Category Archives: Featuring The Harlettes

Monday, November 5, 2018

Featuring A Harlette: Nicolette Hart – Returning home to start a business in Rochester: a Broadway star, Olympians and a model

Featuring A Harlette: Nicolette Hart
By Mary Chao
Nov. 2, 2018

Featuring A Harlette: Nicolette Hart

Nicolette Hart returned to Rochester to open her voice and acting studio. (Photo: One Sharp Joe (

It all started in kindergarten when a teacher sent a note home to Michelle Lipman’s parents expressing concern about her shyness. Her mother’s guilt sank in, so she was enrolled in all types of classes that would force interaction with other children, including voice and acting.  

“This was the beginning of what would become my passion, my love, my life and career path,” says Lipman, who now goes by Nicolette Hart.

After intensive training for a bachelor in fine arts degree in musical theater at the University at Buffalo and making it on Broadway in productions such as Legally Blonde, Hart is back in her hometown of Penfield, married to a boy she knew in her youth with a business in Rochester training young actors and actresses. She is among many area entrepreneurs who decided to return home after national and international fame, choosing to grow a business in the Rochester region. Read More

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Saturday, November 3, 2018

Featuring A Harlette: Jenifer Lewis Talks Activism, Kanye, Racism, And Bette Midler (Bonus Video)

New York Times
Featuring A Harlette: Jenifer Lewis Talks Activism, Kanye, Racism, And Bette Midler
By Interview by Lauretta Charlton
Oct. 30, 2018

Photo taken of Ms. Jenifer Lewis by 
Oriana Koren
Photo taken of Ms. Jenifer Lewis by 
Oriana Koren

Throughout your career, you’ve played various matriarchs — the mothers in “Poetic Justice,” “The Preacher’s Wife” and “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” the aunt in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and now the grandmother on “black-ish” — and you’ve named your memoir, “The Mother of Black Hollywood,” accordingly. Did you ever feel typecast? No, I love these roles. What has happened with the younger generation that started watching me on “Fresh Prince” is that I developed a relationship with them. I was parked on Santa Monica Boulevard just yesterday, and a young African-American woman stopped her car, and she just reached her hand out of the window and whispered, “Thank you.” What can I tell you, kid? I’m doing my best. Read More

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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Featuring A Harlette: Melanie Taylor – Love Me Still

Produced by:  Keri Larson & Tony Guerrero

Vocal: Melanie Taylor

Piano: Tony Guerrero

Written by: Bruce Hornsby & Chaka Kahn

Melanie Taylor is a force to be reckoned with. Her career spans many decades and her list of credits is extensive. She was a legendary Harlette for Bette Midler for almost 10 years and was the 1st female vocalist to tour with the band Aerosmith in 2012. She has recently been touring with Barry Manilow and has worked with artists such as Barbra Streisand, John Mayer, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, and Chaka Kahn to name a few. Melanie has worked in TV, Film, and Commercials including jingles for Mattel and Toyota, as well as appearances on Oprah, Parenthood, The Oscars, AMA’s, and The Voice, and more. She had a top 5 single on the Billboard dance charts with the capitol records duo, Bardeux. Read More

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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Featuring A Harlette: Video – CHARLO CROSSLEY “I KNOW WHERE I’VE BEEN” – To Support Marsha Malamet (Intro by BRUCE VILANCH)

Music & Lyrics by Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman from the Musical “Hairspray!”) Performed Live (with track) on May 29, 2018, at Catalina Jazz Club in “LOVE DON’T NEED A REASON A Benefit for Singer/Songwriter MARSHA MALAMET.”

You can contribute to Marsha’s much needed medical support at

Very Special Thanks to Marc Saltrelli for capturing this magical moment on video. Clifford Bell, Hillary Rollins, and Lampkin Music Group present: “Love Don’t Need a Reason: A Benefit for Marsha Malamet” on Tuesday, May 29th at Catalina’s Jazz Club. Hosted by Award-winning writer/actor/personality, Bruce Vilanch At press time, Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter, Melissa Manchester; Golden Globe/MAC Award winner, Amanda McBroom; Award Award singer/songwriter, Michele Brourman; Actress/ singer, Mary Jo Mundy; Singer, Ken Stacy, Singer, Kimaya Seward; Award-winning singer/musical director/pianist, Todd Schroeder, Former Harlette and Hairspray Star, Charlo Crossley; Pop Producer Greg Wells; Actress/singer, Patricia Whiteman; Songwriter, Alan Roy Scott; Songwriter, Matthew Levine and Award-winning producer/songwriter and Marsha’s producer, Stephan Oberhoff have all signed on to perform. More to be announced. Directed by Clifford Bell.

This special show will showcase an array of performances, video and written testimonials and comments on the Life and Music of Marsha Malamet. Explanation: This benefit is to help pay for all medical needs and some living expenses, due to the fact that what Marsha suffers from (we still don’t know exactly) is not covered by insurance. Whether it is an autoimmune disorder or a metabolic disease, treatments are expensive. In 2015 she was diagnosed with early-stage Parkinson’s, then a year later, Lyme Disease. She has spent a lot of money to see different doctors, who’s treatments have not been successful. Now she is under the care of a new doctor who treated Kris Kristofferson successfully who was challenged by something similar. Right now, she has a 24/7 caregiver and is mostly disable, using a wheelchair and walker. The unfortunate thing is that she lost the muscle strength and coordination, and can’t play the piano, sing, or write.

The performers honoring Marsha with their appearance are all friends of her’s, having known her or written with her.

Malamet Biography: At the age of 21, Marsha made her solo recording debut, “Coney Island Winter,” on Decca Records. It was engineered by Brooks Arthur. She performed at top venues in New York supporting the CD, including Lincoln Center, and her songs have been featured on Broadway: first, in Peter Allen’s “Up in One,” and then “The Boy from Oz,” based on Peter’s life.

Marsha’s songs have been recorded by the best in the business, artists include Barbra Streisand, Faith Hill, Luther Vandross, Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle, Meatloaf, the late Barbara Cook, Judy Collins and Sheena Easton. Marsha’s top ten international hit single, “I Am Blessed,” sung by the UK’s pop group, Eternal, moved the Pope to invite them to perform the song at the Vatican.

Her song “Love Don’t Need A Reason,” co-written with the late Peter Allen and Michael Callen, has become an iconic theme for the Aids/HIV epidemic, recorded by over 35 performers and gay choruses worldwide. Marsha was Grammy nominated for her songwriting involvement on the original Broadway cast CD “The Boy from Oz,” starring Hugh Jackman. Marsha’s music takes root in people’s hearts and minds.

To hear Marsha’s music or to purchase, please visit:

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Featuring A Harlette: Chrissi Poland – New Gig, New Album, Worked With Bette Midler in 2014

Wicked Local
Marshfield’s Chrissi Poland talks about coming home to perform
By Ruth Thompson
Posted Jul 18, 2018 at 4:00 PM

Chrissi Poland

Singer/songwriter/musician Chrissi Poland, a Marshfield native, will be performing at The River Club Music Hall, 78 Border St. in Scituate, for “An Evening with Chrissi Poland, Ari Hest & Mike Errico” at 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 26.

While Poland writes her own material and very much enjoys playing different instruments at her live shows, singing is her first love.

She answered a few questions for the Mariner ahead of her upcoming concert.

Tickets for the show are a $15/general admission, $25 reserved. For more information visit

How long have you been playing music professionally?

I’d say for 20 years since before college, making a little money here and there doing local pick up gigs. Then onward and upward from there, it’s been a wild ride so far. Although I did crash the wedding band at my cousin’s wedding when I was 4, asking if I could sit in and sing “Tomorrow” from Annie. Does that count?

Can you talk a bit about your upcoming show at the River Club?

The show will be an NYC Songwriters In The Round format, where three of us – myself, Ari Hest and Mike Errico – will all share the stage and go down the line playing an original song, telling the story of how it came about.

What do you enjoy about this sort of performance?

It gives the audience a more intimate look inside the creative process of a songwriter and brings the audience into the connection the three of us have as writers and artists. It’s sort of like that show MTV “Unplugged,” and feels very much like a grown-up rock and roll story hour. Juicy details always start flying.

What can you say about Ari and Mike, who will be part of the roundtable?

Two of the most wonderful songwriters and artists I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Ari and I met for the first time six years ago in London, where we had both been invited to take part in a small tour around the UK. Sidebar, we connected so much as people and musicians on that tour, we decided to fall in love and get married a few years later.

I remember a year or so into knowing him, Ari said to me, “You really need to meet my friend Mike Errico, you’ll love his songwriting.” Sure enough, he was right. Ari and Mike toured together years ago and have guested on each others’ shows, and through Ari, I’ve become friends with Mike, and we’ve worked on some songwriting together.

It seems like the perfect storm of a good show to have us all together on stage. Ari brings an incredible array of folk and Americana to his work, while Mike brings a lot of rock and pop/singer-songwriter stylings. I bring a sort of soul/pop vibe with my writing, so there’s quite a listening palate for the audience to experience.

You are originally from this area, what is it like to return “home” as a performer?

I love coming home to play. It’s a chance to see old friends and family as well as meet new people that come to the show. Because I play so much out of town or on the road, my family doesn’t get to see a lot of my live performances. It’s nice to have them all around at a hometown show.

Who would you say has been your biggest professional inspiration? Read More

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Featuring The Harlettes: The Black & White Sessions : Paulette McWilliams : “At Seventeen” (June 18, 2018)

Mister D: I thought I’d start featuring the Harlettes Bette Midler has gainfully employed over the decades. You know they had to be super-talented and well-rounded to work with the hard driving Miss M. I’ve featured some in the past, but I keep running into their projects and I’d like to pay some respect when I can. So we’ll start out with Ms. Paulette McWilliams who worked with Ms. Midler in 1979-1980. Ms. Williams does an awesome job on one of my favorite songs, At Seventeen, written by the incredible Janis Ian (Some People’s Lives)

Produced by: Keri Larson & Tony Guerrero

Vocals: Paulette McWilliams
Piano: Tony Guerrero

Written By: Janis Ian

Socials and such:
Facebook: Paulette McWilliams
Instagram: @plettymac
Twitter: @Mspaulette

There is no one with a bio as lengthy or extensive in this series as Paulette McWilliams. Please visit her website for the full listing, but here are a few highlights. Paulette worked with Luther Vandross for 20+ years on multiple tours and albums. She introduced Chaka Khan to Rufus and they sang together in the band in the early years. She was a backing vocalist on “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” for Michael Jackson and worked extensively with Quincy Jones on various albums and tours. Paulette sang all of Tammi Terrell’s duets with Marvin Gaye during his last tour and was a Harlette for Bette Midler. The list continues with multiple commercials and Tv Themes as well as countless solo ventures in the international Jazz Festival circuit.

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