BWW Review: The 2019 New York Cabaret Convention Starts Impressively
It was a spectacular start to the four night 2019 Cabaret Convention at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater Last night. If it's an indication of what day 2, 3 & 4 will be like New York City is in for a Cabaret happening like none other as the Mabel Mercer Foundation presented it's 30th Annual New York Cabaret Convention. Day one was titled The Sunny Side Of The Street: Celebrating Dorothy Fields & Great Women Songwriters. KT Sullivan the artistic director of the Mabel Mercer Foundation introduced the evening's host Deborah Grace Winer who expertly steered the evening with her unique historic perspectives which bookended each of the performers. Enough can't be said about music director Mark Hummel and his pianistic creativity and sensitivity as he accompanied each of the stellar artists. No matter what the genre, the arrangements executed by Mark, Jay Leonhard on bass and Ray Marchica on drums established the perfect musical underpinning. It was a running order of Cabaret's finest and Christine Andreas was surprised before her performance as she was presented with The Mabel Mercer Foundation & Adela & Larry Elow Donald F. Smith Award.
As KT Sullivan stated, "As founder of this organization, Donald Smith ceaselessly championed what he knew to be the 'fragile world of cabaret.' He would be delighted that we're stronger than ever, three decades later, and fulfilling our charter in both necessary and new approaches to the entertainment. This year's performers range in age and experience from the incomparable, ninety-one-year old Marilyn Maye to Anais Reno, who -- at fifteen -- won our Adela & Larry Elow American Songbook High School Competition Award just a few months ago. Vocalists are coming in from Chicago, Palm Beach, Colorado, and London to participate in the concerts, and we have fifteen singers making their Cabaret Convention debuts in 2019."
Performing at the Conventions first night were (in order of appearance), Linda Purl, Darius de Haas, La Tanya Hall, Tom Wopat, Karrin Allyson, Margo Seibert, Nicolas King, Christine Andreas, Stacy Sullivan, James Naughton, Debby Boone, and Jay Leonhard. Christine Andreas ended the evening with a soaring rendition of I'm Flying.
The Cabaret Convention continues at RoseTheater with the following lineups
Tuesday, October 29: Frank Loesser: HEART AND SOUL, hosted by Jeff Harnar & Andrea Marcovicci; music director Alex Rybeck. Featuring Karen Akers, Anna Bergman, Barbara Brussell, Liz Callaway, Eric Comstock, Sally Darling*, Joshua Lance Dixon, Barbara Fasano, Tovah Feldshuh, Marilyn Maye, Marissa Mulder, Mark Nadler, Karen Oberlin, Steve Ross, David Sabella*, Marta Sanders, Tim Schall*, Jane Scheckter, Gabrielle Stravelli, Lisa Viggiano*, Lennie Watts.
Wednesday, October 30: JUDY! A GARLAND OF SONG, hosted by Klea Blackhurst and John Fricke; music director Jon Weber. Featuring Stephanie Blythe*, Leanne Borghesi, Carole J. Bufford, Nathan Chang, Natalie Douglas, Karen Mason, Sidney Myer, Anthony Nunziata, Will Nunziata, Christine Pedi, Hannah Jane Peterson*, Ruby Rakos*, Jennifer Sheehan, Billy Stritch. Presentation of The Julie Wilson Award, underwritten by Linda & Peter Hanson.
Thursday, October 31: THANKS FOR THE MEMORY: CELEBRATING 30 YEARS OF CABARET CONVENTIONS, hosted by KT Sullivan; music director Jon Weber. Featuring Aaron Lee Battle, Celia Berk, Margo Brown*, Shana Farr, Eric Yves Garcia, Sean Harkness, Christian Holder*, Lina Koutrakos, Allora Leonard*, Beckie Menzie, Tom Michael, Susie Mosher*, Gretchen Reinhagen*, Anais Reno*, Josephine Sanges, Marcus Simone, Avery Sommers, Sandy Stewart, Mark William*, Amra-Faye Wright. Presentation of The Mabel Mercer Award to Sandy Stewart.
Photo Credit: Stephen Sorokoff
Rose Theater 2019 New York Cabaret Convention
Mark Hummel, Musical Director
Christine Andreas & Mark Waldman
Sanford Fisher, Issane Fisher, Eda Sorokoff