Mabel Mercer Foundation Announces 25th Anniversary New York Cabaret Convention FOUR MAGICAL NIGHTS, 10/20 - 10/23
After more than two decades of exciting contribution to the New York musical scene, The Mabel Mercer Foundation hits a new high this autumn by producing its 25th annual New York Cabaret Convention for four evenings, October 20th-23rd. All performances begin at 6 o'clock at the Rose Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Frederick P. Rose Hall at Broadway and 60th Street.
Since 1985, The Foundation's concerts have presented more than fifteen hundred "star turns" by singers and musicians, providing an unparalleled showcase for the Great American Songbook -- past and present -- and for all those veterans and newcomers who delight in its sharing. In the process, those entertainers have also revered the memory of The Foundation's namesake, the humble woman of limitless artistry who interpreted countless lyrics and melodies in a career that began in 1914 and continued into the eighties. Mabel Mercer (1900-1984) served as an inspiration to countless classic singers, ranging from Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland to Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee, Bobby Short, Elaine Stritch, and Barbara Cook; in 1983, Ms. Mercer received the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom at The White House.
Tickets for all four nights of the NYC "Silver Jubilee" Cabaret Convention are available @ $100, $50, and $25. Premium Patron Seats (limited to 50 per concert) are priced @ $ 500.00 per ticket (a portion tax-deductible) and include a post-show cocktail reception with that evening's artists. For reservations and presale information, please call (212) 980-3026. On September 2nd all remaining seats go on sale at the Jazz At Lincoln Center box office located Broadway at 60th Street, online at www.jalc.org, and CenterCharge (212) 721-6500. A detailed list of each evening's participants is offered below.
Endeavoring to summarize the 2014 Convention's potential highlights, KT Sullivan (artistic director of The Mabel Mercer Foundation) was exultant and spoiled for choice: "Each show has its own theme; in the process, we're going to herald the music and lyrics of Irving Berlin, Burton Lane, and E Y. "Yip" Harburg. We'll salute singing legend Julie Wilson on her 90th birthday, and we'll spend another evening in the company of great singer-pianists. The latter will be our opening night, hosted by premier violinist Aaron Weinstein - who'll also perform -- and includes Jason Robert Brown (this year's Tony Award winner for Best Score for The Bridges of Madison County) and songwriter Steven Lutvak, whose A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder won the Tony as Best Musical. "Julie herself will be the honored guest when more than twenty singers highlight two dozen of the songs drawn from (or applicable to) her extraordinary career. Two long-time Convention favorites, Jeff Harnar and Andrea Marcovicci, have specially selected a group of vocalists to do the honors for scores written by Lane and Harburg, whether together or individually, and that includes numbers from Finian's Rainbow, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, The Wizard of Oz, Babes on Broadway, Cabin in the Sky, and Royal Wedding. Then Klea Blackhurst gives the Convention a major finale by hosting a remembrance of rousing, classic Irving Berlin -- whether in his individual hits like "Alexander's Ragtime Band" and "God Bless America" or his show songs from Annie Get Your Gun, Call Me Madam, White Christmas, Easter Parade, and Top Hat. Anita Gillette will deliver one of the melodies she sang in Berlin's final Broadway effort, Mr. President."
"We're also continuing our awards' presentations, named for Donald, Julie, and Mabel Mercer herself. Several of these awards are underwritten by great, good friends of The Foundation, who take special pleasure in the songs and artists of the cabaret community." (The annual Margaret Whiting Award, co-sponsored by My Ideal Music, was given to Natalie Douglas during her appearance at the Foundation's Weill Recital Hall gala on June 23rd.)
Sullivan explained, "The 2012 convention was 'Donald's year,' as that was the first after the passing of Foundation founder and guiding light, Donald F. Smith. So we paid tribute to him and his personal favorites. Last year, with an eye toward the future, we gathered many younger cabaret voices and their increasingly diverse musical styles. Now, for 2014, it's a mélange of one and all, which we felt was the best way to commemorate and encapsulate our 25-year history and at the same time focus on the future.
This year's Cabaret Convention programming:
Monday, October 20: I LOVE A PIANO -- Celebrating the Great Tradition of The Singing Pianist, hosted by Aaron Weinstein; featuring The Mabel Mercer Foundation Presentation of The Julie Wilson Award (underwritten by Linda and Peter Hanson) to Liam Forde. With Matt Baker, Devin Bing, Jason Robert Brown, Barbara Carroll, Charles Cochran, Alexis Cole, Tony DeSare, Liam Forde, Eric Yves Garcia, Loston Harris, Alex Leonard, Steven Lutvak, Nellie McKay, Mark Nadler, Steve Ross, Daryl Sherman, and a Surprise Guest.
Tuesday, October 21: QUIET PLEASE, THERE'S A LADY ON STAGE -- A Celebration of Julie Wilson's 90th Birthday, hosted by KT Sullivan; featuring The Mabel Mercer Foundation Presentation of The Mabel Award to Ann Hampton Callaway. With Corinna Sowers Adler, Christine Andreas, Ann Hampton Callaway, Nathan Chang, Kevin Dozier, Shana Farr, Lauren Fox, Wayne Hosford, Valerie Lemon, Maxine Linehan, Marilyn Maye, MarieannMeringolo, Marissa Mulder, T. Oliver Reid, Cole Rumbough, Tony Sheldon, Deborah Silver, Kevin Spirtas, Lennie Watts, Carol Woods, Amra-Faye Wright, and Karen Wyman.
Wednesday, October 22: SOMETHING SORT OF GRANDISH -- The Music of Burton Lane, The Lyrics of Yip Harburg, hosted by Jeff Harnar and Andrea Marcovicci; featuring The Mabel Mercer Foundation Presentation of The Donald F. Smith Award (underwritten by Adela and Larry Elow) to Jennifer Sheehan. With Karen Akers, Brent Barrett, Anna Bergman, Carole J. Bufford, Jim Caruso, Eric Comstock, Natalie Douglas, Christine Ebersole, Barbara Fasano, Richard Holbrook, Anthony Nunziata, Sally Mayes, Jennifer Sheehan, Gabrielle Stravelli, Billy Stritch, and Iris Williams.
Thursday, October 23: COME ON AND HEAR -- The Songs of Irving Berlin, hosted by Klea Blackhurst. With Terry Burrell, Jeffry Denman, John Treacy Egan, Peggy Eason, Gregory Generet, Anita Gillette, Mandy Gonzalez, Nicolas King, Rebekah Lowin, Karen Mason, Sidney Myer, Karen Oberlin, Spider Saloff, and Stacy Sullivan.
Special Event on Friday, October 24 at 8 p.m.: This year The Mabel Mercer Foundation also offers an additional evening: KABARETT WITH A "K," hosted by Karen Kohler, and featuring Greta, Frans Bloem, Jean Brassard, and surprise guests. This special performance remembers and honors the European roots and traditions of cabaret, also demonstrating the new cutting edge at The Cutting Room, 44 East 32nd Street, New York, NY 10016. There is a $20 cover charge and a $15 minimum; reservations may be made through The Foundation: 212 980-3026.
Please note that all artists are listed herein subject to their availability.
Since its inception in 1985, The Mabel Mercer Foundation has stood at the forefront in championing cabaret and the American Songbook. Their shows continue to be presented in large and intimate venues in New York, all over the country, abroad, at sea, and in educational settings.