by Joe Regan Jr.
June 23, 2015 – Bobbie Horowitz has a recurring series at the Metropolitan Room entitled “It’s Just a Number” honoring people over the age of 50 who have re-started a career or began a new career in the latter half century of their lives. The honoree on June 23 was Peggy Eason, a woman blind since birth, who has started a new career as a teacher, vocal coach, and extraordinary singer. Eason was a highlight of last year’s Mabel Mercer Cabaret Convention.
Despite thunder and heavy rain outside, the Metropolitan Room was packed with performers and cabaret fans who came to honor Eason. When Horowitz got on stage to introduce the first guest, her iPhone rang: it was Bryon Sommers who was scheduled to perform but had been caught in traffic on 72nd Street. Thinking quickly, Horowitz placed the phone against the mic and Sommers did a long distance tribute to Eason for all of us to hear. It was thrilling and full of love.
Bill Zeffiro, the multi-award winning pianist and songwriter, accompanied the performers. First up was beautiful Natasha Castillo who, as did each performer, spoke about what a wonderful inspiration Eason was to her; she expressed her feelings in a touching version of “That’s What Friends Are For.” She was followed by Jim Speake who has also started a new career at an advanced age, having coming to New York from the South. His selection was “You Are The Sunshine of My Life” mixed with “You Are My Sunshine.” Stunning!
The wacky comedian Ivan Farkas did a wild, Russian-accented monologue about Eason and his feelings towards her, singing “Colors of My Life.”
The amazing Sue Matsuki did a speech about her biker father and how she was a “biker chick” when she was younger. Because Eason calls herself the “dark chocolate diva,” Matsuki referred to herself as the “white chocolate diva” and did her own song (with special new lyrics), “Too White To Sing the Blues” combining laughter and genuine admiration.
Mark McComb, the crazy bartender/waiter at the Metropolitan Room, did a comic monologue dedicated to Eason, then sang “Have a Nice Day,” a song he wrote with Steven Ray Watkins.
Richard Skipper got up and helped Eason onto the stage with him, and they sang a touching and funny duet. She was visibly moved.
Horowitz finished off the evening singing her own, wild “Never A Freshman Again” and saluted everyone who was there, in love and honor of the great Peggy Eason!
Next month’s “It’s Only A Number” will honor Phyllis Weiss Haseret, a woman who coaches corporations on intergenerational communications, on July 22. Check the Metropolitan Room website www.metropolitanroom.com for further information.