Billie Roe returned to the NYC Cabaret scene some 5 years ago after a long hiatus from having played most of the New York clubs in the 70's and early 80's including The Grand Finale, Reno Sweeney's, Trax, The Copa, and Les Mouches. Ms. Roe holds a BFA in Acting from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA., and a MFA in Playwrighting from the Actors Studio Drama School, New York as well as being a founding member of the Playwrights Directors Workshop (PDW) at the Actors Studio in New York where she workshops her plays. Billie is the recipient of the 2014 MAC Award for Female Vocalist, the 2014 Bistro Award for Outstanding Tribute Show 1978 NYC UNDERGROUND which she wrote and performed at The Metropolitan Room and The Duplex in New York. This act was named in the 'Top 13 List of 2013' by Edge Magazine. Further, Billie also received the 2012 Bistro Award for Outstanding Theme Show - Dangerous Women: Life In Film Noir which she wrote and performed at Don’t Tell Mama. In that same year Billie won the 2012 MetroStar singing completion at the Metropolitan Room. Named to the list of the 'Top 50 Most Influential People to watch in Cabaret' by NiteLifeExchange, Billie currently serves on the MAC Board of Directors.
There are milestones in everyone's life--events that are so strongly embedded in your memory that you can actually recall the date, the time, the place, and the feelings you had when they occurred. Events like a joyful marriage, the birth of a child, or the loss of a loved one all help to define us as human beings. For a woman you can add to that list a diagnosis of breast cancer. Erin Cronican, a young professional singer, director, writer, show business coach, and self professed “Actor and All-Around fun gal” is a beloved member of the New York theatrical and cabaret communities who is currently undergoing 28 radiation treatments (having previously completed three months of intense chemo therapy) for breast cancer.BWW Review: Kim Grogg & Kim Sutton Celebrate Women Power and the Joys of Friendship In Charming Holiday Duo Show at Don't Tell Mama December 21, 2015
With the holiday season upon us how wonderful it is to experience the joyful celebration of friendship. In their recent sold out performance (December 17th at Don't Tell Mama), the attractive girl-power singing duo, Kim Grogg and Kim Sutton, examine the true meaning of friendship from a decidedly female point of view. Gracing the stage spectacularly dressed in shades of sparkling silver and platinum grey, these two alluring ladies begin the evening by conjuring up a bit of their own "Magic" (John Farrar). Grogg informs the audience that she and Sutton had previously met in cabaret class, but pretty much solidified their fast and furious friendship this past summer after having survived the "ultimate cabaret boot camp" at The Eugene O'Neill Cabaret Conference.BWW Review: Former 1960s Nightclub Performer Turned 1970s New York Mayoral Aide ARLENE WOLFF Continues Inspiring Singing Comeback at Stage 72 December 4, 2015
In her recent cabaret show, More Than You Know (November 23 at The Triad's Stage 72), Arlene Wolff continued a comeback that has been 50 years in the making (which started last November when she performed at the Waterwheel Café in Milford, PA). Revisiting her youth and those turbulent political years, Wolff offered up a smorgasbord of delectable “Tales from the City” over a two-hour long concert of some 22 songs, presented in a two-act format with one intermission . . . Relying on an impressive repertoire of standards, Wolff vocally revisited the classics with a smoldering propensity, impeccable phrasing and articulation--never once dropping a lyric.BWW Review: Six Years After Its Debut, Maxine Linehan's Stunning Petula Clark Tribute Show Retroactively Becomes One of New York Cabaret's Greatest Hits November 5, 2015
For the third installment of his New York Cabaret's Greatest Hits--a wonderful new monthly series at the Metropolitan Room celebrating award winning and critically acclaimed cabaret shows of the past--Producer Stephen Hanks (and his Cabaret Life Productions) wisely chose Maxine Linehan's What Would Petula Do? A Tribute to Petula Clark. Although this show won no awards, nor received critical acclaim in 2009 (when I first saw it at the Laurie Beechman Theatre), Linehan's revival this past Monday night of one of her first cabaret shows could certainly be considered one the best of this or any year. BWW Review: Julie Reyburn Proves That Time Has Been Kind to Her Award-Winning FATE IS KIND in Cabaret's Greatest Hits Series at Metropolitan Room September 22, 2015
I first saw Julie Reyburn in her 2011 cabaret show Winter Songs, where she wonderfully explored in music the beauty of winter from its cool, autumnal evenings to the somber tranquility of a snow fallen night. It was a terrific act. So I was excited when Reyburn announced she would reprise her 2000 cabaret debut show, Fate Is Kind, which pretty much put her on the New York cabaret map and earned her MAC and Bistro Awards in 2001 for "Best Female Cabaret Debut." On September 14, Reyburn's show was the second in Stephen Hanks' monthly New York Cabaret's Greatest Hits Series (produced by his own Cabaret Life Productions) at The Metropolitan Room. The big questions with a series like this are: Do these shows and performances withstand the test of time? Are they really worth bringing back? In Reyburn's case, 15 years after debuting the show the answer is a resounding-YES!BWW Review: Nancy Harms Is a Brilliant Blue Indigo Delivering the Classics of Duke Ellington at the Metropolitan Room September 4, 2015
Opening Tuesday night with a four show run at the Metropolitan Room, Nancy Harms masterfully sang the luxurious, the lonely, and the seductive songs of the great jazz master, Duke Ellington. With classic cameo good looks and dressed in a black cocktail dress embellished with dangling rhinestone earrings, necklace, and bracelet, the statuesque Harms takes immediate charge of the night counting off her opening tune “I'm Beginning to See the Light” (Ellington/Hodges/George/James), her voice soft and sensual to the ear before subtly reaching a crescendo to the sound of a purring sultry feline. Jeremy Siskind on piano further elevates the mood as nimble fingers literally dance across the keyboard. Danton Boller on bass responds as if engaged in conversation, while drummer Williard Dyson maintains a steady driving force for all to follow. The room literally transforms to royal blue as singer and musicians take off to the spontaneous cheers of an appreciative audience. Ellington aficionados will greatly appreciate this gifted singer and her amazing trio of musicians. BWW Review: At Don't Tell Mama, Tanya Moberly's SONGS I FEEL LIKE SINGING Is a Mixed Bag August 17, 2015
Observing the last show of the second cycle of her year-long presentation of Songs I Feel Like Singing--four runs of four different shows with four different musical director/accompanists (Mark Janas, Sean Harkness, Ritt Henn, and Steven Ray Watkins)--one might note that 2014 Bistro Award winner Tanya Moberly presents not so much a cabaret act as an intense “recital in song,” featuring music that seemingly examines the emotional psyche of a woman coming to grips with loneliness, alienation, betrayal, addiction, love, and eventual self acceptance.BWW Review: In Her Charming Cabaret Debut at Don't Tell Mama, Helen Glassman Offers 'Confessions' About a New York Life Well Lived August 12, 2015
It seemed appropriate that a cabaret show titled Confessions of a Native New Yorker would begin with the quintessential “call to all dreamers” song “Let The River Run” by native New Yorker Carly Simon. Wearing an elegant black and gold brocade dress--the very personification of class--Helen Glassman took the Don't Tell Mama stage by storm in performing her debut show on June 28. Glassman, a native New Yorker, chronicles her life in music to the beat of “the city that never sleeps.” Beginning by pointing out the ironic love/hate challenges of existing in the Big Apple, Glassman croons the wonderfully hip Portia Nelson classic “Confessions of a Native New Yorker,” showing us a delightfully flippant comic side that serves her well throughout the evening.BWW Reviews: Singer WENDY A. RUSSELL Reflects On Her Life With Solid Debut Show at Don't Tell Mama June 28, 2015
From the moment she steps on stage and sings the entire first verse of Gloria Estefan's “Coming Out of the Dark”–-in the dark--you get the impression this is not going to be one of those usual personal journey “I've-been-everywhere-and-done-everything” kind of acts. In her debut show, Where Have I Been All My Life (June 18 and 27 at Don't Tell Mama), Wendy A. Russell vividly presents the personal metamorphosis of a post-modern woman. Quoting Woody Allen's “90% of life is just showing up,” Russell states she showed up 100% of the time and still found life lacking, which is understandable considering she was raised with the “good girl” mentality of the 1960s “Mad Men” era.BWW Feature: Singers, Musicians, and Fans, Oh My! For One June Weekend, CabaretFest 2015 Turns Provincetown Into a Cabaret Oz June 22, 2015
When BroadwayWorld.com Cabaret Reviewer Billie Roe was invited to the CabaretFest 2015 Provincetown scheduled for June 4-7, it was to attend as a performer, not necessarily as a reviewer. But we couldn't resist the opportunity to have Billie at least report on some aspects of the long, event-filled weekend and record some of her impressions in something akin to a diary. Based on Billie's descriptive account here, this year's Cabaret Festival in Provincetown, MA, sounds like one of the cabaret highlights of the year.BWW Reviews: Life Lessons from Car Radio Classics Provide CHRISTY FRYE With a Winning Debut Show at Don't Tell Mama June 1, 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. BWW Reviews: CHARLOTTE PATTON Sensuously Celebrates Men—In Spite of All Their Flaws--in Sophisticated Show at the Metropolitan Room May 31, 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. BWW Review: NATALIE DOUGLAS' Enchanting Dolly Parton Tribute Show Flies High at Birdland April 25, 2015
These days at Birdland, trying to channel Dolly Parton's bigger-than-life-persona is the sultry Natalie Douglas, a seven-time MAC Award, Nightlife, and Backstage Bistro Award winner, who (on April 20) brought her own hip, quick-witted, earth-mother persona--along with her smokin' hot vocals--in a joyful tribute show to the country music icon, Hello Dolly: The Music of Dolly Parton, as part of the Jim Caruso's Broadway at Birdland Series.BWW Review: MARK McCOMBS Is Dazzlingly Hilarious Playing Multiple Characters In New Show at the Metropolitan Room April 20, 2015
Mark McCombs is one of those madcap Thespians offering one of the best examples of “character work” on the current New York cabaret scene. Having studied and performed with the New York Gotham City Improv Company, it's little wonder McCombs's first solo show, Ten Jumps Ahead of a Fit, earned him a 2002 Bistro Award, while his second show, Bottomfeeders, brought him a Nightlife Award. His most recent show on April 10 at the Metropolitan Room, The Mark McCombs Progr'um, was a hilarious romp into the ridiculous world of five characters that no doubt originated from McCombs' Florida panhandle origins.BWW Reviews: BOBBIE HOROWITZ's New Series at the Metropolitan Room Celebrates 'Older' Over-Achievers and Accomplished Career-Changers April 15, 2015
Songwriter, performer, producer, and now activist, Bobby Horowitz, has put yet another spin on the series/variety show, with her refreshing take on the subject of 'ageism' in America. Called It's Just a Number (starting with six dates running from April to October at The Metropolitan Room), Horowitz's show theme champions the notion that age truly is just a number. Featuring a different group of cabaret's best performers for each show, the series honors a person who after the age of 50 either began a new career, resumed a career, is attempting to attain knowledge in a new field, or established a new organization with the purpose of helping people.
This past Saturday afternoon, Alice Fisher, who presently serves as Director of Community Outreach in the Office of NYS Senator, Liz Krueger, was the first honoree.BWW Reviews: For This Cabaret Performer (and Dozens of Others), the First Annual Tribute to New York Piano Bar Legend Jerry Scott is Poignant AND Personal April 14, 2015
It was more than fitting that the New York cabaret community should honor the late Jerry Scott last Saturday night at Parnell's--the last piano bar that Jerry played before he died in April, 2013 at 67. To honor Jerry's memory and his lifetime of achievements, three devoted friends, cabaret reviewer John Hoglund, Allan Armour, and Geri Malino produced The First Annual Jerry Scott Memorial Award Show. This yearly event will not only pay tribute to Jerry's extraordinary talent, but the award will be presented to an exceptional entertainer/performer in the Manhattan Piano Bar/Lounge/Restaurant scene. The first recipient of the aptly named “Bronze Piano” was Bobby Peaco, a well-respected member of the New York cabaret community for more than 20 years.BWW Reviews: Diversity Reigns in Cabaret Through Sublime Shows From Barbara Malley, Robin Kradles, and Donna Hayes March 12, 2015
When Cole Porter wrote, 'Anything Goes,' he could have easily been referring to New York cabaret circa the 2000-sies. One of the joys of attending and reviewing cabaret shows in the Big Apple these days is that every performing style, show theme, cultural perspective, political point of view, race, gender, and sexual preference is represented on a stage. Some cabaret purists may not agree, but the genre seems to have no boundaries in terms of what is acceptable and what is not. And as long as a show is entertaining, who cares about boundaries and strict definitions of what works in the art form? Here are reviews of three recent shows from Barbara Malley, Robin Kradles, and Donna Hayes that reflect the delicious diversity that is cabaret.BWW Review: Another Take on SHANA FARR's Noel Coward/Cole Porter 'Concept' Show Proves It To Be More Than Award-Worthy March 8, 2015
In a two-reviews-in-one column critiquing shows from last March, my esteemed editor, Stephen Hanks quoted the poet Robert Browning: “A man's reach should exceed his grasp. Or what's a heaven for?” Hanks pointed out that Browning's famous line is about setting goals, striving, and ambition, all of which are commendable desires. But, alas, in this particular review he felt the two singers in question “fell short.” One of those singers was Shana Farr and the show she has been performing throughout the past year, In The Still of the Night: Music of Noel Coward and Cole Porter. So here we are a year later, immersed in the revelry of the 2015 award season celebrating excellence in cabaret, and Farr's uniquely theatrical homage to Coward and Porter has recently won her the 2015 Bistro Award for “Outstanding Concept Show.” In spite of my editor's previous reservations about this show, he was open to hearing another perspective—whether positive or negative—so off to the Laurie Beechman Theatre I ventured on the last day of February to find out for myself whether Shana's show was truly award-worthy. Sorry, oh editor of mine, but you might have missed the boat on this one.BWW Reviews: KAREN MASON Returns To Her Cabaret Roots and Triumphs with Stunningly Nostalgic New Show at Don't Tell Mama March 7, 2015
“March is Cabaret Month” in New York gives us the opportunity to examine where we are, and, most importantly, where we have come from with this most magical of all art forms--Cabaret. So how very fortunate we are to see and hear veteran Broadway actress and cabaret performer, Karen Mason return to her roots to lovingly take us down memory lane with her new show Mason at Mama's In March at Don't Tell Mama (which opened on March 1st).