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BWW Reviews: Betty Buckley's DARK BLUE-EYED BLUES is a Beautifully Rich Experience Review BWW Reviews: Betty Buckley's DARK BLUE-EYED BLUES is a Beautifully Rich Experience
by David Clarke - June 02, 2015

Last week, Betty Buckley returned to Joe's Pub to debut her newest cabaret concert DARK BLUE-EYED BLUES. Thrilled to have been recognized as a chanteuse in recent reviews, Buckley programmed the evening to be the "musings of a chanteuse," packing the set with standards and contemporary hits. The Broadway legend performed with tangible vivacity and charm, making this intimate evening a joy to experience. (more...)


BWW Reviews: ERIC COMSTOCK & BARBARA FASANO Open Beguiling New Show at the Metropolitan Room Review BWW Reviews: ERIC COMSTOCK & BARBARA FASANO Open Beguiling New Show at the Metropolitan Room
by Alix Cohen - June 02, 2015

Eric Comstock and Barbara Fasano are in a really good mood. The infectious buoyancy of their new show at the Metropolitan Room, Shoulder Season (Don't ask me what the title means. Despite explanation, I haven't a clue.), will erase world news, ease arthritis, and make love seem possible again. Well, maybe not all that. Its warm, cheerful, sometimes exuberant musicality is nonetheless recommended for whatever ails you. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Life Lessons from Car Radio Classics Provide CHRISTY FRYE With a Winning Debut Show at Don't Tell Mama Review BWW Reviews: Life Lessons from Car Radio Classics Provide CHRISTY FRYE With a Winning Debut Show at Don't Tell Mama
by Billie Roe - June 01, 2015

One of the joys of reviewing cabaret is being fortunate enough to discover a remarkable talent. I experienced that feeling this past Saturday night at Don't Tell Mama where Christy Frye debuted her New York cabaret show, Christy Frye: Feels Like the First Time – Things I Learned From the Car Radio. Considering Frye is native of the Washington, D.C. area, and has been commuting weekly to New York for more than two years to study and participate in the New York cabaret scene, one might get the impression that Frye spends a good deal of her time in the car listening to the “oldies but goodies,” thereby supporting the first rule of cabaret performance--make the subject matter organic to the performer.  (more...)


BWW Reviews: CHARLOTTE PATTON Sensuously Celebrates Men—In Spite of All Their Flaws--in Sophisticated Show at the Metropolitan Room Review BWW Reviews: CHARLOTTE PATTON Sensuously Celebrates Men—In Spite of All Their Flaws--in Sophisticated Show at the Metropolitan Room
by Billie Roe - May 31, 2015

It takes a woman of considerable wit, style, and maturity to tackle (let alone celebrate) the subject matter of men. In her new show, Celebrating Men (Bless Their Hearts), seen last Thursday night at the Metropolitan Room, happily, Charlotte Patton possesses all those traits as she leads us on her guided tour of all the various male idiosyncrasies that can drive a woman wild--or mad. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Irreverent TORI SCOTT Blows Audiences Away With Her Roaring Pipes at Joe's Pub Review BWW Reviews: Irreverent TORI SCOTT Blows Audiences Away With Her Roaring Pipes at Joe's Pub
by Remy Block - May 29, 2015

In her new cabaret show Thirsty! (which returns to Joe's Pub for a second show on June 1 at 9:30), Scott regales the audience with tales of a young(ish) single woman living in New York City as an aspiring musical theater performer, whose antics tend to run toward the debauched, since she has 'no moral compass and [loves] being social.' Scott, named Time Out New York's Top Ten Cabaret Artist of 2013, has graced the stages of Joe's Pub, 54 Below, the Laurie Beechman, the Metropolitan Room, and every gay bar on the Eastern Seaboard. (more...)


BWW Reviews: With It's Delicious 25th Anniversary Tribute to GRAND HOTEL, '54 Below Sings' Raises the Bar On Cabaret Concert Revues Review BWW Reviews: With It's Delicious 25th Anniversary Tribute to GRAND HOTEL, '54 Below Sings' Raises the Bar On Cabaret Concert Revues
by Alix Cohen - May 26, 2015

On Sunday evening, 54 Below celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the musical Grand Hotel on Broadway in high style with two performances crackling with energy and featuring a talented roster of performers including 13 from the original cast. Splendidly Directed (and Written) by Walter Willison, with Musical Direction by Alex Rybeck, Bass Accompaniment from Ray Kiddain, and Dance Supervision by Yvonne Marceau, the delicious production (one really can't call it a concert despite lack of dialogue) was fluid, polished, and imaginative in its use of the room. From leads to the chorus, voices were strong, commitment thorough. In the audience, Tommy Tune must've had a helluva time. We did. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Actor/Singer BILL A. JONES Knocks 'Em Dead at the E-Spot Lounge Review BWW Reviews: Actor/Singer BILL A. JONES Knocks 'Em Dead at the E-Spot Lounge
by Don Grigware - May 26, 2015

On Saturday May 23 actor/singer Bill A. Jones, known to thousands of cheering fans as Rod Remington of Fox TV's Glee, brought his one-man show Frank, Bobby & Me to the E-Spot Lounge at Vitello's in Studio City. This man is not only handsome with an affable charm onstage, but can truly sing these old standards with a smooth delivery and the fine easy-going style that they deserve. The packed SRO crowd would surely agree. Backed by three stellar musicians, musical director Paul McDonald at the keys, Steve Pemberton on drums and Kurt Smith on bass - known as Paul McDonald the A Players - for 90 minutes the 'joint was really jumpin' '. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Jazzy ALEXIS COLE Brings Her Effortless Musicality to Café Noctambulo Review BWW Reviews: Jazzy ALEXIS COLE Brings Her Effortless Musicality to Café Noctambulo
by Alix Cohen - May 24, 2015

Alexis Cole makes it look easy. Even up-tempo, the performer never appears to be less than relaxed and enjoying what she's doing. Somewhere in the middle of her first number Saturday night at Café Noctambulo (at Pangea Restaurant on 2nd Avenue between 11th and 12th streets) the room seems to exhale. This evening, with her familiar collaborators David Finck (bass) and Kenny Hassler (drums) communicating in musical shorthand, Cole (also on piano) offers jazz, swing, bossa nova, and pop, putting her own subtle stamp on each, never, thankfully, losing melodic path. (more...)


BWW Reviews: STACY SULLIVAN's Intimate New Show at the Metropolitan Room Has An Identity Problem Review BWW Reviews: STACY SULLIVAN's Intimate New Show at the Metropolitan Room Has An Identity Problem
by Alix Cohen - May 22, 2015

Stacy Sullivan is a warm and amusing storyteller with an entertaining family history. The first six numbers of her new Metropolitan Room show on Thursday night, Since You Asked (after the Judy Collins song), are bridged by tales of her parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and her upbringing in Oklahoma. Unfortunately, five of these songs have only the most tenuous relationship to material that follows, diminishing reception with thoughts of--Where's the connection? What's she trying to say? (more...)


BWW Reviews: Usually Marvelous LAUREN FOX Missteps With New Show Chronicling Groupies Who Bedded and/or Inspired Rock Legends Review BWW Reviews: Usually Marvelous LAUREN FOX Missteps With New Show Chronicling Groupies Who Bedded and/or Inspired Rock Legends
by Alix Cohen - May 21, 2015

With her new show at the Metropolitan Room that opened last night—Groupies: The Muses Behind the Legends of Rock & Roll--the usually smart and meticulous Lauren Fox (as evidenced by her shows that celebrated the music of Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen and later the Pop/Rock that emerged from Laurel Canyon in the 1960s) has here chosen questionable territory--the celebration of women who serially slept their way through the music business or, as Fox more poetically says, “Made it their life's mission to meet the beautiful boys who made the music that moved them.” Hook-ups are exemplified by often unappealing numbers (too much monotone) and bridged with quotes by groupies whose role as “muses” or sources of creative inspiration seems a stretch. (more...)


BWW Reviews: New Mom MEGAN HILTY is a 'Smash' Delivering Pop Songs and Standards at the Café Carlyle Review BWW Reviews: New Mom MEGAN HILTY is a 'Smash' Delivering Pop Songs and Standards at the Café Carlyle
by Remy Block - May 20, 2015

I like Megan Hilty because she laughs a lot. She's fun! A young star of stage and screen-- having established herself as "Glinda" in Wicked on Broadway (2005-06) and subsequently becoming a TV star playing complicated and talented Ivy Lynn in the NBC hit musical drama Smash-Hilty opened her current run at the Cafe Carlyle Tuesday night to an excited, adoring audience. On stage with her band, directed by musical savant Matt Cusson--sporting a jaunty Newsies-style cap--at the keyboard (and including her husband Brian Gallagher on guitar, Ryan Hoagland on percussion, and Dennis Michael Keefe on upright bass), Hilty's effervescence was palpable, a heady mixture of genuine glee and sleep deprivation, as she effusively exclaimed her delight at being back at the Carlyle, following her last run when she was six-months pregnant. Now she has an eight-month old daughter. While her initial intention was to create a show about motherhood, the show ended up as a night of standards and Smash selections, giving the people what they know and love. (more...)


BWW Reviews: At Don't Tell Mama, SUSAN WINTER Proves She's a Jazzy Steward for the American Songbook During Any Season Review BWW Reviews: At Don't Tell Mama, SUSAN WINTER Proves She's a Jazzy Steward for the American Songbook During Any Season
by Alix Cohen - May 19, 2015

One might easily call Susan Winter's Monday night show at Don't Tell Mama, A Woman for All Seasons: Part Two as half its numbers were in the first show by this name she performed during a run starting last September at the Metropolitan Room. Winter is the kind of class act that would've been lauded in nightclubs way back when, as she's a steward of the American Songbook at its most genuine but with a side of jazz influence. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Delivering Open-Throttle Fun, An Exuberant Cast Brings THE LIFE to Life at 54 Below Review BWW Reviews: Delivering Open-Throttle Fun, An Exuberant Cast Brings THE LIFE to Life at 54 Below
by Alix Cohen - May 19, 2015

Cy Coleman and Ira Gasman's musical The Life explores the human flotsam and jetsam of Times Square in the 1980s--prostitutes, pimps, dealers, runaways, the seedy, lost and desperate. And, of course, this being a musical, some have hearts of gold. The Life began Off-Broadway in 1990 at the Westbeth Theater and moved to Broadway in 1997, garnering three Drama Desk Awards and Tony Awards for Lillias White and Chuck Cooper. On Sunday evening (5/17), 54 Below presented a concert version of The Life as part of its 54 Below Sings series. The cast sunk its teeth into this score with gusto offering 15 songs that reminded us of the show's pith and sass. Intermittent narrative sketched the storyline. Few of those onstage were acting, but everyone sang up a storm. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Piano Girl ROBYN McCORQUODALE's Cabaret Debut Alternates Between Smooth Sailing and Choppy Seas at the Laurie Beechman Review BWW Reviews: Piano Girl ROBYN McCORQUODALE's Cabaret Debut Alternates Between Smooth Sailing and Choppy Seas at the Laurie Beechman
by John Hoglund - May 18, 2015

To paraphrase a Peter Allen song, she could have been a sailor. Instead, she chose to sail the open seas. And now she's singing about it. It all made for a promising theme for the Manhattan cabaret debut of Robyn McCorquodale and her series of four April shows, Diary Of A Piano Girl, at the Laurie Beechman Theatre. Pert, lively and totally likable, she shared her stories fused with original songs about wanderlust in which all roads eventually lead back home. From the opening number to closing with "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," her only familiar entry, she took a circuitous route with visits to numerous ports of call. New to our local cabaret shores, but no stranger to entertaining, she's made her mark in the Big Apple with this outing. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Crowd-Pleasing Revue Celebrating the Songs of CY COLEMAN Sets Off Fireworks at 54 Below Review BWW Reviews: Crowd-Pleasing Revue Celebrating the Songs of CY COLEMAN Sets Off Fireworks at 54 Below
by Alix Cohen - May 18, 2015

Three of Cy Coleman's Broadway leading ladies invite you to a celebratory shindig buoyed by talent, palpably warmed by affection. Sometimes orchestrated as a harmonizing girl group and at others in distinctively different solo turns, Lillias White, Cady Huffman, and Randy Graff offer a banquet of Coleman's oeuvre in the 54 Below revue, My Guy Cy, which opened Friday night (and played again the following night). Arrangements by various musicians are texturally piquant, showcasing uncommon skill when interweaving songs. Direction (from vocalist Will Nunziata, who has a second flowering career) is fluid, deft, and winning. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Cast Bids SIDE SHOW a Fond Farewell with 'Added Attractions' Encore at 54 Below Review BWW Reviews: Cast Bids SIDE SHOW a Fond Farewell with 'Added Attractions' Encore at 54 Below
by David Clarke - May 17, 2015

Back by popular demand, March's SIDE SHOW: ADDED ATTRACTIONS concert returned to 54 Below this week. Packing in two more performances, the Monday evening show celebrated the short lived Broadway run of the revival of Side Show, the March concert, and the upcoming release of Broadway Records' SIDE SHOW: ADDED ATTRACTIONS - Live at 54 Below. (more...)


BWW Reviews: It's All Sinatra All the Time and All the Way as Will Friedwald's 14-Hour SINATRA-THON Entertains and Informs at The Cutting Room Review BWW Reviews: It's All Sinatra All the Time and All the Way as Will Friedwald's 14-Hour SINATRA-THON Entertains and Informs at The Cutting Room
by Alix Cohen - May 12, 2015

Tribute shows to iconic entertainers celebrating a centennial birthday in 2015 seem to be all the rage this year. But nobody has been celebrated more in cabaret variety shows than Frank Sinatra—and rightly so. Wall Street Journal entertainment columnist Will Friedwald, also a producer and author who wrote the 1997 book Sinatra! The Song Is You—A Singer's Art, this past Saturday presented the biggest (and longest) tribute to “Ol' Blue Eyes” so far this year with Sinatra-Thon at The Cutting Room (co-curated with performer Cary Hoffman), a potpourri of events running from 10 am to an after-midnight jam, and which included varied live entertainment, rare film clips, and panel discussions. (more...)


BWW Reviews: James Snyder Charms Birdland Review BWW Reviews: James Snyder Charms Birdland
by David Clarke - May 08, 2015

James Snyder got this week off to a great start when he brought James Snyder: Prince Charming to Birdland as part of the venue's ongoing Broadway at Birdland concert series. Existing partly as a way to promote the upcoming production of Ever After at Paper Mill Playhouse, this intimate cabaret concert was really just a great excuse to get to hear one of Broadway's favorite leading men sing a collection of songs. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Debuts by Evelyn Sullivan, Erin McCracken; Comebacks by Eve Eaton, Rob Sutton Are Standouts at Don't Tell Mama Review BWW Reviews: Debuts by Evelyn Sullivan, Erin McCracken; Comebacks by Eve Eaton, Rob Sutton Are Standouts at Don't Tell Mama
by Billie Roe - May 06, 2015

Four recent shows at Don't Tell Mama featured performers either making their debuts on the New York cabaret scene (Evelyn Sullivan and Erin McCracken) or who returned this spring in hopeful anticipation of sharing their artistic vision with audiences (Rob Sutton and Eve Eaton). They no doubt experienced the usual anxiety, trials and tribulations before ultimately taking the stage. And they've come out on the other side relatively unscathed.  (more...)


BWW Reviews: The Transcendent Voice of Ageless and Evergreen JUDY COLLINS Once Again Enchants Café Carlyle Review BWW Reviews: The Transcendent Voice of Ageless and Evergreen JUDY COLLINS Once Again Enchants Café Carlyle
by Alix Cohen - May 06, 2015

Judy Collins, who celebrated her 76th birthday on May 1, has been entertaining us for 56 years "not including childhood." A formidable contributor to the soundtrack of Boomer lives, her transcendent voice conjures memories like few others of any generation. Collins' current show at Cafe Carlyle (which opened last night and runs until May 16) mines familiar territory like evocative comfort food, including retold tales that sometimes go on too long. Many songs take on new coloring both vocally and in terms of changed context, i.e. that of a mature woman looking back. (more...)


BWW Reviews: ROSLYN KIND Returns To 54 Below With Another Sold-Out Show That Is Simply Sublime Review BWW Reviews: ROSLYN KIND Returns To 54 Below With Another Sold-Out Show That Is Simply Sublime
by John Hoglund - May 05, 2015

After a 20-year absence from Manhattan cabaret, Roslyn Kind resurfaced last year with a sold out run at 54 Below. The show was a hit and audiences so adored her, she probably could have extended a month. At the time, she was fresh off a world tour that that began at Brooklyn's Barclays Center and famously included her nephew Jason Gould, acclaimed jazz trumpeter Chris Botti, and half sister Barbra Streisand with whom she sang some duets. The Brooklyn native returned to 54 Below for the first three days in May and again her show was a hit under the masterful direction of Broadway's Richard Jay-Alexander (more...)


BWW Reviews: Enjoyable Revue at the Metropolitan Room Showcases the Prodigious Songbook of Composer NICHOLAS LEVIN Review BWW Reviews: Enjoyable Revue at the Metropolitan Room Showcases the Prodigious Songbook of Composer NICHOLAS LEVIN
by Andrew Martin - May 04, 2015

Somewhere In This Song: The Music and Lyrics of Nicholas Levin, which premiered this past Saturday afternoon at Metropolitan Room is a hit show that will undoubtedly find its legs for a much-deserved extended run there, or possibly on an Off-Broadway stage. Levin, a prodigious songwriter, has never achieved the recognition he deserves, in spite of getting a handful of award nominations, his stellar contributions to the 2006 hit Off-Broadway musical That Time of the Year at the York Theatre, and his long participation in the acclaimed ASCAP/MAC Songwriters Showcases. But with this latest revue featuring his songbook, Levin--and his work--may finally get his chance to shine. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Kritzerland's BERLIN TO ROME - Lovely Generations of Musicality Review BWW Reviews: Kritzerland's BERLIN TO ROME - Lovely Generations of Musicality
by Gil Kaan - May 04, 2015

Kritzerland's Berlin to Rome's theme unintentionally became 'generations,' as the youngster and the senior stole the show from the others of the talented line-up of singing pros.  (more...)


BWW Reviews: JENNIFER SHEEHAN is 'Stardust' but Not Quite Golden in New Show at 54 Below Review BWW Reviews: JENNIFER SHEEHAN is 'Stardust' but Not Quite Golden in New Show at 54 Below
by Alix Cohen - May 01, 2015

Evoking Rita Hayworth, a spot lit Jennifer Sheehan weaves through 54 Below towards the stage, long dark hair cascading above a body-skimming white gown replete with twinkling sequins. “I'll build a stairway to the stars . . .,” (Mitchell Parish/Matt Malneck/Frank Signorelli) she sings with stunning vocal clarity and investment that might conjure a Ziegfeld Girl. In her new show, Stardust: A Night in the Cosmos, Sheehan welcomes the “dreamers, romantics, stargazers, astrophysicists, and Trekkies” with “songs that flicker like the street lamps of eternity” with lyrics featuring stars, moons, and rose-colored hope. It's an appealing theme and one that suits the artist's fetching performance and transition from ingénue into a more mature cabaret entertainer. (more...)


BWW Reviews: LISA FISCHER Traverses Diverse Emotional Terrain in Exquisite Yet Meandering Show at Birdland Review BWW Reviews: LISA FISCHER Traverses Diverse Emotional Terrain in Exquisite Yet Meandering Show at Birdland
by Remy Block - April 29, 2015

It wasn't so much watching a performance as it was bearing witness to an interior exploration, the chrysalis-busting conjuring of an artist stepping out of the shadows to claim her own territory. Lisa Fischer, the extraordinarily gifted vocalist featured in the 2014 Academy Award-winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom, took the stage at Birdland for a run of shows from April 24-27. She was joined on stage by the band Grand Baton, led by musical director and arranger JC Maillard, filled out by Aidan Carroll on upright bass and Thierry Arpino on drums. Maillard, sporting blond dreads reminiscent of Lisa Bonet circa Lenny Kravitz, mostly played his custom made Sazbass, but also picked up the electric guitar and played keys. The set consisted of eight songs, including encore, but the arrangements were elastic, allowing each song to stretch into jams, riffs and solos, traversing diverse emotional and sonic terrain. (more...)