The Mabel Mercer Foundation opened the 27th Cabaret Convention at Rose Hall for four nights to showcase over 100 performers and musicians of many genres
by Linda Amiel Burns
The Mabel Mercer Foundation, started by the late Donald Smith, has presented the Cabaret Convention each fall for the past 26 years to give singers and musicians from clubs, Broadway, and jazz the chance to be seen and discovered. KT Sullivan has taken over the role of artistic director to continue the tradition and hosted the opening night on Oct. 18, 2016. The festivities will continue for four nights featuring over 100 performers and musicians and end on Friday, Oct. 21 at Rose Hall.
KT Sullivan opened the evening with Cole Porter’s “You’re The Top” and introduced the various acts, each performing one or two songs. The Donald Smith Award was presented to Natalie Douglas who sang a heartfelt “Can’t Help Loving That Man.” Maureen McGovern was given the Mabel Mercer Award for her contribution to the world of music. Her beautiful voice was pitch perfect in a sweet a capella rendition of “Over The Rainbow.”
In an evening of great variety and many highlights, the standouts were the very talented Christina Bianco singing “Cabaret” in many different voices from Patti LuPone to Julie Andrews. T. Oliver Reid was rushing to get to an off-Broadway performance but he wowed the audience with “Throwing A Ball Tonight.” Another performer who had to get to a 7:00pm curtain of Cagney was the terrific star of the show, Robert Creighton performing a George M. Cohan medley. A crowd favorite was English singer pianist Stefan Bednarczyk who sang Noel Coward’s biting, “Don’t Put Your Daughter on the Stage, Mrs. Worthington” and Susan Winter’s terrific “Before The Parade Passes By.” A young Kelly McDonald sang a lovely rendition of the Heisler & Goldrich, “Taylor, The Latte Boy.” Carole J. Bufford tore the house down singing the blues classic, “St. James Infirmary” and Vivian Reed did the same, singing a number with six male dancers and then the inspirational “Believe In Yourself.”
All shows begin at 6:00PM. On Wednesday, Oct. 19 in a “Salute to Sondheim” hosted by Andrea Marcovicci and Jeff Harnar. Thursday Oct. 20 – “Salute to Sylvia Syms” hosted by Rex Reed. Friday, Oct. 21 – “Salute to Sheldon Harnick and Charles Strouse” – hosted by Klea Blackhurst.
For more info and tickets: www.MabelMercerFoundation.org.
Photos: Maryann Lopinto
Full cast for opening night: Matt Baker, Stefan Bednarczyk, Christina Bianco, Josephine Bianco, Carole J. Bufford, Robert Creighton, Natalie Douglas, Barbara Fasano, Eric Yves Garcia, Kristoffer Lower, Kelly McDonald, Maureen McGovern, Karen Oberlin, Vivan Reed, T. Oliver Reid, Kim David Smith, Jacob Storms, Stacy Sullivan, Susan Winter.