33rd Annual MAC Awards Honors Karen Mason, Joe Iconis, Ben Cameron, Theresa Fischer

 

Karen Mason – Lifetime Achievement Award

Joe Iconis – Board of Directors Award

Ben Cameron – Ruth Kurtzman Benefit Series Award

 

 

by Linda Amiel Burns

 

The New York Cabaret community filled their new glitzy venue Sony Hall for a festive evening on March 26, celebrating the best of cabaret and song in over 26 categories from vocalists to impersonations to piano bar entertainers to songs.  Having been on the MAC Board for over 16 years, I know that it certainly takes a village to put on and coordinate a major evening such as this.  Many kudos to Producer Julie Miller, Director Lennie Watts, Stage Manager Amy Wolk and the rest of the Production Team for this herculean effort. Bobby Peaco served as Musical Director and pianist for the MAC Awards Band with Matt Scharfglass on bass (who won in the category of Ensemble Instrumentalist) and Don Kelly on Drum (who was a nominee).

 

Sam Bolen, Max Friedman

Doris Dear

Bobbie Horowitz

Sheree Sano

Theresa Fischer – Hanson Award

Tommy J. Dose, Tara Martinez

 

The show opened with Sam Bolen performing “I Prefer Sunshine” from the musical Midnight at the Never Get, a show that began at Don’t Tell Mama and transferred for a run at The York Theater. The whole team,  including Mark Sonnnenblick who wrote the music, lyrics and book, was honored with a MAC Board of Directors Award.  Cabaret favorite Karen Mason, who has appeared on Broadway in Sunset Boulevard, was deeply touched with her Lifetime Achievement Award and sang a fun version of “Karen’s Back in Town” (with special parody lyrics by Barry Kleinbort). Also honored was composer, performer Joe Iconis, introduced by Sidney Myer, who recently had his dream come true with his show Be More Chill recently opened on Broadway.  His acceptance speech for the Board of Director’s Award was sincere with his special touch of humor.  Joe sang and played one of his high-powered numbers and also wrote “The Goodbye Song” for the In Memoriam section of the show.

The Ruth Kurtzman Benefit Series Award was given to Ben Cameron who created and hosts Broadway Sessions at the Beechman Theatre that recently celebrated 10 years of weekly shows that support Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids.  The Hanson Award is given to a performer who has done great work but never been nominated or properly recognized, and this year went to the very deserving Theresa Fischer. Accompanied by her music director, Paul Chamlin, Theresa sang a touching “Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair.”

Like the Oscars this year, there was no host and it helped the show to move along quickly.  There were many prestigious presenters who kept their intros short and the acceptance speeches of the winners were moving, and appropriate and some entertained like Female Vocalist Josephine Sanges who sang a lovely  “That Old Black Magic” and Female Debut winner, Sierra Rein, with the upbeat “Come-on-a-my House.”

 

Josephine Sanges

Ricky Ritzel

Anita Gillette with KT Sullivan

Sidney Myer

Natalie Douglas

Marissa Mulder

Jeff Harnar

 

I was pleased to see that Ricky Ritzel won again for his delightful Broadway Series at Don’t Tell Mama in the Recurring Series category and was particularly proud of Evelyn Sullivan and Jason Ellis (both graduates of The Singing Experience) who won in the Duo/Group Category at 53 Above. 

However, certainly the most popular winner of the evening was Sidney Myer who won in the Major Artist -Male category and is so beloved in the community, always wowing the audience with his unique song interpretations. He sang Francesca Blumenthals’s funny and clever “Between Men” and accepted the award with his usual grace and style.  The perfect closer was winner Natalie Douglas who won for Major Artist -Female and ended with the perfect song for all the dreamers out there. The song “If I Can Dream” was delivered with intensity and Natalie’s gorgeous voice filled the immense Hall.  This song was written by Walter Earl Brown and recorded by Elvis Presley for his 1968 comeback special. 

Julie Miller, Lennie Watts

Linda Amiel Burns, Barry Kleinbort, Anita Gillette, Natalie Douglas   (Photo:Rose Billings)

Sidney Myer, Linda Amiel Burns (Photo: Rose Billings)

 

 The best part of the evening was the gathering of so many incredible people – musicians, singers, performers, lighting and sound engineers, composers, writers, etc – who make up the cabaret community and seeing the camaraderie, friendships, support and admiration that this special group of talented people from many disciplines have for each other.

Photos: Maryann Lopinto

Visit: www. MACNYC.com for more informantion.

The complete list of the Winners in each category is listed below.

FEMALE VOCALIST

JOSEPHINE SANGES

MALE VOCALIST

JEFF MACAULEY

MAJOR ARTIST – FEMALE

NATALIE DOUGLAS

MAJOR ARTIST – MALE

SIDNEY MYER

NEW YORK DEBUT – FEMALE

SIERRA REIN

NEW YORK DEBUT – MALE

TIM CAHILL

CELEBRITY ARTIST

ANITA GILLETTE

IMPERSONATION/CHARACTERIZATION/DRAG ARTIST

DORIS DEAR

MAJOR IMPERSONATION/CHARACTERIZATION/DRAG ARTIST

BenDeLaCreme

MUSICAL COMEDY PERFORMER

IRA LEE COLLINGS

DUO/GROUP

EVELYN SULLIVAN & JASON ELLIS

MAJOR DUO/GROUP

MARCUS SIMEONE, LINA KOUTRAKOS, SEAN HARKNESS

RECURRING SERIES

RICKY RITZEL’S BROADWAY

SPECIAL PRODUCTION

MAMA’S NEXT BIG ACT!

EMCEE

BOBBIE HOROWITZ

DIRECTOR

JEFF HARNAR

MUSICAL DIRECTOR

TRACY STARK

TECHNICAL DIRECTOR

JEAN-PIERRE PERREAUX

ENSEMBLE INSTRUMENTALIST

MATT SCHARFGLASS, bass

PIANO BAR/RESTAURANT INSTRUMENTALIST

RICK JENSEN

PIANO BAR/RESTAURANT SINGING ENTERTAINER – MALE

TOMMY J. DOSE

PIANO BAR/RESTAURANT SINGING ENTERTAINER – FEMALE

TARA MARTINEZ

RECORDING (LaMott Friedman Award)

SHEREE SANO, Live Acts

MAJOR RECORDING

MARISSA MULDER, Two Tickets Left

SONG

“BEST AS I CAN”
Music by Alex Rybeck, lyrics by Bob Levy

COMEDY/NOVELTY SONG

 “WTF, DISNEY”
Music and lyrics by Brett Kristofferson

 

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