Urban Stages Presents 11th Annual Award-Winning Series WINTER RHYTHMS 2019

By: Nov. 25, 2019
Urban Stages Presents 11th Annual Award-Winning Series WINTER RHYTHMS 2019

Urban Stages (Frances Hill, Founding Artistic Director and Tom Toce , Musical Director) announces the line-up for this year's award-winning series, WINTER RHYTHMS 2019, which will begin Wednesday, December 11 featuring some of New York's best musical performances through Saturday, December 21, 2019 at Urban Stages Theatre (259 West 30th St., East of 8th Ave.)

Tickets are $30 per show (except where noted) or $45 for two shows on the same day. To view the complete schedule or to purchase tickets, please visit: urbanstages.org or call: (866) 811-4111.

WINTER RHYTHMS 2019 marks the 11th year that Urban Stages welcomes noted musical artists to its stage during the holiday period. The mission of WINTER RHYTHMS is to bring the talents of well-known and up-and-coming singers, musicians, lyricists and composers to the attention of the New York theater community while performing at Urban Stages Theater. WINTER RHYTHMS won the Bistro Award for Outstanding Series and the Ruth Kurtzman Benefit Series MAC Award. Proceeds from WINTER RHYTHMS benefit Urban Stages' acclaimed Outreach Program, which brings over 200 free "arts in education" presentations to libraries and schools throughout the five boroughs.

This year's benefit series will present 20 shows, many of them created especially for WINTER RHYTHMS, produced by Urban Stages' Musical Director Tom Toce, assisted by Production Manager, Sue Matsuki with Urban Stages' Technical Director Kim T. Sharp designing lights and sound with assistance by Madeleine Burrow. The set consultant is Frank J. Oliva.

Winter Rhythms will include a Patron's Night Gala Celebration on Monday, December 16th at 7pm with a special show, SING THE SHADOWS AWAY starring Karen Akers. Tickets are priced from $160-$500, including cocktails at 6:30pm, the show at 7:00pm and dinner afterwards.

Current Performance Schedule*

Wednesday, December 11 - 7:00PM - An Evening with Richard Skipper: The Magic of Believing - Starring Richard Skipper with Music Director, Bryon Sommers. Directed by: Jay Rogers

Opening the Winter Rhythm Festival this year, Richard Skipper was born in Conway, SC in 1961. In 1974, he made his debut with a walk-on in Mame with The Theatre of The Republic, his hometown theatre and within a few years he was playing larger roles. "Ricky" made up his mind on August 5th of 1974 that he was going to go to New York in five years to be in show business! 2019 marks Mr. Skipper's 40th year in New York. This show explores what setting your mind on a goal can accomplish!

Richard Skipper is an entertainer, raconteur, arts advocate and theater historian. Under the umbrella of Richard Skipper Celebrates!, produced by Russ Woolley in a residency at The Laurie Beechman Theater, Mr. Skipper has introduced hundreds of singers in his shows and has conducted over 700 interviews celebrating people in the arts such as: Linda Purl, Melissa Manchester, Lesley Ann Warren, Loretta Swit, Tippi Hedren and Rich Little to name just a few. - www.RichardSkipper.com


Thursday, December 12 - 7:00PM - Illegit: The Cabaret Countertenor Conundrum

Starring David Sabella with Music Director, John Cook, Matt Scharfglass on Bass and Steve Singer on Drums - Featuring: Dawn Derow with back-ups by: Caitlin McBride & Aria Shannon. Directed by: Lina Koutrakos.

What is a Countertenor, and what do they sing? Opera? Broadway? American Songbook? Pop? When the countertenor is David Sabella, the answer is "all of the above."

David Sabella, internationally acclaimed singer, has sung on stages big and small throughout the United States, Europe and South America. A Broadway veteran (Chicago, the Musical) and classical countertenor deemed "Excellent, not good, excellent!" by Luciano Pavarotti, Sabella has crafted a show encompassing four styles of music, in four octaves. Mr. Sabella is the author (along with Sue Matsuki) of So You Want to Sing Cabaret (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020) - www.DavidSabella.com


Thursday, December 12 - 9:00PM - Accentuate the Positive - Celebrating Johnny Mercer! Starring: Mae Perry with Music Director, Vincent Scott, Book by: Calvin Ramsey and

Directed by: Vincent Scott

An evening about the life and music of the Hall of Fame and legendary songwriter, Johnny Mercer, who wrote over 1500 songs in his lifetime. This musical journey is directed by Vincent Scott and was written by Calvin Alexander Ramsey. Mr. Ramsey has had several plays read at Urban Stages. His children book, Ruth and The Green Book is said to have inspired the movie, The Green Book. Terry Burrus is the musical director and pianist. He has toured worldwide or recorded with the likes of Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Bjork and Backstreet Boys, Lena Horn, Aretha Franklin, Madonna and Diana Ross and more. The Vocalist will be Willie Mae Perry. She is an accomplished singer who can sing, jazz, Broadway show tunes as well as inspirational songs. Her successes include sold out concerts at some major New York City venues.


Friday, December 13 - 7:00PM - The Arrangement Boot Camp: Make Your Own Kind of Music - Singnasium Presents: Pam Antrobus, Staci Beth Block, Natasha Castillo, Jeff Flaster, Phyllis Mollen, Marcia Roney, Heather Villaescusa & Deborah Zecher with Music Directors, Michael Holland & Ted Stafford. Directed by: Lennie Watts

Back by popular demand, The Arrangement Experience is what happens when you take some very well-known hits, give them a new point of view and then create a fresh new arrangement. Each of the singers in this show have collaborated on and personalized the treatment of these great songs with Director Lennie Watts and Music Directors, Michael Holland and Ted Stafford. www.Singnasium.org


Friday, December 13 - 9:00PM - Sergei Dreznin in MY3blKA: Russia at the Piano.

Sergei will not just perform Russian masterpieces from Glinka to Schnittke by way of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Skryabin and other greats. In his incomparable fashion - which charmed Berlin, Moscow, Vienna and Paris - Sergei will communicate with the audience in pursuit of a thread running through 200 years of Russian music, the epiphany of beauty and nostalgia.

One of today's most versatile musicians, Sergei Dreznin is a Moscow-born New York-based award-winning concert pianist and composer. His 17 shows were produced in Paris, New York, Madrid, Moscow and Vienna and range from musicals on original Shakespeare texts to revival of Cabaret from Ghetto Terezin. His musical epic Catherine the Great is in its 11 sold-out year in Russia, and currently is being adapted for the US. Sergei appears regularly at prestigious music festivals including Bard Music, the Sviatoslav Richter Festival in Tarusa, Russia and Annecy Classic in France. The New York Times praised Mr. Dreznin's "virtuosity... grace, pliancy and confidence" and "seemingly limitless reserves of volume." - www. SergeiDreznin.net


Saturday, December 14 - 2:00PM - CD Release: Songs for Sapiosexuals - Starring: Jennie Litt (lyricist/singer) & David Alpher (composer/pianist) with Boots Maleson on Bass, Scott Neumann on Drums, Suzanne Gilchrest on Flute & Kurt Henry on Guitar and featuring: Ann Kittredge, Kim Grogg Marin, Drew Minter & Matthew Walker.

What is a sapiosexual? It's a person who is turned on by intelligence. And Alpher & Litt's original stand-alone cabaret songs are aimed at the intelligent listener - in other words, you! Love ballads, math tangos, whiskey-soaked torch songs, death marches, a brand-new holiday classic, and more. "Urbane wit and heartfelt, life-affirming essence"-Cabaret Scenes

in 2019, David Alpher (composer/pianist) and Jennie Litt (lyricist/singer) celebrate 20 years of musical collaboration and life partnership. Their songs, collected on two CDs (Two Apples [2014] and Songs For Sapiosexuals [2019]) have been performed on three continents, and in every major New York City club. They' are currently at work on a musical about the notorious Mitford sisters. "Masterful on many levels."-Cabaret Scenes "Brilliant."-Theater Pizzazz "Enchanting."-BroadwayWorld.com

Litt & Alpher are singers, songwriters, performers, recording artists and educators...to learn more about this incredible team, please visit: www.Litt-and-Alpher.com


Saturday, December 14 - 6:30PM - Beth & Ritt's Holiday Survival Kit - Starring: Beth Falcone & Ritt Henn - Featuring: Penny Fuller, The Snow Angels (Christine de Frece, Shan Y Chuang & LaDonna Burns), Jay Alan Zimmerman, Bindu & Ambi Subramanium and Heiða Ólafs & Íris Hólm Jónsdóttir.

Award-winning songwriters Beth Falcone and Ritt Henn perform original and originally arranged songs of seasonal celebration from around the globe. What do Diwali, Hanukah, Christmas, Kwaanza, and Winter Solstice have in common? To find out, come and walk a mile in someone else's music. With holiday favorites from India to Catalonia to Trinidad to Iceland, and more! It's high quality duct tape and organic beef jerky for the soul!

Beth Falcone is a composer/lyricist who has been noted for her "catchy melodies and smart lyrics" (Variety) and "fiery piano playing" (Chicago Sun Times). Her Off-Broadway musical, Wanda's World, has been performed across the country, and the studio cast recording is being released this November on Broadway Records.

Ritt Henn is a bassist/songwriter/ukulelist/auteur, a "cool cat" (Time Out NY) and "a funkier Cole Porter" (LA Weekly). He's released 4 albums of original music and film shorts, produced over 200 episodes of ManBassBoxTV, and accompanied Chuck Berry, Martha Reeves, Tom Jones, and Kathleen Turner. - www.RittHenn.com


Saturday, December 14 - 9:30PM - Gary Apple in Back to Hell: The 1st Anniversary Concert of Christmas in Hell. Starring members of the original Off-Broadway cast: Scott Ahearn, Lori Hammel, Elijah Rayman, Zak Risinger, Ron Wisniski and Jonathan Stewart as Lucifer with Music Director, Logan Medland. Directed by: Gary Apple.

Hell is back for the holidays! Last year's Off-Broadway hit "Christmas In Hell" will be presented in concert form, featuring original cast members and special guests. Here's a chance to experience the outrageous Christmas musical that made the "2018 Must See Holiday Show" lists of Time Out New York, Newsday, Theatermania, New York Theatre Guide, and many more. After award-winning appearances at the NY Fringe Festival and NYMF, and an Off-Broadway run at The York Theatre, Hell returns to Urban Stages, way more naughty than nice.

Christmas in Hell, with book, music, and lyrics by Gary Apple ("The Simpsons"), is a wild, irreverent, and surprisingly touching musical comedy about the absurd lengths we'll go to for the ones we love.

Gary Apple (Book, Music & Lyrics) is a comedy writer, who has worked on television sitcoms, children's shows, variety shows, and many animated programs (including The Simpsons).

Gary is a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and the BMI Musical Theatre Librettists Workshop.


Sunday, December 15 - 1:00PM - Legends: Eydie Gormé, Aretha Franklin & Margaret Whiting - Matsuki Productions Presents: Patti Bottino-Bravo (Eydie Gormé), Amorika Amoroso (Aretha Franklin) & Kathy Kaefer (Margaret Whiting) with Music Directors, Tracy Stark & Paul Greenwood.

Matsuki Productions is proud to present three of New York's best singers performing an eclectic program of legendary singers: Eydie Gormé, Aretha Franklin and Margaret Whiting. All three ladies are individual Cabaret and Theater stars in their own right so, to have all three of them on one stage singing the music of these Legends, is going to be an extraordinary afternoon of music.

Patti Bottino-Bravo returned to the cabaret stage in 2016, after a 27 year hiatus, with her show Dream, Come True!, a story of persistence, insistence, and testimony that it truly is never too late to make your dreams a reality. Her next show, Going Gormé , a tribute to the legendary American and Latin pop star Eydie Gormé, is slated to open in August 2020. - www.PattiBottinoBravo.com

Amorika Amoroso graduated from Temple University with a degree in Jazz Vocal Performance and a minor in Theater. She has been a rock band singer, an improv writer and performer and has appeared in national commercials for Macy's and State Farm, as well as in off-Broadway and off-off Broadway productions. Ms. Amorosa won Mama's Next Big Act and is a MAC Award winner for her one-woman/cabaret show "The Whore Next Door."

Kathy Kaefer has appeared at The Rainbow Room, Feinstein's at the Regency, Birdland (as a cast member of the show Our Sinatra) and at the Metropolitan Room in her own show, Kiss Me Once: Stories from the Home Front.


Sunday, December 15 - 4:00PM - Outbound Plane - Starring: Meg Flather with Music Director, Tracy Stark. Directed by: Lennie Watts.

Outbound Plane explores necessary losses that take us where we need to go next. It features an eclectic mix from Musical Theater to Pop, including Rodgers & Hammerstein, Jerry Herman, Richard Maltby & David Shire, Alan Menken & Tim Rice, Paul Simon, Nanci Griffith, Joan Armatrading, Natalie Merchant and a new Meg Flather original.

Meg Flather is a two-time Backstage Bistro Award winner, three-time MAC Award Winner, and five-time Broadway World nominee. As a singer/songwriter, Meg has released seven CD's of her original music. She has been a featured performer for GMHC, at New York's historic Webster Hall, the Vermont & Tribeca Film Festivals and at the 2018 Mabel Mercer Cabaret Convention at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Meg is a proud Brand Ambassador for StriVectin skincare on the Home Shopping Network and The Shopping Channel of Canada. - www.MegFlather.com


Sunday, December 15 - 7:00PM - And Kurt Weill Begat Kander and Ebb - Starring: Sally Darling with Music Director, Matthew Martin Ward.

Did Kurt Weill inspire John Kander and Fred Ebb? How, and to what extent? Sally Darling and her Musical Director, Matthew Martin Ward, explore Weill's influence on the two award winning songwriters.

Sally Darling came into cabaret in 2005 with Noël and Cole. Since that Initial show, she has created and performed twelve new shows, and counting. She has a Hanson Award, a Bistro Award and is a 2017, 2018 and 2019 MAC Award nominee. -www.SallyDarling.net


Monday, December 16 - URBAN STAGES WINTER RHYTHM GALA - Starring: Karen Akers in Sing the Shadows Away with Music Director, Alex Rybeck.

Winter Rhythms will include a very special Patron's Night Gala Celebration on Monday, December 16 at 7:00 pm with award winning Broadway and Cabaret star Karen Akers performing SING THE SHADOWS AWAY. Reflecting on the ups and downs of life and love, this legendary cabaret star and friend to Urban Stages will perform a poignant program of wonderful songs, both familiar and surprising. Alex Rybeck will accompany her on songs by Noel Coward, Amanda McBroom, Ahrens & Flaherty, Stephen Sondheim, Mercer & Mancini, Dietz & Schwartz, and several others. A perfect way to welcome the holidays! Tickets are priced from $160-$500 and includes cocktails at 6:30pm, the show at 7pm and dinner at French Bistro, OCabanon, afterwards.


Wednesday, December 18 - 7:00PM - Carly Sing Cass: Don't Call Us Mama Anymore!

Starring: Carly Ozard with Music Director, Brian Fitzsousa. Directed by: Deborah Kym.

With her powerhouse vocals, Carly Ozard celebrates Cass Elliot's voice with an adaptation of Elliot's Solo Show Don't Call Me Mama Anymore. Ozard features classics such as "Dream a Little Dream of Me"; "I Think A Lot About You" and many more.

Carly Ozard is an electronic music cultivator with one foot still in the musical theater and nightclub world. She is signed to Sobel Nation Records distributed by Warner Brothers, working with various DJ's and Producers worldwide. Carly has also performed at Feinstein's 54 Below, Lincoln Center, Feinstein's at the Nikko, and is a Busker with MTA's Music Under New York. Solo Album "Universal Child" available on CDBaby. Club Tracks available on Beatport, Itunes, Amazon and Spotify. - www.CarlyOzard.com


Wednesday, December 18 - 9:00PM - Clearly Now - Season II - Starring: Sean Harkness, Lina Koutrakos & Marcus Simeone.

With Harkness as their Music Director (Guitar), all three of these extraordinary talents trade off on vocals, sing several solos and do back-ups for each other in a program that includes songs by: Bonnie Raitt, Otis Redding and covering genres of music from soul to pop or R&B. These three multi-award winning performers have come together simply because they love making music together. The also recently opened for legendary rock band, Air Supply! All of these artists may be found on www.mirandamusic.com

Marcus Simeone is renowned for his achingly beautiful and emotionally charged interpretations of soulful songs from the American popular songbook, red-hot jazz sensibility and a fierce R&B flair. It is immediately obvious to anyone who hears his unique 5-octace, pitch perfect tenor why he has become such a popular artist. - www.MarcusSimeone.com

Lina Koutrakos is a force of nature and a powerhouse singer! Her persistent Pied Piper presence with both heart and skill subtly drives home messages teeming with universal empowerment. As a Singer, Songwriter, Director or Performance Coach, Koutrakos' authenticity inspires nothing short of the same in others. As a singer, her passion and authenticity is unmatched! - www.LinaSings.com

Sean Harkness is a musical artist and guitarist living in New York City's unofficial borough of Jersey City Heights. He composes and arranges music for solo guitar and for small ensembles, and accompanies many singers, musicians, and theatrical productions. - www.SeanHarkness.com


Thursday, December 19 - 7:00PM - How's That for Openers? - Starring: Sue Matsuki with Music Director, Gregory Toroian, Tom Hubbard (Bass) & Ron Tierno (Drums).

Legendary Booking Agent, Sidney Myer and Sue were recently talking about how long people have worked at Don't Tell Mama, so she went home to look up her first performance. It was on a Tuesday, September 16, 1986 in the original room...33 years. She created this show to celebrate that landmark and was "awarded" with her poster making it to Don't Tell Mama's Wall of Fame! Since both shows on the 16th were sold out, this final encore show is being offered here at Urban Stages. The show is composed of many of her Opening Numbers but it's not a show about opening numbers!

Sue Matsuki is the Production Assistant of this year's Winter Rhythms. Matsuki is a 10-time MAC Award Nominee and a 3-time Winner (in 6 different categories); the first recipient of the Julie Wilson Award and a 35-year Cabaret/Jazz singing veteran who has played every NYC club including: Feinstein's, Birdland, The Iridium, The Village Gate, Carnegie Hall and 54 Below. Sue is the Managing Partner, Co-Editor, Reviewer, Teacher and a Columnist (Sue's Views) for an on-line entertainment magazine called Cabaret Hotspot! and is the author (along with David Sabella) of So You Want to Sing Cabaret (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020) - www.SueMatsuki.com


Thursday, December 19 - 9:00PM - Pretty Polly - Starring experimental visual/performance artists and musicians, Sarah Lawrence & Elizabeth Olear

Pretty Polly is an experimental visual/performance artists and musicians, Sarah Lawrence & Elizabeth Olear are the semi-satan worshipping duo that make up Pretty Polly. Fueled by the traditions of folklore and with a rockabilly sound, they tell tales of the loss of innocence; the power of the female mind, body, and spirit; and f*%$ing s*@t! Not suitable for all audiences, viewer discretion is (UN)advised! @_prettypolly_


Friday, December 20 - 7:00PM ($40.00) - The Songs of Nanci Griffith - Tom Toce Presents: Lisa Asher, Meg Flather, Daryl Glenn, Julie Gold, Pete & Maura Kennedy, Madelyn Monaghan, Louise Mosrie, Marissa Mulder & Tom Toce - with Music Directors, Pete & Maura Kennedy.

Whether you call her songs "folkabilly," as she has been known to, or just brilliant, as many others have, Nanci Grifffith is one of our best contemporary songwriters. She was the first to record "From a Distance," and its songwriter Julie Gold will help celebrate Nanci Griffith, the songwriter. She will be joined by Pete and Maura Kennedy, members of Nanci Griffith's Blue Moon Orchestra, who have toured and recorded extensively with her. If you know her songs, you won't want to miss this concert. And if you don't know her songs, all the more reason to attend! - www.TomToceMusic.com


Friday, December 20 - 9:00PM - Gentlemen of Jazz - Eckstine, Hartman, Cole, Williams & Jarreau - Starring: Aaron Lee Battle with Music Director, John Thomas Fischer, Marco Panascia on Bass and Simon Fishburn on Drums.

A tribute to legendary male vocalist and jazz icons: Billy Eckstine, Johnny Hartman, Nat King Cole, Joe Williams and Al Jarreau. Five of Mr. Battle's favorite male singers!

Aaron Lee Battle is the recipient of the Backstage Bistro Award. Aaron has performed at the Apollo Theater and was the resident guest artist at Gunay Supper Club in Istanbul, Turkey.

Mr. Battle has performed in cabaret since 1986, and has appeared at the Mabel Mercer Foundations Cabaret Convention at New York's Town Hall and in San Francisco and has been featured in several cabaret rooms in New York City. He has worked with great talents, such as Barbara Carroll, Jay Leonhart, and Tony Monte.


Saturday, December 21 - 2:00PM - TWO SHOWS for one PRICE! A Perfumed Woman & Rise Up Singing

A Perfumed Woman - Starring: Joanne Halev with Music Director, Alex Rybeck, Ray Kilday on Bass and Ari Axlerod on Conga. Directed by: Lina Koutrakos.

Blending stories of scent memory and the passionate world of fragrance creation with songs of Porter, Loesser, Mercer, Bucchino, McBroom and more, Ms. Halev takes the audience on a journey from Mumbai to Madagascar, Sao Paulo to Haiti, Bangkok to Brooklyn.

Joanne Halev makes her solo cabaret debut with Like a Perfumed Woman. She has appeared in group shows at Don't Tell Mama, Davenport's, and The Duplex. Following three sold out shows at the Birdland Theater this year, Joanne joins the roster of performers at Winter Rhythms. Mentors include Lina Koutrakos, Sara Lazarus, K.T. Sullivan, Andrea Marcovicci, Ann Hampton Callaway, Liz Callaway and Beckie Menzie. Ms. Halev continues to play a role in the world of global fragrance creation, home to her third career.

Rise Up Singing - Starring Susan Winter with Music Director Alex Rybeck, Ray Kilday on Bass and David Stillwell on Violin. Directed by: Barry Kleinbort.

We are living in a period of time where what is ordinary has shifted and we are all being called upon to adjust to a new normal. As we recover from each calamity that bears down on us, we feel a great need for healing. Music is that healer. Award-winning singer, Susan Winter was commissioned by the Kupferberg Holocaust Center in Queens, NY to create a program which demonstrates how music has been used to raise awareness as political, social and cultural commentary; as well as to enlighten and uplift. Susan is delighted to reprise it for Urban Stages Winter Rhythms. Susan Winter is a native New Yorker vocalist and entertainer, Susan Winter, has been compared to the best in the business, honing her craft performing with jazz trios, big bands and Top-40 groups. Susan has made a name for herself in the NYC cabaret world. She has been nominated for 8 MAC awards beginning with her 'debut' performance of Million Dollar Matinee. This was quickly followed by winning a Bistro Award as "Outstanding Vocalist" and then a MAC Award for Best Recording and a Broadway World Award for Direction.


Saturday, December 21- 6:00PM - More Songs of Hope - Tom Toce Presents: Corinna Sowers-Adler, Lisa Asher, Danny Bacher, Emily Ellet, Meg Flather, Lucille Carr-Kaffashan, Roderick Lawrence, Sue Matsuki, Ann Osmond & Dennis Yerry, Warren Schein, Toni Thompson, Susan Winter, and Tom Toce with Music Director, Jon Delfin.

Can you ever have too much hope? Last year's Songs of Hope program was a highlight of the 2018 festival, and it's only natural to do it again. At this time of year, and at this point in history, we especially need these songs. Tom Toce will produce the closing nights' program, featuring some of the best cabaret singers in New York, each performing a hopeful song. If this concert doesn't provide uplift, nothing will! There will be performances by Emily Ellet, Meg Flather, Sue Matsuki, Corinna Sowers-Adler, Roderick Lawrence and Salma Shaw (Bars & Measures) and more! Jon Delfin will once again be the musical director.

All shows $30 (Except where noted)

Urban Stages - 259 W. 30th St. - 212-421-1380

Tickets: www.urbanstages.org