BWW Feature: Stephen Mosher's Pandemic Playlist Number Seventeen
Here's to the Ladies who sing.
The nightclubs and cabaret rooms are filled will different kinds of acts and shows - group shows, solo shows, comedy shows, boy crooners, duo shows, girl groups - but it can't be denied that the women of cabaret have a special draw for audiences, and why not? These are women of strength, style, talent, and tenacity. They are glamorous, beguiling, and magnificent. They are the Ladies of Cabaret.
1. Donna McKechnie is one of Broadway's greatest leading ladies, with a Tony Award for her appearance in one of the legendary musicals, and audiences at her cabaret shows often get to see her recreate her big number from that show. Fortunately for her fans, Ms. McKechnie returns, time and again, to the cabaret stages with new shows where she continues to amaze with material known to her and new to her. Here, the classic does a CLASSIC and shows everyone why there is no stage she cannot conquer. Donna McKechnie can be found online HERE
2. Lynda Rodolitz is one of cabaret's most popular comedic musical storytellers, with many group and solo shows to her credit. The one-time stand up comic was in the extremely popular show, more down to earth group show 4 Women, 4 Stories for several months in 2019 before returning to her comedy roots with Animal Magnetism, which won her a MAC Award this year for Best Musical Comedy Performer, Female. Get a feel for how FUNNY Lynda Rodolitz truly is and then check out her Youtube channel HERE
3. Sharon McKnight is a Californian who has, happily, played the New York stages many times, both on The Big Street and the smaller streets. A Tony Award nominee for Starmites, Ms. McKnight has a big voice and a personality to match and when she brings those two wonderful qualities to the cabaret stage, she is so unforgettable that audiences can't get enough of her. A woman all her own, Ms. McKnight achieved memorable success with her one-woman tribute to Sophie Tucker. She's always welcome on any stage and any club and HERE is when MAC told her what they really thought of her.
4. Christine de Frece was the 2019 Broadway World Award winner for best vocalist. This actress and voice teacher brings a refreshing and pure quality to her appearances at Don't Tell Mama, The Green Room 42, and 54 Below, with impressive vocals and elegant fashion and a visible devotion to the art of storytelling. Audiences are always moved by her commitment to the story in the song and there are those of us who patiently and hopefully await the Christine de Frece solo show. See Ms. de Frece's fabulous personal STYLE and then follow her on Instagram @cdefierce
5. Aisha de Haas has an acting career that keeps her so busy one wonders where she finds the time to sing in a nightclub, but once she has been seen in action, it is clear that Ms. de Haas does cabaret because she has a need to sing, a story to tell, and style all her own. So special is that style that Aisha de Haas was presented with a 2020 Bistro for outstanding jazz vocalist. Aisha de Haas is, clearly a FORCE with which to be reckoned, and an artist that needs to be seen. See Aisha's website HERE
6. Frances Ruffelle spent the last year in residency at The Green Room 42 performing one of the greatest cabaret shows available to be seen: Frances Ruffelle Live(s) In New York. The show was so well received that there are rumors it will have a bigger life in the future. In the meantime, the ball of fire that is Frances Ruffelle is using her unique voice and style to create more shows that will, doubtless, pack whatever room she plays. Watch this ORIGINAL sing a song that she sang originally and see Ms. Ruffelle online HERE
7. La Tanya Hall is one of the most respected jazz singers on the scene today, with numerous appearances across the country, and associations with people like Bobby McFerrin, Aretha Franklin, and Harry Belafonte. New Yorkers are lucky because Ms. Hall calls Birdland her artistic home in Manhattan and the Birdland patrons can often catch the recording and concert star in ACTION, showing the incomparable style with which she has taken the industry and the world by storm. See La Tanya Hall online HERE
8. Allyson Briggs & Fleur Seule have been seriously present on Facebook Live ever since the voluntary quarantine started. Not content to leave art behind or leave her fans music-less, the inimitable Ms. Briggs works tirelessly to connect with them over the internet in the same way that the band Fleur Seule connects in real life. The arrangements, the vocals, the mood evoked and the era emulated are all parts in the equation that makes Fleur Seule one of the most popular bands in clubs today. Observe the uniqueness of the VOICE and the richness of the performance before looking into Ms. Briggs WEBSITE and the WEBSITE for Fleur Seule
9. Ali Stroker changes lives whether she is on a theater stage, a cabaret stage or any stage where she can motivate people to live their best lives. Ms. Stroker is famous for her fine acting talents, as well as her position as a groundbreaker in many fields, one who is not defined by the wheelchair that gives her mobility, but one who defines individuality and deep inner strength. A Tony Award winner, Ms. Stroker can tell any story, anywhere, and always in a way that nobody else can, as evidenced HERE in an original song by Bobby Cronin and Mark Petty. Ali Stroker's website can be seen HERE
10. Florencia Cuenca is an actress who is comfortable on theatrical stages in plays like Shrek and Matilda, or on cabaret stages like Joe's Pub. Whatever her role, Ms. Cuenca has a mission to immerse herself in the story she is telling, making her a popular artist in the TV and recording studios of her home country of Mexico. With solo shows and group shows in New York City cabarets, Ms. Cuenca is making a name for herself HERE, and audiences and critics alike are paying attention. Florencia Cuenca is one to watch. Follow Ms. Cuenca on Instagram @flocuenca
Dear readers, check back tomorrow for another Pandemic Playlist, updates on live streaming concerts, interviews and other news in the world of cabaret. Stay safe, stay sane, stay home.
PS. No photos today. Sadly, I haven't photographed most of these wonderful ladies, but one of these days... I promise.