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Varla Jean Merman, Kool Keith, Mad Scene, And More Announced At Joe's Pub

Varla Jean Merman, Kool Keith, Mad Scene, And More Announced At Joe's Pub

Check out the Joe's Pub lineup for the tip-top of the year - a new Country Music night from Jim, Jenn & Neal; Haitian singer-songwriter BeLO; two of the three Ultramagnetic MCs Kool Keith and CED-GEE; Kittel & Co, Rev Billy, a very fun showcase from DANCE NOW and, as always, a ton more.

Plus an annual run with our Public Theater buddies - Under The Radar. We are presenting new experimental work from Ryan J. Haddad, Lucy McCormick, Rizo (fka Lady Rizo) and Daniel J. Watts.

More information available at

HOSTED BY JIM ANDRALIS, Jenn Harris & Neal Medlyn
Thursday, January 2 at 7:00PM
$15 ADV / $20 Doors

Grand Ole Pubry is Downtown NYC, USA's own country music-themed variety show and hootenanny hosted by Jim Andralis (Jim Andralis & the Syntonics, The Isotoners), Jenn Harris (New York is Dead, Silence! The Musical) and Neal Medlyn (Champagne Jerry, Neal Medlyn's Pop Star Series). They're inviting everyone's favorite performers to bring their own artistry to country hits, old and recent. Each installment of Grand Ole Pubry is dedicated to a theme - this one is WEATHER. There will be surprises. There will be dancing. Join Andralis, Harris and Medlyn in saluting country music as they turn it into something their very own! Guests for this show include Mr Showbiz himself Murray Hill, Hye Yun Park (actor, writer and model) and Susan Hwang (singer, accordionist and syntonic).

Thursday, January 2 at 9:30PM


After a raucous sold out performance this summer, Amber Martin returns with her tribute to the legendary Continental Baths and Bathhouse-era Bette Midler in Bathhouse Bette. This performance focuses on the early 70's era of Midler during her hungry show-pony days as the resident firecracker chanteuse singing at the legendary Continental Baths uptown (now a parking lot under The Ansonia). She got her start singing in the hot steamy bathhouse to men in towels, still wet from the pool and other dark spaces. Her as-yet-unknown accompanist was Barry Manilow, played here by Drew Brody. Expect copious amounts of singing, stories, and dancing to ensue. This show also features performances from Carmine Covelli, Jesse Krakow, Eric Schmalenberger, Rizo and Boylesque dancers, Valton Jackson and Richard Schieffer!

Varla Jean Merman: A STAR IS BORED

Friday & Saturday, January 3 & 4 at 7:00PM

$35 ADV / $40 Doors

After 25 years of giving over 75% of her best at every performance, Varla Jean Merman is well, tired. With fierce competition from Kardashians, Drag Race, and social influencers who are as old as Merman's undergarments, our favorite daffy drag diva might have to (gulp) make an effort this year. Can sizzling new songs, dazzling new couture, and Ariana Grande-style ponytails add up to a thrilling evening of entertainment? Find out when Varla pulls out all the stops and actually makes an effort in A STAR IS BORED. The show is written by Jeffery Roberson, who also performs as Merman, and Jacques Lamarre, directed by Michael Schiralli, and features Gerald Goode at the piano.


Friday, January 3 at 9:30PM


BélO has been hailed as Haiti's musical ambassador to the world. He is a socially conscious singer-songwriter with a sophisticated sound and winner of numerous awards, including the prestigious "Prix Radio France International Discoveries of 2006," BelO's sound is a sublime mixture of Jazz, Worldbeat, Rock, Reggae, and Afro- Haitian traditional rhythms known as "Ragganga."

BélO recently released his sixth album, Motivasyon. It comes out at a particular time where a wave of hopelessness is raging and ravaging the mind of the youth throughout Haiti. Motivasyon is from the heart of a watchman, a sentinel, and a messenger who carries words of love for his people, for Haiti. Beyond poetry, philosophy, and beyond melodies, the goal of this album is to uplift the Haitian spirit and to find an answer to problems that the nation is facing.


Saturday, January 4 at 9:30PM


Arising from the Boogie Down Bronx in the mid-'80s as a far-flung hip-hop trio with a heap of new ideas to try out, Ultramagnetic MCs Kool Keith, Ced-Gee, and DJ Moe Love occupy something of a singular place in the old-school pantheon. Combining funk-heavy tracks with jeep-rocking beats and obscure lyrical references, Ultramagnetic MCs have a list of firsts to their credit: the first rap group to employ a sampler as an instrument, the first to feature extensive use of live instrumentation and the first to feature a former psychiatric patient (Kool Keith) on the mic. Early singles like "Something Else" and "Space Groove" were block-party staples and created waves in the underground, eventually landing the group on the disco-dominated Next Plateau label, where they released their underappreciated debut. The following years found the group shuffling from label to label, releasing albums on Mercury and Wild Pitch before splitting to pursue various projects.

This special event will feature Kool Keith and Ced-Gee performing classic Ultramagnetic MCs songs and sharing stories and history about the making of their iconoclastic catalogue.


Sunday, January 5 at 7:00PM

$25 ADV / $30 Doors

Mad Scene tells the comic and dramatic story of a former beauty queen turned opera singer, Marisol Montalvo, who claws her way to the top of the classical music world with only her raw talent to guide her after flunking out of music school. Relying on blind ambition, she rises from her Puerto Rican roots, to the stages of the most prestigious opera houses in the world, before ending up on an operating table without a voice or a job. Her determined rise back to the top is an inspirational tale to any artist in any medium who has ever questioned the importance of laying the groundwork before beginning a career.

This show features the music of Mozart, Donizetti, Gounod, Rodgers & Hammerstein and Lerner & Loewe. Starring Montalvo, Mad Scene was conceived by Mark Cortale, written by Jeffrey Roberson (aka Varla Jean Merman) and Montalvo, directed by Roberson and music direction by William Hobbs.

Featuring Olli Soikkeli
Sunday, January 5 at 9:30PM
$15 ADV / $20 Doors

Tatiana Eva-Marie is a Brooklyn-based singer, bandleader and actress who was recently named rising jazz star by Vanity Fair. Acclaimed by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Downbeat, and other renowned publications, she performs regularly in New York and around the world (New Orleans Jazz Festival, Jazz Aspen SnowMass, SummerStage NY, Midsummer Night Swing, the NYC Winter JazzFest, Jazz at Lincoln Center). Inspired by her French and Romanian heritage, she explores her love for jazz through the lens of 1930s Paris and the origins of Gypsy Jazz.

Eva-Marie has been collaborating with Finnish guitarist Olli Soikkeli, whom she featured on her first recording "Je Suis Swing", a tribute to the Swing Kids and the music they listened to, including the great Django Reinhardt and Gypsy Jazz, which has been Soikkeli's primary focus since he started playing in jazz clubs and festivals across Finland, and touring Europe with Sinti Guitarist Paulus Schäfer. While still young, he's already played with notable artists such as Bucky Pizzarelli, Stochelo Rosenberg, Tommy Emmanuel and other master guitarists.


Monday, January 6 at 7:00PM

The Civilians bring a new work-in-progress from composer and performer Jacob Brandt. At the turn of the 20th century, one of the most ambitious and controversial public works projects ever undertaken was completed in New York. The day's most innovative scientists and engineers, the country's wealthiest financiers, and an enormous labor force, largely made up of immigrant workers, toiled above and below ground, and the New York City Subway was born. Now the subway is in disarray, the bureaucratic blame game rages on, the once-innovative technology is shamefully outdated, and everyone is late. Under the direction of Sr?'a Vasiljević, Brandt leads a cast of actor-musicians in an indie-folk exploration of NYC's rapid transit system: its origins, its current state of crisis, and if there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Hang On features the breakout busker folk trio Bandits On The Run, special guest experts, and more.


Part of The Public Theater's Under the Radar Festival

January 6, 10, 12 & 20 at Various Times
$30 Public Supporter / $35 Regular

A play-on-words, The Jam: Only Child pays homage to Daniel Watts's great-grandmother who, after making jam from scratch, would share with others what she was unable to consume herself. The Jam: Only Child is Watts' continuation of that legacy blending elements of stand-up comedy and compelling storytelling with his original spoken word, often set to music and/or dance. "The Jam: Only Child is the product of two years of therapy," says Watts. "I have an analogy about therapy suggesting that it's like inviting a stranger to the attic of your mind and having them help you clean it out. I realized that being an only child and a latchkey kid in a single parent home contributed to excess storage in my attic and therapy helped me sift through a lot of it and, ultimately, let some things go. By sharing my story, I hope to inspire others to go through their attics in an effort to both examine the cost of holding on and experience the healing power of letting go."


Tuesday, January 7 at 7:00PM

Come lounge in the New Year with Stew & Heidi accompanied by the lovely and talented Joe McGinty of Loser's Lounge at the keys. This is an EXTRA intimate evening of stripped-down versions of your favorite Stew & Heidi show-tunes plus delightfully obscure rock, pop, soul and Broadway covers picked from their demonically delightful record collections. Ease into 2020 with the lubricant of song!!!


Tuesday, January 7 at 9:30PM

Marta Pereira da Costa, the world's first and only professional female Portuguese fado guitar player, is quickly becoming an ambassador of Portugal's most iconic musical tradition. The Portuguese guitar is very associated with fado music, and Pereira da Costa, not forgetting the roots and tradition, risked new sounds and sought to give voice, her voice, to this instrument, as a solo instrument of a musical project that goes throughout the world of Jazz, World Music, and Portuguese Music. In March of 2019, Pereira da Costa took her Portuguese guitar project to the United States for the first time, playing eight concerts at six packed venues, traveling 16000km coast to coast, visiting the cities of San Jose, Washington DC, Austin, New York, and finally Fall River, MA. She has sold out renowned venues such as Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, and South by Southwest, where she presented her latest album. This was the first time the American public reached for the Portuguese guitar played live by a woman.


Part of The Public Theater's Under the Radar Festival

January 8, 12, 16 & 17 at 7:00PM
$20 Public Supporters / $25 Regular

When Ryan J. Haddad was five, he founded an acting troupe called The Haddad Theater and forced his family to put on plays. Their living room antics drew such an audience that they eventually moved to the stage of the local community center, where hundreds of people paid a dollar to watch them read from notecards, sing to karaoke tracks, and execute excruciatingly long scene changes. Over eight years, Haddad would write (steal), direct (not tell anyone his vision), and star (star) in 10 "productions" alongside his relatives. In Falling For Make Believe, he tells tales of The Haddad Theater in a witty, whimsical memoir full of showtunes, exclusively showtunes. Directed by Julian Fleisher, with music direction by Billy Stritch and Henry Koperski, the show is a celebration of childhood dreams and a family learning to love the spotlight. Haddad will probably cry during this performance, which also features Kristen Krak and a magical guest.


Part of The Public Theater's Under the Radar Festival

January 8, 12, 16 & 17 at 7:00PM
$20 Public Supporters / $25 Regular

Post-popular prodigy Lucy McCormick and her Girl Squad present her U.K. smash-hit Triple Threat, a trash-step/dub-punk morality play for the modern world. Casting herself in all the main roles, McCormick will attempt to re-connect to her own moral conscience by re-enacting the New Testament via a Nu-wave holy trinity of dance, power ballads, and performance art. Directed by cabaret legend Ursula Martinez, McCormick puts her best foot forward in the face of existential deadlock.

Having achieved cult status at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2016, McCormick has toured the show across the U.K., Europe, and Canada, and will now make her U.S. debut with it at Joe's Pub. Triple Threat was created by McCormick, directed by Ursula Martinez and produced by Karl Taylor. The Girl Squad is Samir Kennedy and Lennie.

Triple Threat is recommended for ages 18+ and contains nudity and graphic sexual content. As sensitivities vary from person to person, if you have specific questions regarding content, please call us at 212.967.7555.


Part of The Public Theater's Under the Radar Festival

January 9, 11, 16 & 17 at Various Times
$30 Public Supporters / $35 Regular

New York's own downtown diva goddess Rizo (f.k.a. Lady Rizo) charges back onto the Joe's Pub stage after a year away, electrifying Spiegeltents around the world. A cult favorite, her stage shows bring her powerhouse vocals together with seductive storytelling and wild hilarious audience experiments. Seductively peeling back layers of alter-ego, Rizo explores the delight and trappings of our shadow selves through her own songs along with the tunes of Sasha Fierce (Beyoncé), the Thin White Duke (David Bowie), and Camille (Prince).

KITTEL & CO / Gretchen Parlato

Friday, January 10 at 7:00PM


Called "one of the most exceptional violinists and fiddlers of his generation" by WGBH, Grammy Award-nominated violinist and composer Jeremy Kittel's music and his band Kittel & Co. inhabit the space between classical and acoustic roots, Celtic and bluegrass aesthetics, and folk and jazz sensibilities. According to Bluegrass Situation, the group has "accomplished a feat of new acoustic, string band-rooted chamber music." The band is mandolin phenom Josh Pinkham (named "the future of the mandolin" by Mandolin Magazine), genre-bending guitarist Quinn Bachand (a presidential scholar at Berklee College of Music), transcendent cellist Nathaniel Smith (as heard with Sarah Jarosz and Kacey Musgraves), and hammer-dulcimer wizard Simon Chrisman (acclaimed for bringing a new tonal flexibility to the instrument).

In the 10 years since her arrival in New York, Gretchen Parlato has emerged as one of the most inventive and mesmerizing vocalists of her generation. In an artful communion of space, texture and a genre-bending repertoire, she has introduced a musical sea-change, making the power of subtlety front and center in jazz. Parlato´s new album and DVD set, Live in NYC, serves as both a gift of gratitude for those loyal fans and a window into her captivating concert performances. Style Weekly gives insight to her live performances, saying "in performance, jazz vocalist Gretchen Parlato is a revelation... her diaphanous voice expands into an instrument of impressive range, rhythmic sophistication and emotional power."

Ethan Lipton & HIS ORCHESTRA

Saturday, January 11 at 7:00PM


Dubbed the city's 'Best Lounge Act' by New York Magazine, Ethan Lipton & His Orchestra have been playing an edgy brand of jazz/folk/alternative nosh with a chewy singer-songwriter center for 15 years. With melancholy wit and a cockeyed worldview, front man Lipton and bandmates Eben Levy (guitar), Ian Riggs (bass) and Vito Dieterle (sax) deliver original songs steeped in mixed-message sincerity and soul.

Along with Allen Toussaint, Angelique Kidjo, and Toshi Reagon, Lipton received one of the Pub's first New York Voices commissions. The band won an Obie Award for its show "No Place to Go" and was nominated for a Lortel for "The Outer Space," both produced by the Public and directed by Leigh Silverman. NPR called the act, "hilarious, twisted, sophisticated, schleppy and sad all at once...songs that take the mundane of life and twist it."


Saturday, January 11 at 9:30PM

$20 ADV / $25 Doors

Pianist Jean-Michel Blais's enchanting instrumental compositions pairs the melodic pop sensibilities of Amélie-era Yann Tiersen and Arts & Crafts alumni Chilly Gonzales with the breathtaking technical skill of classical minimalists like Philip Glass and Erik Satie. After a youth spent learning piano and composition everywhere from his family's home to the Trois-Rivieres Music Conservatory, Blais found himself unsatisfied with his classical training, leaving school to pursue his own forms of improvisation and experimentation. He moved to Europe in his mid-20s with stints living in Barcelona and Berlin. During that time, he intermittently composed music with long gaps of not even touching a piano. After a year in Guatemala, finally settling in Montreal, Blais rediscovered his love for composing and performing which caught the ear of Arts & Crafts. Written over many years improvising every morning Blais's debut album, Il, was released in 2016.


Sunday, January 12 at 12:00PM

The Church of Stop Shopping is a New York City based radical performance community. The Stop Shopping Choir is an ecstatic group of 35 activists who sing harmoniously while trespassing inside corporations. Reverend Billy is a dangerous and hilarious preacher in a long tradition of Great American hustlers. The show is directed by Savitri D. with music direction by Nehemiah Luckett.


Sunday, January 12 at 4:00PM

DANCE NOW presents its 2020 Dance-mopolitan Encore Series, featuring ten top-tier artists featured in the 2019 DANCE NOW Festival Encore, selected by the DANCE NOW producers for having most successfully met the 2019 DANCE NOW Festival Challenge: to create a clear and complete artistic statement in five minutes or less for the specifics of the stage at Joe's Pub. Included in this showcase will be the 2019 Festival Challenge winner, Nicole Vaughan-Diaz and performances from Tsiambwom M. Akuchu, Sarah Chien, Mark Gindick, Orlando Hernández, Cleo Mack / Rock Dance Collective, Claire Porter / PORTABLES, Gus Solomons jr, Megan Williams Dance Projects and Nicole Wolcott. The Dance-mopolitan Encore performance will be hosted by Deborah Lohse (aka TruDee).

EPIC Players and Broadway Stars to Sing Together On Stage at 54 Below for World Autism Day Photo
This Sunday, April 2 – World Autism Day – the theater company will present a one-night-only, neuro-inclusive cabaret, EPIC Sings for Autism: Let's Duet. Audiences can expect a celebration of neuro-diversity in the arts community with inclusive renditions of iconic medleys, trios and duets from musicals such as Waitress and Into The Woods, as well as a Disney medley and much more.

Jennifer Simard Can Have Everyones NUMBER Photo
From the moment she appeared in the audience singing “One Night Only from Dreamgirls, sliding down a banister like a wacky Mame, you knew you were in for a comedic master class. She is an excellent mimic, a powerhouse singer, and in the end a sensitive and truthful actor. She is living proof of Elaine Stritch’s maxim, “To play comedy you have to be real.” Jennifer Simard is absolutely the real deal.

See Eliane Elias, Marquis Hill, The Kinsey Sicks & More at Birdland in April Photo
Birdland Jazz Club and Birdland Theater are open this April with a full slate of nightly performances! See who is performing and learn how to purchase tickets!

James Jackson, Jr. and John-Andrew Morrison to Bring 5 QUESTIONS to The Green Room 42 Photo
THE GREEN ROOM 42 will present James Jackson, Jr. and John-Andrew Morrison in “5 Questions with James and JAM – LIVE!” for three shows on April 17, May 15 and June 12, all Monday evenings at 7:00 PM.

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