Who is Saul Tannenbaum?
He’s a longtime vaudevillian with a show for every occasion, and he’s starring in a new one, “Springtime in Paris,” tonight and Saturday.
Tannenbaum almost seems real. He issues press releases. He makes sometimes-embarrassing personal disclosures on Facebook. (“Oh, that Ann-Margret. There’s a special lady.”) He and his wife Judy (“the schmaltz in my matzo ball”) can be seen in a series of videos on YouTube.
Tannenbaum was born last December, springing from the heads of Josh Anderson and Christina Collins of Olympia, the show’s creators.
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Anderson (wearing big sunglasses and a bad wig) plays the hyperbolic singer/pianist, while Collins is the project’s primary writer. In what the duo calls “the Sauliverse,” she plays Dot Sangfroid, who in a through-the-looking-glass touch is the writer and stage manager for Tannenbaum and his troupe.
“Springtime in Paris” (featuring the Gay Parisiennes) sets new lyrics to familiar songs and includes a loose plot about love and romance.
“Saul’s wife, Judy, has left him after many, many years of putting up with his issues,” Anderson said. “So this show is his attempt to get Judy back.
“Judy is not in the show; she’s gone to her sister’s in Boca to get away.”
While Tannenbaum is an old-fashioned vaudeville man, the shows are a new form of entertainment – part old-style revue, part play, and part digital entertainment, with YouTube videos about Saul and Judy adding a back story.
“It’s a serialized vaudeville musical soap opera,” Collins said. “We definitely want it to go on for a long time.”
“People can watch the videos and follow us on Facebook and come to the shows,” Anderson said. “It’s not a standard musical revue. It’s a new kind of entertainment, but at the same time it’s very old.”
“You don’t have to see the videos to understand what’s going on in the show,” Collins added, “but it adds another element.”
Saul’s first show, “Claus for Celebration,” happened two days before Christmas at the 4th Ave. Tavern in Olympia. The place was packed with about 150 people.
“We had more people in there than they’d ever had for an event, sitting down and standing up,” Anderson said. “That was something that we never really expected, so this time we decided to do two shows.”
The holiday piece featured original lyrics for Christmas classics. The Parisian romp has a more diverse set list.
“We’re doing everything from Cole Porter to Phil Collins,” Anderson said. “It’s kind of a smattering everything. The way Saul puts it, he says, ‘Classics both old and new that will charm the heart right out of your chest.’ ”
Anderson and Collins already have many more shows in the works. “We’ve found that Saul likes Olympia, so he’ll be doing many shows here,” Anderson said. “The Thanksgiving show that will be coming up will be ‘Saul Tannenbaum’s Horn o’ Plenty,’ featuring the Mayflowers.”