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BWW Feature: Antonia Bennett Brings a Lifetime of Performing to Café Carlyle in Venue Debut

BWW Feature: Antonia Bennett Brings a Lifetime of Performing to Café Carlyle in Venue Debut
Antonia Bennett will make her debut at the Café Carlyle on May 23.
Photos courtesy of the artist.

Antonia Bennett, daughter of Tony Bennett and accomplished vocalist in her own right, is a lifelong performer. Since she "could walk and talk," according to her bio, Bennett has been performing with artists of legendary status: Rosemary Clooney, Regis Philbin, and, of course, her father. For the last 10 years, she has served as Tony's opening act in live shows and, in addition, has performed duets with him, including on his holiday album, A SWINGIN' CHRISTMAS.

On May 23, Bennett will make her Café Carlyle debut in New York with a set comprised of selections from the American Songbook, a perfect fit for her inherited charm and too-cool demeanor, paired with her uniquely coy voice. The combination of the song selection and venue will allow her to connect a crowd on smaller scale than she has in previous venues like Radio City Music Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. For the performer, the excitement of a new stage is ever-present.

"I do [get excited for a venue debut], especially at a place like the Carlyle," Bennett said during a recent phone interview. "There's such a great history there and so many great artists have played there over the years. Even though I live in [Los Angeles], I still consider myself a New Yorker, and it's one of the premier rooms in New York."

For Bennett, the arts are more than a way of enjoying a night out; they're a passion, a lifestyle. Understandable, considering her entire life has been steeped in them. Surrounded by high-caliber musicians for her entire life, one reason she looks forward to performing at the Carlyle is because of the clientele that steps through the doors.

"Overall, I think it's a really special thing because the listener in that room is usually an educated one, and in a lot of places that doesn't happen," she said. "Most people go out and they want to have a good time, so that's always great and you're singing to people and they just want to enjoy themselves and it's always so lovely to do that and to bring that to people, but you definitely get a little bit more of a sophisticated clientele at the Carlyle, so I'm excited for that."

In addition, the room itself---small, intimate, with gorgeous murals that really bring home the idea that you're in a place to enjoy the arts---is a pleasure to both perform in and to attend as a patron. "It's such a beautiful room--- the way it's laid out, the intimacy of it," she said. "It's not that large and there's a real intimacy to that room."

Bennett has fervidly spoken about how music is interwoven into the fabric of her life. She is, in a very real way, living her dream. Not everyone gets to live their dream in the same way she is, of course, but that's part of the journey. "Everybody has to find their own place, their own place of what works for them. And for some people living out the dream is playing once or twice a month and having another job someplace else that they like, and that works really great for them. There's a quality in that, too."

BWW Feature: Antonia Bennett Brings a Lifetime of Performing to Café Carlyle in Venue Debut
Bennett, an accomplished lifelong vocalist,
on stage at a previous gig.

She added specifically that she thinks there's nothing wrong with having life turn out a little differently than you imagined.

"I don't think it's so bad to have another job other than the one you thought you were going to have," she said. "Whatever you choose to do in life there are difficulties and there are hard days, and so if you choose something you love to do, in a certain way it might be considered harder because you don't have a steady paycheck.

"For me, the payoff is bigger because, regardless of what level I'm at, I'm doing something that I love, and I show up every day and even if there are difficulties, I know at the end of the day that this is something that I really enjoy to do."

In addition to the arts, family is very important to Antonia. As we spoke, our conversation was punctuated by the cries of her daughter, Maya, whom she was watching. She said that the non-career-related thing she's most grateful for is her family and the support of her friends.

"Especially now with Maya, I have a community of friends and family that have really helped me a lot and, you know, being a new mom, you go through every emotion of the rainbow, so it's very rewarding to have that," she said. "As much as I loved and appreciated my friends and family before, having Maya gives me a new look on it."


Antonia Bennett makes her Café Carlyle debut starting May 23 through June 3. For tickets and information, visit www.rosewoodhotels.com.

Karis Rogerson is a freelancer for BroadwayWorld who also writes for Bustle, Ravishly, and her own joy. She hopes that someday you'll indulge her even more by reading her novels. In the meantime, you can follow her on Twitter @KarisRogerson.

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