Mary Foster Conklin returns to the Metropolitan Room with LIFE IS A BITCH, a collection of songs by Fran Landesman, the self-proclaimed "poet laureate of lovers and losers," best remembered as the lyricist of The Nervous Set, the world's first (and only) beatnik musical, which premiered in St. Louis in 1959 and later flopped on Broadway. Two numbers from the show, "All the Sad Young Men" and "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most" were widely recorded and became jazz standards. The evening will consist of a musical assortment of Landesman collaborators, including Tommy Wolf, Alec Wilder, Bob Dorough, Roy Kral, Simon Wallace and John Simon, with a special nod to past singers who were champions of Fran's songs, like Jackie and Roy and Suzannah McCorkle.
“Every joke has a switch/ Every joker a twitch/ Every high has a hitch/ Baby, life is a bitch.” Fran Landesman (1927-2011)
The winner of the 2010 MAC Award for Jazz Vocalist, Mary Foster Conklin is a true jazz original. “Scratch her witty tough-girl-from-Jersey patter,” wrote The Washington Post, “and you’ll find a sensitive artist (but not frail) with a wide-ranging boldly colored voice and an open ear for off-beat material.” A natural storyteller, her sets are a mix of contemporary material and standards, with an emphasis on the lesser known treasures of the Great American Songbook. Regarding her attraction to the Landesman folio: “I'd toyed with doing some kind of Landesman project for years ever since I saw her perform at Joe's Pub with Bob Dorough and Jackie Cain back in 2003. Being a completionist music geek, it always bothered me that there wasn't a proper tribute to her work after she died last year, as she is a native New Yorker and certainly deserves one.”