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Stephen Hanks

During more than 30 years as a magazine publisher/editor/writer for a variety of national magazines and websites, Stephen Hanks has written about sports, health and nutrition, parenting, politics, the media, and most recently, musical theater, and cabaret. While by day, Stephen is the Advertising Sales Director for Habitat Magazine (a publication covering life in New York Metro area co-ops and condos), by night he writes reviews and columns about New York City cabaret for BroadwayWorld.com. Stephen also writes feature stories about cabaret for Cabaret Scenes Magazine. From 2010 to mid-2014, he served as the first Board President of Manhattan Musical Theatre Lab, which workshops new musicals in New York City (he is now a member of the MMTL Advisory Board. Stephen is also the founder, producer and director of the Broadway Musical Fantasy Camp, which is a workshop for amateur performers that rehearses and presents staged readings of classic Broadway Musicals. In 2011, Stephen was an Associate Producer for the Off-Broadway show THE FARTISTE. In 2013-14, Stephen staged his debut solo cabaret show, "Beyond American Pie: The Don McLean Songbook" at the Metropolitan Room in New York. Please contact Stephen with your comments and questions at: stephenhanks41@gmail.com

MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

BWW Reviews: Carole J. Bufford's New Show 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams' Is a One-Night Tour de Force at 54 BelowBufford’s ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ Is a One-Night Tour de Force at 54 Below
Posted: Oct. 26, 2014


BWW Reviews: Rising Star Maxine Linehan Again Displays Her Beautiful Voice Through Beautiful Songs at the Metropolitan RoomReviews: Maxine Linehan Displays Her Beautiful Voice at the Metropolitan Room
Posted: Oct. 11, 2014


CABARET LIFE NYC: Reaction to the Recent Rita Wilson and Molly Ringwald Cafe Carlyle Shows Reveal Much About How We View Singing CelebritiesReaction to Rita Wilson and Molly Ringwald Cafe Carlyle Shows and How We View Singing Celebs
Posted: Oct. 27, 2014


BWW Reviews: Amanda McBroom and George Ball Are Thoroughly Enchanting During Their Enchanted Show at 54 BelowBWW Reviews: Amanda McBroom and George Ball Are Thoroughly Enchanting
Posted: Oct. 19, 2014


LAST 365 DAYS

Voting Now Open in 18 Categories for 2013 BroadwayWorld New York Cabaret Awards, Thru 1/5Voting Open for 2013 BroadwayWorld Cabaret Awards - Vote Now!
Posted: Dec. 3, 2013


Callaway Sisters and Bway Stars LuPone, Benanti, Hoffman, and White Among Winners of 2013 BWW NYC Cabaret AwardsCallaway Sisters and Bway Stars LuPone, Benanti, Hoffman, and White Among Winners of 2013 BWW NYC Cabaret Awards
Posted: Jan. 7, 2014


BWW TV: Watch Highlights from the 2013 BroadwayWorld New York Cabaret Awards at Joe's Pub!BWW TV: Watch Highlights from the 2013 BroadwayWorld New York Cabaret Awards at Joe's Pub!
Posted: Mar. 1, 2014


CABARET LIFE NYC: Reaction to the Recent Rita Wilson and Molly Ringwald Cafe Carlyle Shows Reveal Much About How We View Singing CelebritiesCABARET LIFE NYC: Reaction to the Recent Rita Wilson and Molly Ringwald Cafe Carlyle Shows Reveal Much About How We View Singing Celebrities
October 27, 2014

Rita Wilson and Molly Ringwald deserve a lot of credit for being gutsy enough to go out of their comfort zones as performers and venture into the intimate, sometimes scary art from known as cabaret, where you're always live and can't rely on extra takes. It's also obvious that they've worked very hard at becoming the best vocalists they can possibly be. They have just as much right to live out their cabaret performing fantasies as, oh, about 75 percent of the 'singers' booking shows in cabaret room all over the New York. If Wilson and Ringwald weren't bold-faced names would their singing really be considered good enough to merit them gigs (and extended ones at that) at the Cafe Carlyle? And if they weren't celebrities, would they be receiving such breathlessly positive reviews from critics, some of who should know better?
BWW Reviews: Carole J. Bufford's New Show 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams' Is a One-Night Tour de Force at 54 BelowBWW Reviews: Carole J. Bufford's New Show 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams' Is a One-Night Tour de Force at 54 Below
October 26, 2014

Having written extensively about skyrocketing-to-stardom singer Carole J. Bufford over the past three years (a January/February cover story for Cabaret Scenes Magazine, and rave reviews of her past three major show runs (here, here, and here), I felt as if I had exhausted my entire repertoire of descriptive metaphors and superlatives in assessing her stirring cabaret performances. Even though she's still but a babe in cabaret years, and has a long, successful career ahead of her, I wasn't planning to review any more of her shows because, well, there didn't seem to be anything more to say. But, dammit, every time I try to get out, Carole J. Bufford pulls me back in.
BWW Reviews: Amanda McBroom and George Ball Are Thoroughly Enchanting During Their Enchanted Show at 54 BelowBWW Reviews: Amanda McBroom and George Ball Are Thoroughly Enchanting During Their Enchanted Show at 54 Below
October 19, 2014

New York cabaret audiences have for years been blessed with extremely entertaining performing marrieds like John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molasky, Eric Comstock and Barbara Fasano, and Michael Garin and Mardie Millett. But after experiencing the thoroughly enchanting October 8 performance from Amanda McBroom and her husband George Ball at 54 Below (there was a second performance on October 14), it's difficult to imagine a cabaret couple more compelling. In short, the Balls were having a ball and, ultimately, so did their audience.
BWW Reviews: Rising Star Maxine Linehan Again Displays Her Beautiful Voice Through Beautiful Songs at the Metropolitan RoomBWW Reviews: Rising Star Maxine Linehan Again Displays Her Beautiful Voice Through Beautiful Songs at the Metropolitan Room
October 11, 2014

Every year, there are a couple of young performers who seem to skyrocket up the cabaret charts and one of this season's emerging stars is Maxine Linehan. She came to the States from Ireland just a dozen years ago, performed her debut cabaret show in 2006, and then three years later staged a Petula Clark tribute. In the five years since, Linehan acted in Off-Broadway plays and appeared in the national tour of South Pacific, but has spent much of this period raising 4-year-old Rebecca and 21-month old Gabriel with songwriter/musician husband Andrew Koss. But with the help of nightlife impresario Scott Siegel, Linehan is definitely making up for lost time on the cabaret front. This spring, she staged performances of her autobiographical show An American Journey at Terminus Recording Studios for a recent CD release. Now, less than five months later, Linehan is in mid-run of a new show, Beautiful Songs, at the Metropolitan Room.
BILLIE WILLIAMS Brings Her Unique Blues Sound to The Cutting Room TonightBILLIE WILLIAMS Brings Her Unique Blues Sound to The Cutting Room Tonight
September 13, 2014

With a unique vocal sound she calls, 'Contemporary Blues,' Billie Williams has been conquering the nightclub and cabaret rooms of New York City-from the Metropolitan Room and Iridium Jazz Club, to Joe's Pub- and now The Cutting Room tonight, September 13 at 9:30 pm.
BILLIE WILLIAMS to Bring Her Unique Blues Sound to The Cutting Room, 9/13BILLIE WILLIAMS to Bring Her Unique Blues Sound to The Cutting Room, 9/13
September 1, 2014

With a unique vocal sound she calls, 'Contemporary Blues,' Billie Williams has been conquering the nightclub and cabaret rooms of New York City-from the Metropolitan Room and Iridium Jazz Club, to Joe's Pub- and now The Cutting Room on September 13 at 9:30 pm.
Powerhouse Vocalist Sari Schorr and Her All-Star Band at The Cutting Room TonightPowerhouse Vocalist Sari Schorr and Her All-Star Band at The Cutting Room Tonight
July 31, 2014

On the heels of her exciting recent performances at Brooklyn's Shape Shifter Lab and Manhattan's Metropolitan Room, powerhouse vocalist Sari Schorr will next appear at The Cutting Room (44 E. 32nd Street, NYC) tonight, July 31 at 7 pm.
CABARET LIFE NYC: Anatomy of a Duo Show--Classy, Entertaining, Yet Flawed KT Sullivan/Jeff Harnar Sondheim Set at the Beechman Is All About ChoicesCABARET LIFE NYC: Anatomy of a Duo Show--Classy, Entertaining, Yet Flawed KT Sullivan/Jeff Harnar Sondheim Set at the Beechman Is All About Choices
July 25, 2014

The current Stephen Sondheim tribute show, Our Time, starring KT Sullivan and Jeff Harnar at the Laurie Beechman (which I attended on July 9 and 16; there are two more Wednesday performances at 6pm on August 6, 13), is a charming, classy, and entertaining affair. But it also includes enough flaws in execution that prevent it from being truly great. For one thing, it doesn't really feel like a duo show. It's more like two solo performances within one show, where the performers fit in a couple of numbers together to justify the concept. A critique of the Sullivan/Harnar Sondheim set provides an interesting opportunity to analyze the anatomy of a duo show and the choices that can make it workor not.
BWW Reviews: STEVE ROSS and KAREN OBERLIN Ooze Charm, Class, and Chemistry In Tribute to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers at 54 BelowBWW Reviews: STEVE ROSS and KAREN OBERLIN Ooze Charm, Class, and Chemistry In Tribute to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers at 54 Below
July 20, 2014

Steve Ross and Karen Oberlin's recent duo effort at 54 Below, Cheek to Cheek, was a show oozing charm, class, charisma, and chemistry, but most of all they conveyed their love for these legendary performers and the classic tunes associated with them.
Powerhouse Vocalist Sari Schorr and Her All-Star Band at The Cutting Room, 7/31Powerhouse Vocalist Sari Schorr and Her All-Star Band at The Cutting Room, 7/31
July 12, 2014

On the heels of her exciting recent performances at Brooklyn's Shape Shifter Lab and Manhattan's Metropolitan Room, powerhouse vocalist Sari Schorr will next appear at The Cutting Room (44 E. 32nd Street, NYC) on Thursday, July 31 at 7 pm. Supporting Schorr will be her all-star band The Engine Room, featuring Rob Paparozzi on harmonica and vocals, Pete Levin on keyboards, Jerry Marotta on drums, John Cariddi on guitar, and Sue Williams on bass. With a distinctive sound and a 5-octave range that draws from her roots in blues, rock and jazz, Schorr will debut a selection of explosive songs from her upcoming CD. The Cutting Room show will also feature drumming and recording legend Bernard 'Pretty' Purdie, who with his indelible sound will revisit some classic moments in funk drumming history, while also offering up some fat new grooves on songs written by Schorr.
CABARET LIFE NYC: On the Eve of the 18th Annual Long Island Al Jolson Festival - The Confessions of a Jolson FanaticCABARET LIFE NYC: On the Eve of the 18th Annual Long Island Al Jolson Festival - The Confessions of a Jolson Fanatic
July 12, 2014

The 18th Long Island Al Jolson Festival coming up on August 16 is a whole-day affair featuring film presentations, lectures, memorabilia displays and sales, and a performance--'The Heart of Al Jolson'--by singer and Staten Island native Tony Babino (photo below), who can sing Jolson songs like, well, you ain't heard nothin' yet. The other day, like clockwork, I received my yearly invitation to attend from Oceanside, LI resident Jan Hernstat, who for the past 10 years has been the President of the 62-year-old International Al Jolson Society (which was formed in early 1950, a few months before Jolson died), an organization with a worldwide membership hovering around 1,000. I am proud to say that for 30 years, I've been one of them. I'm even prouder to say that I've been an Al Jolson fanatic for much longer. Here's my story about how it happened.
BWW Reviews: Erudite Jon Weber Dazzles on the Keyboard While Exploring the Evolution of Piano Jazz at the Metropolitan RoomBWW Reviews: Erudite Jon Weber Dazzles on the Keyboard While Exploring the Evolution of Piano Jazz at the Metropolitan Room
July 8, 2014

Musical Director and pianist extraordinaire Jon Weber can play every imaginable musical style and for a wide variety of cabaret and concert singers, but this superlative keyboardist is really a jazz man at heart. Weber knows that the intricacies of certain music languages-whether classical or jazz-can be frustratingly elusive, so he's made it his mission to educate the masses, or in this case a few hundred people who after this Tuesday night at 7 pm will have attended one of his four entertaining classroom sessions at the Metropolitan Room, called 'From Joplin to Jarrett: 115 Years of Piano Jazz.' And when some of the students in the audience are among the most accomplished instrumentalists in New York, you realize that your teacher is a virtuoso.
CABARET LIFE NYC: Mid-Year Cabaret Review--Best (and Favorite) 20 Shows and Performances (So Far) for 2014CABARET LIFE NYC: Mid-Year Cabaret Review--Best (and Favorite) 20 Shows and Performances (So Far) for 2014
July 5, 2014

Since I attended more than 50 shows over the past eight months (a few more than once)--the large majority of which were reviewed on these web pagesI felt I had more than enough cabaret show inventory to present my second-annual Mid-Year Cabaret Review citing the 20 Best Cabaret Shows and Performances for the first half of 2014. Since the eligibility period for 2014 BroadwayWorld New York Cabaret Award consideration begins with shows staged since last November (late October if it was the first of a run), I've included a few of those late 2013 shows in this group. And with the announcement of the BWW Award nominees just four months away, I've offered some projections on the Award categories for which these shows very well might receive consideration.
CABARET LIFE NYC: BroadwayWorld Announces Categories for 2014 New York Cabaret Awards and New Nomination Process; Preliminary Voting Period Just Four Months AwayCABARET LIFE NYC: BroadwayWorld Announces Categories for 2014 New York Cabaret Awards and New Nomination Process; Preliminary Voting Period Just Four Months Away
July 1, 2014

It's hard to believe that 2014 is already half over and that the 2013 BroadwayWorld New York Cabaret Awards Show at Joe's Pub happened just about four months ago. This also means that the nomination period for the 2014 Awards is only four months away (end of October, with the final voting period beginning after Thanksgiving). It is with all that in mind that it seemed time for this column, which announces the 2014 BroadwayWorld New York Cabaret Awards categories and changes in the nomination process so that all you cabaret fans can start making mental notes of the year's potential nominees. (To help you in that process, in a few days I'll be posting my 'Mid-Year Report Card on the 20 Best Performances and Shows' so far in 2014 (going back to November 2013).
TUNE IN TIME, The Olympics of Musical Theater Songwriting, Stages Another Round of Competition at Stage 72, TodayTUNE IN TIME, The Olympics of Musical Theater Songwriting, Stages Another Round of Competition at Stage 72, Today
July 1, 2014

TUNE IN TIME, New York City's exciting, new musical theater challenge returns to Stage 72 today, July 1 at 9 pm with a new crop of exciting up-and-coming musical theater songwriters. The composers and lyricists must write a song from a musical whose title is literally picked from a hat, and in the genre determined by a spin of "The Dreaded Genre Wheel." Will it be a historical epic? Something a la Rodgers & Hammerstein? Or even [insert name of large theme-park owning megacorporation-turned-Broadway-megalopolis here]? Oh yeah, and they have just 20 minutes to do it.
TUNE IN TIME, The Olympics of Musical Theater Songwriting, Stages Another Round of Competition at Stage 72, 7/1TUNE IN TIME, The Olympics of Musical Theater Songwriting, Stages Another Round of Competition at Stage 72, 7/1
June 29, 2014

TUNE IN TIME, New York City's exciting, new musical theater challenge returns to Stage 72 on Tuesday, July 1 at 9 pm with a new crop of exciting up-and-coming musical theater songwriters. The composers and lyricists must write a song from a musical whose title is literally picked from a hat, and in the genre determined by a spin of "The Dreaded Genre Wheel." Will it be a historical epic? Something a la Rodgers & Hammerstein? Or even [insert name of large theme-park owning megacorporation-turned-Broadway-megalopolis here]? Oh yeah, and they have just 20 minutes to do it.
BWW Reviews: Terri White Is Once Again Terrific As She Scores With New Show at 54 BelowBWW Reviews: Terri White Is Once Again Terrific As She Scores With New Show at 54 Below
June 29, 2014

A year ago this summer (July 31, to be exact), Terri White performed a one-off show at 54 Below that was so stirring in its show-woman ship she was voted the winner of the 2013 BroadwayWorld New York Cabaret Award for 'Best One-Show Special Event.' Based on the Broadway and nightclub veteran's performance in her recent June 22 show at the same club, White should be a candidate to pick up the award once again this year. Maybe it's time to just call her, 'Terri Terrific.'
BWW Reviews: New York's Cabaret Stars Shine Brightly in Emotional MARGARET WHITING Tribute Show at Carnegie HallBWW Reviews: New York's Cabaret Stars Shine Brightly in Emotional MARGARET WHITING Tribute Show at Carnegie Hall
June 25, 2014

When Margaret Whiting died on January 10, 2011, the news was like a dagger into the heart of the New York cabaret community. Whiting was a beloved singer for almost seven decades, who seemingly delivered every American popular song ever written, conquered almost every musical art form--from Big Band to Country to Musicals to Cabaret, from radio to the recording studio. On top of all that, Whiting worked with and mentored many New York cabaret musical directors and performers, including the late Mary Cleere Haran and K.T. Sullivan, who along with Whiting's daughter Deborah, hosted a 90th birthday Whiting tribute show on Monday night at Carnegie Hall's elegant Weill Recital Hall. Presented by The Mabel Mercer Foundation, for which Sullivan is Artistic Director, It Might As Well Be Spring! A Celebration in Song of the Life of Margaret Whiting was an almost three-hour concert featuring two All-Star teams worth of cabaret stars spanning a few generations.
TUNE IN TIME, New York's New Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge Show, Returns to Stage 72 TonightTUNE IN TIME, New York's New Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge Show, Returns to Stage 72 Tonight
June 25, 2014

After a successful launch with two shows / competitions in April, New York City's exciting, new musical theater songwriting challenge, TUNE IN TIME, returns to Stage 72 (The Triad) tonight, June 25 and Tuesday, July 1 at 9 pm.
CABARET LIFE NYC: Two Charming Young Women Performers--Carly Ozard and Nikki MacCallum--Conquer the Challenge of the Personalized Tribute Show at The DuplexCABARET LIFE NYC: Two Charming Young Women Performers--Carly Ozard and Nikki MacCallum--Conquer the Challenge of the Personalized Tribute Show at The Duplex
June 23, 2014

The biggest challenge in personalizing a tribute show is when the set list is structured to tell a story about the performer's life. Those songs better be good, that life better be interesting, and that storytelling patter better be clever, humorous, and self-deprecating or an audience (let alone a reviewer) will tune you out quicker than a liberal accidentally hitting FOX News on the remote. I recently saw two different shows at The Duplex from enchanting young women performersCarly Ozard and Nikki MacCallum--who deftly managed to weave their love of a singer (Bette Midler for Ozard) or a songbook (Kander & Ebb for MacCallum) into a tale of life journey and personal growth to produce charming and entertaining shows.