Amber Gray, Tony Yazbeck & More to be Honored at 39th Annual Bistro Awards

The event will take place on Monday, April, 1 at Gotham Comedy Club in New York.

By: Feb. 20, 2024
Amber Gray, Tony Yazbeck & More to be Honored at 39th Annual Bistro Awards
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Celebrated comedian-actor-singer Robert Klein and Grammy Award–winning songwriter and singer Julie Gold are among the 14 artists who will be honored for their musical and comedy artistry at the 39th annual Bistro Awards gala on Monday, April, 1 at Gotham Comedy Club in New York. As is the Bistro Award tradition, the evening will feature performances by all the awardees.

Bistro and MAC Award-winning artist Steve Hayes serves as host for the evening. He is a comedian-actor-writer and the host—for 15 years—of YouTube’s hit show Steve Hayes: Tired Old Queen at the Movies.

Writer and critic Gerry Geddes, longtime Bistro Award Committee member and senior contributor, as well as an award-winning director, is set to helm the Bistro Awards for the third time.

Truly a comedian’s comedian, Robert Klein will be presented with the Bistro Award’s top honor, the Bob Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award, for his six- decade-plus career as an innovative and influential stand-up comedian—a career augmented with his extensive work as an actor in theatre, film, and television. He has been a source of inspiration for such talents as Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart, and Jay Leno, among many others.

Julie Gold will be honored with a special award as Iconic Singer-Songwriter-Raconteur. She has been a fixture in New York City’s cabaret community for over three decades. Gold seamlessly blends her melodies with incisive lyrics—then presents her songs to her listeners with grace and nuance.

The committee celebrates Amber Gray with an award for Creative Artistry in a Cabaret Debut. Brimming with talent, wisdom, and emotion, her show Gray Matter was a uniquely personal introduction to the cabaret world.

Tony Yazbeck is receiving an award as Song & Dance Performer. His shows at 54 Below showcased his ability to adapt the energy, heart, and artistry of Broadway performance to an intimate space. Yazbeck’s charisma and versatility made for an extraordinary evening.

In 2023, Karen Mack put her considerable performance and songwriting talent on full display in an array of venues and shows—in solo presentations, in her ongoing jazz/swing series with Elliot Roth, and as part of the vocal group Those Girls. Whatever the occasion, she was a constant delight. The committee honors her for her excellence in a Variety of Cabaret Performances.

A Bistro goes to two singers who created shows paying tribute to legendary songwriters. Wendy Scherl receives her award for Tribute Show. In The Sweetness and the Sorrow: The Songs of Marvin Hamlisch, she explored the late composer’s biography with great heart, complementing it with stories from her own life. She performed some of Hamlisch’s most beloved songs as well as some of his lesser-known titles. Jason Henderson receives recognition as Musical Comedy Performer. He impressively harnessed his singing and comedic talents for his show Getting to Noël You—effectively using the songbook of Noël Coward to help tell his own story of making ends meet while pursuing his dream of becoming a performer.

In the Vocalist category, Margaret Curry garners an award for her outstanding artistry. She brought her admirable singing and acting skills to her show The Space In-Between. Drawing the audience into her sphere, she shared a deeper look at life through her carefully selected, beautifully and uniquely arranged songs. 

The committee will honor two shows that took an autobiographical approach. Roberto Araujo receives the Autobiographical Show honor for his exuberant show I Just Wanted You to Know. He treated audiences to a sparkling, multimedia-style evening— focused specifically on his own life and career, yet displaying a remarkable, universal appeal. Elvira Tortora’s The Bookmaker’s Daughter is a well-told personal tale about a family like no other, beautifully enhanced with savvily selected songs. The show earns this newcomer to the cabaret scene an award for Musical Memoir.

Lisa Vroman’s show Ingénue…Ingé-Not-So-New delivered a constantly surprising and engaging collection of songs, acted and sung with passion, humor, finesse, and top-tier musicality. She will receive an award for Theatrical Cabaret.

David Dean Bottrell will take home an award for Storyteller. His shows reveal him to be a frank and fearless comedic monologist, unafraid to set aside humor at moments, in order to plumb the depths of human experience. 

With her recording Permanent Moonlight: Songs of Richard Rodney Bennett, Maud Hixson pays tribute to an icon of the music industry. Showcasing her impeccable vocal talents and her sensitive interpretation of lyrics, the album earns Hixson an award for her excellence in Recording.

Linda Kahn likewise receives an honor for Recording, for her outstanding album Wait ’Til You See What’s Next. This collection not only demonstrates her stunning singing talent, but it also shines a light on some of New York’s finest songwriters and musicians. 

The evening’s musicians include the award show’s resident maestro, Musical Director Daryl Kojak (piano), along with longtime Bistro Awards musicians Ritt Henn (bass) and Rex Benincasa (drums).

Sherry Eaker, formerly the longtime Editor-in Chief of Back Stage, has produced the event since its inception in 1985. Eaker heads up the BistroAwards.com roster of writers and critics. Mark Dundas Wood, who has been part of the Bistro Awards committee since 2012 and who writes regularly for BistroAwards.com, serves as an associate producer of the show for the third time. Mary Lahti, who has been production assistant on the show for the past four years, is assistant producer. 

How to Purchase Tickets

The gala event will be held on Monday, April 1, at 7:00 pm at Gotham Comedy Club, 208 W. 23rd Street, in Manhattan. Tickets range from $75.00 to $275.00. Ticket buyers in all categories are invited to the Bistro After Party as guests of the Bistro Awards. For details about the various ticket categories and early-purchase prices, visit www.BistroAwards.com

Following is a complete list of artists who, we believe, attained Outstanding Achievement in 2023 and/or for their body of work:

Robert Klein / Bob Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award
Julie Gold / Iconic Singer-Songwriter-Raconteur
Amber Gray / Creative Artistry in a Cabaret Debut (Gray Matter) 
Tony Yazbeck / Song & Dance Performer
Karen Mack / Variety of Cabaret Appearances
Margaret Curry / Vocalist (The Space In-Between)
Wendy Scherl / Tribute Show (The Sweetness and the Sorrow: The Songs of Marvin Hamlisch)
Elvira Tortora / Musical Memoir (The Bookmaker’s Daughter)
Roberto Araujo / Autobiographical Show (I Just Wanted You to Know)
Lisa Vroman / Theatrical Cabaret (Ingénue…Ingé-Not-So-New)
David Dean Bottrell / Storyteller
Jason Henderson / Musical Comedy Performer (Getting to Noël You)
Maud Hixson / Recording (Permanent Moonlight: Songs of Richard Rodney Bennett)
Linda Kahn / Recording (Wait ’Til You See What’s Next)
 




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