The Cabaret Chronicles: Bistro Awards, Cast Party & More!
Happy May, everyone! We've had some gorgeous weather in NYC over the past few days, so between that and the fantastic entertainment going on, it ended up being a pretty swell week!
On Saturday, April 25th, I returned to the Metropolitan Room for round 2 of Rob Langeder's new show, Anyplace I Hang My Hat..., and had a great time! Rob won a 2007 MAC Award for his debut show, and it's great to see him back in the spotlight again, singing and swinging to some well-loved standards as well as some eclectic lesser-known tunes. I'm very pleased to be joining him on a few duets and some backup vocals, but as I said last week, half the fun is sitting back and listening to the songs on which I'm not singing! Rob's backed by a terrific 5-piece band, and the show does a great job of highlighting his powerhouse vocal chops as well as some great acting skills! I'm so looking forward to the final performance of the show, which is taking place on Wednesday, May 20th!
The following night found me at the Algonquin Salon, which is always a treat, but this week was particularly special - not only were the performances terrific, but in The Audience were two legendary ladies of stage and song: Celeste Holm and Marilyn Maye! The two stars were very supportive of the performers that graced the Algonquin that evening, and the performers were most appreciative of the two stars, so it worked out very nicely! Mark Janas, who is the founder of the Salon and usually serves as host and accompanist, had to miss the Salon this week, but he found a terrific sub in Matthew Ward! Singer/songwriter/director/producer Hector Coris was the guest co-host, and there was a great lineup of talent including Deb Berman, Susan Winter, Gretchen Reinhagen, Richie Eisenberg, Sierra Rein, and the Salon's producer, Peter Napolitano, who read a fantastic spoken word piece which he had written. It was a wonderful night - I'm looking forward to making it back soon!
Monday night's Cast Party was ridiculously good - there were crazy amounts of talent that got behind the ol' Birdland mic! For starters, there were super-divas Marilyn Maye, Ann Hampton Callaway, and Klea Blackhurst. Then there was Louise DuArt, who is renowned for her amazing impressions and shared several of them with us, including Joan Rivers and Carol Burnett. Ariana Grande, who made her Broadway debut in 13, brought the house down (and had everyone singing along, too!) on her "Natural Woman", and David Ippolito (a.k.a. "That Guitar Man From Central Park") had everyone laughing and clapping along with "Glen Beck Scares Me." Oh, and YouTube sensation Miranda also showed up and treated us to some savvy "advice" as well as her rendition of "My Favorite Things." And that's just the tip of the iceberg! Seriously, it was a GREAT night! Kudos to host Jim Caruso and the always-fabulous Cast Party Symphony Orchestra (Tedd Firth on piano and Steve Doyle on bass) for another terrific show!
On Tuesday evening, it was off to the Bistro Awards (presented by Sherry Eaker in association with BACKSTAGE) at Gotham Comedy Club. These annual "critics' choice" awards honor the best of NYC nightlife, and on Monday night, the room was PACKED with cabaret performers and fans, and the excitement in the air was palpable. The fabulous Marilyn Maye (boy, she sure gets around, doesn't she?!) kicked things off with a knockout performance, and she then presented the legendary Liza Minnelli with a Bistro Award for Enduring Artistry. Ms. Minnelli then had the honor of presenting international singer/songwriter/actor Charles Aznavour with the Bob Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award. Whew! What a way to start the show! Following the "grand opening" of the show, awards were presented in 22 different categories, and happily, most of the recipients performed! Congratulations to all of this year's winners: Euan Morton (Outstanding Vocalist), Susan Winter (Outstanding Vocalist), Laurel Masse (Outstanding Jazz Vocalist), Deb Berman (Outstanding Debut), Kim Smith (Ira Eaker Special Achievement Award), Amanda McBroom (Outstanding Major Engagement), Julie Gold (BMI Award for Outstanding Songwriter/Entertainer), Carol Hall (ASCAP Award for Outstanding CD), Uptown Express (Outstanding Vocal Group), Alison Fraser & Mary Testa (Outstanding Duo), Tapestry Rewoven - A Jazz Re-imagining of the Carol King Classic (Outstanding Theme Show, performed by Laurie Krauz, with musical direction and arrangements by Daryl Kojak), Little Death: Songs of Coming and Going (Outstanding Theme Show, conceived and performed by Karen Kohler, directed by Richard Thompson, musical direction by Doug Oberhamer, arrangements by Tom Nazziola, Doug Oberhamer, and Karen Kohler), Liz McCartney, Rosemary & Time: A Musical Tribute to the Life of Rosemary Clooney (Outstanding Tribute Show), Nashville (Outstanding Revue, co-starring Daryl Glenn and musical director Joe Lynn Burks, directed and choreographed by Vince DeGeorge), Brian Nash (Outstanding Lounge Entertainer), Narcissister (Outstanding Burlesque/Vaudeville Act), Opening Doors Theatre Company: Closing Notice Series (Outstanding Series), Lennie Watts (Outstanding Director), Don Rebic (Outstanding Musical Director), Lisa Moss (Outstanding Technical Director), Robert Kimball (Special Award for preserving, documenting and celebrating the Great American Songbook), and Joseph Macchia (Special Award for his Cabaret Cares) benefit series.
Where I'm going this week...
Friday, May 1st: Metrojam at the Metropolitan Room - the fabulous monthly open mic at the Metropolitan Room! Hosted by Joe Bachana with John DiPinto on piano, Ritt Henn on bass, and Bobby Sher on drums. It starts at 10, but make sure to get there early to sign up if you want to sing!
Monday, May 4th: 7:00 - Shannon Brown in Moonshine Martinis: A 60s & 70s Country Cabaret. I saw Shannon do a few songs from this show at the MAC New Face Showcase at the end of February and can't wait to see the full show!
10:00 - Cast Party at Birdland! Hosted by Jim Caruso, this fantastic open mic runs from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. but again, make sure you get there early to sign up if you want to sing!
Tuesday, May 5th: Yankees - Red Sox game...ok, so it's not cabaret or theatre, but there's sure to be a heck of a lot of drama!
That's all that's on the agenda for now, but more may get added as I go along! Enjoy the week and check back next Friday for a new article!
Pictured: Liza Minnelli
From This Author Jenna Esposito