Bay Area Cabaret Presents Nellie McKay, 3/23

Bay Area Cabaret Presents Nellie McKay, 3/23

Bay Area Cabaret will present the singer, songwriter, and actress Nellie McKay in a special performance with San Francisco's multiple Grammy winning a cappella ensemble, Chanticleer.

In her Venetian Room debut, McKay will perform a sampling of her original songs and with the help of the world-renowned Chanticleer, will take audiences to an earlier era as the two collaborate on familiar and lesser-known jazz titles. This special one-night-only engagement will take place 8pm, Saturday, March 23, 2013 at the historic Venetian Room of the Fairmont San Francisco (950 Mason Street). Tickets ($47 general/$40-45 subscribers) are available at www.bayareacabaret.org or by phone at City Box Office (415) 392-4400.

Nellie McKay quickly gained a large following playing in nightclubs around New York City, and had received several major record label offers before she was 20 years old. In 2004, her debut album Get Away From Me was released to critical acclaim, and hailed as "brave, brash, brilliant, and maybe a little batty" by the Philadelphia Daily News and, "A tour de force from a sly, articulate musician who sounds comfortable in any era," by The New York Times. Musical wanderlust, lyrical playfulness, and a beautiful Blossom Dearie voice characterize McKay's music, which has been heard at Jazz at Lincoln Center, in Lincoln Center's prestigious American Songbook series, on the Broadway stage, and on television (Weeds, Grey's Anatomy, Nurse Jackie, HBO's Boardwalk Empire). Mixing clever and occasionally politicized lyrics with vintage melodies reminiscent of a 1950's jazz lounge, McKay has established a style all her own.

To follow up the highly praised Get Away From Me, McKay released Pretty Little Head in 2006 on her own label, Hungry Mouse. Her sophomore album was called "more confident" and "tighter" by Pitchfork when compared to her debut, and the Los Angeles Times gave a glowing review describing the album as "pop in the broadest sense, embracing cabaret, show tunes, old standards and a bit of 70's rock in the vein of Elton John and Cyndi Lauper." That same year McKay made her Broadway debut as "Polly Peachum" in The Threepenny Opera giving a performance that The New York Times declared "brave" and "carefully thought-out" and that earned her the Theatre World Award for Best Debut Performance. In 2009, McKay solidified her retro image with the release of Normal as Blueberry Pie, a tribute album that pays homage to one of her lifelong idols, Doris Day. At New York's Signature Theatre next month, McKay will be featured in Bill Irwin and David Shiner's piece Old Hats, for which she wrote the music.

Chanticleer, the world renowned male vocal ensemble, was founded in San Francisco in 1978 by Louis Botto. Celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, Chanticleer has sold over a million of its 40 record titles, and won three Grammy awards as well as numerous recognitions such as Musical America Ensemble of the Year. The group performs roughly 100 concerts each year in the U.S. and in the most prestigious concert halls and festivals in Europe and Asia. Chanticleer has been dubbed a "polished performing machine that ... could fairly be called Botto's miracle" by The Wall Street Journal.

Bay Area Cabaret was founded nine years ago by fifth generation San Francisco native Marilyn Levinson as a not-for profit organization. Through its concert series and wide-ranging outreach activities, BAC aims to expand the definition of cabaret and broaden the audience for intimate entertainment, offering Great American Songbook entries from Harold Arlen and Stephen Sondheim to Jonathan Larson and Stevie Wonder. Past seasons have featured Sutton Foster, Barbara Cook, Marvin Hamlisch, Christine Ebersole, Chita Rivera, jazz vocalists John Pizzarelli, Stacey Kent and Jane Monheit, Rent stars Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal, and the high school vocal competition Bay Area Teen Idol.

Bay Area Cabaret will finish its 2013 season with a gala tribute to the late Marvin Hamlisch, with special guests including Billy Stritch, West End star Maria Friedman, Bay Area Teen Idol winner Bobby Thornton and other guest artists to be announced. This event will take place on June 2, 2013, which would have been the legendary composer's 69th birthday.

For Bay Area Cabaret patrons, The Fairmont San Francisco offers a delicious buffet dinner in the Laurel Court Restaurant & Bar for $40 (plus tax and tip), plus four hours of free parking for all who dine in the Laurel Court. For more information, visit www.bayareacabaret.org.

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