Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Photo Coverage: James Barbour Opens at Birdland

Posted today, an article and photo coverage at BroadwayWorld.com of James Barbour's opening performance at Birdland. I was a guest singer, as well as pianist/composer Andrew Mancilla and, of course, Broadway vet Merwin Foard.


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Facebook Statuses 2010

Facebook has allowed for some interesting self-promotional things (events, meetings, status updates). One of my favorite things to do is their status collages, in which random status updates are chosen from the year's collection and posted into one image. Here's this year's collage....a combo of geekdom, musical theater, cabaret, shows, dreams, and a lot of good memories. That's the way I like 'em. Let 2011 be full of "more fun things" as my Mom and Dad used to promise me.


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

End your holidays on a high note - Christmas card!

Inspired by an idea I used for my stepdad's recent birthday card, I made this Holiday card.

make custom gifts at Zazzle


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Birdland. December 12th. James Barbour. I Sing Music.

Those who read my blog recently saw this entry about my submission for ForTalent.com's online contest to sing at James Barbour's Holiday Concert.

Well...I WON!!!!

I am their #1 contest winner and will be singing live on December 12th. I also won the $150 cash prize. James was kind enough to extend an offer to fellow contestant Jovani McCleary, who is the runner up contest winner and will be singing live at the December 13th show (with a previously unannounced $100 cash prize). I will sing one song of James' choosing (it may be the same "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" that I submitted with, or another) in his 90-minute set. And I just read from James' blog that special guests that evening will be fellow Broadway alums Robert Cuccioli and Merwin Foard!

For those in the NYC area...short notice, I know...but here are the details:

Sunday, December 12th at 6pm, runtime: approx 90 minutes
Purchase tickets online here.

$35 or $45 price

315 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036
(212) 581-3080


Now...what the **** do I wear?!?


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Friday, December 3, 2010

ForTalent.com Video Submission for the James Barbour Birdland Concert Contest!

ForTalent.com is a social networking site specifically designed for creative types. I'm a member (join and friend me at http://www.fortalent.com/sierrarein). I also submitted myself for an online contest (members only can vote, so join and vote for me!). The contest is for the chance to win a singing spot on stage with James Barbour at Birdland this December 12, 2010, or for two tickets to see the show. James will make his own decision on his singer of choice, but top votes will decide on who will get the tickets. If you can, sign up, friend me, and vote! It would be awesome to see this show, or to BE in it, singing a holiday song with Mr. Barbour!

Go to MY VOTING ENTRY page here: http://www.fortalent.com/contests/ShowContestEntry.do?eid=109247 to vote!!!

And if Mom and Dad are reading this, I have an MP3 of this which will be in your email inboxes shortly. Love you!

** UPDATE 12/7/2010 **

My friend, the lovely Erika Amato (on ForTalent.com/erikaamato), blasted the competition and won with 46 votes for her live concert rendition of "I Miss the Mountains" from Next To Normal. I was 2nd in the video submissions with 25 votes, but only after beautiful audio submission by Cait, which garnered 37 votes (so I was third overall). Erika assures me that I'm her date for the evening, so whether either of us are chosen to sing by James himself or not, we're going to the concert!


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Review: "Twist of Fate" with Kevin McMullan

As read in a previous blog entry, Sue Matsuki reviews for Cabaret Hotline Online. She came to see "Twist of Fate," the show I'm currently performing in for artist Kevin McMullan. Read the entire article here.

The back up singers: Adam West Hemming, Sierra Rein & Dara Seizman are all STARS in their own right but here they exercise restraint to be exceptionally good supports in this show with knock out vocals and harmonies. Special "props" also to the lovely Dara for her Gypsy Ballet ... it was stunning.

Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Friday, November 12, 2010

Playbill.com Interviews Me! Ok, not really...

I decided to take a cue (okay, blatantly steal) an idea from the blog of actress-singer-coach Erin Cronican, and filled out my own responses to the Playbill.com series of interviews in wich they ask well known theater performers about themselves. Consider this a draft for the actual Playbill.com interview...

Oh, and it's Erin's Birthday today - Happy Birthday Erin! I'm stealing from you!

Full given name: Sierra Aviva Rezendes Rein

Hometown: Oakland, CA

Zodiac Sign: Aries

Audition song: Either "Children of the Wind" from Rags or "Old Fashioned Love Story" from Wild Party, or "I Feel the Earth Move" by Carole King.

Special Skills: puppetry, playing the ocarina.

First Broadway show ever saw: Either Beauty and the Beast or An Inspector Calls - field trip in High School.

First West End show: Smokey Joe's Cafe, with my Dad.

If you could go back in time and catch any Broadway show, what would it be?: Evita.

Current show you have been recommending to friends: Avenue Q

Favorite show tune: Just one?!? Picking out of a hat..."Don't Rain On My Parade" from Funny Girl...

The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: Patrick Stewart's one-man version of A Christmas Carol. Taught me how the choices of one actor can tell an ensemble of stories in one show.

MAC or PC?: I'm a MAC baby from time immemorial.

Most played song on your iPod: I switch out my music so often, but I love the soundtrack to the Japanese anime TV shows Cowboy Bepop and Ghost in the Shell, so the theme songs to those pop up a lot. I listen to a lot of podcasts, too.

Web obsession: Besides Facebook, I love Twitter and my Google reader feed.

Last book you read: One of my husband (Pete Nicholls)'s many first drafts. I'm also reading Paul Russell's "ACTING: Make It Your Business" and Bonnie Gillespie's "Self Management for Actors."

Must-see TV show: I'm digging "Dexter," but also "Dr. Who" and "Mythbusters" for my geek side.

Performer you would drop everything to go see: I'd have to agree with Erin -Bernadette Peters, or Patty LuPone.

Pop culture guilty pleasure: Hm, I get my guilty pop culture trash fix listening to the Kevin and Bean show on KROQ via Podcast - a habit I formed in my Los Angeles years.

First CD/Tape/LP you owned: I remember having "Great Space Coaster" on LP, but that was a kid's gift. First tape was probably "True Blue" by Madonna, or "Sports" by Huey Lewis and the News.

First stage kiss: Asher Lyons as Horace Vandegelder, and me as Dolly in Hello Dolly, High School. He was a childhood friend, so it was like kissing my brother!

Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: Playing Eva Peron in a High School production of Evita - so many wonderful costumes, and we had a female Che!

Favorite pre-show/post-show meal: Pre-show, I like soup or a simple nutrition bar, tea. Post-show, it's probably either a spinach salad (with bacon) or a hamburger.

Pre-show rituals: Ideally: hour and a half early, spend time warming up and putting on makeup - the more I see myself putting on makeup, the more I see the character emerge. I love easing into a role, but I know that I can zip into it with a 1/2 hour call too.

Worst costume ever: I think I've blocked them all out, and I typically don't complain about costuming. I've had some that don't fit too right, or kept catching on the scenery. But I've made them all work!

Who would play you in the movie?: Christina Ricci, before she lost all that weight.

Worst job you ever had: Working at at clinic taking care of dogs with disabilities or physical issues. I just wasn't prepared to handle dogs (I'm a cat person).

Leading lady role you've been dying to play: Baker's Wife in Into the Woods, Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, Kate/Lucy the Slut in Avenue Q.

Favorite team/athlete: Oakland A's

How you got your Equity card: I understudied and then took over the role of the Second Soprano in Master Class at the Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles. The gig was three weeks long, but I performed right at the turning poing of 80+ performances, so the entire cast had to be offered their cards. I was already 35 points in EMC, so I said yes. Kind of came as a surprise when I got the envelope of application papers in the mail!

Worst onstage mishap: Doing a costume change in Evita in High School - offstage, I couldn't get one dress off (zipper stuck at my hips), so I just folded the upper torso down, put my ACT I finale dress over that (luckily it had a large skirt) and went on anyway.

TV or commercial gig you most enjoyed: doing stand-in work on "Everybody Loves Raymond." I got my SAG card, the cast & crew were so friendly, and the on-set catering buffet was unbelievable.

Three things you can't live without: music, some sort of computer, and sushi.

Artist you would most love to work with: Patrick Stewart

"I’ll never understand why…": some people choose to spend their lives criticizing the lifestyles of others, and trying to litigate against them.


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Monday, November 8, 2010

Catch Sierra and Marquee Five this Sunday 11/14 at THE JAMES FRADRICH MEMORIAL CONCERT DVD PARTY

From Kevin McMullan:

"Kevin McMullan presents


A benefit for the JAMES FRADRICH MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP for Classical Pianists and Composers at Lawrence University, Jim's alma mater.

Many attended the all-star, now-legendary JAMES FRADRICH MEMORIAL CONCERT, exactly one year ago minus a day from the day of this event at St. Malachy's Actors' Chapel in NYC featuring some of the brightest talent from cabaret and Broadway. Many have been asking about the DVD.

My companion, the well-known off-Broadway composer, Jim Fradrich, was an extraordinarily talented, yet modest composer who kept his talents under wraps, and people hearing his music for the first time at the original concert were amazed, even stunned at the versatility and talent he had to offer. Jim's compositions embraced classical, Great American Songbook and Broadway styles.

At the memorial concert, we barely scratched the surface of the musical legacy he left behind. The DVD party, a sort of "follow-up," will be feature songs written by Jim that are not on the DVD, so whether you were at the concert or just want to hear some beautiful music from lush
ballads to comic ditties to swing, never before heard, now's your chance! The DVD will be a gift to all who attend.

Sunday, November 14 at 4 PM

Metropolitan Room
34 W. 22nd Street
New York, New York

Reservations strongly suggested: 212-206-0440

$20.00 suggested donation; checks preferred.

(Please make out checks to "Lawrence University" with "James Fradrich Scholarship" on the memo line.)

2 beverage minimum

Featuring the dynamic singing group…



Also starring…


Musical Direction by MARK JANAS and MATTHEW WARD.

Produced by KEVIN McMULLAN

…all joining in a continuing celebration of the beautiful music of my life companion, the off-Broadway composer, concert pianist, musical director and orchestrator, JAMES FRADRICH.

We hope to see you there!

Kevin McMullan"

I'll also be singing a solo of Jim's music, in addition to a duet! Hope you can make it!


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cabaret Hotline Online Mention of Me - Sue Matsuki's "Sue's Reviews"

I had a terrific time last night, performing in a double-header of musical endeavors ("The Good Girl" at The Snapple Theater Center, then Kevin McMullan's show "Twist of Fate"). And I was happy to read over my morning coffee today that Sue Matsuki was kind enough to highlight me in her column section on Cabaret Hotline Online, reviewing The Salon Open Mic (which I attend and blog about on a weekly basis!):
"Everyone was great but I look at and hear some of the Broadway types that do The Salon on a regular basis and I think, "How much more talented does one have to be to make it on Broadway?" Some of the singers of this caliber. There are singers of all levels and genres which makes the night an eclectic one. They also have a theme every week which adds yet another fun layer.

There are too many folks to "highlight" on nights like this but I do want to mention one gal in particular because every single time she steps on a stage, she blows me away. I am speaking of Miss Sierra Rein who sang a tune I think was called "A Diva's Work is Never Done" in what was a pure, operatic/theatrical voice and performance worthy of a Tony. When I first met Sierra, she was performing with a puppet. Then I heard her do the "Only Make Believe" duet from Oklahoma with another wonderful singer at Salon and THEN, I was shocked to hear her wailing our a Janis Joplin tune in the latest Marquee Five show. This girl can literally sing anything."
The song title in question was "This Place is Mine" from Maury Yeston's Phantom. Thanks, Sue!


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Monday, October 25, 2010

First Write-Up of "Twist of Fate" with Kevin McMullan

Stu Hamstra has a great quote in his Cabaret Hotline Online newsletter regarding Kevin McMullan's Cabaret show "Twist of Fate" (which I'm singing in!)
"OH, wow, did I see a great cabaret show on Saturday afternoon (October
23rd)! Kevin McMullan and his great creative team served up a show you
simply must see: TWIST OF FATE at the LAURIE BEECHMAN. It's described in the
listings below - it plays this Thursday, October 28th at 9:30 pm. I'm not
going to review it here - I want to give Sue Matsuki first divs on writing
the review in her column, but I will tell you this: do not arrive late (as I
did, thanks to the MTA's messed up Saturday subway schedule), because the
opening number is incredible - in fact the whole show is incredible. I'm
going to have to return, since I missed the first 2 songs of this magical,
mysterious, scary opening medley. There's singing, there's dancing, there's
storytelling, a glorious band, incredible arrangements (by Mark Janas) and
the best darned violin solo ever heard in cabaret! I'll probably see you
there Thursday night!"

-Stu Hamstra/Cabaret Hotline


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Upcoming performances of Sierra Rein

Kevin McMullen's "Twist Of Fate"

My next performances will be singing for Kevin McMullen's show "Twist Of Fate," an explosion of music inspired by Fortune, Fate, Love, Life, Death, The Afterlife and Reincarnation - all presented through storytelling and gorgeous music ranging from Broadway and Swing to contemporary and alternative Rock classics - songs from the likes of Louis Armstrong, kd lang, Styx, Peggy Lee and Olivia Newton-John. Multiple award-winners Miles Phillips (Director) and Mark Janas (Music Director) oversee an ambitious whirlwind of a show that unveils McMullan at the center of a six piece Gypsy Jazz Band and a dazzling assortment of Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves!

Hmmm...I wonder which of those last three categories I'm in?

"Twist of Fate" will perform at the Laurie Beechman Theater October 23rd (4 pm), 28th (9:30pm), November 20th (4pm), 29th (7pm), and December 4th (4pm). $20 Cover + $15 Food/Bevarage Minimum. Reservations: 212-695-6909. See the Facebook Event here for more information.

Then! October 28th, 6:30pm: "The Good Girl"

I'll be singing as the youngest sister in a showcase reading of the new musical "The Good Girl" - Music & Lyrics by Mary Liz McNamara, book by award-winning playwright Arden Kass and Mary Liz McNamara. Presented by Musical Mondays Theatre Lab, this reading will take place on Thursday, October 28 · 6:30pm - 8:00pm at the Snapple Theater Center, Jerry Orbach Theatre. Admission: $15. MMTL Subscription series of 4 shows for 2010-11: $40. (Payment by cash or check only at box office the day of show) For reservations, call 212-989-6706 or email reservations@musicalmondays.org. For more information: www.musicalmondays.org / Facebook Event.

You can read my current email newsletter online here for more of my upcoming and current news, performances and events!


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sue Matsuki of Cabaret Hotline Online gives Marquee Five a RAVE review!

Sue Matsuki (who is a Cabaret performer of the highest esteem and who I highly respect), has started writing for Cabaret Hotline Online. Marquee Five's latest show, "8-Track Throwback," was chosen by Sue in her first run of reviews for the online site. And once again, I cannot be prouder of this show! You can read the review from the website itself here, or just read the following.

And a REMINDER - OUR LAST SHOW is on October 16th, 2010 at 6pm, Don't Tell Mama. Call 212-757-0788 or go online to make reservations!!!

MARQUEE FIVE in 8 TRACK THROWBACK - Singer/Songwriters of the 60's & 70's
October 2nd 2010 - Don't Tell Mama

This award winning team of singers, Mick Bleyer, Adam West Hemming (arranger), Vanessa Parvini, Sierra Rein & Julie Reyburn collectively called Marquee Five have yet another hit show on their hands!

Great music by Wonder, Mitchell, King, Joplin, Dylan ... you know the GREATS ... by 5 very special and incredible voices. Just GO SEE THIS SHOW! It's like no other you will see out there. Music we all know done SO differently that it may take you a few minutes to realize what you're listening to. (This can be a good thing or a not so good thing but most of the time, in this show, it's a good thing!)

Beautifully played by Mark Janas on piano, Matt Scharfglass on bass, Tony Romano on guitar and directed by Joseph Ward, this is a fast moving, dynamic trip down memory lane ... and speaking of a "trip" ...

When I say Janis Joplin, I'm sure the first person that comes to mind is Sierra Rein, right? Here's this beautiful, classy looking woman rasping out to Joplin's Move Over in a jaw dropping performance that made me look at Sierra in a whole new light. The audience went wild for this number.

On A Case of You I was first thrown by the tempo of the song having known it no other way than how most sing it but in Vanessa Parvin's hands and lovely voice, and with Adam's super arrangement, it was like hearing a new story on a song I thought I knew well. Brava Vanessa!

Let me just say this, to do a show like this where the arrangements are yet another "star" in the show, it should be noted that the entire cast seemed to have an individual acting connection or point of view with each of the tunes that they were the lead on - also impressive in ensemble work.

The boys ... oh my stars ... Mick Bleyer's take on Elton John's Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word with Adam West Hemming's take on All is Fair in Love was STUNNING! The pain in Mick's voice as the "younger" man played against Adam's more mature perspective of pain with a little "oh well" thrown in - it gave me chills. Another audience favorite and one of my favorite moments in the show.

Disclaimer: Julie Reyburn and I are friends, good friends but I have "reviewed" many of her shows by postings to various places so it will be no surprise to anyone when I write:

Music is to Julie Reyburn what a Tech Director is to the stage ... Music IS Julie's light. It's like the minute she opens her mouth, she has a pin spot on her. Her Tangled Up in Blue and then later taking the lead on Will You Love Me Tomorrow showed me, once again, that this era of music seems to be Julie's "heart music" being the daughter of two hippies and all. She can sing anything but I love her doing this music.

A long review because there are so many notable moments and each singer is a star in their own right. There's a line in Jolene that said, "You can have your choice of men" and here we are seeing three women realizing Jolene has done exactly that, chosen all of their men ... the girls really deliver on this tune as well. Listen, I could go on and on but you should just go to see their last show which is:

Saturday, October 16th at 6:00 pm at Don't Tell Mama, 343 West 46th Street (Between 8th & 9th) - Reservations: 212-757-0788 - $20 Cover / 2 Drink Minimum, Cash only. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
Sue Matsuki, Sue's Views, Reviews & News on http://www.CabaretHotlineOnLine.com - Oct. 4th 2010

Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Message from Stephen Hanks, Board President Musical Mondays Theatre Lab

Just got this from Stephen Hanks, Board President of the Musical Mondays Theatre Lab!


THE GOOD GIRL Launches 2010-2011
Musical Mondays on Theatrical Thursdays Season

Dear Fans of Musical Mondays Theatre Lab,

Our exciting new fall season is upon us and we wanted to send you this “Save the Date” email so you can be sure to catch the preview of the new musical THE GOOD GIRL, playing on Thursday, October 28th at 6:30 PM at the Jerry Orbach Theater in the Snapple Theater Center, 210 West 50th Street. Single admission is $15.00. For reservations, call 212 989-6706 or email reservations@musicalmondays.org.

THE GOOD GIRL tells the story of a conscientious, middle-aged, middle-school math teacher who finally jumpstarts her long-idled love life moments before her mother drops dead, leaving her to care for her father. And then her mother sings to her from a jazz club in the great beyond. Music & Lyrics are by Mary Liz McNamara (a MAC-award-winning songwriter and solo performer whose songs are sung by theater and cabaret artists across the country. Mary Liz is also a four-time ASACP + award winner for songwriting and a recent winner of the Dottie Burman songwriting award)/ The book is by Mary Liz and Arden Kass (an award-winning playwright and screenwriter who divides her time between Philadelphia and New York). The director is Lucie Tiberghien (A Small, Melodramatic Story-LAByrinth) and the Musical Director is Annie Lebeaux (Split Ends).

THE GOOD GIRL cast includes Raissa Katona Bennett (Christine in Broadway’s Phantom of the Opera), Carl Danielsen (Enter Laughing, The Big Voice: God or Merman), Ritt Henn (MAC Award, Backstage Bistro Award Winner) composer Mary Liz McNamara, Sierra Rein (MAC Award winner for Marquee Five) and Tracy Sallows (HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire”).

THE GOOD GIRL is being developed in the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop.

Under the guidance of Artistic Directors Bick Goss and Frank Evans, Musical Mondays Theatre Lab is celebrating its 11th anniversary presenting a first look at new musicals. Previous shows include Next to Normal under the title of Feeling Electric, as well as the incoming musical Wanda’s World. Previous seasons introduced Off-Broadway’s See Rock City, Cupid and Psyche, Abie’s Island Rose, regional productions of Calvin Berger as well as new work by Amanda Green, Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx.

Musical Mondays Theatre Lab is also thrilled to announce the naming of its first Board of Directors, including Stephen Hanks (President), Susan Heart (V.P), Phyllis Weiss Haserot (Secretary), Linda Burson (Treasurer), and Anne L. Bernstein, Jeffrey Liberty Simno, and Brad Bond (Board Members).

Musical Mondays’ next new musical preview will be YO, VIKINGS! on Thursday, November 18, 6:30PM, based on the book by best-selling author Judith Byron Schachner, and the real-life adventure that inspired it with music by Sam Willmott and book and lyrics by Marcus Stevens.

We hope to see you all at THE GOOD GIRL on October 28!

Stephen Hanks
Board President
Musical Mondays Theatre Lab
my cell: 718-753-1323
Visit our fan page on Facebook!



Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Marquee Five gets "top-notch spectacular" review by Sandi Durell of CabaretScenes.org!

CabaretScenes.org just posted this stellar review by Sandi Durell regarding "8-Track Throwback," Marquee Five's latest show highlighting singer-songwriter favorites from the 60's and 70's.

I gotta just quote the whole thing here, I'm so excited!

Soaring on the success of their debut show, We Can Make It: The Songs of Kander & Ebb, which earned the group a 2010 MAC Award for Best Vocal/Duo/Group, Marquee Five isn’t leaving any dust in their wake as they forge ahead in this latest creation. 8-Track refers to music on magnetic 8-track sound recordings popular in the ’60s and ’70s, eras that produced many of the greatest hits of all time.

Reminiscent of The Modernaires, the 1940s quintet with the Glenn Miller Orchestra who recorded “Make Believe Ballroom Time” for WNEW, the tight harmonies of Marquee Five are, indeed, top-notch spectacular. Impressive, too, are the talents of the individual singers who comprise the group: soprano Vanessa Parvin; mezzo Julie Reyburn; alto Sierra Rein; and the two smooth-sounding males, Mick Bleyer and Adam West Hemming, the latter responsible for the clever arrangements and musical direction.

From group numbers like “Moondance” and the smart, witty “Copacabana”(that intermingles “Oye Como Va,” “Them from The Pink Panther” and “Theme from Sex and the City”), to individual highlights—including Hemmings’s rich and beautifully phrased “A House Is Not a Home” underscored with “Honesty,” Rein’s strong and expressive “Move Over,” Reyburn’s intense rendition of time and love “Tangled Up in Blue” and the juxtaposing duet of Bleyer and Hemming’s pairing “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” and “All in Love Is Fair”—there isn’t a dull moment. The musicians are a unique combination of talents: Mark Janas (piano); Matt Scharfglass (bass guitar); John Benthal and Tony Romano sharing dates on acoustic/electric guitar. Joseph Ward directs. Special thanks to Father Jeffrey Hamblin who produces Marquee Five.

Sandi Durell
Cabaret Scenes
September 17, 2010


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Friday, September 24, 2010

Marquee Five - We Can Make It Demo


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Monday, September 20, 2010

"...this ensemble deserves attention." - David Finkle, VillageVoice.com

On Marquee Five:
"When the five of them harmonize, they're reminiscent of the reception choir stationed directly inside the Pearly Gates. The five of them are Julie Reyburn, Vanessa Parvin, Sierra Rein, Mick Bleyer, and Adam West Hemming, the latter of whom apparently does all the arranging. They also divvy up in various, usually rewarding ways throughout their set. Not too many quintets make a go of this sort of thing; this ensemble deserves attention."
-David Finkle, VillageVoice.com


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tomorrow, get thrown back with Marquee Five - "8-Track Throwback"

  • 5 MAC Award-Winning Singers
  • a rockin' band, including Mark Janas on piano
  • an hour of music from the 60's and 70's, including work from Carol King, Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Leonard Cohen and more
  • and all new tight-harmony arrangements by Adam West Hemming
Tomorrow it begins...

Marquee Five
(Winner of the 2010 MAC Award for Vocal Duo/Group)

"8-Track Throwback"

5 nights in September and October starting Thursday, September 16th at 8:30pm.

Don't Tell Mama
343 West 46th Street (Restaurant Row) New York City
$20 - $15 for MAC, Actors Unions & Cabaret Hotline Online Members!plus 2 drink minimum

Thursday September 16th, @ 8:30pm
Thursday September 23rd @ 8:30pm
Saturday September 25th @ 4:30pm
Saturday October 2nd @ 6pm
Saturday October 16th @ 6pm

Directed by: Joseph Ward

Musical Direction/Arrangements: Adam West Hemming

Piano: Mark Janas
Bass guitar: Matt Scharfglass
Guitarists: John Benthal (9/16 & 10/16) and Tony Romano (9/23, 9/25 & 10/2).


"...but you don't really care for music...do ya?"
- Leonard Cohen
See you there!


Sierra Rein

Alto, Marquee Five

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sierra Rein sings "Mama Will Provide" - w/ Adam Shaprio, Mark Janas on piano

I had fun on Sunday, even with lyric sheet in hand, singing for Adam Shapiro as he returns to land after 8 months on a cruise performance job.

For reasons why I didn't have time to memorize the lyrics, check out the blog entry here or www.marqueefive.com!


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Friday, August 27, 2010

Marquee Five is getting some PRESS!

Marquee Five is mentioned in:


You can download the press release yourself here.


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

SAVE THE DATES!!!! Marquee Five in "8-Track Throwback" at Don't Tell Mama, Sept-Oct

Download a PDF of the Marquee Five Press Release for "8-Track Throwback"


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Audition Psych 101 Seminar (FREE for AEA!) in New York!

I HIGHLY recommend this free (for Equity actors) seminar - I've been to it once before but am planning on going to go again for a refresher!

Audition Psych. 101

A refreshing new approach to the dreaded process with Michael Kostroff


Losing it at auditions? Working stage and TV actor Michael Kostroff is here to help. This popular workshop is designed to de-terrorize the audition process and help performers at every level deal with insecurities and nerves and learn to love auditioning.

When: Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 - 6:30 PM – 10:30 PM *
(*I know this conflicts with Marquee Five's show at Don't Tell Mama at 8:30pm, so please come to this free seminar and make sure to schedule a different day to see Marquee Five)
Where: AEA Audition Center 165 West 46th Street, 2nd Floor
Cost: Free – Open to AEA members and EMC’s
RSVP: outreach@actorsequity.org

Student Comments:

“I found myself dreading to leave the room, for fear of missing a single word…I haven't been able to stop thinking about it—it was THAT inspiring… I've been raving about it to every actor I meet.”

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About the Instructor - Michael Kostroff has toured with both The Producers and Les Misérables and performed regionally in The Producers, How to Succeed…, …Forum, Ragtime, Guys and Dolls, Laughter on The 23rd Floor, and many others. On TV, he’s best known for his five seasons on HBO’s The Wire, his current role on The Disney Channel’s Sonny with a Chance, and guest roles on shows like The Middle, Cold Case, Without a Trace, The Closer, Brothers and Sisters and so on. He’s an advice columnist for Back Stage and the author of Letters from Backstage.

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Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Julie Reyburn's "Summer Nights" Feinstein's Show and the MAC Summer Preview Showcase

I was able to attend two shows on Friday! The first was the MAC SUMMER PREVIEW SHOWCASE at Don't Tell Mama, an evening featuring 10 MAC member acts. The purpose of the showcase was to allow audience members to catch a glimpse of these performers' full upcoming shows. (I would have loved to have Marquee Five in the lineup, only our bass Mick Bleyer is doing summer stock in Lake George!) On the docket for the evening were:

  • David Alpher & Jennie Litt - a husband/wife duo composing team
  • Seth Bisen-Hersh - a musical theater composer/ lyricist who is also musical director, vocal coach, and host to numerous showcases around the year.
  • Elli Fordyce - cabaret singer/actress
  • Terese Genecco with Sean Harkness on guitar - force of nature (a mix of Judy Garland and Dean Martin), and her Elvis Priestly show will be awesome! And Sean is a virtuoso on the guitar!
  • Adelmo Guidarelli - operatic clown, as his website says!
  • Joan Jaffe - funny cabaret singer, even takes classic standards and makes them funny!
  • Jillian Laurain - classic cabaret singer and soprano
  • Rosemary Loar - dangerous cabaret singer with a unique take on Sting songs!
  • Tanya Moberly - unique theater and cabaret singer (also produces The Salon!), catch her "Theater Songs" show.
  • Barbara Porteus - classy jazz cabaret vocalist, will be at Feinstein's at the end of the month.

Musical direction and a bit of piano playing was by Tracy Stark, with additional accompaniment by pianist Barry Levitt and bassist Tom Hubbard. It was hosted by Hector Coris. I was particularly affected by the artists that took risks with their work, or who had such a unique onstage personality that - like them or not - they stood out from the lineup. It was a good lesson to me to ask "What is unique about myself as a performer? What are my passions that, when I perform, can shine out bright?" It's a good thing to think about when putting together a show, singing at a showcase, or even choosing material for an open mic. In one hour I saw so many different and specifically unique singers - it was just a matter for audience members to say "I'm intrigued by this singer, I'll go see his or her full show next week."

Julie Reyburn

However (and not to totally disregard the wonderful preview performance at Don't Tell Mama), the real highlight of the evening was to go to the famous Feinstein's cabaret and dinner club on East 61st Street to see Marquee Five member Julie Reyburn perform her show "Summer Nights," and sit with Marquee 3 (re: Marquee 4, Mick, see above). With Julie on stage was Mark Janas (who played for our show last December) and bassist Ritt Henn. Lennie Watts directed it, Walter Usiatynski was on drums, and Jeff Hamblin produced. I'm not going to praise Julie because she's a member of M5 - I'm going to praise her because she is goddamned awesome.

After the show, I was trying to compare her to something we can all relate to. I came across the imagery of The Best Dessert in the world. Julie is like the best dessert you have ever tasted in your life; rich and creamy, yet with a light aftertaste that allows you to want to have more. You are willing to pay extra for it, for that special evening, and yet are grateful when even just a nibble is available. You will email the menu item to your friends, saying "this is the thing to eat in the city."

Okay, enough with the metaphor - Julie is the real deal. She has a beautiful voice - part human, part trumpet, but all with a great amount of power and control. She has a gorgeous mix (the part between the belt and the soprano) and is able to hold on to notes with ease and breath. She can soar to high notes with grace, and belt with energy. And that's just her vocal prowess. When it comes to interpretation of a lyric and nailing the acting part of a song, Julie is a maestro. She never lets a lyric go without taking care of each phrase with thought, passion, humor, and the *story* in mind. Even when she sang "Abadaba Honeymoon" (a very silly song), she painted the romantic relationship between the Monkey and the Chimp beautifully. Each song comes from a personal place in Julie's heart, and when she sings even the most "standard" of songs, you come away with a unique interpretation - one that is uniquely hers. She's always trying to emphasize something - even in the lyric to "Moon River" "there's such a lot of world to see," Julie reminded us of potential adventure. She makes every single song new and unique. Unique, unique...I guess I can't help but using that word to describe what she does with a song.

And she had another ace up her sleeve in addition to her lyric interpretation and vocal prowess: the musical direction and arrangements of Mark Janas. Those arrangements were flawless, brilliantly orchestrated, some with mind-boggling musical wit and surprise mixed in. Julie sang at the MAC Award-Winning The Salon open mic on Sunday as well, and performed three pieces from her "Summer Nights" show - I blog for The Salon, so you can read about some of Mark's amazing arrangements at the official blog here. When I put together my show, I want to save enough money to hire Mark for my arrangements - once you invest in one of his masterpieces (which combine musical traits from musical theater, cabaret, classical and rock), you know you have a unique piece that can never be replicated by another. Collect enough Mark Janas original arrangements, and you will have a repertoire of music that will last you your lifetime.

I'm so glad I know these amazing, creative people!!!


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Monday, July 19, 2010

New Audio: 2 Songs from The Salon July 18, 2010 (Theme: Cy Coleman)

On Sunday the 18th, the theme of The Salon Open Mic was Cy Coleman. Guest Co-Host was Jana Robbins (Broadway Star and Broadway Producer), and the Special Guest was Mary Foster Conklin. I sang "With Every Breath I Take" from "City of Angels," and then did an impromptu (and off the noggin') "Cheek to Cheek" (Irving Berlin) with Mark Janas brilliantly playing from memory himself.

With Every Breath I Take, "City of Angels" by sierrarein

Cheek to Cheek (Irving Berlin) by sierrarein


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Marquee Five's Julie Reyburn Featured in "Play Me, I'm Yours" Video/Article

Check out my friends Julie Reyburn (member of my group Marquee Five), Bill Zeffiro, Mark Janas and Thor Fields (Julie's hubby) featured in this article and accompanying video by TheDailyBeast.com. It was to celebrate the "Play Me, I'm Yours" art exhibit, in which 60 pianos were put out for public use across New York's 5 boroughs. Check it out!

Play Me, I'm Yours from The Daily Beast Video on Vimeo.


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Saturday, July 3, 2010

"The Power of Love" by Huey Lewis - at The Salon June 30, 2010

The Salon open mic event, hosted by Mark Janas, had a lovely theme last Sunday in honor of Pride Week - "Glitter and Be Gay." I sang "The Power of Love" by Huey Lewis and the News, since the song speaks of the universality of love on all levels. Mark Janas was at the piano, Jonathan Whitton hosted the evening.

Listen to/Download the mp3 here.


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Monday, June 21, 2010

Catch me singing for David & Paul Rigano - "The Rigano Songbook"

Brothers Paul & David Rigano are song writers and have asked me to sing at their showcase "The Rigano Songbook" this coming Sunday, June 27th, at The Metropolitan Room, 9:30pm. Their style is fun, youthful and the song I'm singing is folksy and sweet.

Tickets are a steal at $12 ($7 for MAC members!) with a 2-drink minimum!

More info at the Metropolitan Room site and DavidRigano.com.


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My reactions to the 2010 Tonys

These were my thoughts, literally typed out in the moment on my laptop last night while watching my DVR recording of the telecast, and while sipping some Merlot and folding my laundry. Far be it for me to call myself an expert on any of this, but I'm on the journey towards being up on stage someday myself (or as near as I can), so forgive me if I'm passionate about what I saw last night.

  • This is the Tony's, not a rock concert. As much as I LOVE my BAY AREA BRETHREN, I'd rather see the CAST sing. But I know this is a giant commercial for Broadway, so PLUG, GREEN DAY PLUG!
  • Kristin & Sean - great "F - You" to those who say acting isn't good enough to overcome stereotypes in sexuality, and to asking those in the Republican closet to come out.
  • Scarlett Johansson - I love that you acknowledge the fact that you've been welcomed into the Theater community. Humble, classy.
  • Memphis - you guys are hot. Not sure where the story is...but you sounded good!
  • Eddie - leading with "the arts matter" is so important...thank you!
  • One thing each acceptance speech does to me - reaffirms that this is what I want to DO
  • Angela - thanks for the speech about learning the CRAFT and not wanting an "overnight" success. On my way there...
  • Catherine - you were MUCH better in context, after the scene, IN the moment, singing "Send in the Clowns." I don't envy singing such a song right out of the gate, in front of millions, and then getting flack for your performance. You were so much better in the midst of your character's journey...more simple and straightforward...don't try so hard! And the sound mix didn't help your lower register.
  • Oh man, seeing an excerpt from Fela! makes me want to see it even more - and reminds me of my West African dance classes at UCLA, which were the most freeing, expressive, and non-judgmental classes I've ever taken.
  • Regional theaters are the actual bread and butter of most working theater actors out there - the percentage is staggering how many bills and health insurances are paid via regional theater.
  • Paula Abdul...why!?!?
  • Lea Michelle and Matthew Morrison - great job singing/dancing, BUT I wanted to see someone who is directly connected to this year's Tony's on stage in your place. I know, I know...Glee has audience and viewers, and you brought in people to watch the Tonys that wouldn't have otherwise...
  • Bebe and Nathan - hilarious. Let's find a better vehicle for you.
  • Oh good, they let the cast of American Idol sing!

Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mega Update for May (and June is bustin' out all over, I hear!)

Whew! Okay, it's been a long time since I posted something - but now I can do some updates! The content of this will be slightly all over the place, not based on date but on "theme."

The beginning of May was pretty damned good. What with my group Marquee Five winning a MAC Award on the 4th and all...yay!...we're starting up rehearsals again for our NEXT show (title TBD) with all songs arranged by Adam West Hemming. Since then, I have upped my audition attendance in a very mindful way, completed the school year's job of teaching 6th graders some improv drama games at All Soul's Church, sang for a church gig a few times, and saw Iron Man 2 on the big screen (it wasn't that bad, and since it was our first in-theater movie in MONTHS we were hungry for anything good).

One of the things I always look forward to each week is The Salon, an open mic event each Sunday. I was particularly excited to be singing at The Salon on the 23rd for the theme of "Sondheim." Not only was the night filled with some of my favorite music by one of the best writers alive, but the special guest was Len Cariou, the original Sweeney Todd. I sang "The Miller's Son" from A Little Night Music. Audio of that song can be heard here! In the beginning, you can hear the lovely "correcting" of the pronounciation of my last name by the audience (I get it all the time in auditions and doctors' offices as "Rain" when it really is pronounced "Rah-een" in the Austrian tradition). You can read my blog entry of this event at the official Salon blog here and images from the event here. At the Salon on the 30th, I sang "Mr. Snow" from Carousel and "Whatever Happened to My Part?" from Spamalot - audio can be heard of "Mr. Snow" here.

At the 6/13/10 evening yesterday, which was themed "A Girl and a Guitar" (Female Songwriters), I sang Carol King's "I Feel The Earth Move" (audio here) and "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman" (audio here), as well as Goldrich & Heisler's "Fifteen Pounds (Away From My Love)." I also sang one of my father's favorite songs for him, "If I Loved You" from Carousel, and recorded it here for him as it is his Birthday today! You can hear my recording for him here.

On other aspects of my month: My husband Pete and I shot a few Jay & Kay videos for 12seconds.tv and on Weds the 26th, I saw my friend Hector Coris sing selections from his new live CD "Life Is Wonderful" at Barnes & Noble, Lincoln Square. On Saturday the 29th, I did one of the most fun, childish, geeky things: Pete & I went to a live Lightsaber Battle in Chrystie Park, and pretend sabre-battled with him and a complete pack of strangers. You can see some pictures Pete took here and here. I was ambushed by two 13 year old kids; they cut my legs off at the knee then did a double-handed cross-bladed move to cut my head off :). Memorial Day, I had a one-on-one session with Erin Cronican of The Actors Enterprise, getting some feedback on my career choices and some structural tips on cover letter writing, then went to a Memorial Day party, fully equipped with sangria and these amazing chorizo-date-bacon wrapped appetizers.

On another creative side this month, I got to return to one of the roots of my life that has laid dormant for a while...Directing! My UCLA alum friend, Brian Alan Hobbs, invited me to direct the 20-minute BMI presentation of his 4-song version of "Calvin & Hobbes," which had lyrics by Jeff Bienstock and music by Hobbs. It starred Adam Spiegel (another composer...more on him later) as Calvin, Brittney Lee Hamilton as Susie, Doug Shapiro as Hobbes, and myself as Mom. The presentation, which occurred on the 25th, went wonderfully and it was great seeing the other mini-musical pitches as well. I went back a week later to see Adam Spiegel's own BMI presentation of his version of "Back to the Future," where the ever-versatile Doug Shapiro played Doc Brown. Adam's use of doo-wop and tight harmonies, combined with some gospel R&B (which appropriately reminded me of Huey Lewis and the News), was fantastic - seeing the scene in the soda shop ("you are my density") set to music as the song "Lorraine" made me want to see the show in full...once it's written in full!

On June 2, Pete & I got our geek on again, taking in the words of Neil deGrasse Tyson live at the Rose Center at the American Museum of Natural History, as the finale of the SciCafe series held there. He talked for an hour and a half (you can download an mp3 of the full speech here), answering questions from the audience. His humor, enthusiasm, gravitas and knowledge kept us laughing and entranced by his words. Seriously - if you like the Universe, the Earth, and Humanity's survival listen to this hour and a half of audio (it's a big file, be patient with the download!).

On Sunday the 6th, I took Pete out for an official Birthday Sushi Meal at Planet Sushi (very reasonable, big portions, laid back atmosphere, and then experienced what it feels like to eat an entire Shake Shack Shack Attack Shake...oohhhh the chocolate goodness!

That's about it for now! I have an informal reading of new material by a musical theater composer on Friday (but it's so early in the development to make any announcements), then I'm slated to sing for the Rigano Brothers in their June 27th composer showcase at the Metropolitan Room - more info on that later!



"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Little Muuuusing on Enthuuuusiasm...

One of my late (and great) acting coaches, Al Mancini of The Beverly Hills Playhouse - he passed away in his 70's about 3 years ago - once told my class that the word "Enthusiasm" comes from the latin for "energy from the Gods." A quick jaunt over to Wikipedia provides something closer to "possession" from a divine being, while dictionary.com adds that it might be defined as "any of various forms of extreme religious devotion, usually associated with intense emotionalism and a break with orthodoxy."

I have been self-proclaimed a geek. I have worn sci-fi makeup to movie screenings (oh Darth Maul, you were the best thing in The Phantom Menace!). I enjoyed collecting all 200 episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and love talking passionately (often with the use of my hands) about music, musicals, art and puppetry. I have been to Renaissance festivals in costume and when someone I know and love the work of performs, I want to market the hell out of them on my own time. I say nothing is better than enthusiasm, that feeling from inside - or outside sometimes - that spurs one on to do over the top, seemingly ridiculous, often foolhardy things. What I liked about the above dictionary.com reference is that enthusiasm often creates a break with orthodoxy.

We as artists need to have enthusiasm, that feeling that you *have* to do something unique, passionate, often financially risky (as in the pursuit of being an artist in the first place), and do this in the face of the often discouraging orthodoxy of one's family, school, church, community or friends. The enthusiasm can start with a general "I want to do this field of artistry" and grow (or narrow) towards a specific "I want to do this work in this city with these people and discover this about myself" statement.

And we have to feed this enthusiasm despite the things other people say to us. I'm not saying we shouldn't allow our enthusiasm to get in the way of logic, but we shouldn't allow the things people tell us to create fear. Fear gets in the way of enthusiasm, usually because the fear we create is baseless or based on falsehoods. We fear talking to our agents, we fear bringing a new idea to a Producer, we don't put our inner enthusiasm out for all to see because we fear that it will be rejected, ridiculed, and harmed. But real enthusiasm is from the Gods, remember? Enthusiasm comes from a never-ending fount of energy, impervious to any real damage. I have a friend who just got her play picked up and produced out of the blue, after years and years of development hell. But she was still enthusiastic about the project, and I'm sure the producers felt that!

If you're enthusiastic about a project, a role, an idea - talk to other people. Your enthusiasm is probably similar to another person's enthusiasm. I read blogs on a daily basis of enthusiastic people, read the Facebook feeds of friends who I know are pro-active and enthusiastic, and am now gluing images of my inspirations on a large piece of paper on my wall to remind me where my enthusiasm is meant to be focused. Remember, enthusiasm is like a virus - it spreads.


Pic of my then-boyfriend Pete, at the 1st 3am screening of The Phantom Menace.
Hell yeah, I married him! I think that's my hand upper right.


Sierra Rein
"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Monday, May 10, 2010

Some "How-To Guides" from Backstage.com

Some very simple "From the ground up" articles on Backstage.com about acting, producing, and the Industry.

The How-to Guide: Pre-Audition Tips <-- Back Stage's guide to everything you need to know before you head into an audition.

How to Guide: Do It Yourself <-- Richard Skipper & Sydney Myer are quoted in this one for producing a Cabaret or Comedy act!

How to Guide: The Audition <-- A lot of "Don't's", but it's basically "be a nice person" at the audition.

How to Guide: Social Networking, Marketing & Representation <-- Important info on how to present yourself to the industry via mail, and how to best keep your presence and personality safe on the Internet.


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Sunday, May 9, 2010

New Video: Marquee Five at The Salon "The Travel and Weather Together" Medley, April 25, 2010


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

I threw this together after finding the image on the web. The mother in this painting looks an awful lot like my mom :D


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

New Video: Sierra Rein sings "Merry January" by Paul Farinella

Just in time for the Summer, a song about the ending of December!

Sierra Rein sings "Merry January" by Paul Farinella.

Performed at Big Night Out Holiday Extravaganza, hosted by Jennifer Wren & Bill Zeffiro.
December 17, 2009 at Don't Tell Mama, New York.



Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day Weekend - RIP Brenda Rein May 2, 2010

Today is the first truly bittersweet Mother's Day in my life. I learned a week ago last Sunday that my step-mother, Brenda Rein, passed away from esophageal cancer (after battling with it for years). Yesterday, I would have sent her a Mother's Day card. Today, my Dad, sister, and Brenda's family/friends in Oakland, CA are having the burial. I'm not there to take part, but I sit here in my New York apartment and think of her.

She was a dynamo of a lady - intelligent, beautiful, classy, stylish, well-read and well-traveled. Before my dad, she was married to an ambassador to Turkey, she spoke middle-eastern languages and I always remembered how she would stick her well-manicured, blood-red nails out the window to practically force cars to let her into their lane on the freeway. She matched her outfit impeccably with scarves, earrings, rings and brooches and knew how to dress a dining room table with ever color under the sun. She decorated the house with paintings, masks, decorations, flowers, pottery, books and sculpture. She was an incredible cook and even when she couldn't eat solid food in these past few months she would cook huge pots of jambalaya and deliver it to others. She threw wonderful parties and knew how to feed people and be a gracious hostess. She was incredibly supportive of my career and inspired my husband, Pete, to write his 6-part fiction novel series just by handing him a book on alternative Templar Knight history. Pete and I were inspired to be married outside Edinburgh because of that book. She raised two extremely intelligent and successful children, Vincent and Pamela (I remember visiting Vincent in London, where we drank from a bottle of wine that was MY age at that time, and driving through the fields of mustard flowers in his convertible).

On the other side of the coin, Brenda also battled additions to cigarettes and liquor, two vices which ultimately became her physical and emotional downfall. It became tough for the family to see this, and it's a tragedy that she made the choices she did. She leaves behind a lot of wake in the water, both positive and negative, but to be sure she also leaves behind hundreds of friends, and a family who loved her despite some of the chaos.

Her obituary is here. Like it says, please send donations to the American Cancer Society. I don't quite understand how so much money is wasted on wars -- while cancer is practically the largest killer in the Western world, yet so underfunded in comparison. Pete wrote a great blog entry on this - his own side of the family is dealing with it as best they can.

Rest in Peace, Brenda. I love you.

Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Stellar review of Marquee Five's show "We Can Make It" by Andrew Martin, nightlifeexchange.com

Read this review by Andrew Martin about Marquee Five's debut and MAC Award-winning show...it's breathtaking: link here

Close-harmony vocal group Marquee Five, who happen to be a 2010 MAC Award nominee, has a unique angle in their approach. It's not just their superb blend in song, and it's not just their perfect physical counterpart to one another; rather, it's that they were borne from a production of And The World Goes 'Round, the famed revue by Kander and Ebb which started Off-Broadway and became a shot heard 'round the world, as it were. As, indeed, so might Marquee Five, if they continue on the same path as occupied thus far.

Comprised of Mick Bleyer, Vanessa Parvin, Sierra Rein and multi-award-winning chanteuse Julie Reyburn as well as Adam West Hemming (who also serves as Musical Director while the show is played solely on glorious piano by the incomparable Mark Janas), the quintet opted to present their most recent act at Don't Tell Mama as a tribute to Kander & Ebb. Which, some might contend, would simply be an effort not to stretch their collective creative muscles and simply perform a modified version of the aforementioned revue. This, however, is not the case; it's an utter departure from any compilation of the duo and instead emerges as an extremely purposeful show all its own.

The five segue from "And All That Jazz" into "Coffee In A Cardboard Cup" from 70 Girls 70, before Bleyer and Hemming dazzle the room on a couplet of "I Don't Remember You" and "Sometimes A Day Goes By." From There, Parvin, Rein and Reyburn have a beautiful moment on "There Goes the Ballgame," before they hit it out of the park on a topnotch rendering of "Class." And their solos are equally sensational; Hemming does a masterful job with "We Can Make It," Rein is simply scrumptious on "Maybe this Time," and "Isn't this Better?" really couldn't be better as delivered by Parvin. Likewise, Bleyer's rendition of "Sara Lee" backed by all three ladies, and Reyburn's truly standout moment with "Sing Happy." They end with three group numbers, namely "A Quiet Thing," "Cabaret" and "We Can Make It," done as a reprise from Hemming's earlier solo version near the top of the hour. It should equally be noted that Peter Napolitano has offered a directorial hand here that is not merely fantastic, but shows deep care for both the performers and the material they perform, and that Randy Lester has singlehandedly shown herself to be a technical director par excellence with her handling of the lighting and sound design.

At this writing, it's unclear as to whether Marquee Five will return to cabaret with this particular show or an entirely new outing. Whatever the case, they should not be missed the next time around, by any means.

***On Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 Marquee Five received the 2010 MAC Award for Vocal Duo/Group


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Photos from the MAC Awards!

The Marquee of BB King's:
Outside BB King's:
This picture:
Resulted in this picture:
The official Award announcement card:
The stage (that's Adam Feldman from TimeOut)With Mary Lahti and Adam West HemmingAccepting the award:Marquee Five, looking sharp!
Mick Bleyer enjoys an official/special MAC Martini

Playbill.com's image of us in the winner's area:
(Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN.COM)

Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Crystal Skillman's play "The Vigil or the Guided Cradle."

Last night I saw the AEA Showcase presentation of "The Vigil or The Guided Cradle," performed and presented by The Brick Theater, Inc. and Impetuous Theater Group. It was written by Crystal Skillman and directed by John Hurley. I was excited to see my first Skillman play (as I had attended the York Theater's staged reading of her musical "That's Andy" last year). Crystal has both the depth and the energy to write both musical theater and a play about torture with equal zest. Full disclosure: she's my friend via the friendship between our husbands.

The play is a one-act, no intermission and ending in approximately 1 1/2 hours. But, as I told her after, I could have watched another act of the same mix of torture-and-time/dream-travel themes. The two leads, Susan Louise O'Connor and Christian Rummel, deftly "time-travel" in their own way between the Prague of the 15th Century and the Prague of the 21st Century. I really liked the "double-casting" of sorts between characters and how the director Hurley quickly switched between eras through the use of light, costume changes, and simple set design. I particularly liked O'Connor and Rummel, as they had a great realism to their acting choices. The other actors fulfilled their roles fine, but those two leads in particular seemed to really live onstage as their characters. Skillman and the production team handled the physical realism of torture well (as well as some deftly performed stage-blood violence). There was a lot of nervous-chuckling in the audience throughout, as Skillman made sure to invest some time in comedic relief (albeit from the most "bloodthirsty" of the torturers). It's not a perfect play, but it's such an interesting concept, one that I know can be delved into even further (I believe) for a two-act, full-length version. Skillman seemed happy that it was as short as it was, but I guess I'm just the audience member who's truly in it for the long haul and enjoys a full meal of theater on a weeknight.

This review of the play on Backstage.com is pretty spot on, in my opinion.

You can read an interview of Crystal Skillman about "The Vigil" here and another about "That's Andy" here.


Sierra Rein

"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Wow, didn't know I'd be typing this -

My vocal group, Marquee Five -- after it's freshman/debut show in 2009 at The Metropolitan Room and Don't Tell Mama -- has WON THE 2010 MAC AWARD FOR VOCAL DUO/GROUP!!!! We had such wonderful well-established, heavy-hitters Uptown Express and The Accidentals as fellow nominees - we were so excited just to be in the mix!

Coverage and press of the evening can be found on BroadwayWorld.com, Playbill.com, NiteLifeExchange.com and CabaretHotlineOnline.com. You can also visit the official MAC website to read up on all the winners and hopefully soon see pictures from the event (once they update the images)!

Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN.COM
You can see us pose for Playbill.com on their gallery here.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Some inspiration for the weekend from other blogs...

Sierra here, taking a much-needed break and writing about some inspiring words from others I recently came across in my Internet journeys...

I just discovered Jon Rubenstein's blog "Adventures in Compassion" - read this entry here about casting director Mark Bennett's thoughts about compassion in the creative business. Michael Kostroff (actor, audition seminar teacher) sent it to me via AuditionPsych101@aol.com. Excerpt here:

"We all come into this world innocent, full of hope. As long as babies' basic needs are met, they are happy. That's why young children are such good actors - they have come not to impress or to achieve, but to play. Then that innocence gets drilled out of us and we spend years trying to get it back; as Sainte-Beuve said, "There exists in most men a poet who died young, whom the man survived." But we still all have the desire to tap into our innate creativity, to experience that moment of transcendence in which we are most creative, and most generous. William Blake called this mysterious power the Imagination, and he said it was God."

Whether or not we believe in God, there is that energy and momentum that comes out of creativity; even at the most tired, I always have the energy to sing, to perform. Anyway, read the rest of the blog entry, it's really understanding and thoughtful about how we as performers and creative entities need to treat each other with compassion rather than cutthroat jealousy.

A second wonderful blog entry I recently read was from that of Michael Roderick's wonderful Producing blog One Producer In the City - I read his blog entries in my inbox practically every day. I may not be a Producer in title, but as an actor who should self-produce and understand the producing world's ups and downs, I feel this is an important blog to read (I also keep up with Ken Davenport's The Producer's Perspective in my inbox and Google Reader as well).

In this entry at One Producer in the City, Roderick talks about the ways and means to navigate between two friends who don't see eye to eye, and compares it to the issues a Producer may have to face when dealing with all the creative people on his team. I was struck at how each action is good for ANY relationship, whether one feels stuck in the middle of a conflict or not. Excerpt here:

"4. Make suggestions with them in mind- Once someone has communicated a frustration, think through what might be a potential solution and present it as something that will help them. For example '________ I completely understand where you are coming from and it seems that perhaps the easiest thing to do is to try it this way. If ___________ is still upset, we can revisit it and find out why' "

Read these blog entries, check out the other entries of the above blogs, and look forward to treating everyone with compassion, respect and open minds.


Sierra Rein "I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Some Great Upcoming Performances by Friends!

This text completely stolen from the CabaretHotlineOnline.com newsletter - become a member & sign up for weekly and special emails filled with Cabaret news!

Broadway Voices, the small ensemble of the New York City Gay Men's Chorus, presents their new show, celebrating the Tony-Award winning composer of In Trousers, Falsettos, Elegies: A Song Cycle, A New Brain and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at THE WEST BANK CAFE/LAURIE BEECHMAN THEATER (407 West 42nd Street, NYC - 212-695-6909 - http://www.westbankcafe.com ) on Sunday, May 2nd at 1:00 & 4:00 pm and Monday, May 3rd at 9:30 pm. This season, Broadway Voices features the talents of Dan Baillie, Ben Coleman,
Michael Connolly, Tim Howard, Sonelius Kendrick Smith, Michael Morisi, Jim Vivyan, Seth Watsky, TJ Witham and Phil Zipkin, under the artistic and musical direction of Adam West Hemming. In What More Can I Say?, Broadway Voices present their own gay twist on the William Finn Songbook. All proceeds will benefit the New York City Gay Men's Chorus, a two-hundred voiced chorus with over thirty years of history of innovative programming, and service to the LGBT community. There is a $20 cover plus a 2-drink minimum.

They came to sing at The Salon on April 25th, and blew me away...and see who musically directed them? Yup, it's Marquee Five's own Adam West Hemming (tenor, musical director, arranger!).

MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets) has announced the nominees for the The 24th Annual MAC Awards which will be held Tuesday, May 4th at 7:30 PM at BB KING'S BLUES CLUB (237 West 42nd Street, NYC - 212-997-4144 - www.bbkingsblues.com ). Tony nominee Sharon McNight (Starmites) will host the annual awards ceremony, which will also feature the presentations of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Tony Award winner Leslie Uggams (Hallelujah, Baby!) and Board of Directors Awards to Peter Leavy (the creator of Cabaret Scenes magazine) and Playbill.com. Board of Directors Awards are given to "people, organizations or publications that have shown extraordinary support to the cabaret community." The event will be directed by Lennie Watts, with musical direction by Tracy Stark. Julie Miller produces. Tickets may be ordered online at www.brownpapertickets.com .

Marquee Five is a nominee for best Vocal Duo/Group, and will be there to cheer all the nominees and winners on. Come join if you can!

Maureen Taylor brings back her acclaimed new show TAYLOR MADE: BOB MERRILL to THE METROPOLITAN ROOM (34 West 22nd Street, NYC - 212-206-0440 - www.metropolitanroom.com) for one final performance in 2010: On Saturday, May 15th at 5:00 pm. TAYLOR MADE celebrates the "extraordinary" Bob Merrill who wrote songs from "How Much Is That Doggie In the Window" to "People". Taylor presents songs from musicals such as BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S, THE PRINCE OF GRAND STREET, HANNAH 1939, PRETTYBELLE, NEW GIRL IN TOWN, TAKE ME ALONG, SUGAR,THE RED SHOES, HENRY, SWEET HENRY and FUNNY GIRL. Specialty material for films, television shows and for singers including: Doris Day, Sarah Vaughan, Eartha Kitt and Patti Page is also highlighted. Bob Merrill's vast amount of work spans the simple to the sublime, with numerous chart hits, novelty songs, a Tony Award, and Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations. The show is directed by MAC Award winner Peter Napolitano, with musical direction by Matt Castle, and accompanied by Joe Brent on guitar, mandolin and violin. There is a $10 cover plus a 2-drink


Sierra Rein
"I don't sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing" - William James