By Victoria L. Dammer
On September 3rd, Chelsea Table + Stage presented Jazz at the Ballroom’s Take Me Back to Manhattan, the Emmy-nominated musical revue celebrating New York and the great American songbook.
Comedian, writer, and host of NPR’s Ask Me Another, Ophira Eisenberg, hosted the evening and got the audience laughing right from the beginning by making jokes about the origin of her uncommon first name. Eisenberg was born in Canada, what she called “America’s backup plan.” She engaged the audience immediately, asking where they were from and starting into a litany of jokes about the five boroughs and tourists.
Eisenberg has appeared at The New York Comedy Festival and the Women in Comedy Festival and has graced the stage on Comedy Central. In addition, she’s active on the New York comedy club scene, appearing at the Comedy Cellar and Carolines, amongst others. She entertained the guests with her personal story about becoming an “older, first-time mother,” often taking the brunt of a litany of jokes at her expense during her pregnancy and afterward.
With bandleader and famed pianist Konrad Paszkudzki and a supporting band, rising jazz and pop vocalists on the lineup for the performance that night were Anais Reno, Kyle Taylor Parker, Vanisha Gould, and Olivia Chindamo.
Australian jazz vocalist Olivia Chindamo, a 2021 graduate of the Juilliard School with a Master of Music, was first up. She had a terrific stage presence and a soulful voice as she sang New York on Sunday, Manhattan and the most remarkable version of The Lady is a Tramp, written by Richard Rodgers in the 30s as a spoof on high society. Chindamo appears to have a deep love of jazz, which is evident by the delivery of every tune she sings.
Kyle Taylor Parker, who is currently on the national tour of Pretty Woman The Musical, impressed the audience with his smooth and powerful voice, singing Drop Me Off in Harlem and an unforgettable version of Lulu’s Back in Town, from the 1935 film Broadway Gondolier and first sung by Dick Powell. The tune has been sung by many vocalists since then, but Parker treated the audience to one of the most beautiful versions performed in years. He was outstanding, and assuredly we will see and hear much from him in the future.
The band presented an instrumental version of New York, New York, with Paszkudzki thrilling attendees with his dazzling piano skills. Dylan Shamat’s talent on the bass explains why he’s known as “Mr. Fingers.”
18-year-old multiple award-winning jazz singer Anais Reno, who has appeared at The Town Hall and Birdland this year, pleased the audience with her rendition of Lullabye of Birdland. One cannot forget her gifted voice as she sang How About You, made famous by Frank Sinatra in the 50s and featured in several movies such as The Goodbye Girl. Her alto voice was warm and inviting, and we can expect to see her perform along with other famous jazz singers in the future as her career soars.
Jazz singer Vanisha Gould, whose voice we can describe as sultry and smoky, performed the last three songs of the night. Swaying to the music and loving the vibe in the room, Gould sang Broadway, Autumn in New York, and the show’s namesake tune, Take Me Back to Manhattan. She has a voice and personality you will never forget and can listen to for hours.
The theater was packed, and patrons were treated to four rising jazz stars in a five-star atmosphere. The show was worth seeing for residents and tourists alike, and here’s hoping it returns to the stage soon.
Running time is one hour.
Jazz at the Ballroom’s Emmy-nominated musical revue, Take Me Back to Manhattan, starring Anais Reno, Kyle Taylor Parker, Vanisha Gould and Olivia Chindamo; bandleader and pianist Konrad Paszkudzki; Jay Sawyer on drums; Dylan Shamat on bass; Sam Raderman on guitar; hosted by Ophira Eisenberg. Press by Fortune Creative.
CHELSEA TABLE + STAGE, highlighting a diverse range of musical genres, is a welcome addition to the list of high-end venues on the New York performance scene, deftly balancing a glamourous interior, traditional hospitality, and top musical talent. The current lineup features a dazzling array from the worlds of pop, folk, country, soul, Jazz, and much more. Providing a wide variety of upscale American menu items, with distinguished wine and bespoke cocktails, audiences will experience some of the best touring performers in the world, alongside local emerging artists. CHELSEA TABLE + STAGE melds the ambiance of a classic supper club with the acoustics of a serious listening room and a contemporary spin appealing to several generations of music lovers.
CHELSEA TABLE + STAGE opens the doors to hospitality, entertainment, and enjoyment every night, featuring state-of-the-art sound and lighting, a 10-seat in-theatre bar, lofted VIP mezzanine for private groups, and table seating for the perfect date night. The ever-changing menu and entertainment schedule means guests never have the same night twice. CHELSEA TABLE + STAGE is located at 152 West 26th Street (between Sixth and Seventh Avenues), downstairs inside the Hilton New York Fashion District. Purchase tickets at chelseatableandstage.com @chelseatableandstage