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BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Sherry Eaker's party celebrating excellence in cabaret was so beautiful that, one year later, it's still unforgettable.

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

The crowd sparkled. Everywhere you looked, people had taken out their best fashions, or at least their shiniest. Everyone was resplendent in their finery. In her sequined mini-dress, Dawn Derow was (literally) bumping elbows with friends, Russ Woolley shimmered through the crowd in royal blue threads, and Tovah Feldshuh glimmered in bright red silk. Diane D'Angelo was chatting with Mary Lahti at the entry and Dorian Woodruff was meeting Amy Beth Williams at the table they shared. Ari Axelrod and a reporter from Broadway World threw caution to the wind and openly hugged in front of everyone, and Lydia Liebman made the rounds, as any good publicist would. Michael Lee Stever and Maryann Lopinto were audience center, which meant the evening would be well documented, and Sidney Myer was gearing up for his gig as Announcer. Elation and mirth filled the air of the Gotham Comedy Club as dear friends and esteemed colleagues socialized, shared stories, and reveled in one another's company. Everyone was determined to enjoy themselves because there was an underlying fear, a worry, a threat that this might be the final moment any of them would be together for a very long time. Under the laughter and the celebration was the knowledge that this was the last night of the world.

The 2020 Bistro Awards were about to begin.

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown One year ago (tomorrow) Sherry Eaker threw the party of the year. It isn't because the year was only two months and nine days long, it wasn't because there would be no parties after it, it's not because everyone present knew their lives were in danger: it was the party of the year because Sherry Eaker knows how to throw a party. And then some. For thirty-five years the members of the New York City club and cabaret community have been meeting annually so that a panel of industry leaders may bestow upon artists from that community awards for excellence in the craft of cabaret.

Originally created in 1985 by industry legend Bob Harrington, the Bistro Awards were named after his Backstage column "Bistro Bits" with the sole purpose of supporting and promoting artists who he felt rose to the occasion during each calendar year. Above all things, Bob Harrington loved cabaret and the artists who have chosen to live their lives in the clubs; it was a love evident in his writing, whether for his widely read column or in his iconic "Cabaret Artist's Handbook". The first live ceremony was in 1990 and with Mr. Harrington's heartbreaking death in 1992, Ms. Eaker made the decision to carry on his tradition; through her passion and good taste, the awards ceremony has become one of the most fun, highly anticipated nights in the year. The accolades are chosen from the shows that the Bistro Awards Committee Members see throughout the year, and presented in a manner that names no artist as "The Best" - Eaker & co. simply celebrate excellence, something we can all strive to do with more regularity.

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown For the 2020 Bistro Awards, Sherry Eaker went all out, producing a night of entertainment not easily forgotten. The list of recipients was one that credibly reflected merit, with each performer delivering heartfelt speeches before treating the crowd to a sampling of the work that brought them to the stage. Particularly emotional was a parade of stars brought in to honor Lifetime Achievement Award honorees Maltby and Shire. That night in the spring of 2020 was a shining example of what is good in both the industry and the community of cabaret. However, in the drama of the show business shutdown that occurred only three days later and the quarantine that was imposed four days later, everyone's focus immediately shifted to more pressing matters, and this writer was unable to report on the evening's festivities. Now, thanks to photographs by Maryann Lopinto and video footage by Evan Seplow, Broadway World is proud to share with everyone the results of the hard work from Sherry Eaker and the performances of the recipients of the awards bestowed upon them by The Bistro Awards Committee.

There are rumors, by the way, that there will be a virtual Bistro Awards in 2021. No surprise, there: Sherry Eaker is the Wonder Woman of Cabaret and nothing would stop her from keeping alive this tradition oh-so-important, not to mention always planned and executed with love for the artists of the community and the craft that they create.

Charles Busch
Creative Artistry

Lorna Dallas
Consummate Cabaret Artistry

Jack Bartholet
Ira Eaker Special Achievement Award

Michele Brourman
Singer-Songwriter-Musical Director

Spencer Day
SInger-Songwriter-Recording Artist

Aisha de Haas
Jazz Vocalist

Joanne Halev
Debut

Sean Harkness, Lina Koutrakos, Marcus Simeone
Musical Group - Clearly Now

Elizabeth Ward Land
Tribute Show: Still Within The Sound of My Voice: The Songs of Linda Ronstadt

Sue Matsuki, Gregory Toroian
Collaboration

Nancy McGraw
Interpretive Artistry

Gretchen Reinhagen
Recording: Take It With Me

Gabrielle Stravelli
Recording: Pick Up My Pieces

Stephanie Trudeau
Tribute Show: Chavela: Think of Me

Richard Maltby, Jr. & David Shire
ASCAP Presents the BOB HARRINGTON LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

All video footage by Evan Seplow/Image Factory

All photography by Maryann Lopinto

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown Jack Bartholet

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Michele Brourman

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Charles Busch

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Sean Harkness, Marcus Simeone, Lina Koutrakos - Clearly Now

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Lorna Dallas

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Spencer Day

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Aisha de Haas

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Joanne Halev

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Nancy McGraw

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Sidney Myer

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Gretchen Reinhagen

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Gabrielle Stravelli

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Stephanie Trudeau

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Elizabeth Ward Land

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Richard Maltby Jr.

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

David Shire

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Liz Callaway

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Charlotte Maltby

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Sally Mayes

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Lynne Wintersteller

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

"One Step" by Maltby and Shire

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Sherry Eaker and Michele Brourman

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Darius de Haas and Aisha de Haas

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Gabrielle Stravelli and Gretchen Reinhagen

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Charlotte Maltby and her dad, Richard.

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Miss Sherry Eaker

BWW Feature: Remembering The 35th Bistro Awards One Year After The Shutdown

Visit the Bistro Awards website HERE


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