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Steve Ross

Based in: USA
Show Code: steve-ross
Artist: mrligeti (See All Shows)
Price Range: From $6500 to $12000

"WHEN STEVE SINGS, NEW YORK IS NEW YORK AGAIN"
- MICHAEL FEINGOLD, THE VILLAGE VOICE

"ASTAIRE STYLE WITH WRY ASIDE STRIKING COMIC GOLD"
- STEPHEN HOLDEN, THE NEW YORK TIMES

"AN ASTAIRE-WAY TO PARADISE!  YOUR CABARET SEASON IS
INCOMPLETE WITHOUT THIS VISIT WITH STEVE ROSS."
- PETER HAAS, CABARET SCENES

"FRED ASTAIRE MUST BE DANCING ON HEAVEN'S CEILING...
STEVE ROSS IS AN AMERICAN CA...

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Additional Information

"WHEN STEVE SINGS, NEW YORK IS NEW YORK AGAIN"
- MICHAEL FEINGOLD, THE VILLAGE VOICE

"ASTAIRE STYLE WITH WRY ASIDE STRIKING COMIC GOLD"
- STEPHEN HOLDEN, THE NEW YORK TIMES

"AN ASTAIRE-WAY TO PARADISE!  YOUR CABARET SEASON IS
INCOMPLETE WITHOUT THIS VISIT WITH STEVE ROSS."
- PETER HAAS, CABARET SCENES

"FRED ASTAIRE MUST BE DANCING ON HEAVEN'S CEILING...
STEVE ROSS IS AN AMERICAN CABARET TREASURE"
-   BARBARA AND SCOTT SIEGEL, THEATERMANIA.COM

"...Steve Ross is such a master at putting a debonair spin on Cole Porter and Noel Coward's musical high jinks that his persona is that of a sophisticated party entertainer who holds off the blues with a froth of wit. But there is an introspective side to Mr. Ross that has increasingly peeked out in his recent cabaret performances...In his wonderful new show, 'Love and Laughter, Part I'...the humor is balanced by songs that have the feel of wistful sighs." Stephen Holden, New York Times

"...he shares (Noel) Coward's refinement and air of nostalgia. And this survey of Coward's songs, embracing nearly four decades of work, skillfully touches every base, from stiff-upper-lip patriotism ("London Pride") to sentimental sing-alongs ("I'll Follow My Secret Heart"), to pricelessly witty show business numbers ("Mrs. Worthington"). Amusing biographical anecdotes flesh out an affectionate musical portrait." Stephen Holden, New York Times

"As long as Steve Ross performs (Cole Porter and Noel Coward) songs, the reputations of these great songwriting wits can only continue to soar... Mr. Ross is a master of the light touch. His songs are partly spoken, partly sung, in a buoyant conversational voice with an attitude of dry, slightly supercilious amusement. The pattery melodies ride on breezy piano figures that lend the material a lilting merry-go-round energy." Stephen Holden, New York Times

"Think of Cary Grant and Irene Dunne reincarnated as a vocal duo, and you'll have some notion of the flavor of "LAmour, the Merrier!," a delightful two-person revue in which Steve Ross and Karen Murphy portray a sophisticated couple loving and bickering their way through life." Stephen Holden, New York Times

"(Steve Ross's) engaging new show, 'Hooray for Hollywood,' which culminates in a suite of Cole Porter gems, is a poised and sophisticated tour of a bygone show-business society ruled by the bons mots of Porter, Noel Coward and Loenz Hart. It's a refreshing world to visit." Stephen Holden, New York Times

"Steve Ross sings in the New York cabaret style, playing the piano brilliantly and articulating every rhyme and double-entendre..." Patrick O'Connor, The Daily Telegraph

"It being impossible to resurrect Fred Astaire in white tie and tails and have him alight in the Rainbow and Stars cabaret, the singer and pianist, Steve Ross, a devoted Astaire acolyte and the suavest of all male cabaret performers, makes a delightful stand-in. His new act, 'I Won't Dance'...is a deft, fast-paced nonterpsichorean salute to the image, voice and spirit ofAstaire." Stephen Holden, The New York Times

"Steve Ross's, 'Puttin' On the Ritz' and 'They All Laughed' were dispatched with brio, while on 'They Can't Take That Away From Me,' the slowing of the tempo and casual, bluesy ambiance were proof that Ross's range extends well beyond that of a Park Avenue dandy." Clive Davis, The Times. London

"The very personification of the spirit of Cole Porter." The New Yorker.

"Steve Ross, the veteran cabaret singer and pianist whose show, 'I Won't Dance,' holds forth at the Ordway's McKnight Theatre through November, has Astaire's unfailing sense of rhythm and something of his compact but agile tone along with a wide range. With his hair slicked back, revealing his small, delicate features, he even looks like Astaire." Michael Anthony, Star Tribune, the Twin Cities

"...When he performed the evening's undisputed highlights, 'I Concentrate on You,' and 'In The Still of the Night,' he was in top form, singing with dramatic warmth and feeling...Ross has the perfect personality for cabaret presentation, not to mention the proper style and phrasing for these songs." Erin Hart, The Pioneer Press, St. Paul

"Steve Ross has enticed me with his renderings of 'King' Cole. One of his greatest performances is of the title song, 'Can Can.' I so flipped over his perfect rendition that I tried to sing the ditty in my Broadway debut in 1988. I sang it okay, but couldn't begin to approach Steve's organic performance." Michael Feinstein, performer and author, Nice Work If You Can Get It, My Life in Rhythm and Rhyme.

"The best of cabaret, namely Steve Ross." Michael Buckley, TheaterWeek

"With his debonair air, Ross is priceless with patter songs, such as 'Why Do The Wrong People Travel?'" Wayman Wong, The Daily News

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Personal Bio


 


"It was the music I heard growing up."


There is an old George M. Cohan song called, "Forty-Five Minutes From Broadway". Cohan was referring to New Rochelle, which is where Steve Ross was born, one of five children. He has an older and a younger brother and two sisters, and the family has now expanded to include nieces and nephews. "They're a good lot," says Steve.


Early on, the family moved to Washington, D.C., and here Steve spent most of his growing years. He became enraptured with the music his mother played on the piano, a little boy lying under the piano to better absorb the songs. Of course, he studied the piano, and after attending Georgetown University and serving in the Army, he became what he calls, "a background piano player". He played the music he'd grown up with, Cole Porter, Noel Coward, Gershwin, "all those standards that were collapsing around me." Then, in the early '70's, he came to New York City.
   


"I'd never sung and talked to people right in front of me."


Many jobs hinged on Steve singing as well as playing. He told the club owners that he couldn't really sing; they insisted. So Steve began with amusing little songs and found he could put them over well. He decided to train his voice further, and so his style was developed, and his sets were focusing. Steve believes that this focus is an essence of cabaret. The audience must feel the connection.
   


"That's my key -- there's a given moment in a great cabaret performance, when the listener can say, 'That's me, that love story is mine'." That's when you, as the performer, have made your connection with the listener, and then the listener can make his connection."


A boost to Steve Ross's career came in the '70's, when he began his run at Ted Hook's immensely popular Backstage, a piano bar and restaurant in the Broadway theater district. Steve attracted a following, and the piano bar received a steady clientele who came to hear his constantly growing repertoire of American popular songs. Steve's piano musicianship was honed by now, and performers like Liza Minnelli and Ginger Rogers have been known to get up and sing along with Steve's piano. As for his own singing, he developed the ability to communicate the most challenging Cole Porter tongue-twister lyrics, building the stories and the tension. He was just fun to watch and listen to. He still is.


His major career thrust came when Steve became the first cabaret performer after 40 years in the newly opened Algonquin Hotel's Oak Room. This put him in the vanguard of the cabaret revival in New York, and eventually other cities around the country. He performed regularly at the Oak Room for almost four years, and still returns with sell-out performances.


In addition, his career began expanding internationally. A self-proclaimed Anglophile, Steve was happy to begin dinner cabaret at the Ritz in London. He enjoys performing regularly at London's popular Pizza On The Park. He has played at the Spoleto Festival, the Hong Kong Arts Festival, and the Perth Festival in Australia. He has performed in Brazil, around the United States, including on-and-off Broadway.


In 1989, the BBC asked Steve to host a live cabaret series. He was also the host of a popular radio series for National Public Radio, New York Cabaret Nights, with live broadcasts from cabaret rooms in New York City and featuring noted cabaret guests. Those with tapes of these radio shows treasure them.


Says Steve about this venue in which he is so involved--


"So much of cabaret is about love. It's the emotion we're always trying to be reminded of most of all."
 


-Elizabeth Ahlfors


 photo of Steve Ross riding his bike -- updown, downtown, all around the town: courtesy of Steve Ross


THE LAST TIME I SAW PARIS—SONGS OF LOVE AND WAR
Four Nations Ensemble
Germantown, NY


You don’t really have to go to war to know that it’s hell. It’s as close as your phone and there’s no glory in it. Except for the music. Across the centuries and the genres, the battle hymns, the marches, the songs of yearning, mourning, waiting, hoping, are mostly glorious.

Saturday, November 12 was the day after Veterans Day and four days after Election Day. It was a pretty glorious autumn afternoon at Midwood, Joan Davidson’s house on the Hudson. Being there was a respite for the walking wounded, the shell shocked veterans of the War of 2016. For a little more than an hour, as the sun sank slowly into the river and songs from all the wars filled the room, everything was beautiful.


Andrew Appel’s Four Nations Ensemble is an early music group, but last Saturday was an eclectic departure, spanning the wars and the years from 1682 to 1945. The musicians of Four Nations and its guest artists are always superb, but this particular cast of voices and instruments was even more so.


As Appel noted in his introduction, we stopped singing about war itself sometime in md-19th century, but before then, to quote “Vo Far Guerra” (Handel 1711), lyricists wrote such lines as “I want to be victorious over the outstretched necks that offend me”. Nice.


In addition to Appel’s nimble harpsichord, Loretta O’Sullivan’s mellow cello, and Tatiana Chulochnikova’s dazzling violin (not to mention her dazzling shoes), there was a guest artist, the much loved and acclaimed pianist-singer, Steve Ross, and a new member of Four Nations, soprano Pascale Beaudin, who is indeed from another country, Canada. She nailed everything from Purcell to Coward in a voice so rich and creamy it sounds fattening.


Inexplicably, I had never before heard Ross, who played the Oak Room at the Algonquin until it was reduced beyond recognition, though I co-authored an online petition to save it.


Davidson’s living room has the same unflashy pre-war elegance as the Oak Room before its demise, and Ross, as has oft been said, is the perfect amanuensis for Astaire. But what sent me to the place I always long to go when I hear music, was his voice, richer, deeper and more touching than Astaire’s.


A fine, straight ahead rendition of Irving Berlin’s comic first world war lament, “Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning” notwithstanding, Ross is best on such killers as Jerome Kern’s love letter to “a lady known as Paris” and Ivor Novello’s “Keep the Home Fires Burning”. By the time Ross sang Harold Arlen’s “My Shining Hour”, a song that has haunted me forever, but had never evoked war for me before, the sun had set, but the hour was still shining.


Enid Futterman, imby, November 20, 2016




Steve Ross in Oz 2016AN EVENING WITH STEVE ROSS
Sydney, Australia

If a carnation could sing it might sound something like Steve Ross: light, mellifluous and guileless. His was never a big voice, but nor has the New York cabaret singer-pianist lost much power or range now he is of a certain age. Suave, agile and accurate, it is the perfect instrument to flutter across the multisyllabic wit of Cole Porter, Noel Coward, Eddie Cantor and the rest.


A Steve Ross show winds back the clock and one's cares simultaneously. The bottle-green velvet dinner jacket he sported was actually tailored for Coward, and you could swear that many of the classic songs were tailored for Ross, himself. Where so many contemporary singers, whether of jazz or cabaret, delve into this repertoire to show off themselves, Ross does it show off the genius of the writing. He slides beneath the skin of each piece and spins us back down the years to a world of sharp wordplay and aesthetics dominated by elegance. Even unrequited love could be made elegant in that between-the-wars era central to this repertoire.


In singing sad or tender songs Ross, rather than becoming an actor manipulating the listener's emotions, lets the lyric do the work, while he ever so subtly teases the phrasing and the weighting of words. Two more recent compositions, La Fanette (Brel) and 99 Miles from LA (Hammond/David), stood out in this regard, the latter attracting some of his most affecting piano accompaniment.


He deftly structured the placement of and balance between love songs and amusing ones, delivering both with equal charm – a quality that for Ross is not varnish but the very furniture of his oeuvre. One of his funniest conceits was to sing My Favourite Things as if it had been written for The Threepenny Opera: slow, emphatic and wis ze hint of menace.


Tiny flaws have crept into his once pristine keyboard articulation, and his instrumentals could flirt with being twee or overwrought: properties that would never dare invade his singing.


John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald, July 8, 2016




I WON'T DANCE - STEVE ROSS SINGS AND PLAYS FRED ASTAIRE AND COLE PORTER with Rebecca Moore
Downstairs at the Maj, His Majesty's Theatre
Perth, Australia

New York pianist and singer Steve Ross suggests that if we could sum up Western civilisation in four words they would be — Cole Porter, Fred Astaire.


Context is everything, of course, and in the world of cabaret and music theatre inhabited by Ross with such sophistication and style there are probably no more powerful words. But you could also just as well add George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern and a few others who have contributed to the Great American Songbook and its calming influence on the aforementioned civilisation.


To enter Steve Ross’ world is to swing through the piano bars and cabaret rooms of swanky hotels and nightclubs in New York, Paris and London. These places are the spiritual home of this veteran of the cabaret scene, where homage is paid to the great composers and performers of popular song.


We might be in a basement venue in downtown Perth but Ross dons his dinner jacket and bow tie and, seated at the grand piano, allows us to experience the creativity, wit, sophistication, elegance and elan of cabaret from a nearly vanished era.


His greatest homage is to Fred Astaire, who had the good fortune to sing many of the tunes that are now part of popular music history. He tells us a little about Astaire’s dancing career debut as a five–year-old with his sister Adele, but makes it clear that he – Ross, that is – is a singer and pianist and not a dancer. Besides, there is no room on the stage for dancing, anyway.


From the opening number Top Hat, White Tie and Tails, from the 1948 film Easter Parade, Ross takes us on a journey down memory lane.


Maybe it might seem a dead-end street for those who cannot remember those times, or are simply too young to turn up. Unsurprisingly, this is a show for old-school devotees of American music.


Once dubbed the Crown Prince of Cabaret by the New York Times, Ross has more than 40 years’ experience — probably make that 50 years, he’s older than he looks — as a pianist and singer. (He’s old enough to have been Ethel Merman’s accompanist and that must have been a long time ago.)


His voice might just show its age slightly but Ross knows how to pace himself, and the diction and the pitch of his mellow vocal chords are perfectly placed, whether on such famous patter songs as Let’s Do It and the Oyster Song or full- bodied romantic ballads such as The Way You Look Tonight and Dancing in the Dark (“the world’s most existential song”).


His occasional partner was the sweet-voiced Rebecca Moore, a young woman with an unpretentious stage presence who could have been given more numbers to sing by herself.


Ron Banks, The West Australian, July 1, 2016




I WON'T DANCE - STEVE ROSS SINGS AND PLAYS FRED ASTAIRE AND COLE PORTER with Rebecca Moore
Downstairs at the Maj, His Majesty's Theatre
Perth, Australia

Sophisticated F Scott Fitzgerald types draped around a piano-playing raconteur – this is the image evoked after an evening such as I Won’t Dance. New York based cabaret pianist Steve Ross is ideally suited to the hits of 1920s and 30s in his ‘non-dancing tribute to Fred Astaire and Cole Porter' with a grand piano, suave patter and the odd bit of support from singer Rebecca Moore. Back in Perth after 30 years – the New York Times dubbed ‘Crown Prince of Cabaret’ grows on you until you are applauding wildly.


His voice is deceptively low key but suited to this style of dapper – as we launch straight into Putting on the Ritz. He moves through the Cole Porter tongue twisters with ease and assurance; not surprising since he has been doing this since the late 1970s. Performing across six continents at places such as The Ritz in London, the Crillon in Paris and Imperial Hotel Tokyo. By his own description he started out as a ‘background piano player’ playing all the music he’d grown up with from listening to his mother play Gershwin, Coward and Porter; and you can still see this in his somewhat restrained style.


The thing about these hits is that they really tell a story and in Ross’s clear style of singing you can hear just about everything. Not necessarily a given with today’s performers. It was a revelation to hear so many of these older style songs that rarely get an outing; and even though there were several numbers that the 150 strong audience gleefully sang along with, there were many more surprising beauties. Ross ran through A Fine Romance, Fascinating Rhythm, Embraceable You – a medley from Swing Time the movie written for Fred Astaire with a backdrop of audience members saying, ‘oh I love that one!’ Dancing in the Dark by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz was an unknown discovery. First recorded by Bing Crosby in 1931 this song gorgeously suited Ross’s range and its sad beauty meant it stayed at the top of the pops for 6 weeks.


Cole Porter’s Night and Day was another that drew gasps of appreciation from the audience where Ross elegantly sung the upper range of, as he quipped; ‘best song about sexual obsession’. We heard the great fun Can-Can which was written when Porter’s wife was very ill and dying but the description of someone who worked with Porter was ‘he would think up the rhythm, then he would write the words to fit the rhythm and then he’d write the music to fit the words’, and you can hear that clever construction in the lyrics. ‘I get a kick out of you’ with its famous lines: “I get no kick from Champagne, mere alcohol doesn’t thrill me at all”…was another that had the audience singing along. The light breezy piano playing continued with Anything Goes.


The off Broadway hit show, more properly entitled I Won’t Dance: The Songs of Fred Astaire and Cole Porter are so beautifully interwoven with enchanting stories of the period you can easily see where Ross’s second career as public radio broadcaster and educator lies; honing his passion of American popular music of the era. Years of residency at the celebrated Oak Room at Hotel Algonquin put him in the vanguard of the cabaret revival.


Steve Ross’s bespoke green velvet smoking jacket is his most ostentatious prop - which we later hear is bequeathed from the Noel Coward Society in the UK to him. Ross was gracious enough to come back for an encore – 'Let’s do it, let’s fall in love’ - a resounding endorsement for a good fun night gently being guided into new areas of musical discovery by a seasoned cabaret performer who in 2015 received the Manhattan Association of Cabarets Lifetime Achievement Award.


Mariyon Slany, Performing ArtsHub, July 4, 2016




TO WIT: FUNNY SONGS THROUGHOUT THE AGES
Melbourne Cabaret Festival
Australia

Escape from the dark nights of winter as you return to another age where the clink of champagne glasses and twinkle of the ivories was all that accompanied easy nights of witty repartee and elegant entertainment. Yes, it’s New Yorker Steve Ross, aka the Crown Prince of Cabaret, touring his delicate and imitable concoction of musical ditties in ‘To Wit: Funny Songs Throughout The Ages‘ at the Melbourne Cabaret Festival.


Ross performs songs and stories from the great Transatlantic age of music in Europe and America. Be regaled by words of wisdom and irony from the likes of Noel Coward, Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter and other undiscovered experts. Revel in the torrid tales of failed love and ambitious social types, through songs such as ‘Mrs Worthington’, ‘Taking A Bath in the Blues’, and ‘Home Sweet Heaven’.


From the glint of glossy black on his grand piano’s top to the patina of his patented leather shoes, this tuxedoed theatrical raconteur par excellence has got it all nailed. There are tales of unrequited love, pushy stage mothers, exes contacting you from the afterlife, and love in the animal kingdom. His voice is deep and lustrous, one that only years spent entertaining crowds could produce. His knowledge of music and piano performance skill is superlative.


Ross’ demeanour is classy and affable. His lovely old-fashioned banter between songs is easy and intimate. He tells stories which are just as entertaining as the song narratives, and surprises with his veracity and sources. The songs relate tales from amorous suitors who lament the cost of feeding the modern woman they court; love songs in Latin from the 12th Century; the mating life of dolphins; oysters and other aphrodisiacs; and the sheer brilliance of the witty putdown told between the keys in both minor and major chords.


Anglophiles the world over exclaim that at last something ‘civilised’ is showing for their pleasure, and we have it in our little town as part of this winter’s wondrous Cabaret Festival. Get your finest shoes out, dust off your hat, and sport your cravat neck-tie/ beaded dress as you step back into the early 20th century to hear of the follies of modern man. Little has changed.


You will laugh gleefully as you enjoy the wonderful tales of human foibles these magic musicians created for our eternal listening pleasure as told by an aficionado as exemplar of the era.


Sarah W., The Plus Ones, June 25, 2016



TO WIT: FUNNY SONGS THROUGHOUT THE AGES
Melbourne Cabaret Festival
Australia

The Melbourne Cabaret Festival is one of Victoria’s mid – year entertainment highlights.

Since beginning six years ago in 2010, the popular event has featured a diverse array of rising talent and popular artists such as Joey Arias, Amanda Harrison, Matthew Mitcham and Elise McCann. For its seventh jam – packed season, the 2016 edition showcased almost forty local and international acts.


In an impressive career, America’s Steve Ross has played high – profile Manhattan venues including 54 Below, The Algonquin Hotel, Birdland, Cafe Carlyle and The Rainbow Room.


Dubbed the ‘Crown Prince of Cabaret’ by The New York Times, his one – man act covers songs from musical icons like Noel Coward, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin and Cole Porter. In addition to performing as a sought – after cabaret artist and teacher, Ross has also starred on Broadway in ‘Present Laughter’ and in the hit movie, ‘Big’. Last year, he was given a Lifetime Achievement Honour for his work at the prestigious Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs (MAC) Awards. (Previous recipients have included Betty Buckley, Rosemary Clooney, Liza Minnelli, Barry Manilow, and Stephen Schwartz.)


‘To Wit – Funny Songs Throughout the Ages’ is a sophisticated and hilarious master class in content, style and execution.


For sixty joyous minutes, Ross gave the enchanted audience at Prahran’s Chapel off Chapel a musical education to remember.


Dressed in a smart dinner suit and seated at a baby grand piano, Ross spoke – sang fifteen carefully selected tunes and ditties from, as he put it, ‘The Transatlantic Golden Age’. These musical comedy gems written mostly in the 1920s and 1930s, either well – known or rediscovered, were respectfully presented as they had first been performed.


Cabaret recreated in the authentic sense, this show was far less about Ross or his personal journey, and more about a passion for smart composition. However, he did let us in on an amusing trade secret. To write a show, remember the following four key points:


I was in love.


I am in love.


I want to be in love, and…


New York, New York.


Many of these tunes were delightfully tongue – twisting, to say the least. But with urbane charm to spare, Ross let us in on the joke. Supper club audiences from almost a century ago must have thrilled in the songs they were hearing. Many of the lyrics were risqué for their time, and these songs simply drip with wickedly clever double meanings. Modern audiences will also be rewarded for paying close attention. If nothing else, for wondering how these writers slipped by the censor’s red pen and got away with it!


Some of the show’s tuneful highlights included ‘The Dolphin’ (by Ann Crosswell & Lee Pockriss) ’Hungry Women’ (by Turk & Ahlert), ’Tale of the Oyster’ (by Cole Porter), ‘Mrs Worthington’ (by Noel Coward), ‘Three Penny Things’ (by John Wallowitch), before finishing up with ‘Let’s Do It’ (by Cole Porter). However, the evening’s festivities didn’t end there. Ross even entertained viewers with a fairy tale and a handful of cheeky personal ads as well. As one happy punter afterwards summed up the experience, “I could have listened to him all night!”


Nick Pilgrim, Theatre People, June 28, 2016




STEVE ROSS & JIM BROCHU - TWO GUYS AND A GRANDSteve Ross and Jim Brochu - Two Guys and  Grand
Laurie Beechman Theatre, NYC

MAC Award winner Steve Ross and Drama Desk winner Jim Brochu have been friends since the 1970s. They have done a lot of private parties together but their cabaret show, “Two Guys and A Grand” was performed at the Laurie Beechman Theatre May 24. The full house was packed with Broadway stars and cabaret stars. Their first memory was Ross’ engagement at a seedy bar where he would play Friday and Saturday nights and Brochu and Stan Freeman would sit at the bar all night and lead the customers in the standards they sang.


Their opening number was Irving Berlin’s “Pack Up Your Suns and Go to the Devil.” This led Brochu to complain that although Ross was vocally like Fred Astaire he was singing too softly. Ross countered that Brochu was singing too loud…like Ethel Merman! This led to an Astaire/Merman medley, featuring at least nine songs, Ross singing the Astaire ones and Brochu belting out the Merman ones. They confessed that Astaire and Merman did appear together on The Hollywood Palace together in this medley which can be found on you tube.


Brochu revealed he used to pay Ross to accompany him when he auditioned for Broadway shows. The number he sang was an Abe Burrows comedy number, “I’ll Bet You’re Sorry Now, Tokyo Rose” with lots of “l’s” on the “r” sound. Somehow he never got the part!


Of course, Brochu went into full Merman mode to belt out “Some People.”


Brochu discussed how the late David Burns took him under his wing and sponsored him at the venerable Players Club. Brochu amusingly discussed his application appearance which began with Burns introducing him to James Cagney! Then when he went before the interviewing Board, the President of the Board was Roland Winters and he told him how much he loved his Charlie Chan movies. Another member of the Board was Alfred Drake who was shorter than Brochu thought! Brochu later sponsored Ross at that club.


Ross discussed Noel Coward’s The Girl Who Came To Supper which took place during the Coronation. The two of them played two visiting Princes discussing their ancestors in a clever song called “Family Tree,” Coward inserted at the end of the first act the music hall singer Tessie O’Shea singing a London medley, including “London Pride“ and “Saturday Night at the Rose and Crown.” O’Shea won a Tony for her performance! Ross and Brochu performed that medley.


One of the best songs in the program was a song that Ross performed at Ted Hooks’ Backstage often. It was “Old Friend” by Gretchen Cryor and Nancy Ford from 1978’s I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It On the Road and Steve sang it as movingly as he ever has.


Brochu then discussed how he was responsible for Ross getting that job at Ted Hook’s club as well as Ross’ appearance at the Plymouth in Coward’s Present Laughter. It ripped into the one-ups man duet “Where Would You Be Without Me” from Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd with Brochu doing the Cyril Ritchard part and Ross doing the Tony Newley part!


They returned to Stan Freeman and discussed his two Broadway shows, I Had A Ball and Lovely Ladies, Kind Gentlemen. Freeman handed Buddy Hackett, the star of the first, the title song with music by Jack Lawrence and Hackett told him to give it to the blonde newcomer. Karen Morrow killed with the number every night and Ross sang a moderate tempo of the song, changing keys on the second chorus. The second show was a musical version of The Teahouse of August Moon with music by Franklin Roosevelt Underwood. It was explained that it opened in 1970 when the Vietnam police action was taking place and no one wanted to see it. Brochu’s lifelong mentor, David Burns, was in it and he recreated one of Burns’ numbers, “You’ve Broken Fine Woman’s Heart” describing his wife’s heartbreak when he was thrown out of the service! The second song from the show was from the show within the show, a crazy ditty called “Call Me Back” which Ross and Brochu sold animatedly. They introduced Underwood in the audience.


The encore was another David Burns’ number, “Go Visit Your Grandmother” Kander and Ebb’s song from 70 Girls 70 which they performed all-out.


“Two Guys and a Grand” was a marvelous show and look forward to its return soon.


Joe Regan JR., TheaterPizzazz, May 27, 2016




I WON'T DANCE - STEVE ROSS PLAYS AND SINGS FRED ASTAIRE
The Cabaret at Germano's
Baltimore, MD

Somehow, the cumulative effect of watching Steve Ross, called an “American Cabaret Treasure,” sing classic material from the American Popular Songbook introduced by the dapper Fred Astaire is a perfect storm of cabaret sophistication.


Although Ross opened with a medley of songs about dancing, including “I Want to Be a Dancin’ Man” and “I Won’t Dance,” he stressed Astaire’s talent for giving rhythm and romance a voice in his vocal performances. Ross hit the expected biographical points for Astaire with illustrative songs—his early stage success with sister Adele (“Fascinating Rhythm”/”Oh, Lady Be Good!”), his success in the movies (“My Shining Hour,” a standout), and his latter television and recording work (“City of the Angels”—which Astaire wrote with Tommy Wolf— a delightful discovery).


As a singer/pianist, Ross has musical flexibility that allows him to pivot effortlessly when doing intricate medleys and to perfectly punctuate comic material. Although most notable for a soigné wit, Ross can also provide tremendous depth of feeling in a ballad like Porter’s “After You, Who?”—performing its brutal honesty. Most important, though, he is an incredibly genial host who forges a strong connection with his audience. This is an especially notable feat when one considers the fact that he is blocked behind a piano for most of his show.


Michael Miyazaki, CabaretScenes, May 29, 2016





Steve Ross Good Thing Going - the songs of Stephen SondheimSTEVE ROSS: GOOD THING GOING - THE SONGS OF STEPHEN SONDHEIM

The suave and urbane pianist-singer Steve Ross, often associated with songwriters such as Noël Coward and Cole Porter, branched out to Sondheim’s work for a concert engagement in London in 2008. Two of those performances were recorded, and the result is this delectable album. Ross’s voice, which often hearkens back to Coward’s, and his talent for mining lyrics, are beautifully suited to all of the material on Good Thing Going, whether it’s a familiar number (“Send in the Clowns”) or one heard less frequently, “Sand” (written for the movie Singing Out Loud). In the former instance, Ross’ sensitive vocals — combined with his insightful introduction — enhance the bittersweet emotion in the number. With “Sand” he finds a playful jazziness in a song often performed with a sort of melancholy. His work at the keyboard and as arranger also proves terrific, particularly when it comes to pairing seemingly unrelated songs. One of his choicest selections combines “So Many People” from Saturday Night and “One More Kiss” from Follies. Equally impressive throughout are Ross’s pianistic embellishments to songs. With Follies’ “Ah, Paris!,” a short piano section has a giddy and somehow crystalline sense, making the melody actually sound a bit like a chandelier that might have hung in the Moulin Rouge.


Andy Propst, Everything Sondheim, July, 2016





Steve Ross Good Thing Going - the songs of Stephen SondheimSTEVE ROSS: GOOD THING GOING - THE SONGS OF STEPHEN SONDHEIM

Pairing the sensitive and sophisticated approach to singing embodied in the style of STEVE ROSS with the magical songwriting genius of Stephen Sondheim is a winning combination, as can be heard on Good Thing Going (Harbinger – 3101). Ross is a superior interpreter of lyrics, and the richness of Sondheim’s words offers him a fertile source for challenging material to address. Ross and Duncan Knowles, a British producer, conceived and developed the material comprising the show captured on this disc in 2007. It was originally performed in a London theatre, then at the Oak Room in New York City before reaching Pizza in the Park, a club in London, where this performance was recorded on September 2008. Ross’s dialogue between songs is informative and witty, giving continuity to pieces taken from several shows, including songs that were cut from shows, and in one case, “Sand,” from an unproduced film. Ross has chosen an interesting selection of Sondheim songs. It has often been said that Sondheim’s songs are so character and situation driven that they lose much of their effect when performed outside of the context of the shows for which they were written. One hearing of Good Thing Going should convince the listener that this is nonsense. Ross has developed his own unique take on each song. His pairing of songs is particularly astute. Coupling “So Many People” and “One More Kiss” is wonderfully effective. Particularly appealing is having “Take the Moment” follow “With So Little to Be Sure Of,” both wonderful, but sadly underperformed gems that deserve more exposure. This is one of those albums that could easily command comments about each selection. Suffice to say that Ross has done a brilliant job of choosing the material, writing dialogue that unifies the program, and performing each song with his own knowing sensibility. An interesting side note is that he chose as the title for this collection, Good Thing Going, a superb song from Merrily We Roll Along that is not included in his show. It is indicative of the surprises that will enthrall you as you listen to Steve Ross, a master of the art of cabaret, interpret the songs of Stephen Sondheim, A master of the art of songwriting. (HarbingerRecords.com)


Joe Lang, New Jersey Jazz Association, April, 2016




Steve Ross Good Thing Going - the songs of Stephen SondheimEVERYTHING'S COMING UP ROSS'S
STEVE ROSS: GOOD THING GOING - THE SONGS OF STEPHEN SONDHEIM

In the last few years there has been a veritable explosion of cabaret performances (and venues) in London, a style previously little-known here except by a few cognoscenti. But how do the live performances of cabaret artists differ from those of theatre actors or, at the other end of the scale, poplular singers who happen to include this type of material as part of their regular acts and recordings? The answer is a complex mixture of venue, scale, format, arrangements and delivery.


Solo presentations can encompass a wide spectrum. Some artists shine in performances in large packed auditoria, accompanied by full band or orchestra and enjoying slick productions and musical arrangements. Michael Feinstein is a master of these. Others may choose medium-size venues accompanied by just a handful of colleagues including their Musical Director at the piano and, perhaps, bass, drums and sometimes a single reed player.


Most intimate of all though is the cabaret performance in a small well-appointed room with its relaxed (and chatty) audience grouped around individual tables, replete with alcohol and nibbles. This places them only a few feet away from the performers who are on a barely-raised stage, all giving rise to the feeling that the artist is singing 'just for them'.


This is even more the case when the singer and pianist is actually one and the same person. This personal touch is emphasized if, at the conclusion of their set, the artist works the room, moving from table to table to trade pleasantries with their patrons who may well be adoring fans.


Some cabaret singers are former stage actors now adding another string to their bow. These artists often perform also in larger-scale venues and formats. Into this category the names of Barbara Cook and Maria Friedman readily spring to mind.


But there are a small number whose careers haven't followed that trajectory but, instead, have built it entirely around cabaret performances, sometimes coupled with live recordings of their shows. These artists are frequently little-known, even to many regular habitués of musical theatre and the concert hall.


Amongst the finest of these is unquestionably American Steve Ross whose career has been dedicated to cabaret, his repertoire frequently taken from The Great American Songbook with a speciality of the works of Cole Porter.


He hasn't been totally neglected by the media though. In 1990 BBC Radio had the foresight to broadcast a series of his live performances from London's Pizza on the Park, generous highlights of which were issued eight years later as a 2 hour 20 minutes, 41 track 2 CD set entitled Stolen Moments.


The present Sondheim CD under consideration, Good Thing Going - a number not actually on the disc itself - derives from live performances at the same venue in October 2008. Having first tried out the show in February 2007 at London's Jermyn Street Theatre it played at New York's Hotel Algonquin in September of the same year where Mr Sondheim himself saw it and evidently approved.


The show was devised by Ross along with Duncan Knowles (who also directed) and they jointly made the musical arrangements. Numbers are re-thought and re-invented but always in a way that complements the material rather than merely spotlighting the performer and his undoubted talents. They are always intelligent and "clever" in the very best of senses and, most of all, sometimes incredibly moving.


Steve Ross's way with songs is to give them a gentle transformation, thereby making them his very own. But this is often far more than just a "juicing-up" of the harmonies. For example, one might anticipate that a song would progress from a traditional start only for it later to take flight into something different. In "Marry Me a Little" the process is reversed as it opens in an archetypal laid-back cabaret style only for it - two minutes in - to revert to its original form, complete with agitated piano accompaniment, before concluding with moving simplicity. (The packaging would have been more accurate if it had described this number as "not used originally" in Company, rather than just "not used", as it is now the norm for it to close the first Act.


"Pretty Women" becomes a gentle bossa nova while the rhythm of "Being Alive" is changed subtly from 4/4 to a lilting 6/8. The title "Buddy's Blues" might normally be considered something of a misnomer, at least in its musical sense, given that, in its original form, it is rather a frenetic "get-off" number for a vaudeville comedian. Here it truly is a blues, cleverly introduced by a quote from Louise's strip version of "Let Me Entertain You" from Gypsy. We readily recognize these familiar numbers but the overall result is to transform them "into something rich and strange".


Steve is a highly accomplished pianist and his abilities in this field are heard to great effect throughout. Extended piano interludes are sometimes in short supply when a singer employs a separate accompanist as this can leave the former out on a limb with nothing to do, but when an artist combines these roles there's no such problem. A good example of this can be found in "Anyone Can Whistle".


Ross has been playing the circuit for very many years, so it's no surprise that his voice doesn't sound like that of a young man though fine singing is still very much in evidence. I would readliy agree with one commentator who described his delivery as "careworn". The closest comparison that comes to mind is that of Fred Astaire.


His choice of material here is, as always, wide-ranging including such surprises as "One More Kiss" and "Ah! Paris!". Less familiar numbers include "Who Could Be Blue?" which was cut from Follies and the first and unused version of "We're Going to be All Right" from Do I Hear a Waltz (music by Richard Rodgers) which is best known from its inclusion in Side by Side by Sondheim. Also from Waltz is a touching "Take the Moment" which closes his set.


As virtually all of Sondheim's output is now so well-known, it must have been difficult finding real rarities. The only one in this category is "Sand" from the unproduced 1992 film Singing Out Loud. Its inclusion surprised even Sondheim himself. (There is a previous recording of this number on Varese Sarabande's Sondheim at the Movies.)


There are too many felicities to note them all. Suffice to say that Ross makes you feel as if you are hearing well-loved and very familiar songs for the very first time. He provides brief, apposite and frequently witty introductions to his songs, all the while paying due respect to "Mr. Sondheim" himself. No fawning over-familiarity here.


These are live recordings edited from two separate performances. The close miking, along with the inclusion of audience reaction and applause, greatly enhances our feeling of involvement. All that is missing is actually being there in person. Inherent with live performances are the very occasional minor imperfections but these in no way detract from what is a notable achievement. The very last track of the disc is a bonus studio recording (made the following year)og "Good-bye For Now" from the film Reds which provides a touching an apposite conclusion.


The highest compliment that I can pay this CD is that, since the moment it arrived, it has rarely been off my player. I can see it keeping a place near the very top of my pile of solo Sondheim CDs.


David Lardi, Editor, Stephen Sondheim Society Magazine, November, 2015




Steve Ross Good Thing Going - the songs of Stephen SondheimSTEVE ROSS: GOOD THING GOING - THE SONGS OF STEPHEN SONDHEIM

You’ll find more Sondheim, and this time with vocals on another Harbinger Records release, Good Thing Going. On this beguiling album, cabaret artist extraordinaire Steve Ross’s perfect phrasing and gorgeous work at the piano lend new colors to some of the great songwriter’s best-known tunes, including “Send in the Clowns” from A Little Night Music and “Broadway Baby” from Follies.


Andy Propst, BroadwayDirect.com, December 22, 2015




STEVE ROSS: STEVE ROSS ON BROADWAY
Baltimore, MD


In Steve Ross on Broadway, the singer/pianist/raconteur performed an idiosyncratic selection of songs that found fame on the Great White Way. An opening of “Call Me Back” from Lovely Ladies, Kind Gentlemen set the tone for the show, contrasting a cry to be loved with a show-bizzy razzamatazz. Other mini-arcs in the show dealt with topics such as the Gershwins, Kurt Weill, the annoyance of not being in love, and the joy of newfound love. Ross particularly scored with a sequence demonstrating ravishing Broadway melodiousness with “My Heart Is So Full of You,” “Make Our Garden Grow,” and “All the Things You Are.”


The Steve Ross cabaret experience exists at the nexus of saloon singing and high art. As a saloon singer, he is adept at bringing freshness to familiar material and familiarity to new material. He can shift moods from heartfelt to impish to celebratory and bring the audience right along with him. And he has a way seeming to respect and honor his audience that is a model for performers everywhere.


As an artist, Ross has a talent for seamlessly balancing the many elements of cabaret performance. His show was a delightful combination of the familiar and unexpected. His musical style contrasts a dissonance in the accompaniment from a melodic vocal line. And he gets great effect from the way he varies the nuance of a song’s repeated lyric, such as the “about you” in “Losing My Mind,” varying the emphasis and emotional content behind it.


Ross ended the evening with the Chopin-inspired song “It’s Almost Christmas Eve” he wrote with Ken Hirsch and Rosie Casey. A return to Baltimore would certainly answer this reviewer’s holiday wishes.


Michael Miyazaki, CabaretScenes.org, December 17, 2015




STEVE ROSS: ROMANCE AND RHYTHM
Birdland, NYC


Although Steve Ross continues in the tradition of Bobby Short, Matt Dennis and Ted Streater as an elegantly dressed man about town sitting at a piano, after 47 years entertaining, Ross continues to grow as a performer. His voice keeps getting stronger and his sound is more mellifluous. In Romance and Rhythm, Ross displayed his ability to work with, in the words of his favorite composer Cole Porter, “a big-time band.” The show featured a collection of 25 of the very best songs taken from the Great American Songbook. As is always the case with Ross, interesting and amusing comments are interspersed between the musical numbers.


He opened with a sprightly “Love Is on the Air Tonight” that lead into “Leader of a Big-Time Band,” accompanied by a band that perfectly captured the sound of the 1930s. A very snappy “42nd Street” was followed by an elegantly performed “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” which included all of the verses. Ross began a medley of songs from the film Swing Time performing a soft and slow “The Way You Look Tonight” just accompanying himself on piano, followed by “A Fine Romance,” “Pick Yourself Up” and ending with only the band and his piano performing a rousing “Bojangles of Harlem.” He closed with a medley from Porter’s Anything Goes followed by what Ross said were two of his favorites by Porter: “I Concentrate on You” and “In the Still of the Night,” and two of Porter’s New York songs: “Take Me Back to Manhattan” and “I Happen to Like New York.” The first encore was “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love)” featuring additional verses provided by Noël Coward and Ross himself. The second encore was a very special and heartfelt “The Last Time I Saw Paris.”


Ron Forman, CabaretScenes.org, November 17, 2015




STEVE ROSS ORCHESTRA - RHYTHM AND ROMANCE
Birdland, NYC


There was a very special event at Birdland on Monday, November 16 when Steve Ross appeared with an eleven piece orchestra and sang some very special songs accented by the horns, winds, percussion, a violin, and a very special bass player, Brian Cassier, who was the leader of the orchestra. The house was sold out and full of friends, singers, composers knee deep even at the bar.


Ross is singing better than ever, and his 100 year old vocal teacher was in the audience. He talked about a relative who was the one who used to bring him to New York City and take him to Broadway shows and Radio City Music Hall. He moved to New York City from Washington, DC in 1968 and has been performing in New York, London, Paris, and South America ever since!


Of course, he saluted his home town with lots of New York songs: “42nd Street,” “Take Me Back to Manhattan,” “I Happen To Like New York,” “I Have To Get Back To New York.” One wonderful song sung after he talked about Cole Porter and Noel Coward’s love of list songs, was “These Foolish Things Remind Me Of You” with all three choruses, something very few singers do.


He paused to talk about Paris and the devastation that has befallen that country. Then he sang a heart-breaking “Last Time I Saw Paris” which brought tears to everyone’s eyes. On some of the ballad selections, he accompanied himself on the piano for the first chorus before the bass and the orchestra joined him. The orchestra was great and definitely enhanced his vocal strength. One of his last songs was “Let’s Do It,” with special lyrics that he wrote himself! It was a hoot and a half considering Noel Coward also wrote special lyrics to that naughty ditty!


A recording Ross made of Sondheim songs “Good Thing Going” with Duncan Knowles is finally being released on Harbinger Records: http://harbingerrecords.com/good-thing-going-the-songs-of-stephen-sondheim/


Joe Regan Jr., Theater Pizzazz, November 19, 2015




STEVE ROSS AND HIS ORCHESTRA BRING STYLISH RHYTHM AND ROMANCE TO BIRDLAND AND STEAL HEARTS
Birdland, NYC


"Rhythm and romance together are a synergy." --Steve Ross


Attending a Steve Ross show is often akin to time travel. The audience is transported back to eras when urbanity and dash were watchwords, when interpretation meant being as true to the period as the meaning of lyrics. The classy Mr. Ross, known primarily for iconoclastic solo performance, appeared at Birdland Monday night with a zealous 11-piece band helmed by long time confederate Brian Cassier. The joint was jumpin'.


Ross began with two lesser known songs, "Love is In the Air Tonight" (Johnny Mercer/ Richard Whiting from Varsity Show) and "Leader of A Big Time Band" (Cole Porter from Something For the Boys): In the gilded age, a Wall Street millionaire/Was the answer to a working maiden's prayer/But today she'd chuck that yearly fifty grand/For the leader of a big- time band. Both were toe-tapping, jubilant. Horns came in smart, sharp and sassy. One imagined late flapper fringe flying.


"Love Is Just Around the Corner" (Leo Robin/Lewis Gensler from Here Is My Heart) arrived a swingin'-down-the-lane arrangement punctuated by percussion and an upstart trumpet that called to mind Leo Gorcey (The Bowery Boys.) Every now and then we heard skibbling piano. (Sound balance often contrived to bury both piano and vocal.) "These Foolish Things" (Eric Maschwitz/Jack Strachey from Spread It Abroad) was a melodic layer cake with violin glace. "This is one of your favorites, I hope it's one of mine."


"No Strings" from Top Hat-a song Ross explained was "written by Irving Berlin, Russia's greatest export after Vodka"--was driven by jaunty piano and rhythmic drum. Trumpet solo became a sparking cocktail with a wah-wah chaser. A sentimental "Just The Way You Look Tonight," mid-Swingtime medley, had lilt into which we emotionally leaned. One might arguably call Ross "The Fred Astaire of his Idiom." No one else comes close to communicating the elegance, ease/illusive insouciance and exactitude of the artist. Usually just as singular with Noel Coward, Ross went awry tonight with "Bar On the Piccolo Marina," which I've repeatedly heard him do to perfection.


A lush "Dancing in the Dark" (Howard Dietz/Arthur Schwartz from The Band Wagon) was performed with chiffon piano cascades conjuring the rise and fall of Ginger Rogers' skirts as she raised and lowered her leg. "I Get a Kick Out of You" embodied grace and sophistication without pretension. In "I Concentrate On You," Ross allowed a hint of sob on the word "surrender" (On the light in your eyes when you surrender).


"Let Yourself Go" (Irving Berlin from Follow the Fleet) seems

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Steve Ross is such a master at putting a debonair spin on Cole Porter and Noel Coward's musical high jinks that his persona is that of a sophisticated party entertainer who holds off the blues with a froth of wit. But there is an introspective side to Mr.
Steve Ross
Steve Ross is such a master at putting a debonair spin on Cole Porter and Noel Coward's musical high jinks that his persona is that of a sophisticated party entertainer who holds off the blues with a froth of wit. But there is an introspective side to Mr.
Steve Ross
Steve Ross is such a master at putting a debonair spin on Cole Porter and Noel Coward's musical high jinks that his persona is that of a sophisticated party entertainer who holds off the blues with a froth of wit. But there is an introspective side to Mr.
Steve Ross
Steve Ross is such a master at putting a debonair spin on Cole Porter and Noel Coward's musical high jinks that his persona is that of a sophisticated party entertainer who holds off the blues with a froth of wit. But there is an introspective side to Mr.
Steve Ross
Steve Ross is such a master at putting a debonair spin on Cole Porter and Noel Coward's musical high jinks that his persona is that of a sophisticated party entertainer who holds off the blues with a froth of wit. But there is an introspective side to Mr.
Steve Ross
Steve Ross is such a master at putting a debonair spin on Cole Porter and Noel Coward's musical high jinks that his persona is that of a sophisticated party entertainer who holds off the blues with a froth of wit. But there is an introspective side to Mr.
Steve Ross
Steve Ross is such a master at putting a debonair spin on Cole Porter and Noel Coward's musical high jinks that his persona is that of a sophisticated party entertainer who holds off the blues with a froth of wit. But there is an introspective side to Mr.
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