute to Moreno.

—Jose Feliciano's compelling playing and singing—in Spanish—of "Strangers in the Night" (although he nearly crashed the song by ending with a juvenile joke).

—Dance Kaleidoscope's Jillian Godwin's fierce dance to "That's Life" for the Sinatra tribute.

—Liza Minnelli's intense, enthusiastic, "go for it girl" attention on Godwin during that dance number.

—Feinstein's earnest plug for DK after Godwin's performance. ("You folks have to see the work of Dance Kaleidoscope. They're sensational.")

—Feinstein's calling Minnelli "a really great dame" in his intro to her tribute (but why no mention of "Arrested Development"?).

—Feinstein's fill-in for the announced Megan Hilty (weather-related transportation problems) with a powerful take on the Minnelli standard "Maybe This Time"—with killer support from the overall strong on-stage orchestra.

—The orchestra's equally strong partnership with Great American Songbook competition winner Nick Ziobro on "I Won't Dance"—and the fact that Feinstein trusted the young man enough to have him follow such a strong lineup. 

—Webb's humble acceptance speech, classifying himself as occupying only a corner ("with an asterisk") of the Great American Songbook.

—Moreno's flamboyant approach to the podium—with a broken toe no less—and her wonderful acceptance speech. Yes, I agree with what Feliciano said earlier: Give this woman another part on Broadway.

—Minnelli, "too insecure to just get an award and leave," delivering a rendition of "New York, New York" in which, even with trouble with both her slacks and some of the notes, she managed, once again, to define "star."

—The gentleman usher who, in talking to me about upcoming Palladium shows, referred to Diane Ross as "that gal who sang with the Supremes."

—In one of the after-party lounges, Wopat's taking the microphone for a rendition of "Makin' Whoopee"—with Indy's own Brent Marty on piano, playing like the two have been partners for years.   

—The realization that galas aren't the only time central Indiana is attracting Great American Songbook talent: Webb recently played the Palladium. Wopat performed at the Cabaret at the Columbia Club. Minnelli sang with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. The commitment of the Palladium, the ISO and the Cabaret to the genre certainly makes me feel like I've got the world on a string and that I'm sittin' on a rainbow. 

Your thoughts?

  • $$$
    The only thought that I have is that usually, about a year later, we find out that the gala cost the taxpayers a couple hundred thousand dollars.
  • Go post on...
    Carmel Chatter where you belong! Leave this magical night to those of us that pay through ticket prices, direct giving, and yes, our property taxes, to enjoy and savor! Bravo Michael Feinstein, Mayor Brainard, and Tania Castroverde Moskalenko!!!
  • Couple of comments
    There was one comment by Jimmy Smits where he sarcastically called Indiana a progressive state. Maybe total of five people laughed at that joke. Although considering Mike Pence was in the audience, the joke was probably not that inappropriate. Also Feinstein claimed that anyone not familiar with Lisa M's work is probably a Taliban and will be deported shortly.
  • Barry before Frank?
    As a huge GAS fan, I agree, Lou, that having all of this in Indy is incredible. But it doesn't explain how Barry Manilow got into the Hall of Fame before Frank Sinatra.
  • Recent
    The Great American Songbook Hall of Fame is something that Michael Feinstein made up while in Carmel. It's only one year old.
  • FYI
    The Broadway choreographer who designed that great opening number was Josh Prince, who was born in Indy and attended North Central High School.

Post a comment to this blog

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
  1. I am a Lyft driver who is a licensed CDL professional driver. ALL Lyft drivers take pride in providing quality service to the Indianapolis and surrounding areas, and we take the safety of our passengers and the public seriously.(passengers are required to put seat belts on when they get in our cars) We do go through background checks, driving records are checked as are the personal cars we drive, (these are OUR private cars we use) Unlike taxi cabs and their drivers Lyft (and yes Uber) provide passengers with a clean car inside and out, a friendly and courteous driver, and who is dressed appropriately and is groomed appropriately. I go so far as to offer mints, candy and/or small bottle of water to the my customers. It's a mutual respect between driver and passenger. With Best Regards

  2. to be the big fish in the little pond of IRL midwest racin' when yer up against Racin' Gardner

  3. In the first sentance "As a resident of one of these new Carmel Apartments the issue the local governments need to discuss are build quality & price." need a way to edit

  4. As a resident of one of these new Carmel Apartments the issue the local governments need to discuss is build quality & price. First none of these places is worth $1100 for a one bedroom. Downtown Carmel or Keystone at the Crossing in Indy. It doesn't matter. All require you to get in your car to get just about anywhere you need to go. I'm in one of the Carmel apartments now where after just 2.5 short years one of the kitchen cabinet doors is crooked and lawn and property maintenance seems to be lacking my old Indianapolis apartment which cost $300 less. This is one of the new star apartments. As they keep building throughout the area "deals" will start popping up creating shoppers. If your property is falling apart after year 3 what will it look like after year 5 or 10??? Why would one stay here if they could move to a new Broad Ripple in 2 to 3 years or another part of the Far Northside?? The complexes aren't going to let the "poor" move in without local permission so that's not that problem, but it the occupancy rate drops suddenly because the "Young" people moved back to Indy then look out.

  5. Why are you so concerned about Ace hardware? I don't understand why anyone goes there! Every time ive gone in the past, they don't have what I need and I end up going to the big box stores. I understand the service aspect and that they try to be helpful but if they are going to survive I think they might need to carry more specialty parts.