Category Archives: Cabaret

New York’s Paige Turner

paige-turner-New-york

#WINNING    New York’s  Paige Turner has developed a huge following over the years and now is a fixture in NY’s  Night Life scene.

We first saw her about 3 years ago at the now closed VLADA. Now, she has done so much in the city! Splash, The Ritz, Therapy….Paige is also  host of “So You Think You Can Drag” at New World Stages showcasing the hottest new queens on the scene with celebrity judges that have included Adam Lambert, Charles Busch and Julie Halston.

Sunday  nights at Therapy in Hell’s Kitchen, Paige  continues her popular long “SLURP!” show. She did  the 200th show of her popular Sunday night soiree “Slurp!”

She told EDGE, “Slurp! is the baby that I nurse,” she says. “If you are lucky enough to work full time in drag, you have your one big show. It’s the show that I tell people who have never seen me to go to first. It’s not that I don’t put in the same energy at other shows, it’s just the one where right away you’d get me.”

Paige Turner’s show-stopping seasonal drag competition So You Think You Can Drag dominates the Thursday night midtown scene in the lower floors of the New World Stages on 50th Street every Thursday night @ 11 p.m.

Paige on Facebook

 

 

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Gay New York – Lady Bunny Makes Top Drag Queen List

best gay new york drag queens

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Bar d’O – History Repeats Itself with Raven O, Joey Arias and Sherry Vine!

bar d new york city

Bar d’O Returns

It’s back! The infamous,scandalous and uber classy Bar d’O. Starring Joey Arias, Raven O and Sherry Vine
Special Musical Guest Michael Musto
SUNDAY NIGHT Feb 23
10PM
ACME Great Jones/Lafayette
$20 at Door First Come First Served

Those caught texting and tweeting during show will wish they were dead.

$20 Door fee goes to vital life support of all three stars including medication, shock therapy and incontinence intervention.  No Deadbeats Please!

WOW! This is going to be amazing!!!

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XL Becomes 42 West and Lady Bunny Celebrates 2nd anniversary for HOT MESS Drag Review

hot mess drag lady bunny

 

Drag royalty Lady Bunny, Bianca Del Rio and Milan will welcome guests to the newly launched 42West (514 West 42 Street) on February 21, 2014 to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of the City’s over-the-top comedic ³Hot Mess Drag Revue.²  The irrepressible, irreverent and irresistible trio, joined by fellow divas Sugga Pie Koko, Skyla Versai and Jada Valenciaga, will once again hold court at their weekly residency at newly opened Hell¹s Kitchen nightclub. 

 (Over the last six weeks 42West, the 14,000 square foot cabaret that formerly housed XL, has undergone design enhancements, which includes a dazzling new high-tech laser lighting system, an upgraded state-of-the-art sound system, a revamped VIP area and new on-the dance floor 360-degree premium seating.)

“It¹s been a time-tested, infallible formula ­ an unstoppable, hilarious combination.  Give iconic drag queens a microphone and a stage, mix in a few cosmos, add a dash of camp and pop hits and you¹ve got a night like no other,” said 42West’s owner Susan Buckley.

Combining old-school glamour and salacious scandal galore, Hot Mess lives up to its name and offers an outrageously good time for all.  During the adults-only interactive performance, the queens lead the audience through several song and expertly choreographed dance numbers. Intermittent commentary is given by hostess Bianca Del Rio, who will compete on LOGO’s hit show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” later this month, that keeps audiences in fits of laughter and coming back for more.

In addition to the lively, colorful banter and outrageous performances by the Hot Mess talent, surprise guests like Octomom and Tan Mom, Raven Symoné and RuPaul have joined the festivities in the past making no two shows the same. “Life should be fun, lively, and at least a little messy,” explains Lady Bunny.  Michael Musto dubbed Hot Mess “the best drag show in NYC” and the cast members prove it to sold-out crowds every Friday night at 9pm.

And in 2014, Lady Bunny, Bianca Del Rio and Milan will continue to pull out all the stops, mixing up their unique brand of calamity and comedy, during each and every performance. And the divas have an even glitzier, glam, show stopping stage to perform on at 42West, the 14,000 square foot space that previously housed XL Nightclub. The new venue features a dazzling high-tech laser lighting system, a state-of-the-art sound system, a chic VIP area, and premium seating that easily puts guests in the Hot Mess hot seat.

 

Premium reserve tickets, which include a complimentary glass of champagne, premium seating and a plate of small bites are $50 and general admission tickets are $30.  Tickets can be purchased by visiting: http://bit.ly/1bWpvX5

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Musical Mondays and Cabaret at XL Nightclub

 Last Night, XL Cabaret debuted ‘Monday Musicals,’ which included a
special performance by Tony Award winning
Kinky Boots
star Billy Porter.
I wanted to send you images and a brief recap in hopes you would be able to include it.

Billy arrived with actor
Victor Garber at XL Cabaret around 10pm
and hit the stage not long after in thigh high “kinky” boots (sans
pants). He did a solo live performance that was followed by a contest
with audience members to win 2 tickets to see his Broadway show ‘Kinky
Boots.’
He selected about 7 revelers and judged who had the fiercest walk. Billy was very interactive with the audience and in great spirits. He concluded the night with one additional number.

The Monday Musicals’ (August 19th) will have a special live performance by Broadway’s ‘Lion King’ star
Chondra Profit 

Saturday, September 14th, burlesque star Katrina Darling (Kate Middleton’s cousin) will be performing at XL Cabaret, in a special show dubbed ‘God Save the Queens.’


XL     512 W. 42nd St, NY


Find out what’s happening this week and next month at XL

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Sting To Play Benefit Concerts for The Public Theater

10 CONCERTS TO BENEFIT THE PUBLIC THEATER

SEPTEMBER 25 – OCTOBER 9

 

PERFORMING SONGS FROM HIS NEW ALBUM,

THE LAST SHIP, 

FOR THE FIRST AND ONLY TIME


Limited Number Of Free Tickets To Be Offered For Each Concert

100 Sting.com Fan Club Members To Receive Free Tickets

To A Special Birthday Celebration Performance 

The Public Theater (Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis; Executive Director, Patrick Willingham) announced today that, for the first
and only time,
Sting will perform songs from his new album, The Last Ship, for 10 concerts to benefit The Public Theater in their intimate, 260-seat Anspacher Theater from
September 25 – October 9.
An evening of music and storytelling with one of the world’s most
prolific artists, these performances will offer unique insight into the
creative process of both his new album, to be released
September 24, and his forthcoming
play of the same name, premiering in 2014. All proceeds benefit The Public Theater and are tax deductible.

“Sting is one of the great artists of our time, a brilliant songwriter who is also a model of activist commitment,” said
Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. “The Last Ship
is shaping up to be a masterpiece, both an elegy for and a celebration
of the working class life of the Newcastle shipyards. The Public is
honored to call Sting a friend and thrilled
to be hosting these benefit concerts.”

 

Sting added, “The
Public Theater, a New York institution committed to supporting all of
the city’s distinct communities, was a natural fit to perform this
material that is, at its core, about the importance of community.”

 

In
the spirit of The Public Theater’s ongoing mission of accessibility, a
limited number of free seats will be distributed the day of each
performance via a lottery system.  Entries will be taken between 5:30
p.m.
and 6:00 p.m. each performance day, with a drawing beginning at 6:00 p.m. (All entrants must be present to win.)

 

Sting
also has a long tradition of hosting special events for members of his
official fan club. In addition to these 10 performances, 100 Sting.com
Fan Club members
will receive free tickets, selected via lottery, to attend a very
special concert in celebration of Sting’s birthday on Wednesday, October 2 at The Public Theater. For details, please visit www.sting.com.

 

American Express ® Cardmembers can purchase advance tickets beginning on Wednesday, July 10 at 6 p.m. EST through Sunday, July 14 at 10 p.m. EST at
http://www.publictheater.org/content/view/296
or 212-967-7555.

 

An exclusive pre-sale for Sting.com Fan Club members will begin Saturday, July 13 at 12noon EST and conclude Sunday, July 14 at 8:00 p.m. EST. Sting.com Fan Club
members must purchase tickets by phone at 212-967-7555.

 

Tickets will go on sale to the general public beginning Sunday, July 14 at 10:01 p.m. EST at
http://www.publictheater.org/content/view/296 and beginning Monday, July 15 at 12noon
EST by phone or at the box office.

 

Benefit
ticket prices range from $250-$2,500, with tickets at the top tier to
include VIP seating and a pre-show meet & greet with Sting. Tickets
are tax deductible
for US residents. All performances begin at 8:00 p.m.

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WE THREE LIZA’S at Joes Pub July 15th

Escape the New York summer heat with “Christmas in July” at Joe’s Pub at The Public where Chicago’s About Face Theatre in association with John Sanders presents a concert version of WE THREE LIZAS, the new hit holiday musical that wowed Chicago audiences this past winter.  WE THREE LIZAS plays Joe’s Pub (425 Lafayette St., New York) one night only on Monday, July 15 at 7 pm.  


Tickets, priced at $20, are available at www.joespub.com and 212-967-7555.

 

Created by Scott Bradley (book/lyrics) and Alan Schmuckler (music/additional lyrics), WE THREE LIZAS is
a magical musical fairy tale set in the queerest of lands in which an
embittered designer’s mid-life crisis leads to divine intervention by
Liza Minnelli. And Liza Minnelli. And Liza Minnelli.

 

The Joe’s Pub concert is staged by director/choreographer Devanand Janki (Zanna, Don’t!), featuring an expanded score and brand new book. The concert cast includes David Beach (UrinetownMamma Mia), Veronica Reyes-How (Rent), Gabrielle Ruiz (In the Heights), Michael Rosen (West Side Story, Nikolai and the Others) and Danielle Plisz (We Three Lizas original cast). Additional casting to be announced.

 

Garnering sold-out houses and critical acclaim, About Face Theatre’s world premiere production of WE THREE LIZAS premiered in December 2012 at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Garage.

 

BEST GAY CHICAGO.com said, “BRILLIANT. This is a Must see show!” 


Time Out Chicago said “We loved this holiday tale,” naming We Three Lizas the #1 Critic’s Pick in both its Theatre and Gay & Lesbian sections, calling the show “undeniably original and joyously queer.”  


Chicago Reader’s Culture Vulture called it “the holiday musical comedy of my dreams” and NewCity hailed its score as “a buoyant gift wrapped in a melodic, dramatically well-conceived bow.”  


*PHOTO-Danielle Plisz in a publicity image for About Face Theatre’s world premiere production of WE THREE LIZAS at The Steppenwolf Garage in ChicagoPhoto by Cheryl Mann.

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My Big Gay Camp Talent Show June 24th

A
One-Night-Only Cabaret

Hosted
by Philip Mutz, Ken Urso, and Christian Mansfield

Directed
by Phillip Fazio

 

YouTube
sensation Tyler Marcum will be performing his original interpretive dance
“20/30” to the Dixie Chicks song “Landslide” as part of a one-night-only
cabaret titled My Big Gay ‘Gay Camp’ Talent Show, playing at the Laurie
Beechman Theatre in NYC on Monday, June 24 at 7pm.

Since posting
the mash-up video of his current day 30 year old self dancing in unison with a
video of his 20 year old self, Marcum has raked up almost half a million views
on YouTube. This will be the first time he performs the dance live.

Marcum’s
touching viral dance video can be seen at
http://youtu.be/u2ICgup4GDY.

Marcum’s performance
during New York’s Gay Pride Week will feature him dancing live to his original
choreography in front of video of the same performance from age 20.

 

Kicking off
2013 Gay Pride Week, this cabaret night will feature 10 of New York’s finest
singers, dancers, improvisers, and stand-up comedians all vying for the
audience chosen ‘Best in Camp’ Award.

Joining Marcum
onstage will be Broadway’s Nadia Quinn (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson), singer/actress
Mariand Torres (Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812; Elphaba
Stand By on the First National Tour of Wicked), stand-up comedian Marc
Maietta (Laugh Attack Comedy Festival) and dancer Lawrence Neuhauser
(National Tour of Movin’ Out).

Following the
sold-out run of the new play Gay Camp as part of the 2012 New York
International Fringe Festival and Fringe Encore Series, comedic actors
Christian Mansfield (Broadway Bares; National Tour of 42nd
Street
), Ken Urso, and Philip Mutz (also co-author of Gay Camp) will
reprise their Gay Camp roles as hosts of the cabaret evening.  My
Big Gay ‘Gay Camp’ Talent Show
is directed by Arizona-native Phillip Fazio
(Gay Camp; Arizona premiere of Grey Gardens and August: Osage
County
).

It’s gay;
it’s camp; it’s My Big Gay ‘Gay Camp’ Talent Show!

My Big Gay
‘Gay Camp’ Talent Show

will perform on Monday June 24th at 7pm at The Laurie Beechman
Theatre, downstairs at 407 West 42nd Street, NYC.

 

My Big Gay
‘Gay Camp’ Talent Show

runs 60 minutes with no intermission.

Doors open at
6:15pm.  Show starts at 7pm.

 

Reservations
can be made by calling (212) 695-6909.

Tickets are
$15 (plus a $15 food/drink minimum).

 

For more
information on My Big Gay ‘Gay Camp’ Talent Show,

visit our website at www.gaycamptheplay.com

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Queer Songwriters Night June 28th

We are putting on another Queer Songwriter’s night at the Sidewalk Cafe. 



What:

This ain’t no disco. And these queer singer/songwriters certainly aren’t fooling around. 
Unhinged is a periodic music showcase that features a
rotating lineup of NYC’s hottest, underground queer singer/songwriters.
The series allows the queer artists to showcase their unique voices and
sounds in an intimate, acoustic setting. 
The event is produced by queer singer/songwriter James Wilson of The Paisley Fields. 
Who (Performers):

Brett Gleason, Chris Blacker, David Clement, Aaron Pfeiffer 



When:

Friday June 28th, 6:30pm 



Where:

The Sidewalk Cafe, 94 Avenue A, New York, NY



Cost:

$5 suggested donation
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After Sandy-A Night of A Thousand Midlers at LIPS May 15th

A NIGHT OF BETTE!  

Lips Restaurant, “The Ultimate in Drag Dining,” is proud to announce that on Wednesday, May 15th,
it will host a tribute
showcase for the legendary Bette Midler to benefit her charity, the New
York Restoration Project (NYRP), a non-profit organization, founded by
Midler, dedicated to restoring parks, gardens and open space in
underserved communities throughout New York City. 
A portion of the funds raised from the evening will be used towards the
NYRP’s “MillionTreesNYC” initiative which aims to plant and care for
one million new trees in NYC by 2017. Particularly after so many of the
city’s trees were destroyed in the wake of
Hurricane Sandy, this is a particularly meaningful cause that Lips
Restaurant is proud to be a part of.  


Guests
in attendance will receive the full star treatment as they walk the red
carpet upon arrival where they will be greeted by Joan Rivers look
alike, Jessie Volt, as she conducts
interviews and poses for paparazzi souvenir photos. Once inside, the
cocktail hour will feature cocktails by Absolut, Vueve Cliquot Champagne
and hors d’oeuvres provided by J Kings Foodservice. A silent auction
will be on site with items graciously donated
by Bette Midler including her 2012 Hulaween Costume, signed albums,
CD’s and memorabilia, a Florida vacation, Beauty Salon Experiences,
Restaurant gift certificates, Hulaween and Garden Party Event Tickets,
and more.


Following
the cocktail hour, a three-course dinner will be served by the
legendary “drag” waitresses of Lips, culminating with a fabulous NYRP
tree cake created by TLC’s Cake Boss, Buddy
Valastro for dessert. The evening’s highlight, a “Night of a Thousand
Midler’s” tribute revue dedicated to the Divine Miss M, will be hosted
by drag sensation, Ginger Snapt and feature the world’s foremost Bette
Midler tribute artist, Donna Maxon, along with
the Ladies of Lips.

Tickets for the charitable evening are available online at www.1000Midlers.com,
by phone at 212-675-7710, or by mail at: LIPS RESTAURANT, 227 East 56th Street, NYC, NY 10022.

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New Yorks Elaine Stritch Farewell Concert at Cafe Carlyle in April

WOW! Four-time Tony nominee and Broadway.com Audience Choice Award winner Grand Dame, Elaine Stritch has announced that she will play her final engagement at Cafe Carlyle this April. 

Her farewell show, titled Elaine Stritch at the Carlyle: Movin’ Over and Out,
will play the intimate club April 2 through 6. 
The 88-year-old legendary New York performer is leaving her home in NYC and relocating to a condo in
Michigan, her native state.

Fans nervous that this departure means retirement for Stritch need not worry! The incomparable star told The New York Times,
What actor would ever say they’re done? I loved being on Broadway, but
performing has become exhausting, and I just don’t want to live in New
York anymore… I just don’t have the energy, darling. I’m 88! I don’t
look or always feel it, but I’m 88!
See more  at  Broadway.com
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Broadway stars Nick Adams, Ashley Brown, Jessica Rush and Michael James Scott at XL March 11

Broadway stars Nick Adams, Ashley Brown, Jessica Rush and Michael James Scott will appear in a special one night only benefit production of Jason Robert Brown’s SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD on Monday, March 11 at 7PM at XL Cabaret (512 West 42nd St).  Directed by two-time Tony nominee Jeff Calhoun, a portion of the proceeds from the evening will be donated to The Performing Arts Project. Nick Adams says, “To be able to give back to the next generation of artists is something I’m grateful to be a part of.”

Jason Robert Brown’s SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD is a
series of songs, connected by the theme “the moment of decision.” The
show employs four performers who do not play the same characters
throughout the show, but have consistently developing character arcs.
Composer Jason Robert Brown has said of his show, “It’s
about one moment. It’s about hitting the wall and having to make a
choice, or take a stand, or turn around and go back.”

Space is limited as its an intimate venue!  GET  TICKETS  NOW!
 

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Alan Cumming and Liza Minnelli at Town Hall March 13th

Last year, party promoter Daniel Nardicio had the opportunity to bring together two of my favortite performers for one night, a night the New York Times called “the biggest cultural event of the Fire Island season”
and Michael Kors called “a seminal Fire Island moment” 

Well, those two performers are onstage in NYC for one night only
Under the musical direction of Emmy winner Lance Horne
Yes Alan Cumming and Liza Minnelli are on stage at NYC’s histroric Town Hall March 13th and you, my dear  readers, as a can get on Daniels list, get an opportunity to get advance tickets now before they go on sale to the general public Wednesday. 
You may notice the Loge seats are not available on Ticketmaster- that’s
because those tickets allow you to get into the private afterparty and
you can order those tickets HERE starting Wednesday.
This event also celebrates Ms Minnelli’s 67 Birthday, which is March 12th. 
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Jackie Beat is Back in New York City for a Holiday Show

NYC’s favorite Grinch returns to serve up her 15th annual holiday show. 

December 12 – 16 at 
The Laurie Beechman Theater 
JACKIE BEAT, everyone’s favorite Grinch, returns to NYC
for her 15th annual holiday show. Beginning December 12th, the
self-professed bastard child of “Weird” Al Yankovic and Bette Midler
will premiere JACKIE BEAT: COME, THEY TOLD ME
at The Laurie Beechman Theater (inside West Bank Cafe at 407 West 42nd
Street — at Ninth Avenue, accessible from the A,C,E,N,R,V,F,1,2,3
trains at 42nd Street). This limited engagement runs for 6 performances
only: Wednesday, Dec. 12 – Sunday, Dec. 16 at 7:30pm, except for Friday,
Dec. 14, which is at 10pm. Tickets are $22 plus a $15 food/drink
minimum. To purchase tickets call 212-352-3101 or visit www.SpinCycleNYC.com. Note: advance purchase highly recommended; Beat has sold out every holiday show in the last 11 years.

JACKIE BEAT: COME, THEY TOLD ME
continues Jackie Beat’s mission to poison every sacred belief and
holiday tradition. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa or
Ramadan, an evening with Jackie Beat is always the perfect antidote to
holiday cheer. This comic celebration is a virtual stocking stuffed with
hilarious new seasonal material and some classic Christmas Jackie
including the right-wing pregnancy confessional “Santa’s Baby,” a
menorah-loving “Jew Christmas,” a booze-infused spin on “Happy Holidays”
called “Alcoholidaze,” and the self-explanatory “It’s Beginning To Look
A Lot Like Syphilis.” 

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Sherry Vine and Joey Arias Reunion at New Yorks XL Nightlclub


Joey Arias & Sherry Vine: 

Looking Back at the Future 
November 20th-24th
 Joey and Sherry’s first full length event together in NYC in over 10 years!
 Doors at 7PM, 8PM Showtime
XL CABARET/NIGHTCLUB
512 West 42nd Street
International drag darlings, Joey Arias (star of Zumanity and Arias With
A Twist) and Sherry Vine (star of Here TV’s She’s Living For This),
will be performing their all live cabaret extravaganza at XL on November
20-21 & 23-24 at 8pm. Although they have toured the world with
their sold out, scandalous shows, Joey and Sherry have not presented a
full length event together in NYC in over 10 years!! 
The creators of
StarLust, SINsation, and Cherchez La Femme will now be turning it out in
Looking Back At The Future – a sexy, over-the-top spectacle featuring
new original material as well as Broadway, Rock, Joey’s infamous Billie
Holiday, Sherry’s trashy parodies, dancers, videos by Francis Legge and
many surprises! These sisters in crime have dazzled crowds in
Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain, Finland, Austria, Switzerland, Canada,
all over the USA and even Estonia! 
You will not see this anywhere else
in NYC!    
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AVANTGARDE the Musical on CD this Month!

The Classic Broadway HIT Musical “AVANTGARDE”
Soundtrack… will finally be released via Famous
Records/EMG/UMG INC.

New York singer/songwriter Ernest Kohl explains, “When I was 16  I starred in a Broadway musical that had a huge wonderful
successful opening  and  was eventually moved uptown to B-way & was selling
out every night to great reviews. It was  AVANTGARDE.

Well, Actors Equity unfortunately went
in to new rules  and  4 big musicals closed.  Ours was one of them- the Original Cast Recording was
never released and because of that, it put a lot of actors out of work.

It is very sad, that over the years  ALL of the guys in the original cast,  outside of me,  have passed away from
AIDS.

All the woman are still living and  many have great
careers & TONY’s now!

 I promised my best
friends on their deathbeds,  I would get this Cast Album out- Somehow, some day. And over the years, this has been my goal.


Finally on December  31st – The Original Cast Album of “AVANTGARDE” will be released!  I am so excited. It has  
been fully restored & remastered & with a special bonus  track
added (it did not fit on vinyl back then).

 Now it will
finally be out on CD & on Digial Download for the world to experience it’s
magic.
I succeeded in  my mission.

 There is even talk of a revival if the
album does well…it would have to be re-done & up-dated. But that’s why
this legendary Cast album (that’s now has huge cult appeal ) must come
out & we had so many requests for it.

 It is exciting that the original Cast Musical
“AVANTGARDE” will be released & the beautiful voices of our lost men
to Aids will finally be heard by the world and I was able to keep my promise to
them! We are dedicating it in memorial trubite to the guys lost.” 

Pre-order NOW –  Under $10   @  AMAZON! Avantgarde – The Musical

THIS ALBUM IS RELEASED IN MEMORY OF: CHRIS SEPPE,
CHARLES CARTER, DARYL CARPENTER, STEVEN LEWIS & JEFFREY
L. ROBBINS.

* AVANTGARDE WILL FEATURE “SPECIAL” HOT NEW REMIXES
BY “THE NEW YORK REMIXERS” Which currently have the
#1 Comp. on the World Chart  “THE LEGENDS OF DANCE”


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Craig Pomranz Talks the New York Cabaret Scene with Channel13

CRAIG POMRANZ was recently asked to write an OP-ED piece on Cabaret, for Metro Focus / Channel 13. …

The word “cabaret” conjures up images ranging from smoke-filled rooms
(remember smoke?) to lap dances. We may have lost the smoke, but
cabaret is back in a big way in New York.

In a world where music is everywhere, on your iPod, cell phone and in
TV shows like “American Idol” and “Glee,” the unsung venues are the
cabaret rooms. These rooms include long-standing uptown music rooms
like Café Carlyle and the Algonquin Hotel’s Oak Room and less highfalutin venues like the Metropolitan Room on West 22nd Street, which offers a roster of both famous names and newcomers, as well as Don’t Tell Mama on West 46th Street and the Laurie Beechman Theater on West 42nd Street.

The artists who play at Joe’s Pub and the City Winery
meet the growing demand for live music in a more intimate space.
Burlesque seems to have been adopted by the 20-something set with rooms
like The Triad and Duane Park Café
(great food by one of my favorite chefs, Richard Overholt). A number of
other venues in the East Village/Lower East Side and Brooklyn,
including The Box and Galapagos (respectively) offer a diverse calendar of acts.

In these rooms performers strive for the chance to communicate with
an audience. Nothing’s needed except the singer, the song, a musician or
two, and the give and take of the audience. It’s the rare opportunity
to express yourself with lyrics that mean something and music that
shapes those lyrics indelibly. You can explore a vast treasury of great
songs and can take a familiar pop song and give it new life and meaning.
It is the job of a singer to convey the story behind the music. I can’t
tell you how many times someone has come up after a show to say they
had never really heard the lyrics to a pop song until I had sung it. 

As I took to the stage there was a dubious silence, but once I began singing, I started hearing, ‘you tell ‘em, baby.’

Part of the fun of cabaret is how audiences differ so much depending on the location and venue.

I was the first white male to sing at Sweetwater’s, an R&B club
in New York. It was fun because I got to work with the house band who
had toured with Aretha Franklin. As I took to the stage there was a
dubious silence, but once I began singing, I started hearing, “you tell
‘em, baby,” and “sing it child!” It took me a minute to get used to this
participatory crowd, where you would sing and they would answer you
right back — but I loved it!

In London, the audiences seem like very serious students, silent
throughout the song and until the pianist has played his very last note
and then politely applauding;  afterwards they tell you how moved they
were. In Los Angeles, they sigh audibly and want to stay after the show
to discuss in detail every song you chose and where you found it. In New
York, they heckle (good-naturedly!) and, if they like it, applaud
enthusiastically even before the song is over. It’s all wonderful. And
you never know who you’re going to meet…

Early on, I had gotten a lot of attention from some record labels,
and I was working at a club called Mickey’s with famed singers Karen Akers and Cissy Houston.
Bob Feiden of Arista Records asked me to stay for Cissy’s show to get
my take on her daughter, whom Cissy was introducing in the act. Into the
spotlight stepped this pretty teenager with minimal makeup wearing a
sheath dress. Barely moving, she sang a very pure version of Barry
Manilow’s “All the Time.” Her beauty and simplicity were amazing. It
was, of course, Whitney Houston.

Craig Pomranz in the recording studio.

Photo courtesy of Craig Pomranz.


So many people think they can sing, and do, that it’s important that
the world of cabaret offers them a venue, especially in New York.

You
don’t have to have a beautiful voice.  Some of the greats had little
range but were all soul. Frank Sinatra says he learned it all from Mabel Mercer, who often talked her way through a song. Insiders hail Fred Astaire
as a great singer, and some of the finest songs were written for him
(“The Way You Look Tonight” for example). He had a small voice but
exquisite rhythm, timing and a reserved emotional quality that could be
heartbreaking.

What prepares you to be a singer? Life!

What art form is more
immediate, able to change from night to night according to musical
fashion or even the headlines? In a world full of noise and clatter,
people yearn for the kind of intimacy a small music room provides. Like
all live performance, you never know what you’re going to get…But it’s
oh so worth the visit. So go out and support live music, be it a
cabaret, a piano bar or any other venue. Let yourself be transported,
and have a cocktail while you’re at it. Cabaret is a key part of New
York’s culture.


Craig Pomranz
is an actor, singer, dancer, recording artist and song stylist who
sings internationally. His new show in New York is “Love and the Clock”
at The Metropolitan Room.

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