Feature: Jennica McCleary is the Swiss Army Knife of Performers

The Bette Midler tribute artist returns to NYC with Winnie's Rock Cauldron Cabaret

By: Oct. 31, 2021

Feature: Jennica McCleary is the Swiss Army Knife of Performers

As a child, Jennica McCleary decided that instead of being a classic triple threat in the performing world, she would be a "Swiss army knife of talent." I love this image, which McCleary shared in an emailed interview, of someone with so many different gifts and talents to bring to the stage. As a child, McCleary learned dance, then turned to theater, and by the age of 16 she was working professionally.

"I'm really grateful for those early years that taught me to learn as much as I could and not be afraid to be the inexperienced one in the room," she said. She added that her Swiss army knife capabilities have, "kept me employed and put me in some really incredible rooms."

McCleary is known for her Bette Midler tributes, and said that originally this part of her performing career wasn't even her idea. Instead, she was often told she looked like a "young Bette Midler" and a few friends of hers opened her eyes to the possibilities of that reality.

"I wanted to take my time to study and make sure I had a handle on performing as Bette," McCleary said. "I studied her early work as Miss M which sometimes meant buying VHS tapes from EBAY that someone recorded on their TV in the 70's to watch something that wasn't yet online. It didn't take long before I fell in love with it. She's challenging because as much as she has some set script in her concerts there is quite a bit that's off-the-cuff and I wanted to be able to do that for my crowds as well."

One of McCleary's upcoming crowds is going to be at The Green Room 42 on Halloween 2021, when she brings Winnie's Rock Cauldron Cabaret back to New York City. "WRCC is a concert style show featuring The Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus," McCleary explained. "Some of the music you might expect the Witches to sing, we do. And some of the song choices will be a pleasant surprise! Imagine the three women are stuck in Purgatory singing in seedy nightclubs. Come to laugh, sing along."

McCleary said the show is basically just a rollicking good time, and she's extremely excited to celebrate Halloween in New York, as "there's just something about NYC crowds and I can't wait to share in that again this year."

McCleary did caution that the concert is neither the movie nor a PG-13 performance, calling out a burlesque she does in the show as an example of that.

Interested concertgoers can use the code WINNIE10 for 10 percent off the ticket price online. The show is Oct. 31, 2021 at 7 p.m. at The Green Room 42.