Marilyn Maye, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Nikki Blonsky and More Present at 2013 Bistro Awards Tonight
The 28th Annual Bistro Awards gala, set to take place tonight, March 4, has announced some of its main presenters. Unlike most other awards show, the Bistro Awards is an evening filled with great performances from the winners - stars as well as talented newcomers - who represent a wide variety of styles from the worlds of cabaret, comedy, and jazz.
Marilyn Maye, the legendary entertainer who won the 2008 Bob Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award, will present Lainie Kazan with her very own Lifetime Achievement Award. Dee Dee Bridgewater, the acclaimed vocalist and Tony Award-winning actress who won the 2012 Bistro for Outstanding Jazz Artistry, will present Maurice Hines with his honor for Enduring Artistry. Nikki Blonsky, of the film "Hairspray" and the ABC Family TV series "Huge," will present the comedy award to Alec Mapa. Lee Summers, the award-winning actor and composer, will present the versatile singer and actress Jenifer Lewis with her award for Dazzling Return to New York Cabaret. Larry Moss, the director, acting coach and performer, will present Clint Holmes with his honor for Major Engagement. Thirteen other awards will be given out as well.
The celebration will take place at Gotham Comedy Club, 208 West 23rd Street (between 7th & 8th avenues). To purchase tickets, go to www.bistroawards.com. For additional information, call 646-637-2806 or 917-239-5467.
Tony Award-nominated Ms. Kazan has entertained audiences on stage and screen and in nightclubs since the 1960s - from "Funny Girl" to "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," from MR. Kelly's to Feinstein's at Loews Regency. Mr. Hines is a celebrated actor, dancer and choreographer who started on TV variety shows in the 1950s and went on to a Tony Award-nominated career on Broadway, is being honored for his Enduring Artistry. The evening, under the direction of Shellen Lubin, will once again be co-hosted by comedian and actor Jim David, and will feature performances from most of this year's Bistro-winning artists.
Clint Holmes brought his bravura showmanship and powerful vocals to the Café Carlyle in a critically-acclaimed new show comparing and contrasting the music of Cole Porter and Paul Simon. Sue Raney, a leading light on the West Coast jazz scene since the 1950s and still gloriously in command of her sunny voice and trademark range, marked her first New York nightclub engagement in over 25 years, at Feinstein's at Loews Regency.
In 2012, film, TV and stage star Jenifer Lewis performed on a New York cabaret stage for the first time in 20 years. Broadway and symphony conductor Barry Levitt, who is music director for many of nightlife's biggest names, will be honored for "Ongoing Musical Excellence," and Mx. Justin VivIan Bond, the Tony Award-nominated performance artist, for "Singular Artistry."
Two Special Awards will be presented: to Jack Kleinsinger, whose concert series "Highlights in Jazz" has been presenting major jazz performers for 41 seasons, and to Ben Rimalower, the writer and performer of the poignant and hilarious solo play "Patti Issues," which has been extended four times at The Duplex.
Alec Mapa will be honored for his comedy monologue "Baby Daddy," while Tanya Holt will be recognized for her achievements as a Vocalist and Deanna Kirk as Jazz Vocalist. Michael Hughes wins a Bistro Award for his debut New York show, "Mickey and Judy," the musical memoir that was the hit of the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival. T. Oliver Reid is being recognized with a Bistro for Theme Show for his show "Drop Me Off in Harlem," which marked his debut at Feinstein's at Loews Regency last fall. Mary Liz McNamara, already honored by BMI for outstanding creative achievement in musical theatre, will take home the Bistro Award for Songwriter.
In addition, the Bistro Awards will honor two very special new recordings. Catherine Russell, the versatile singer whose CDs have topped both the Billboard charts and the Village Voice's Jazz Critics poll, has impressed the jazz world yet again with the 2012 album "Strictly Romancin'." Moira Danis features many genres of music to highlight the connections between friends, lovers, relatives and strangers on her new CD, "Some People's Lives."
The Ira Eaker Special Achievement Award, given to an outstanding performer on the rise, and named after Back Stage's co-founder, co-publisher, and first cabaret critic, goes to multi-talented Liam Forde.
The gala event will be held tonight, March 4 at Gotham Comedy Club, 208 West 23rd Street. A Champagne reception for Bistro recipients and Premium Ticket holders begins at 5 pm, followed by the awards presentation and show starting at 6:30 pm.
Producer Sherry Eaker will host the annual event, along with the other members of the Bistro Awards Committee: Elizabeth Ahlfors (Cabaret Scenes, CurtainUp.com), David Finkle (Village Voice, The Huffington Post), Kevin Scott Hall (Edge Media Network, BistroAwards.com ), Rob Lester (NiteLife Exchange, Cabaret Scenes, TalkinBroadway.com), Erv Raible, executive/artistic director of the Cabaret Conference at Yale University, Roy Sander (BistroAwards.com, chairman of the Advisory Board of MAC), Robert Windeler (BistroAwards.com) and Mark Dundas Wood (SimplyShowbiz.com, BistroAwards.com). Ms. Eaker, who heads the Bistro Committee, is the former longtime Editor-in-Chief of Back Stage and the producer of the event since its inception.
General Admission tickets are $65; Premium Tickets are $100, which includes the pre-show Champagne reception and priority seating. A two-drink minimum applies to both ticket categories, and all attendees are invited to the "After Bistros" party.
A complete list of winners follows:
Lainie Kazan / Bob Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award
Maurice Hines / Enduring Artistry
Sue Raney / Major Engagement / Feinstein's at Loews Regency
Jenifer Lewis / Dazzling Return to New York Cabaret / "Black Don't Crack at 54 Below" / 54 Below
Barry Levitt / Ongoing Musical Excellence
Liam Forde / Ira Eaker Award
Highlights in Jazz / Special Award to Jack Kleinsinger / series
Justin VivIan Bond / Singular Artistry / 54 Below
Tanya Holt / Vocalist
Deanna Kirk / Jazz Vocalist
T. Oliver Reid / Theme Show / "Drop Me Off in Harlem" / Feinstein's at Loews Regency
Mary Liz McNamara / Songwriter
Moira Danis / Recording / "Some People's Lives"
Catherine Russell / Recording / "Strictly Romancin'"
The BISTRO AWARD was established by Bob Harrington in 1985 in his "Bistro Bits" column in the trade weekly Back Stage, then under the editorship of Sherry Eaker. For the first few years, the awards were merely listed in Harrington's column as notable performances he had seen during the calendar year. The first formal presentation of the awards was held in 1990 at Eighty Eight's, a popular cabaret venue in the West Village. From there, the show moved on to The Ballroom in Chelsea, and then relocated to the Supper Club in the Broadway District, where it remained for many years. This year marks the sixth year at Gotham Comedy Club.
The guidelines that Harrington set up for himself to determine the first winners have become the basic philosophy behind the Bistro Awards, which recognize achievement in a wide variety of categories - from outstanding performances to outstanding contributions by members of the cabaret community. The object is not to choose the "best" of anything of the year, but to recognize and congratulate the accomplishments of those who have done something special. Accordingly, categories can easily be created from year to year as they best fit the year's distinguished work.
Some of the Bistro's special honorees have included Melissa Manchester, Kaye Ballard, and Dee Dee Bridgewater (2012), Dionne Warwick and Carol Channing (2011), Mitzi Gaynor and Elaine Stritch (2010), Charles Aznavour and Liza Minnelli (2009), Marilyn Maye (2008), Betty Buckley (2007), Steve Ross (2006), as well as Dame Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth, Bobby Short, Eartha Kitt, Barbara Cook, and many others.