Vitello’s Restaurant, near the movie studios and networks in a trendy L.A. Valley neighborhood, was once a hangout for the Rat Pack. Frank Sinatra’s autographed picture still has a place of honor in the place that boasts of authentic Italian dishes and mellow music at the piano bar. But it’s Upstairs at Vitello’s that has most of the swingers now.
Upstairs at Vitello’s is the name of the jazz and supper club above the main restaurant in Studio City, California. Their monthly calendar of events always includes the most entertaining show-stopping performers, bringing back wonderful cabaret. The variety of acts range from ring-a-ding-ding Sinatra-style singers, to soulful blues artists, a night of the great American Songbook, Latin sounds, accomplished jazz musicians sharing their talent, and swinging big bands bringing back an ultra-classy bygone era.
Among the lovely songbirds who recently grabbed the spotlight there were singer-songwriter-pianist Angela Parrish and singer-songwriter Tommi Williams. On her big night headlining Upstairs, Parrish said, “I want to emotionally move people and touch souls in a positive way with my songs.” The multi-talented Angela certainly did that for the audience who discovered a performer on the verge of greatness.
Before singer Tommi Williams made her debut Upstairs in the cool cabaret room, her music producer/co-writer Tom Rizzo whet the appetite of the crowd. The veteran composer (with The Tonight Show and In Living Color to his credits) knows great talent and Rizzo said, “Tommi Williams is elegant, beautiful, and has an incredible range of talent along with guts and soul. After tonight you will believe she is the next great star.” The Vitello’s audience discovered the lofty praise was true.
On a different night “Dianne Fraser’s Evening of Classic Broadway” was back by popular demand. Presented by the Fraser Entertainment Group, the night was emceed by UBN Radio’s “Happy Hour” fun-loving hosts Ben Viele and Alexander Rodriguez. Musical direction was by Brad Ellis, the omnipresent unflappable piano player on Glee.
Songs from Mame, Guys & Dolls, My Fair Lady, Gypsy, Carousel, and many more made up the classic Broadway evening. They were sung by some of the best singers in musical theater. Stephen Kramer Glickman (from TV’s Big Time Rush and the musical Shrek), Terron Brooks, Dan Callaway, Ashley Fox Linton, Ruth Williamson, Louise Marie Cornillez, Susan Edwards Martin, Bill A. Jones, and Dianne Fraser provided the parade of musical notables who did about a two hour show that you hoped would never end. They all joined forces for the “There’s No Business Like Show Business” finale.
There are a variety of Broadway nights upcoming on the Upstairs at Vitello’s schedule, along with Latin music, cool jazz, established singers, and emerging talent. Check out the monthly schedule at www.vitellosjazz.com. Most shows at 8 p.m. and always a reasonable cover, great food and drinks to toast the night away. #