An Intimate August Open Mic

A smaller but enthusiastic crowd joined Tracy Simpson as hostess and Jonathan Tuzman on the piano at the August DCCN Open Mic at The Black Squirrel. Justin behind the bar kept everyone well-hydrated, and some singers took advantage of the smaller crowd to sing an extra song. And we all enjoyed listening to two duets!

Set One:
Tracy Simpson: Gravity
Cindy Hutchins & Miranda Cooter: You Raise Me Up
Michael Miyazaki: Cosmetic Surgery
Cory Hibbetts: Kiss the Air
Kathy Reilly: Un Jour Tu Verra
Ron Squeri: Perhaps Love
Michael Miyazaki: Sweet Dreams
Kathy Reilly: I Like You, You’re Nice

Set Two
Tracy Simpson: When He Sees Me
Juam Marroquin: Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Will Hernandez: What More Can I Say
Cory Hibbetts: Why, God?
Ron Squeri: An American Hymn
Michael Miyazaki: Meadowlark
Kathy Reilly: Goodbye For Now
Cory Hibbetts and Will Hernandez: Let Me Be Your Star

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the next open mike, Monday, September 18, 8 pm at The Black Squirrel, with Jeff Hamlin at the piano!

A Cool and Moody May Open Mic

On Monday, May 8, the DC Cabaret Network hosted its May open mic at The Black Squirrel in Adams Morgan.  It was a chilly spring evening, but we were cozy and well-tended by Justin at the bar. Jill Parsons’ colleague Stephen managed the sound and Alex Tang was, as always, a terrific presence at the keyboard.  We had a strong line-up of singers and everyone seemed to be in a reflective mood, with a moody Paul Simon theme running through the first set.

A highlight of the evening was the arrival of DC Cabaret Network chairman George Fulginiti-Shakar, proudly celebrating his 70th birthday eve. The whole bar sang “Happy Birthday” to George and there were lots of hugs and kisses.

See the list of songs and singers below and please be sure to join us for our next open mic, also at The Black Squirrel, on Monday, June 12.

May 8th Open Mic list of songs/singers:

“The Way You Look Tonight” – Heather Frank

“I Do It For Your Love” – Heidi Mayor

“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” – Tracy Simpson

“The Tale of the Oyster” – Byron Murray

“Something So Right” – Andrew Harmon

“How We Loved” – Marianne Glass Miller

“There Won’t Be Trumpets” – Taunya Ferguson

“My Stupid Mouth” – Paul Pompeo

“Running Home To You” – Ron Squeri

“My Heart Was Set On You” – Tracy Simpson

C’est comme ça” – Kathy Reilly

“He Played Real Good For Free” – Heather Frank

“It All Fades Away” – Andrew Harmon

“What More Can I Say?” – Paul Pompeo

“It’s A Privilege to Pee” – Taunya Ferguson


My GOODNESS! Where to begin? There was such a huge range of songs and antics at the DC Cabaret Network’s Open Mic at The Black Squirrel this past Monday, it will be difficult to fit it all in! Led by this month’s music director of many talents, Jeff Hamlin, our audience got to hear him sing, as well as play; such a treat! Our usual host, Steven Cupo, was a little hyperactive, but seemed to make folks laugh and move the proceedings along. Once again, Jill Parsons, who has her own Open Mic at Shaw’s Tavern on Wednesdays, filled in as sound goddess and all-around roadie. Thank you, Jill.
The night started off with a “lesson” in cabaret with the coincidence of Steven and Heidi Mayer planning to sing the same song. Turning it into an example of interpretation, Steven and Heidi sang back-to-back, showing that re-interpreting material is a stronghold concept when performing cabaret. For variety, Ron Squeri celebrated Italian Heritage Month by offering two Italian classics and 90 year old Everard Cupo sang “Stardust” like he was 30. We even had two duets in the evening: Maureen Kerrigan and Joel Snyder singing “Married” from the musical “Cabaret” and new-comer, Michael Shea, combined voices with our own Jeff Hamlin in a Barbra Streisand/Judy Garland classic. (You will just have to figure out for yourselves which one was which). Shannon Polly sang a very funny song about the “joys” of summer stock while Michael Miyazaki’s take on “Nothing” from “A Chorus Line” called “Something” was hilarious. And speaking of reinterpreting a song, Maureen Kerrigan’s fresh look on “Send in the Clowns” is one for the books. Everyone was so clever with bringing in so much new material and also giving us a new, fresh take on some old favorites.
If you weren’t there, you missed a great, great night. If you want to be part of the fun, please join us at our next Open Mic on Monday, November 14 at 8:00; Howard Breitbart will be music director and Tracy Simpson will be our lovely hostess. SO, come on down to the party!

Steven Cupo – I’ll Be Seeing You (traditional)
Heidi Mayer – I’ll Be Seeing You (up tempo)
Ron Squeri – O Sole Mio
Maureen Kerrigan & Joel Snyder – Married
Marcia Kass – The Man I Love
Michael Shea – Moondance
Michael Miyazaki – Something
Christy Trapp – I Wish You Love
Joel Snyder – I Hold Your Hand in Mine
Shannon Polly – A Summer in Ohio
Heather Frank – Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Maureen Kerrigan – Send in the Clowns
Everard Cupo – Stardust
Heather Frank – It’s Bad for Me
Michael Shea & Jeff Hamlin – Happy Days Are Here Again/Get Happy
Michael Miyazaki – You Mustn’t Be Discouraged
Maureen Kerrigan – At Last
Shannon Polly – Stars and Moon
Ron Squeri – Santa Lucia
Michael Shea – Out Here On My Own


The DC Cabaret Network’s Open Mic at The Black Squirrel may not always have the greatest “gate” (as they say in baseball), but those who were there on Monday night really hit it out of the park!  It was such a good time with great talent, a variety of songs and, because of the intimate numbers, a real sense of warmth and enjoyment.
Part of the reason for such a successful evening was on account of our music director extraordinaire, Bill Yanesh. His good nature, combined with his amazing ability and musicianship, made the night really extra special. Many thanks, William!
Our host, Steven Cupo, was in good spirits, buffered by his husband, Dan Engeljohn. Also having fellow DC Cabaret Network Board member, Cindy Hutchins, along for moral support, made his night ever more enjoyable.
Jill Parsons, who has her “personal” Open Mic at Shaw’s Tavern on Wednesdays, once again, filled in for her “other half” Jeff Tucker, as sound goddess and all-around roadie. Much appreciated, Jill.
Truant from hosting her own Open Mic at Germano’s in Baltimore, the wonderful Mary Reilly was there to share her good nature, warm voice and camaraderie. Actress and singer, Christy Trapp drove all the way from Annapolis to attend and everyone was delighted she did. Just off her successful show in New York City, her beautiful face and great song selections only made the night richer. Also deepest gratitude to Kathy Reilly and Ron Squeri for their continued support and very much welcome voices.
So, if you are feeling the yen to join us in the fun next time, our subsequent anticipated Open Mic will be on Monday, October 17 at 8:00. So, come join the cabaret!

Steven Cupo – All the Things You Are
Mary Reilly – The Summer Knows
Christy Trapp – Feelin’ Good
Kathy Reilly – A Little Jazz Bird
Ron Squeri – I Want to Go Home
Steven Cupo – All My Loving
Christy Trapp – True Colors
Mary Reilly – ‘Tis Autumn
Kathy Reilly – Bluesette
Ron Squeri – I’d Rather Be Sailing
Kathy Reilly – Lucky To Be Me
Christy Trapp – Lullaby


Well, it was a FAB-ulous night with the DC Cabaret Network’s August Open Mic at The Black Squirrel! “Terrific” is a terrific word to describe it. There were SO many participants offering a huge variety of styles, songs and personalities, plus a ukulele! Although we did have to start the eve off with some news regarding our own Jeff Hamlin, who was supposed to be at the keyboard. Poor Jeff sliced one of his fingers quite badly while cooking dinner the previous night. YIKES! Not to worry though, as he is off to a great recovery, albeit with some pain and being a bit shaky (wouldn’t anybody?). However, making lemonade out of lemons, the super-duper Howard Breitbart stepped in at the very last moment and saved our heinies! And, wow, did he rise to the occasion! That Howie can play ANYTHING. THANK YOU, Howard!
Steven Cupo, again, did his jolly best to emcee and keep things a-movin’ along. But the dynamic energy of the singers made his job, oh, so easy. In addition, everyone was delighted to have all six Board members of the Cabaret Network in attendance. It was a great showing of solidarity and dedication to the art of cabaret.
It was a really extra special treat to have friends from other cabaret organizations come be with us. Jill Parsons, who has her own Open Mic at Shaw’s Tavern on Wednesdays, was there, as well as one of “her” singers, Dani Harrow, who thrilled everyone with her great chops. Niki Ryan, who is a regular at Normandy Farms Restaurant, in Potomac, with their own cabaret series, enchanted us with her song stylings.
Another special happening was when our Board President, George Fulginiti-Shakar brought four of his “newbie” performance/voice students to the Open Mic. These are young adults who have never sung in public before, but are developing their love of vocal interpretation. George has done a wonderful job with them, as showed by the GREAT presentation each one of them brought to the stage. The audience was blown away by their maturity and abilities. Thank you to Zoe, Dorian, Trinity and Attey. It was really an exceptional experience which punctuated an equally exceptional evening.
SO, if this leaves you wanting more, we hope you will join us at our next Open Mic on Monday, September 12 at 8:00. The VERY talented Bill Yanesh will be our man at the keyboard. We look forward to seeing you then!

Steven Cupo – Guido’s Song
Heidi Mayor – What a Wonderful World
Juan Marroquin – Try to Remember
Michael Miyazaki – Come Back With That Same Look in Your Eyes
Heather Frank – The Ukulele Song
Marcia Kass – Since You’ve Asked
Marianne Glass Miller – I’m Standing Here
Miranda Cooter – Crazy
Jill Parsons – Blue
Dani Harrow – Anything Worth Holding On To
Ron Squeri – An American Dream
Viki Ryan – On a Clear Day
Tracy Simpson – Oh, How I Loved You
Lonny Smith – I Was Here
Zoe Walpole – Life of the Party
Dorian Jackson – On My Way to You
Trinity Perie – Broken-Hearted Girl
Attey Harper – Home
Dani Harrow – I’m Here
Tracy Simpson – The World is Full of Bastards
Heather Frank – I’m Putting All My Eggs in One Basket


Hoo boy! Who knew the DC Cabaret Network’s Open Mic at The Black Squirrel would be as entertaining as it was. Of course it is always entertaining, but some surprises such as a birthday with cake, technical difficulties, a flakey music stand and, of course, wonderful talent all brewed together to make a bubbly night of fun and craziness. Jeff Hamlin at the keyboard led the night’s participants with great ability, agility and just a general good ‘tude, despite the fact that the music stand on the piano fell off one too many times. Oy vey! Our audio guy, Jeff Tucker, dealt with a very cranky sound system while Steven Cupo, once again at the helm, was having his own lyric meltdown, but charged on bravely, helping to set the evening’s tone. Board member, Cindy Hutchins, chose to celebrate her birthday at the Open Mic. And thank goodness she did because there was a DELICIOUS chocolate truffle cake waiting for her which she shared with everyone there. One just never knows what unexpected treats one may find at the Open Mic! And speaking of treats, we welcomed back our errant board member, Tracy Simpson, who was away in NYC for 2 months with work. My, my … hearing her sing again reminded us all how sorely she was missed! Great songs, great people and the truly unexpected blended together to make a really exceptional evening.

SO, if this all sounds like you were left out of a wonderful time, we really hope you will join us at our next Open Mic on Monday, August 8 at 8:00. We look forward to seeing you then!

Steven Cupo – We Can Be Kind
Susan Stockdale – Walk On By
Heidi Mayor – The Longest Time
Ron Squeri – Perhaps Love
Sheri Kuznicki Owen – Fallin’
Maureen Kerrigan – That Funny Honey of Mine
Magdalena Kuszmileva – Dream a Little Dream of Me
Tracy Simpson – Tall Drink of Water
Everard Cupo – Some Enchanted Evening
Steven Cupo – I Will
Sheri Kuznicki Owen – This Year
Cindy Hutchins – The Best is Yet to Come
Maureen Kerrigan – Cry Me a River
Ron Squeri – Your Kiss of Fire
Everard Cupo – What a Wonderful World


With summer around the corner, the expected warmth was previewed at The Black Squirrel with the DC Cabaret Network’s June Open Mic; that would be the “warmth” of friendship, talent and a general good time. At first, we thought it was going to be a “tastefully’ intimate group, but after the proceedings began, twice as many that were in already in attendance showed up, leading to a full complement of singers! The delightful and energetic piano playing of the talented Howard Breitbart led the night, and, except for his sustain pedal trying to escape the stage early in the evening, brought a spark to everybody’s presentations. The emcee was once again, Steven Cupo, who began the night with a dedication to the tragedy in Orlando. After which, he revved up the evening with a bit of his own brand of twisted humor. There were many new faces there. Shaw Tavern in Bloomingdale hosts their own Open Mic, led by the wonderful Jill Parsons every Wednesday night, sent over some their best singers to add to the happy group at The Black Squirrel; and we were ALL so glad to get them! Thank you to Danie, Cory and Ashlee for swinging by. That’s not to say our Open Mic “regulars” didn’t do a great job as well. New Board member, Heather Frank, belted out a song as we had never heard her … wow! And the always sweet Ron Squeri sang a very funny If You Love Me, Please Don’t Feed Me, reminding us ALL that we’ve “been there, done that”. It really was a special evening with which start the summer.
For those who missed it, please join us at our next Open Mic on Monday, July 11 at 8:00, at which the immensely appealing and easy-on-the-eyes Jeff Hamlin will be at the key board.

Steven Cupo – Let There Be Peace On Earth and Let it Begin With Me
Heather Frank – Keeping Out of Mischief Now
Ron Squeri – Perhaps Love
Sheri Kuznicki Owen – Waiting for Life to Begin
Juan Marroquin – Imagine
Danie Harrow – Too Beautiful for Words
Brandi Rose – Stars And The Moon
Paul Pompeo – Come Fly With Me
Cory Hibbets – Kiss the Air
Erika Cogliani – You Learn to Live Without
Ashlee Kurkoff – Don’t Rain on My Parade
Everard Cupo – Lucky Old Sun
Sheri Kuznicki Owen – Come Rain or Come Shine
Ron Squeri – If You Love Me, Please Don’t Feed Me
Juan Marroquin – The Way You Look Tonight
Paul Pompeo – Everybody Says Don’t
Erika Cogliani – Easy As Life
Danie Harrow & Ashlee Kurkoff – Let Me Be Your Star
Cory Hibbets – So Close Brandi Rose – Christmas Lullaby
Steven Cupo – With You


The spring rains of May brought on more than just flowers; music was blooming as well at The Black Squirrel.  An enthusiastic group was ready to welcome in good music along with a wonderful evening of fun and camaraderie.  With Reenie Codelka at the piano, the creative spirit blossomed.  Reenie even shone with her own versatility as she played for one singer with nothing but basic chords and lyrics in front of her.  Everyone was duly impressed; especially the singer!  Host, Steven Cupo, brought his 90 year old Dad, Ev, to help add to the entertainment.  Ev had been to past Open Mics, but this was the first time he sang twice.  And, boy, what a huge treat that was.  He really still has the magic one needs in order to put across a song.  Board member, Cindy Hutchins, brought along a new voice student.  They both ended up singing by using music from the just completed lesson.  Now that is what you call “getting into the swing of things”!  Speaking of Board members, Monday was the birthday of DC Cabaret Network Board President, George Fulginiti-Shakar.  Even though he wasn’t in attendance, he was remembered from the stage.  Happy Birthday, Georgie!
As all were leaving at the end of the night, everyone agreed that it was a very special coming together of music and great story telling; just the perfect evening.

Steven Cupo – Mama, a Rainbow
Marcia Kass  – Timid Frieda
Paul Pompeo – Here’s That Rainy Day
Stephanie Dailey – Hard Hearted Hannah
Len Borges – Beyond the Sea
Heidi Mayor – Hang on Little Tomato
Everard Cupo – Wandering
Steven Cupo – With You
Cindy Hutchins – Every Time We Say Goodbye
Magdalena Kuszmileva – The Man I Love
Paul Pompeo – Fly Me to the Moon
Stephanie Dailey – I Believe in You and Me
Heidi Mayor – I’ve Been Lonely Before
Everard Cupo – Old Man River


An April evening in spring must have inspired folks to stay outside and enjoy the weather, because they didn’t seem to be going indoors to take in the lovely ambiance of the DC Cabaret Network’s April Open Mic  at The Black Squirrel.   However, even though the group was small, our evening was “yuge” with good music and wonderful versatility.  As Steven Cupo hosted, Bill Yanesh’s talents were on full display at the keyboard.  Because the group was small, Steven kept encouraging Bill to go for a solo himself.  The Rachmaninoff never appeared, but he clearly showed that, if given the opportunity, he would have been fully capable!
It was a bit sentimental having Board member Tracy Simpson sing a couple of songs.  She will be leaving for a couple of months to take advantage of a great job opportunity in New York City.  She said she will be back, but in the meantime, is looking forward to attending some cabaret in The Big Apple herself!
Announcements were made regarding the DC Cabaret Network’s Annual Members Showcase on Thursday, April 14th at the Metropolitan Church of Washington.  It always is a great way to see the range of performers in DC.
At the end of the night, everyone concurred that, after all, a small group listening to live music in an intimate space was a wonderful way to spend a spring evening.

Steven Cupo – House of the Rising Sun
Michael Miyazaki  – Making Love Alone
Byron Murray – You’d Be So Easy to Love
Juan Marroquin – En Mi Viejo San Juan
Ron Squeri – Leaving on a Jet Plane
Tracy Simpson – When She Loved Me
Stephanie Dailey – Will You Love Me Tomorrow?
Steven Cupo – My Funny Valentine
Byron Murray – You’d Be So Nice to Come Home to
Ron Squeri – So In Love
Juan Marroquin – My Way
Tracy Simpson – Manhattan
Michael Miyazaki – Get Here
Stephanie Dailey – When Did You Leave Heaven?


The DC Cabaret Network’s January Open Mic at The Black Squirrel saw in the new year with an intimate group of participants, who braved a cold January night in order to share talent, song and camaraderie.  Even though the group was small, the evening was large with good music.  Steven Cupo hosted, while Jeff Hamlin’s talented hands were at the keyboard.  Jeff’s versatility shone through when the piano stand holding the music fell off the back of the piano while one of our singers was in mid-song.  Jeff didn’t “bat-an-eye’ and just kept playing as though the ghost of the sheet music was still in front of him.  Way to go, Jeff!
It was also heartening to have Sherri Kuznicki Owen and her husband, Mark, drive all the way from Annapolis to be with the Open Mic gang.  The cold certainly didn’t stop them!  Everyone received an extra special treat when Steve Cupo’s 89 yesr old dad, Everard, got up to the stage and sang “That Lucky Old Sun”; without a mic and a cappella, no less.  He was GREAT!
Announcements were made to watch for our upcoming party to celebrate the new “Terri Allen Legacy Fund”.  So, watch your email for this gala, as well as the notice for our next Open Mic.
It was agreed that an intimate group in an intimate space was a wonderful way to spend a chilly evening.

Steven Cupo – They Were You
Len Borges  – Paper Moon
Marcia Kass – Timid Frieda
Richard Gondelman – Leader of the Band
Sheri Kuznicki Owen – I’ll Be Seeing You
Everard Cupo – That Lucky Old Sun
Sheri Kuznicki Owen – For Good
Richard Gondelman – Hallelujah
Marcia Kass – I Hate Men
Sheri Kuznicki Owen – Waiting for Life to Begin