CABARET LIFE NYC: Listmania 2013, Part Deux! 'Best & Most' Honorable Mention Performances of the Year

Cabaret Reviews and Commentary by Stephen Hanks

Last December, after I posted my list of the Best Cabaret Performers of 2012, I followed up my original "listmania" with a column that served as a way to include some "honorable mentions," basically a recognition of other memorable shows and performances of songs that were striking, unique, and/or original that year. The column received a positive response so I thought I'd wheel it out again this year. So as the hours tick away on 2013 and we anticipate the coming of a new year, here is an addendum to the Best 2013 New York Cabaret Performers of the Year; a totally random list of 30 Honorable Mentions of the "Best" and "Most" in Cabaret for 2013 . . . mainly because I can and it's fun. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

Best Arrangement and Interpretation of a Stephen Sondheim Song: At 54 Below in October, Marquee Five's (photo right) stirring performance of "Sunday" from Sunday in the Park With George (arrangement by Musical Director Adam West Hemming) was a group vocal tour de force.

Best Banishment of An Audience Member: During her Ted & Lo Show with Ted Stafford at Don't Tell Mama on January 31, Lorinda Lisitza interrupted the duo's rendition of "Beast of Burden" so she could calmly excoriate two wasted females in the front row who were singing along loudly and not very well. The women cursed their way out of the room and then Lorinda continued with the chorus of the Rolling Stones' rocker.

Best CD Release Connected With a Cabaret Show: In conjunction with The Joe Iconis Rock and Roll Jamboree group show at 54 Below (photo left), the songwriter and his "merry band of musical theatre misfits," released a dynamic digital CD featuring 16 Iconis songs, including two that were featured during the last season of TV's Smash.

Best Editing of a Cabaret Show to Fit a Classic Pop Song: After doing just a snippet of Crosby, Stills and Nash's "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" in earlier shows, Lauren Fox and her Musical Director Jon Weber flawlessly performed the entire 7-plus minute song into Fox's show, Canyon Folkies, and didn't have to cut another number from the set list.

Best One-Off Performance by a Blues Singer: She only gigged a couple of solo shows while in New York the past few years, but powerhouse vocalist Lauren Robert made her presence felt at Iridium last May, staging a pulsating show featuring her original song "Look Out Love," which has been transformed into a dance-mix and club hit.

Best Original Song for a Tribute Show: Rosemary Loar's "Between the A Train and the Rainbow" for her show When Harry Met the Duke (photo right), which included the lovely and clever line: "No one will ever know why the music didn't flow/Between the A Train and the Rainbow."

Best Performance by a Bronx-Born Singer Who Once Appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show: Forty-four years after she was a teenage sensation, Karen Wyman made the Cabaret Comeback of the Year with shows at the Metropolitan Room.

Best Performances at Café Carlyle's New 10:45 PM Shows: There were so many great turns by singers making their debuts at the Carlyle it was tough to pick one, so let's call it a tie between Natalie Douglas, Marissa Mulder, Jennifer Sheehan, Stacy Sullivan, and Joanne Tatham. They were all wonderful and it won't be long before many of them, if not all, are getting runs during the club's featured time slot.

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Stephen Hanks During more than 30 years as a magazine editor/writer, website writer, and book author 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 Stephen also writes feature stories about cabaret for Cabaret Scenes Magazine and He is also the Board President of Manhattan Musical Theatre Lab, which workshops new musicals in New York City, and he is 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. Stephen most recently 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: