Cabaret Convention Final Night

Steve Ross – KT Sullivan

By Linda Amiel Burns

“Cabaret Classics” was the theme of the last night of the Mabel Mercer Foundation Cabaret Convention with many of Cabaret’s Stars performing live from the stage of the Birdland Theater.

Wrapping up the fourth and last night of the 1st Virtual Cabaret Convention, a sampling of some of the veterans and staples of the Cabaret Community were featured and sponsored by Broadway World. The first 3 nights were free of charge and pre-taped, but this was live from the stage of The Birdland Theater with a reasonable donation to get online. The show was called “Cabaret Classics” starring many of cabaret’s favorite performers.

Jim Caruso
KT Sullivan

KT Sullivan, the Artistic Director of the Mabel Mercer Foundation, served as the evening’s host and, when the show opened, we found her in the dressing room with Jim Caruso of Cast Party fame, schmoozing and reminiscing about the early days of the Cabaret Convention.

Karen Mason

Up first was Karen Mason who, aside from being a great singer, has many Broadway Credits including Sunset Boulevard and Mamma Mia. With Chris Denny at the piano and Steve Doyle on bass, Karen sang a jazzy rendition of “Just In Time.”

Billy Stritch

The versatile pianist/singer/arranger Billy Stritch played and sang a wonderful medley of two iconic songs, “That Old Feeling” with “I Thought About You.” During the pandemic, he has been hosting a popular weekly show on Facebook called “Billy’s Place.”

Karen Akers

Karen Akers has had a long and fruitful career as a cabaret singer, appearing on film and Broadway in such shows as Nine and Grand Hotel. With her longtime Musical Director Alex Rybeck on piano, she made two interesting song choices that reflected these challenging times: Sondheim’s “Live Alone and Like It” saying that she has become a hermit” and Mercer/Mancini’s “Whistling Away The Dark.”  

Jeff Harnar

The ever youthful cabaret star and multi MAC Award winner, Jeff Harnar mentioned that he was in the first Cabaret Convention in 1989 and sang this same song 31 years ago on the stage of The Town Hall. Accompanied by Alex Rybeck on piano, he performed the meaningful and driving “There Is A Time” written by Charles Aznavour. Jeff is a consummate professional and always gives a fabulous performance.

Christine Andreas

Another singer who gets better each year, if that is even possible, is Christine Andreas a cabaret favorite who starred on Broadway in The Scarlett Pimpernel. With her husband, Marty Silvestri accompanying her on piano, she performed a brilliant medley of “What a Wonderful World” paired with “If I Ruled The World.”

Barbara Fasano – Eric Comstock

Eric Comstock & Barbara Fasano are both incredible artists in their own right, but they married 15 years ago and it is a treat when they perform together as a team. Good choice singing songs that pay tribute to New York City. With Eric on piano, they sang “I Cannot Hear The City” from Carnelia/Hamlisch’s Sweet Smell of Success. Their second song was a brilliant arrangement of “Broadway” with “Crazy Rhythm” and a few others thrown in.

Natalie Douglas

Natalie Douglas has been called “a true force of nature” by Clive Davis of the NY Times. She has an incredible voice and is always an exciting performer. With Brian Nash on piano, she performed an emotional love medley of “How Can I Tell Him I Love Him?” with “As Long As He Needs Me.”

Steve Ross

Piano virtuoso/Singer Steve Ross, known as the “Prince of Cabaret,” has played venues all over the world and his repertoire of songs seems to be endless. He performed the meaningful “Come’s Once in a Lifetime” pairing it with “Shine on Your Shoes.” As a surprise, he was awarded a $5,000 check from Adela and Larry Elow for his years of excellence.

Last year, Steve and KT performed a Noel Coward show off-Broadway, Love Noel, so together they closed the show with the lovely goodbye song, “I’ll See You Again.” The bittersweet lyrics reflect these times, “This sweet memory throughout my life will come to me” wishing that next year, this pandemic will be just memory and we hope to be able to meet in person with an audience applauding! www.MabelMercer.org

Photos: Maryann Lopinto

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