A B A R E T
Cabaret Convention 2023
Three brilliant evenings of The American Songbook. By Lucy Komisar.
Cabaret Convention 2022
Cabaret Convention, highlighting dozens of major cabaret singers in the
U.S. and some abroad, is sponsored annually by Mabel Mercer Foundation.
Socialist radical Yip Harburg gets spotlight at
NYC Cabaret Convention
American Standards are glorious finish to 2022
|AUSTRALICANA -- Marc Shairman’s “Fat
As I Am” and Kander and Ebb’s “Me and My Baby”
were Fishman’s lighthearted way of addressing her very obvious
pregnancy. Photo by Neil Cohen.
Celebrating Two Countries:
"Australicana," which made its debut at the Triad, is Alexis
Fishman’s seventh cabaret show, but it’s her first as an American
citizen. The show celebrates her new status with a “deep dive into
the chronicles of cultural confusion, hilarity and challenges of life
as an Australican.” By Paulanne Simmons.
|KT Sullivan reads a letter from the correspondence
of Noël Coward (Steve Ross). Photo by Carol Rosegg.
Love, Noël: the
Songs and Letters of Noël Coward
KT Sullivan is a smash in “Love, Noël: the Songs and Letters
of Noël Coward," written by Barry Day and directed by Charlotte
Moore, at W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre, 32 West 22nd Street. Reviewed
by Lucy Komisar and Edward Rubin.
|Lionel Cole in Freddy Cole Quartet at
Birdland, with Elias Bailey on bass and Sam Raderman on guitar. Photo
by Lucy Komisar.
Lionel Cole brightens
Dad’s “Freddy Cole Quartet” in blackout
On July 13 there was blackout in New York City, Freddy Cole
didn’t make it to his 8:30 set at Birdland last night. He was stuck
in a nearby hotel when the power outage struck and, at 87, he couldn’t
take the stairs. His son Lionel Cole took over, playing the piano, singing
and charming the crowd with his voice, his personality and his kilts.
It was a glorious evening at Legendary Jazz Club after all. By Lucy Komisar.
|William Michals. Photo by Maryann Lopinto.
Broadway By the Year, 1943,
For 19 years, impresario Scott Siegel has been delving into the past of
American musicals to put before theater and cabaret fans the best known
and hidden gems of the decades. And also presenting some of the finest
performers to them. He picks a couple of years. The years 1943 and 1951
in this show were typically marked by blockbusters and some shows Lucy
Komisar never knew.
|CABARET CONVENTION 2018 -- Joan Ryan. Photo by Richard
2018 hits very good notes with "The Best of Jerry Herman"
Cabaret is not just about the words and the music, it's about telling
a story. Sometimes, it's even a mini-musical play. And that is what is
good about the Cabaret Convention, in its 29th year, annually four nights
in October, at Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center. The singers and audience
are almost a community, many returning for years, meeting and chatting
in the expansive lobby at intermission and after the show. By Lucy Komisar.
|Linda Glick at Pangea. Photo by Kamoier
Linda Glick in "Teach
Veteran cabaret performer Linda Glick appeared at Pangea in a series of
four performances entitled "Teach me Tonight," splendidly accompanied
by pianist Ian Herman. A former language teacher of French and Spanish,
the charming and likeable Glick wove some songs together with the theme
of teaching, making for some interesting choices and very entertaining
personal stories. Good music, stories, accompaniment, and a warm feeling
between performer and audience made for a most pleasant experience. By
Comstock and Barbara Fasano.
Photo by Lucy Komisar.
Cabaret Convention 2017 at Lincoln
The Cabaret Convention put on by the Mabel Mercer Foundation has for almost
three decades brought together some of the best cabaret performers in
the country, each of four days presenting as many as 20 singers, some
prominent, some new, some doing standards, others jazz, to keep the tradition
alive. One night this year featured the works of George Gershwin, which
is why you'll note many singers doing his songs. A nice part about the
event is that the performers come out to the lobby at intermission and
after the show to chat and schmooz with the audience. Hence these photos.
Dozens appeared over four evenings; these are just my highlights of three
nights I attended. I notice that most are women. Well, so be it! They
had the most pizzazz, the most drama. By Lucy Komisar.
sings Dean Martin
Remy.S attended Francesca Capetta's program of songs of Dean Martin at
Carnegie Hall and thinks he was in the presence of a star. Not Martin,
because although it was his 100th birthday, he didn't live that long.
But Capetta, who he thinks is somebody you should keep in your radar.
|Stephanie Trudeau and projections of Chavela Vargas
and Jose Alfredo Jimenez.
channels Chavela Vargas
"Chavela: Think Of Me," written and performed by Stephanie Trudeau,
is more than just a musical cabaret based on the songs of legendary Mexican
singer Chavela Vargas. It is also a documentary theater project that traces
the famed ranchera singer's artistic evolution and the key relationships
of her life. Trudeau unveiled the piece May 15 at Pangea Supper Club,
178 Second Ave. It was a pleasure from start to finish! By Paul Berss.
|Joey Arias by Heath McBride
Is With You Now"
The otherworldly sensationalist Joey Arias is an avid experimentalist
both off stage and off. I have been told – and my sources do not
lie – that the daring chanteuse is up for just about anything. And
if there is anything that he has not tried yet, well, rest assured, one
way or another, Arias will get around to it, and if you are really lucky
he may get around to you too. Just keep the faith. By Edward Rubin.
|Carole J. Bufford
“Cabaret Convention 2016"
Best of New York’s cabaret singers, new talents and veteran
stars are featured at the festival. By Lucy Komisar.
|Bonita Brisker as Billie Holiday.
Bonita & Billie
In a velvet ankle-length gown, white gloves and white fur stole,
the signature gardenia over one ear, Bonita Brisker glitters like the
rhinestones on her costume. “What a little moonlight will do…”
she channels Billie Holiday, her songs, her life. By Lucy Komisar
Las Vegas,' a celebration of the great performers."Bobby Nesbitt,
photo Lucy Komisar.
"'Viva Las Vegas,' a celebration
of the great performers"
Bobby Nesbitt’s tribute to the cabaret greats of Las Vegas is much
richer than any medley of songs from the star singers of the time. His
performance at the Tennessee Williams Theatre reprises the iconic tunes
of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and more. But he also offers
some social history that sets "the Rat Pack"– the name
given by actress Lauren Bacall –in an American context. (She said,
"You look like a goddam rat pack."). Reviewed by Lucy Komisar.
Reyburn at the Metropolitan Room, photo by Lucy Komisar.
"Fate is Kind," a sophisticated
"kids' song" cabaret for adults
Julie Reyburn mixes kids songs and sophistication at Metropolitan Rooma.
When she sings, you think you are at a theater stage. Her rich soprano
last night entranced an audience at her “Fate is Kind,” a
show of mostly kids’ songs for adults. By Lucy Komisar.
Metropolitan Room. Photo by Lucy Komisar.
Nathalie Schmidt's "Forgotten
Lovers" are characters in a comic-dramatic cabaret story
A lot of Nathalie Schmidt's talent is confirmed in the cabaret show, "Forgotten
Lovers," at the Metropolitan Room. Her acting enriches a partly comic,
partly cynical take on life. She's a personality that the New York cabaret
scene needs. By Lucy Komisar.
Charlotte Patton in
Charlotte Patton's "Celebrating Men" impeccable collection of
upbeat songs about love. By Lucy Kominsar.
|STING*CHRONICITY -- Rosemary
A rich theatrical experience, where cabaret becomes Theater. "Sting*chronicity"—
songs by Sting, played by Rosemary Loar, who is a major cabaret singer,
throaty, breathy, with drama in her strong torch-song voice. By Lucy Komisar.
|Pico and David
Chown. Photo by Trevor DeVooght.
and Chown, Back in Town”
From January 10 to the 13 the rick, luscious voice of Miriam Pico and
the fine jazz piano of David Chown fill the living room of the Harry Truman
Little White House, in Key West, where the 33rd president took winter
vacations, playing poker with his buddies. By Lucy Komisar.
McDonald as Billie Holiday. Photo by Evgenia Eliseeva.
"Lady Day at Emerson's Bar &
Grill" is a stunning jazz cabaret by Audra McDonald
Wrapped in a white gown, an iconic white gardenia in her hair, Audra McDonald
channels Billie Holiday — her voice, her accent, her manner —
till you believe you are sitting in the slightly tacky Philadelphia dive
where Holiday sang her last songs. By Lucy Komisar.
Kitty La Rue and Lou Henry Hoover. Photo by Edward Rubin.
The wonderfully intimate, 80-seat, Laurie Beecham Theatre, situated across
from Theatre Row, and a few blocks west of Broadway, presents "BenDeLaCreme,"
an extravagant show which celebrates artifice and fantaisie. "BenDeLaCreme"
is a subtle combination between performing and visual arts with a love
of spectacle and glamour. By Edward Rubin.
Bonnie Lee Sanders with Tom Spahn at keyboard and Bob Desjardins on
bass, Photo by Lucy Komisar.
"Bonnie Lee Sanders is fanciful
and moody at Pescatore cabaret"
Cabaret singer/song-writer Bonnie Lee Sanders is fanciful and
moody. She begins rather optimistically at the second-floor cabaret at
Pescatore on Second Avenue singing "Spring is Here," but then
moves into musical angst, of loves that are gone.
from "The Second Time Around". Photo by Stephen Sorokoff.
"The Second Time Around"
The first time around, Karen Wyman was a 16-year-old Bronx belting sensational
who sparked viewers of TV's "The Dean Martin Show" to sit up
and take notice. This young performer demanded attention and she got it
in on "The Ed Sullivan Show," "The Tonight Show Starring
Johnny Carson," and just about every other variety show on television
and in 1969, variety shows were the key to success. Nightclubs and recordings
followed and Karen Wyman was looking at stardom.
Dilly, Jason Graae, John Treacy Egan, Christine Andreas, Klea Blackhurst,
"Sweeping the Clouds Away". Photo by Richard Termine.
Sweepin' the Clouds Away
You got rhythm, you got music, you got your men - who could ask for anything
more? it was all there at Lyrics and Lyricists' second show of the season
at the 92nd Street Y. With the high-voltage jazz band of Vince Giordano
with Peter Yarin at the piano supplying rhythm, music and men, "Sweepin’
the Clouds Away, Boom, Bust and High Spirits" revisited the boom
of the Roaring '20's to the bust of the Great Depression. The hands of
time reached out to address how the country coped with the slide from
high times to bum times. One answer was in its music. By Elizabeth Ahlfors.
Holiday in a Barbour
"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" -- the 1963 holiday
favorite, could not have rung more true. You usually hear the captivating
richness of Broadway baritone, James Barbour, on the Broadway stage, acclaimed
in major musicals like his portrayal of Sidney Carton in the short-lived,
"A Tale of Two Cities." Catching him upfront and personal in
the intimacy of a cabaret room, however, brings special rewards. James
Barbour deivered them in his "Sixth Annual Holiday Concert: A Broadway
Tradition" at 54 Below, 254 West 54 Street. By Elizabeth Ahlfors.
Mayes, Billy Stritch, Sharon Montgomery
Smooth Texas Blend
This eclectic trio never cut a record. They only performed together for
a few years but in those years, they were hot. Sharon Montgomery, Sally
Mayes and Billy Stritch created "Montgomery, Mayes and Stritch".
This was one of those nights to remember. By Elizabeth Ahlfors.
Rene Scott in "Piece of Meat." Photo by Carol Rosegg.
Rene Scott and a well-done "Piece of Meat"
Sherie Rene Scott takes
us on a journey that I suspect will never end, her passionate search for
understanding, love and joy in the energy of the universe. In her cabaret
show, “Piece of Meat” at 54 Below, Scott is a sexy and energetic
performer just as she was in her Tony nominated Broadway show, “Everyday
Rapture.” By Elizabeth Ahlfors.
Pianist Rossano Sportiello. Photo courtesy of OandMO.
Smiling Piano of Rossano Sportiello at the Cafe Carlyle
The Rossano Sportiello Trio brought to the Café Carlyle a tribute
to the late jazz pianist, George Shearing, a legendary pianist of imagination
and technical brilliance. Sportiello as well, is a versatile player with
jazz, swing, bop, ragtime and stride, who pays homage to mentors from
all schools including Bill Evans, Fats Waller and Shearing. By Elizabeth
Prince in "Have a Little Faith."
of Broadway comes to the cabaret
Tony award winner Faith
Prince stars in a rare cabaret show directed by Dan Foster, proving that
a star used to a big stage can still connect with a more intimate audience.
By Elizabeth Ahlfors.
and Bucky Pizzarelli. Photo by Stephen Sorokoff.
Party Time at the Carlyle
John Pizzarelli brings his quartet and his father, Bucky Pizzarelli,
to the Cafe Carlyle. The two Pizzarelli virtuosos share the stage and
give-and-take with a mutual admiration and intimacy that envelops the
music. By Elizabeth Ahlfors.
Carole J. Bufford, Christine Bianco, Scott Coulter Photo by Stephen
Early Night for 11 O'Clock
a special one-night only performance, producer Scott Siegel has brought
together on stage Carole J. Bufford, Scott Coulter and Christina Bianco
to present "11 O'Clock Numbers at 7 O'Clock" at Birdland. By
in cabaret mode at 54 Below. Photo courtesy of 54 Below.
Patricia Racette is not opera’s first world-class soprano to share
her down-to-earth side in an intimate cabaret. She is, however, one of
the few who is a natural. In her show at 54 Below, “Diva on Detour,”
Racette demonstrated a sharp acting talent and a flair for comedy. With
her well-tempered chest voice, this star of opera houses like the Metropolitan
Opera and La Scala chose some of the American songbooks’ favorite
standards and some of the most heart-wrenching ballads and embraced them
in true cabaret diva passion. By Elizabeth Ahlfors.
on the Stage" is Tanya Holt. Photo by Stephen Sorokoff.
Get Busy" with Tanya Holt
In the words of a 1918 song, “There are smiles that make us happy,”
andd now there is Tanya Holt with a smile that radiates and a voice that
shines. Her one-night only show, “Forever Home,” at the Iridum,
was an offering of romance, sass, jazz, pop delivered with the joyful
love of entertaining. With a smoky voice and a vocal belt that’s
a satisfying burst of clarity, Holt made the evening an appealing commitment
between her eclectic song deliveries and her audience. By Elizabeth Ahlfors.
a-maye-zes her audience at 54 Below. Photo by Russ Weatherford.
A-Maz-ing Marilyn Maye is Back and 54 Below's Got Her
Conductor Peter Nero stated, "She sets the standard for the way any
pop, jazz or big band singer would like to sound." That still holds
true. At almost 85, the irrepressible Marilyn Maye remains as good as
it gets. As Johnny Carson commented on The Tonight Show, "And that,
young singers - is the way it’s done." By Elizabeth Ahlfors.
Nepotism Needed with Adam Guettel at 54 Below
The son of Mary Rodgers ("Once Upon a Mattress") and grandson
of Richard Rodgers (composing partner to Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein
II), Adam Guettel has developed a singular music sound of his own. While
handsome enough to star in one of his own musicals and an expressive singer
as well, Guettel invited Stephen DiPasquale and Whitney Bashore, two exquisite
performers to join him in a 90-minute show at 54 Below. By Elizabeth Ahlfors.
Hibbert is in "Can't Something Be Done?: An Evening with Edward
Hibbert" at 54 Below. Courtesy of Soylent Communications.
Must the Show Go On?
Edward Hibbert, familiar to many as "Gil Chesterton," gourmet
critic on the TV series, "Frasier," does not bound onto the
cabaret stage, rarin’ to go. Stylishly, he sails through the audience,
head high, back straight, and slight smile, and places himself before
the microphone. Slowly his smile expands to a mischievous grin and, with
utmost Noel Coward élan, performs "Why Must the Show Go On?"
And so begins his one-man show, "Can’t Something Be Done?:
An Evening with Edward Hibbert!," the show where, he says, "I
popped my cabaret cherry." A program of clever anecdotes punctuated
with songs by Cole Porter, Noel Coward, Cy Coleman and more, whimsically
traces his journey from theater to television and now intimate cabaret
at 54 Below. By Elizabeth Ahlfors.
Lloyd at the Café Carlyle. Photo by Tristan Fuge.
Lloyd at the Café Carlyle
It was memory time
at the Café Carlyle, remembering as John Lloyd Young’s confident
tenor and strikingly clear falsetto hit the money notes in the ‘50’s
and ‘60’s oldies. The cabaret show, however, was not about
the Four Seasons songbook. Its focus was to introduce Young’s new
CD, "My Turn." By Elizabeth Ahlfors.
in gold lame, Tovah Feldshuh. Photo by Stephen Sorokoff.
in Gold Lame"
Ya gotta say, Tovah Feldshuh is an entire vaudeville show wrapped up as
one sprightly imp. She makes her “under Broadway debut” at
54 Below, singing, telling stories, cracking jokes and sharing memories.
She is a zesty, zany powerhouse who scampers onto the stage and never
rests. When she sits, it is to morph into one of her characters, like
the old man in the park trying to stay positive and treasuring his memories,
or evoking the image of her Grandma Ada who urged her to persevere even
when young Tovah wanted to be an actor. “Reach for the stars and
you may get to the roof, “ she told Tovah. “If you reach for
the roof you may never get off the ground.” By Elizabeth Ahlfors.
Mc Broom presents "A Valentine Rose" to the Cafe Carlyle.
Photo by Stephen Sorokoff.
McBroom's "A Valentine Rose" at the Cafe Carlyle
"A Valentine Rose" is not kid stuff. It’s “romance,
adult style” for singer, songwriter, actor Amanda McBroom’s
debut at the Café Carlyle, bringing a zesty lineup of music delivered
with perception and humor (“I feel like I’m in Rhonda Fleming’s
living room!”) McBroom, a stylish, outgoing, upbeat performer, chooses
some of the best from standard songwriters like Dorothy Fields, Sammy
Cahn and Jacques Brel. She also adds numerous original songs that reach
out and touch love’s various facets. By Elizabeth Ahlfors.
J. Bufford at the Metropolitan Room. Photo by Paulanne Simmons.
J. Bufford Sings About "Body & Soul"
In her new show at The Metropolitan Room, “”Body & Soul,”
Carole J. Bufford walks onto the stage in a slinky, sexy and sparkling
sheath. But that’s not all that sparkles. With her powerful and
at times deeply emotional delivery, Bufford is like fireworks on the fourth
of July. By Paulanne Simmons.
McGovern with "Home for the Holidays" at 54 Below.
the human heart will die,” Maureen McGovern commented, bringing
an evening of hope through her lustrous voice – a four-octave powerhouse
of warmth and clarity – into a season burdened with difficult and
heartbreaking moments. Animated, she swept onstage and joined her two
fine accompanists, Jay Leonhart on bass and musical director, Jeff Harris,
with buoyant jazz flavoring in a songbook of holiday tunes and optimistic
standards. By Elizabeth Ahlfors.
Mason celebrates Christmas at 54 Below. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
Claus is Coming
Whether it’s Christmas, Chanukah or Kwanza, just celebrate! Celebrate
something -- life, good health, each other. That’s the advice from
theater and cabaret favorite, Karen Mason. If this year has dealt you
some nasty turns, or if your holidays are on the blue side or this is
a stressful season over-crammed with gift-giving and must-do’s,
here’s a solution. Get yourself to 54 Below, order a drink, sit
back and listen to Karen Mason, an unaffected, affable powerhouse actress/singer
with a voice that will shoot up your spirits. She will take you to a place
where effervescence bubbles up like champagne. Her salute to the season,
“Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!” is the best approach to
curing the blues and blahs. By Elizabeth Ahlfors.
Time Is Now, with Larry Kerchner
Times change but human sentiments remain. From Cole Porter to Dolly Parton,
the best songwriters are craftsmen who fit expansive universal feelings
to music in a straightforward way. They appeal to the man in the street.
They stamp the zeitgeist of jubilation, fury, romance, heartbreak, humor,
depression, treasured memories and secret dreams of everyday people. Some
songs linger on to become standards that touch audiences for years and
even generations. By Elizabeth Ahlfors.
Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey at Café Carlyle. Photo by Joseph
Marzullo, O&M Co.
Nice to Come Home To
At the Café Carlyle, John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey, the
jazz world’s Bogie and Bacall, cool and simmering at the same time,
are examining concepts of home. With an undercurrent of suffering from
Hurricane Sandy’s destruction resonating even in the posh Café
Carlyle, their sophisticated exploration could not be more timely or universal.
By Elizabeth Ahlfors.
DeSare at the piano. Photo by Bill Westmoreland
DeSare with "Making Love Songs"
“This show is all about love,” declared Tony DeSare, and with
his piano pizzazz, velvet vocals and songwriting savvy, he brought a vivacious
“Wow!” to his eclectic new songbook, “Making Love Songs,”
at 54 Below. He turned the phrase, “All About Love,” into
a jaunty opening song, a window to an hour of well-crafted standards,
show tunes, and sharp originals. Just after his opener, De Sare and his
quartet – Mike Klopp on drums, bassist Steve Doyle and Edward Decker
strumming hard and fast on guitar – raced into a vigorous, “Somebody
Loves Me,” written by 1924 by George Gershwin. By Elizabeth Ahlfors.
Andreas is "Bemused, Bothered and Bewildered"
Calling a show “Bemused” (or is it “be-mused”?)
might evoke some bother and bewilderment in Christine Andreas’ 54
Below audience. After a rhythmic, jazz-styled opener, “Get Happy,”
Andreas explained that the reason for the title was a play on words, reading
“bemused,” as “to be mused,” the musical click
that happens when just the right singer and just the right songwriter
click. By Elizabeth Ahlfors.
Marcovicci in her new show at the Café Carlyle, “Smile.”
Photo by Stephen Sorokoff.
with Andrea Marcovicci
After 25 years as the bright star of the Algonquin Hotel’s Oak
Room holiday season, Andrea Marcovicci has moved uptown to the posh Café
Carlyle. Before a sparkling opening night audience, taut and radiant in
a glittering platinum backless gown, and despite an edgy political atmosphere,
this eternal romantic strolled in strumming a ukulele to, “It’s
Only a Paper Moon” and “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries.”
Recession or not, she makes us believe in the power of a smile. By Elizabeth
J. Bufford made her cabaret debut as a finalist of the 2009 MetroStar
Talent Challenge. She has made appearances at "Broadway By The
Year" and the Cabaret Convention.
D’Arcy James: A Smash!
Brian d’Arcy James has worn many hats over his theater career. He
went green as the title character in, "Shrek," went down with
the ship in the musical, "Titanic," and was a cynical so-and-so
in, "Sweet Smell of Success." He also faced off against Laura
Linney in Broadway’s "Time Stands Still," Alice Ripley
in “Next to Normal” and Debra Messing in TV’s “Smash.”
One hat James had not yet worn, however, was a solo New York cabaret act.
He turned out to be a natural. By Elizabeth Alhfors.
Speak Easy Show Everyone’s Cheering About
A time of romance and rum is celebrated in "Speak Easy,"
Carole J. Bufford’s Prohibition-era show at the Metropolitan Room.
By Paulanne Simmons.
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