Carole Demas: “With You”
Live from Skylight Run in with Ian Herman

by: Aron Bederson

This intimate concert with Broadway veteran and TV performer Carole Demas was broadcast and filmed in her living room in Westchester. The program “With You”  began  with Demas welcoming her audience and introducing them to her friend and accompanist of 40 years,  Ian Herman.

She has a warm, joyful presence and immediately set the stage for an eclectic evening of music from the theatre, American Songbook and soul world’s.

The first piece of the evening was Billy Joel’s Home.  Demas looked happy as she sang, gazing directly into the camera. She had a conversational approach to the song and told the story of it directly and simply. She also has a lovely, reedy quality in her voice and moves easily between her chest and head registers.

She continued with Somewhere Out There (Horner/Weill/Mann) and found the yearning quality the piece calls for. Demas then told a very engaging story about auditioning for Stephen Schwartz musical The Magic Show in the 70’s which led into Lion Tamer (Schwartz). Demas filled the story of the song with commitment and energy and created the world of the character quickly and sweetly.

Demas did well engaging with and involving her pianist throughout the evening. They shared a lovely reparté, which made the performance feel spontaneous and natural. I have seen virtual concerts where the musicians are silent observers, but Demas and Herman shared the evening beautifully, with Demas even giving Herman, a talented  composer incorporating elements of jazz, blues and honky tonk, the opportunity to play his original compositions: SamSpoo, Ahead of  Time, Blue in F and 6/8.  He also played his own arrangement of Gershwin’s I Got Rhythm.. and added a great deal to the evening accompanying Demas with rich, and full arrangements of each song. As she described it, “he can play anything.”

After Herman’s first two compositions, Demas sang a Laura Nyro song: The Man Who Sends Me Home. She has a quality in her soulful soprano reminiscent of Nyro and the song suited her well.

Demas also sang James Taylor’s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight, a sweet rendition of Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? (Goffin/King), With You (Schwartz) from Pippin, What I Did For Love from “A Chorus Line (Kleban/Hamlisch) and  The Rose (McBroom) which she introduced as the song she sang at her wedding. The evening was, as she described it, devoted mostly to love songs, which was a lovely match for Demas’ demeanor and voice.

Performing to a camera is a new experience for many cabaret performers, but not for Demas whose early career includes the successful children’s show, The Magic Garden. Demas did well, tending her own magic garden, making her accompanist an integral part of the evening. Her experience on camera gave her an ease talking to her virtual audience and sharing a number of stories from her career and life. Demas clearly has the ability to relate to her virtual audience, not an easy task!

Throughout the performance she was emotionally connected to her material, fully engaging her body and hands in her interpretation of the song. The evening was a blend of music and story telling and a joyful demonstration of what two friends and collaborators can create together.

Live from Skylight Run is a monthly series of concerts. She performs in many of them, and all of the concerts and more info are available at www.caroledemas.com.