Barbara Cook and More Set for Symphony Space's WALL TO WALL Cabaret, 5/3
Symphony Space's annual Spring Festival has become one of the season's most keenly awaited events. This year's installment, Sleeping Around: The Cultural Lives of New York's Hotels, may be the most provocative yet. Running from April 26 to May 21, the monthlong festival celebrates New York's landmark hotels, their occupants, and the lengendary boîtes that nurtured and sustained the evergreen songs and performers of cabaret. Sleeping Around also credits New York's hotels as incubators for film, classical music, and literature, with programs devoted to Andy Warhol, Virgil Thomson, and Dorothy Parker.
Symphony Space's free signature event, Wall to Wall, takes up the theme with Wall to Wall Cabaret on Saturday, May 3 (3 - 11 pm). The lineup of nearly 50 performers is a veritable roll call of cabaret icons and rising stars, including Kate Baldwin, Klea Blackhurst, Barbara Carroll, Bill Charlap + Sandy Stewart, Barbara Cook, Judy Gold, Julie Halston, Ute Lemper, Lypsinka, Taylor Mac, Andrea Marcovicci, Marilyn Maye, Andrea McArdle, Jane Monheit, Steve Ross, Billy Stritch, and many more. James Naughton will serve as the evening's Master of Ceremonies. The distinguished house band for the evening will be Russ Kassoff on piano, John Arbo on bass, and John Redsecker on drums.
Wall to Wall Cabaret is produced by noted music director Joel Fram and directed by Annette Jolles. Tickets are free, though Premium Reserved seats are available for $100 for the afternoon (3 - 7:45 pm) and the evening (8 - 11 pm). The proceeds go to keeping Wall to Wall free for all.
Wall to Wall Cabaret is divided into segments focusing on the diverse currents that have fed cabaret, keeping it vital throughout the decades. It opens at 3 pm with "A Masterclass with Barbara Cook," an exciting opportunity to observe the legendary singer as she teaches three young singers the fine points of interpretation.
Starting at 4 pm, "Cabaret Now" looks at the new generation of performers who are redefining cabaret with a unique blend of traditional song stylings and performance art, expanding their repertoire into the world of pop, folk, and a new take on classic songs. With Emily Bergl, Carole J. Bufford, Molly Pope, and Eric Yves Garcia.
"Cabaret Comedy" celebrates the witty, irreverent, sometimes scandalous or subversive strain of cabaret comedy, with Lea DeLaria, Judy Gold and Christine Pedi. "Singer-Songwriters" spotlights three singers - Tony DeSare, Andrew Lippa, and Benjamin Scheuer - who are excellent composers as well as accomplished performers. "The International Style" traces American cabaret back to the 1881 opening of Le Chat Noir in Paris and the explosion of creative song in Germany during the 1920s, with Ute Lemper, BD Wong, Karen Kohler, and Jean Brassard.
At 6:15 pm, "Satire, Revolution, and Alt-Cabaret," reveals cabaret as a forum for exploration, exhortation, and bending the boundaries of performance art, with Taylor Mac and Todd Londagin. "Broadway and The American Songbook" pays tribute to a fundamental symbiosis, featuring Andrea McArdle, Kate Baldwin, The Broadway Boys, Andrea Burns, The DiGiallanardo Sisters, and others. "ASCAP and The New American Songbook" includes the songwriting team of Marcy Heisler + Zina Goldrich, along with composers Jason Robert Brown, Sam Davis, Steve Marzullo, Matthew Sklar, Georgia Stitt, and Sam Willmott, performers tba.
The evening portion of Wall to Wall Cabaret (8 - 11 pm) is devoted to "Cabaret Classics," saluting the artists who define the tradition, with vivid, immediate interpretations of the American Songbook. The stellar parade of singers includes Klea Blackhurst, Barbara Carroll, Jim Caruso, Bill Charlap + Sandy Stewart, Eric Comstock + Barbara Pasano, Gregory Generet, Julie Halston, Lorin Latarro, Lypsinka, Andrea Marcovicci, Marilyn Maye, Jane Monheit, James Naughton, Steve Ross, Jennifer Sheehan, Billy Stritch, Aaron Weinstein, and Karen Wyman. Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra will also perform, anticipating their Sleeping Around appearance on May 9.
Sleeping Around opens with An Evening with Barbara Cook on Saturday, April 26 (8 pm) in the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre. Legendary artistand Kennedy Center Honoree, Barbara Cook returns to the Symphony Space stage with an evening of song (and stories) recalling her years as "the ingénue of Broadway" and her memorable runs at the Café Carlyle and Feinstein's at Loew's Regency. Known for "a darkened soprano that is beautiful by any measure" (The New York Times), Cook will delve into her newly developed repertoire of jazz and swing, and also reprise her now-classic renditions of songs from Broadway and the great American songbook. Her top-flight accompanists are Ted Rosenthal, piano; Dave Riekenberg, reeds; Jay Leonhart, bass; and Warren Odze, drums. Tickets are $65, $55 for Members, $25 for those 30 and under, available through www.symphonyspace.org. A limited number of Premium Seats (Center Orchestra, rows A - M) are available for $115, which includes a tax-deductable $50 donation. EVENT LINK / VIDEO LINK
As a coda to Wall to Wall Cabaret, Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra present "Dancing in the Grand Ballrooms," Friday, May 9 (8 pm). Singer/trumpeter Arenella leads New York's premiere Jazz-Age dance orchestra, steeped in the hot-dance band traditions of the 1920s and early 1930s. Aranella transcribes by hand his orchestra's entire repertoire from period recordings. Their delivery, as well as their instruments, attire, and equipment, are faithfully accurate. Yet their music is infused with the immediacy of the present. For "Dancing in the Grand Ballrooms," Arenella and his troops conjure Cole Porter, Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers as they bring period music, dance, and fashion from the 1920s through the 1950s to the stage of the Peter Jay Sharp theater. Tickets are available through www.symphonyspace.org, $32; $27 for members, and $20 for those 30 and under. EVENT LINK / VIDEO LINK
For more information on "Sleeping Around," visit http://festivals.symphonyspace.org.
ABOUT SYMPHONY SPACE: Symphony Space traces its beginnings to a free marathon concert, Wall to Wall Bach, held in 1978 and organized by co-founders Isaiah Sheffer and Allan Miller. The music marathon then drew thousands of visitors and has since become one of the organization's signature events. Today Symphony Space presents more than 600 events each season, including music, dance, theater, film, and literary readings. Some of its best known programs include Selected Shorts, a reading of short stories by stars of stage and screen, and one of the most popular series on public radio; the Thalia Film Club, a trendy film club hosted by Marshall Fine featuring pre-release screenings and behind-the-scenes conversations with film stars; Just Kidding, one of the most talked about family entertainment series around town; and, more recently, The Music of Now, presenting an eclectic range of music in all styles and sensibilities, focusing on emerging artists and unusual work. Uptown Showdown has been called "New York's best comedy series" by New York magazine. For more information, visit symphonyspace.org.
Symphony Space is located at 2537 Broadway at 95th Street. Box office hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 1 pm - 6 pm, open two hours prior to performances and events. Tickets can also be purchased through www.symphonyspace.org, or by calling 212/864-5400.