MARCH IS CABARET MONTH!
The celebration of cabaret in New York City was the brainchild of many of the cabaret club owners sometime ago. Even back when – and the when constitutes when the Back Stage Bistro Awards would begin with a Gala and the Manhattan Association of Cabarets (MAC) would end with the Awards. It all happened during the month of March when attendance at clubs would slow down during the winter. But things changed as the Bistro Awards reinterpreted when the Back Stage publication (which ran the Gala) was sold, and MAC started to reschedule its Awards in the Spring.
Credit Stu Hamstra and his online Cabaret Hotline for rekindling “March is Cabaret Month” as he lit the needed flame under the various cabaret clubs and organizations with the support of many of the performers. And since 2008, each year there is a “March Is Cabaret Month” in New York City. The kickoff this year began with Hamstra’s special Gala on February 29th at the West Bank Café/Laurie Beechman Theatre. In addition, MAC has now joined the team by scheduling the MAC Awards at B.B. Kings on March 29th.
The clubs are alive with shows and talent for every taste. Performers are a-plenty here in the heart of New York City. Some are up and coming, others are tried and true; each offers something special. Here are a few highlight shows coming up:
Marissa Mulder is not only a pretty young redhead, but has already won the hearts of many with her impeccable phrasing and vocal range. She hails from Syracuse, NY and credits her grandfather for introducing her to the music of Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney and Judy Garland when she was a little tyke. When she came to NYC, she immediately delved into the Great American Songbook where she’s been making her mark under the direction and mentoring of multi-award winning singer Karen Oberlin. Marissa made her cabaret debut at Don’t Tell Mama and this past summer won the Metro Star Challenge contest at the Metropolitan Room. Her prize: a fully produced, prime time booking at the Metropolitan Room ( her new show “Illusions” March 7th – 10th) and a professionally produced live recording of the show.
Sarah Dash is a soul survivor. She’s had a long, successful career and it was her group, The Bluebells, that teamed with Patti LaBelle to form the 1962 group, Patti Labelle and The Bluebells. They became instant favorites with audiences at venues like The Apollo, The Regal in Chicago and The Uptown in Philadelphia with tunes "I Sold My Heart To The Junkman" and versions of classics "Danny Boy" and "You’ll Never Walk Alone." No other black female groups were doing those kinds of songs and audiences especially liked their harmonies and the way the girls moved onstage. The group now known as LaBelle, hit the big time in 1974 with the classic “Lady Marmalade” and took off. Today, Sarah works tirelessly with organizations that help homeless mothers and continues to sing. Ms. Dash is still in the spotlight and recently debuted her single “I’m Still Here” at the Laurie Beechman Theatre at the West Bank Café, where she can be seen monthly.
Gregory Generet seems to have reached his goal as a great jazz singer. He can tell the story through song, making each lyric come alive. He was a kid growing up in Brooklyn, hanging out on the proverbial street corners listening to Motown when some of the older folks prodded him toward jazz. Once he was in college, his appetite grew as he listened to the greats, Johnny Hartman, John Coltrane, Ted Williams, finally finding his own voice in the mix. He is affectionately known as “Monsieur” and has since performed at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Centre and The Highline Ballroom. With legendary pop-jazz artist Mike Renzi and his Quartet, Gregory can be seen at the Metropolitan Room on March 20, 21, 28, 29.
Nellie McKay wears multi hats, having won a Theatre World Award as Polly Peachum in the Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera, performing onscreen in the film PS I Love You, as well as writing original music for the Rob Reiner film Rumor Has It and contributing to the New York Times Book Review. She is also an advocate for animal rights, civil rights and feminism. She is not your typical cabaret performer as she really doesn’t fit any mold or genre; she’s pop, zany, wacky, with a voice that is both sweet and subtle, yet rages. Her latest show, “I Want To Live,” is a musical biography of Barbara Graham, the third woman to die in the gas chamber at San Quentin (see what I mean). You’ll have to experience McKay for yourself at Feinstein’s March 20-31st.
Barb Jungr is back in New York at the Metropolitan Room for 3 weeks (April 10-28) reprising “Man In The Long Black Coat: Barb Jungr Sings Bob Dylan,” having taken the U.S. cabaret circuit by storm. An international performer (from the UK), she has radically reinterpreted the songs of Bob Dylan, Jacques Brel and more with her distinctive vocal stylings. She has also been named the best cabaret act by Time Out in 2011. Her MO is to revitalize some of the pop rock songwriters such as Bruce Springsteen, Leonard Cohen, David Byrne, Neil Diamond, Hank Williams and Elvis Presley thereby making them a part of the Great American Songbook, showing the many similarities between them and their predecessors – Gershwin, Kern, Mercer and Berlin. Pretty snazzy. This gal is a most unique experience you’d want to have.
Cabaret Clubs and Additional Listings:
Feinstein’s at Loews Regency 212 339-4095 www.feinsteinsattheregency.com – Linda Eder, Nellie McKay, Scott Siegel’s Broadway Ballyhoo, Amra-Faye Wright, Barbara Cook, Marilyn Maye
Café Carlyle 212 744-1600 www.thecarlyle.com – Bettye LaVette, Gregory Charles, Clint Holmes
Laurie Beechman Theater 212 695-6909 www.beechmantheatre.com – Joan Rivers, Le Scandal Cabaret, Sarah Dash, Tom Vaughn, Bianca Leigh, Zoe Lewis & The Vagabonds
The Metropolitan Room 212 206-0440 www.metropolitanroom.com – Pamela Luss w/Houston Person (monthly series), Annie Ross, Bria Skonberg, Pamela Rose “Wild Women of Song,” Floanne, Loni Ackerman, Fran Leonardis, Grace Cosgrove
Don’t Tell Mama 212 757-0788 www.donttellmamanyc.com – Seth Rudetsky’s Broadway Chatterbox, Bronwyn Rucker, People You Should Know, Daryl Sherman
Birdland Jazz Club
212 581-3080 www.birdlandjazz.com – Jim Caruso’s Cast Party, Mark Murphy, Jonathan Tunick, Jane Monheit
The Triad Theatre 212 362-2590 ww.triadnyc.com – Erotic Broadway, Celebrity Autobiography: The Next Chapter, Sing!Sing!Sing!, Jacques Brel Returns, Ludwig Live, The Naked Truth
Iridium Jazz Club 212 582-2121 www.iridiumjazzclub.com –Terese Genecco & Her Little Big Band, Les Paul Mondays, Stacey Sullivan
The Duplex on Christopher Street, 212 255-5438 www.theduplex.com – Colleen McHugh
Caroline’s Comedy Club 212 757-4100 www.carolines.com
Edison Ballroom 240 West 47th Street 212 201-7650. www.edisonballroom.com
Dana Lorge hosts Wednesday evening’s weekly variety show at Iguana, West 54th St., 212 765-5454, 718 482-0412
The Salon, weekly Sunday evening Open Mic, with a different theme, is hosted by Mark Janas and Tanya Moberly at Etcetera, Etcetera, West 44th St. 212 244-4408 www.etcrestaurant.com
**As always, check with the individual venues for exact dates, times, cover charges, minimums, additional performers and any schedule changes.
For in depth reviews, please read the cabaret column at www.t2conline.com
Sandi’s Theater reviews can be found at: www.Examiner.com
See you in Cabaret Land and at the MAC Awards!