The Mabel Mercer Foundation presents the first virtual Cabaret Convention Oct 19-22 -“NY Cabaret: Yesterday and Today”
By Linda Amiel Burns
Donald Smith presented the first Cabaret Convention in 1989 at The Town Hall, and since his death Artistic Director KT Sullivan has kept this showcase of performers going. However, in the “show must go on” tradition, due to the pandemic this year, the shows are virtual. The first three are free and there is a charge for the last night.
The first evening was entitled, “NY Cabaret: Yesterday and Today” and featured many performers who didn’t sing but shared their memories of being there at the beginning, such as Andrea Marcovicci, Karen Akers, Jeff Harnar, Karen Mason, Steve Ross and Klea Blackhurst. Ann Hampton Callaway opened the show from her home in Tucson with an original song about the attributes of cabaret. The talented Eric Yves Garcia at the piano sang a medley of “It’s Been a Long, Long Time” with “Top Hat.” Natalie Douglas accompanied by Brian Nash sang a great jazzy version of Abby Lincoln’s “Throw it Away.” From the stage at Don’t Tell Mama, Mr. Cabaret Sidney Myer sang a bang-up rendition of “I Am Your Man” with Tracy Stark on piano and Matt Scharfglass on bass. Daryl Sherman shared her reminisces of past Cabaret Conventions and performed Gershwin’s “For You, For Me, Forever More.” David LaMarr with Jon Weber on piano, sang a terrific medley of “Tomorrow” with “Here Comes The Sun.” The lovely Marissa Mulder sang “All The Way” remembering receiving the Julie Wilson Award at her first Convention and talked about how wonderful Julie made her feel. One of the highlights of the evening was Shana Farr’s emotional a capella version of “The Impossible Dream” that gave ta new interpretation to the song when her son told her that he wished this virus had been a dream.
Aisha De Haas knocked it out of the park with her rousing “Miss Celie’s Blues” as did Karen Oberlin with Tedd Firth on Piano singing a creative medley of “I Remember” with “My Shining Hour.” Sandy Stewart presented the Mabel Mercer Award to the renowned and versatile opera star Stephanie Blythe who accompanied herself on the uke singing a fun “If I Could Be With You.”
Cabaret includes songs from Broadway and the beautiful Amra-Faye Wright who has been starring in Chicago for the past 11 years and participated in 9 conventions, sang a stirring “I Don’t Want To Know” with Mark Hummel on piano. Recorded at Pangea, the one and only Mark Nadler performed “Bruce” written by the one and only John Wallowitch. As usual, Mark brought his own charm to this hysterical song. Larry Woodard, who earlier sang a stirring “How Do You Say Auf Wiedersehen?,” closed with KT Sullivan singing a duet of Irving Berlin’s “Always” and it is hoped that cabaret will go on, “not for just a day, not for just a year, but always!”.
Photos: Maryann Lopinto
Tuesday, Oct. 20 – The Future of Cabaret: Winners of the Elow Songbook High School Competition
Wed, Oct. 21 – A World of Cabaret
Thurs, Oct. 22 – Cabaret Classics