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BWW Reviews: BOBBIE HOROWITZ's New Series at the Metropolitan Room Celebrates 'Older' Over-Achievers and Accomplished Career-Changers

The "Series" theme in New York Cabaret seems to be a popular (and overdone) format these days. Every conceivable subject matter pertaining to entertainment is explored in variety-show style. Anything from showcasing veteran to young songwriters to tributes dedicated to iconic performers, from naughty late night burlesque extravaganzas to wholesome afternoon kiddie shows, have become fodder for the genre.

Songwriter, performer, producer, and now activist, Bobbie Horowitz (photo), has put yet another spin on the series/variety show, with her refreshing take on the subject of "ageism" in America. Called It's Just a Number (starting with six dates running from April to October at The Metropolitan Room), Horowitz's show theme champions the notion that age truly is just a number. Featuring a different group of cabaret's best performers for each show, the series honors a person who after the age of 50 either began a new career, resumed a career, is attempting to attain knowledge in a new field, or established a new organization with the purpose of helping people.

This past Saturday afternoon, Alice Fisher, who presently serves as Director of Community Outreach in the Office of NYS Senator, Liz Krueger, was the first honoree. During her introduction, Horowitz told the audience that in 2014 Fisher created "The Radical Age Movement" as a grassroots initiative to raise awareness about ageism, and further seek to invalidate the systematic stereotyping and discrimination against people simply because they are old. Taking the stage mid-show, Fisher related that ageism is the last acceptable prejudice in America and is encouraged that Horowitz is taking a wonderfully creative, proactive approach (as we all must) with this series.

Musical Director Bill Zeffiro got things rolling by performing a crowd-pleasing, fun new song he co-wrote with Horowitz called "Muah, So Good To See Ya." Jim Brochu and Steve Schlachlin performed a powerfully beautiful duet "How Do You Fall Back In Love" from their musical, The Last Session. Kelly Karel offered her Hillary Clinton impersonation, singing about being rich and famous but wanting to be more powerful as President in a parody of David Friedman's classic "A Simple Christmas Wish. Accompanied by Ricky Ritzel, the dashing Bob Diamond and bubbly Barbara Malley sang a fun "sexy" duet that asked the question "Do We (Do It)?" Warren Schein delivered just the right amount of Borsht Belt humor on aging (Oy Vey!) while Adam Shapiro performed a hysterically neurotic take on Jason Robert Brown's "Shiksa Goddess," from The Last Five Years. The youngest performer in the show, Carly Ozard brought down the house with a great arrangement of Jerry Herman's "Before the Parade Passes By." Finishing off the afternoon's entertainment were Raissa Katona Bennett and Kenneth Gartman (on piano) with their exquisitely sung David Friedman ballad "We Can Be Kind."

The next episode in the series of It's Only a Number will be on May 27 at 7 pm at The Metropolitan Room and will honor 92-year-old Edythe Eisenberg (mother to singer Jana Robbins), who recently took her first writing course and wrote her first story that she read at The Players Club. Performers scheduled to appear include: Karen Mason, Stacy Sullivan, Sarah Rice, Jana Robbins, Richard Skipper, Tanya Moberly, Chuck Karel, LeRoy Reams, and David F. Slone, Esq. On June 23 at 7 pm, the honoree will be cabaret singer Peggy Eason, with Natasha Castillo, Adam Shapiro, Jim Speake, Ricky Ritzel, Richard Skipper, Karl Elliman, and Dana Lorge scheduled to perform.

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From This Author - Billie Roe