Cabaret Life NYC: Listmania Part Deux! More Best Cabaret Performer Honorable Mentions for 2012
Best Performance by a Jazz Singer: Catherine Russell's April shows (which honored the music of her father Luis Russell and Louis Armstrong) at the Jazz at Lincoln Center Allen Room were simply sublime.
Best Performances By MetroStar Talent Challenge Competitors Who Finished in the Top 10 But Didn't Win: Eventual winner Billie Roe was a deserving champ, but Jodi Beck, Elisabeth Cernadas (second runner-up), Nikki MacCallum, and Sierra Rein should have at least made up four of the final five.
Best Performance of a Political Action Song: In her Birdland show Freedom Songs, Natalie Douglas delivered a stirring rendition of Laurelyn Dossett's new political folk song "Amendment One," which urged North Carolinians to vote last May against an amendment that would deem same-sex marriage in their state an illegal union. (Please click on Page 2 below to continue.)
Best Performance of a Song Written By the Performer About His or Her Musical Hero: Rosemary Loar's adorable "All I Could Do Is Sigh" about her infatuation with Sting for her show Sting, Stang, Stung at the Metropolitan Room in February.
Best Performance by a String Instrumentalist Who is Not a Guitar or Bass Player: Tie--Aaron Weinstein, Violin, in Stringing Along With Love starring Karen Oberlin; and Karen Waltuch, Viola, in Take Me As I Am starring Elaine St. George. These terrific instrumentalists added a richness to the singing performances.
Best Performances by Two People in a Duo Show Who Didn't Really Perform Together: Singer/songwriter Amy Engelhardt (formerly of the acapella group The Bobs) and Songwriter/Pianist Bob Malone each offered their own incredibly entertaining separate set (although Malone played piano for Amy) during their show "Two Bobs" at The Duplex in January.
Best Variety Show or Open Mic Production That Must Be Saved at All Costs: It would be a damn shame if The Dana Lorge Variety Extravaganza (with Barry Levitt as Musical Director), formerly known as Wednesday Night at the Iguana, doesn't get a new life at another club.
Best "When God Closes a Cabaret Room, He Opens a Cool Nightclub" Development: The opening of the glorious 54 Below after the closing of the beloved Oak Room.
Best "When God Closes a Cabaret Room, It's the Right Call" Development: I love Michael Feinstein and I'm looking forward to learning where he'll land next, but I won't be sad to see the closing of the overrated room at the Loews Regency.
Most Entertaining Gender-Bending Show by a Female Impersonator: Roger Mapes (photo) was a performing revelation and a singing salvation during his Rev. Yolanda's Old-Time Gospel Hour (Director, Shawn Moninger; Musical Director, Kenneth Gartman). My BwayWorld review is pending so stay tuned.
Most Improved Show the Second Time Around: I didn't love Marissa Mulder's Look to Your Heart: The Songs of Jimmy Van Heusen when it debuted in 2011. But she brought the show back for the recent Urban Stages "Winter Rhythms Festival" and her obvious and rapid growth as a singer/performer brought more depth and confidence to her interpretations of some classic tunes of the 1930s to '50s.
Most Intriguing Performer Who Didn't Do a New York Show in 2012 and Who I'm Looking Forward to Seeing Perform in 2013: Champagne Pam (Pamela Lewis), although I really hope there are no dog references in the next show.
Most Talented (and Friendly) Staff at a Cabaret Club: The Metropolitan Room group (led by Manager Bernie Furshpan) of Emily Blumen, Darron Cardosa, Jasmine Carrington,Nick Dhanoolal, Tom Gamblin, Marla Green, Jamie Hartmann,Robert Ima, Eddie Jacques, Alyse Kenny, Joseph Macchia, Mark McCombs, Liz McKendry, J.P. Perreault, Ted Stafford, and Nadine Zerphey are terrific performers as well as a wonderfully cordial club entourage. And at the most recent staff show, and at the club's Broadway at 22nd Street show, McKendry (photo) especially has been a revelation.
Most Underrated Male and Female Vocalists Whose Shows Were Extremely Entertaining but Who Won't Finish in the Top 5 for a BroadwayWorld.com Award: Jeff Macauley (It Was Me: The Songs of Norman Gimbel at Don't Tell Mama) and Corinna Sowers-Adler (By Request at the Metropolitan Room) staged shows this year that were classy, accessible and fun.
Happy New Year!