Jamie Salzano has arrived. The singer-actress is ready for her big moment at The Metropolitan Room in Manhattan, where she opens her solo cabaret show on Saturday. Come and be dazzled (and “bedazzled”) by Salzano’s sparkling musical journey of a girl on the rocks reaching for the stars.
The Valley Stream native proudly presents “Stardust and other sparkly things…” on Nov. 9, at 4 p.m., with additional performances on Tuesday, Nov. 26, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 7, at 4 p.m.
In her solo cabaret debut, Salzano traces her still-developing life story, from her suburban childhood as a Long Island diva-in-training through her rollercoaster years of love, loss and life lessons in the Big Apple. With effervescent humor and lots of heart, she shares sassy stories about finding her voice and chasing all that glitters.
“When I was growing up in the ‘80s,” Salzano said, “everything glittered and I was attracted by the spectacle of all that sparkle. Now as I get older, I see that that the sparkle is really on the inside. It’s never too late to follow your dreams. No matter how many times you fall down, it’s how you get up that matters. You have to take a chance. And that’s what this show is about.”
It’s been a rocky road for the 1991 graduate of Valley Stream Central High School, who left the south shore for the bright lights of the big city and New York University (where she gradusated in 1995 with a degree in musical theater), eager to pursue her path to stardom.
Salzano, who has been performing since her days at Wheeler Avenue Elementary School, found that she was forced to take a detour on her road to that brilliant career, after she was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2003. The debilitating disease, from which she has been struggling with for years, impacted her ability pursue her musical career full-time. But that has not held the ever-optimistic multi-talented dynamo — who also dances and plays both piano and clarinet — back. She continues her busy performance schedule while working at an investment management company.
Salzano has appeared at The Metropolitan Room, Don’t Tell Mama, and the Duplex in New York City as well as Davenport’s in Chicago. She has also been spotted on television in Law & Order, in the film Carlito’s Way, and in a French Energizer commercial that required her to run across the Brooklyn Bridge several times, among her many endeavors. “Nothing is going to stop me from pursuing my passion,” she said.
“Stardust and other sparkly things...” features songs by Kander & Ebb, Katy Perry, Hoagy Carmichael, and New York City songwriters such as Rick Jensen and Tracy Stark, among other unexpected Broadway, pop, and Great American Songbook gems.
“It’s like I have come full circle,” said Salzano, who now lives on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. “In high school I played Sally Bowles in ‘Cabaret’. And I was fond of saying “Life is a cabaret,” which was my yearbook quote. And now here I am, with my own show.”
“I’ve always been an advocate of the show must go on,” Salzano said. “I’ve had some rough times and lost a person close to me, but I keep having faith that things will work out.”
And for this young star-in-the-making, it all leads back to cabaret. “Cabaret is an amazing process,” Salzano explained,” because you get to tell your story and share your message as you include your audience. They take the journey with you and have their own journey along the way.”
Or as Salzano quotes from the lyrics of “Tear Up the Town,” by composer Brian Lasser,” “Music is the remedy…”
“I may be down, I may have Lyme, but I have lots of spark left,” she stated, “and that’s what you’ll see in my show.”
“Stardust and other sparkly things…” is directed by Lennie Watts, a nine-time Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs (MAC) Award winner, among his other honors, who has directed events at leading New York City venues including Symphony Space, Town Hall, and B.B. King Blues Club. Serving as musical director and pianist is Rick Jensen, also a MAC Award winner, who has performed with Jason Graae, Liz Callaway, and Tovah Feldshuh among other theater and cabaret luminaries. Rounding out the band are cabaret and jazz veteran Tom Hubbard on bass (who has performed with Liza Minnelli, Marilyn Maye, and Freddy Cole) and drummer Jeff Potter.
Salzano credits her music teacher at Wheeler Elementary School, Lorraine Hoskins (who passed away in 2010), with nurturing her talents. “She was an amazing teacher,” said Salzano, “who encouraged and mentored me through the years — at Memorial Junior High School, at Central, and even came to the show I did when I was at NYU.” Her other mentor, Edith Chiano (who runs the dance school, Miss Edie’s Dancin Feet in Franklin Square) directed Central High School’s award-winning dance team, the Streamers, of which Salzano was the team’s captain.
Salzano’s other skills include baton twirling and synchronized swimming (which she began at age 5). She also worked for the Incorporated Village of Valley Stream, where she directed musicals and synchronized swim shows at the Arthur J. Hendrickson Park and Pool.
“I have so many great memories of Valley Stream,” Salzano said, noting that she returns frequently to visit her parents who still live in the village. “My teachers were always incredibly encouraging and working at the pool was so much fun.”
Now, with those memories to build on, Salzano is ready to tackle The Metropolitan Room and her cabaret career. “The Metropolitan Room is such a fabulous, intimate space with amazing lighting and sound,” Salzano said. “It’s perfect for this show.”
And she can’t wait to share her sparkle with her audience.
Stardust and other sparkly things…
When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 4 p.m.; Tuesday, Nov. 26, 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 7, 4 p.m.
Tickets: $20 plus a two-drink minimum; advance reservations are encouraged by calling (212) 206-0440 or reserving online at www.metropolitanroom.com.
Where: The Metropolitan Room, 34 West 22nd St. (between 5th and 6th Avenues), New York City.