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Cabaret

Meet The Former and Present Residents of Manhattan Plaza: KT Sullivan

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KT Sullivan is an singer and actress known for her performances in cabaret and musical theatre. She performed in the Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel for over a decade. She now performs at venues such as the Laurie Beechman Theater, The Beach Cafe, the Pierre Hotel. She often performs with Mark Nadler, Steve Ross and Jeff Harner.

On Broadway, Sullivan appeared as Suky Tawdry in the 1989 revival of The Threepenny Opera and as Lorelei Lee in the 1995 revival of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She toured in Annie Get Your Gun with Cathy Rigby and also performed in Sugar and Born Yesterday.

With Mark Nadler and Ruth Leon they wrote American Rhapsody: A New Musical Revue, which she and Nadler performed at the off-Broadway Triad Theatre. The musical was nominated for the Lucille Lortel Award and Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical Revue. They won the MAC Award for Best Musical Revue. Sullivan also appeared in the New York City productions A… My Name Is Alice and Splendora in 1995, and performed in the Musicals Tonight concert presentations of So Long, 174th Street and By the Beautiful Sea and Fifty Million Frenchmen .

Picture taken by Stacy Sullivan

In regional theatre, Sullivan appeared in You Never Know at the Paper Mill Playhouse. She has performed at the Old Globe Theatre, the Hartford Stage Company, the Municipal Opera of St. Louis, the Goodspeed Opera House, and the Great Lakes Theater Festival.

In the West End, Sullivan appeared in Vienna to Weimar with Karen Kohler.

Jeff Harner and KT Sullivan

Sullivan has recorded albums with Nadler, including Always: The Love Story of Irving BerlinA Fine Romance: A Dorothy Fields Songbook  and A Swell Party: Cole Porter. Her solo recordings include Crazy World , Sing My Heart: The Songs of Harold ArlenIn Other Words, The Songs of Bart HowardKT Sullivan, Ladies of the Silver Screen and KT Sullivan Sings the Sweetest Sounds of Richard Rodgers. She also recorded the revival cast album of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Her latest CD, “Timeless Tunes with Jon Weber”.

In April 2012, Sullivan was named Artistic Director of the Mabel Mercer Foundation.

Sullivan married business communications consultant Stephen Miner Downey (President of the New York Browning Society) in November 27, 1999.

T2C: When did you first move into Manhattan Plaza and how did you get into the building?

KT Sullivan: In 1987, which was the year I met my husband. My roommate was Mauricio Bustamante. We met during the national tour of Annie Get Your Gun in 1993. He was Sitting Bull and I was Dolly Tate. I had been on the waiting list for three years and you had to have a roommate to have a one bedroom. In 1999 I finally got a two bedroom, so I could have room for the grand piano that Bart Howard the composer of “Fly Me To The Moon” left me when he died. I waited over three years to get that piano because it wouldn’t fit into my one bedroom. Now we all sing around the piano. I love this apartment. You can see the Freedom Tower and both rivers from the balcony. We still had to have a roommate and now it is Chinua Thomas who is a God-send as I am not technical and he is geek perfect. He can do anything.

Stephen Downey and the view from the balcony

T2C: Who are your friends in the building?

KT Sullivan: Actress Tracy Rosten, singer Jackie Sanders, her husband musician Bill Hayes and their son Olen. I love watching kids grow up here and now we have Susie Mosher’s new baby to watch grow up here. Other friends include Sammy Goldstein, Jan Horvath and her artist husband Rino Li Causi. Then there’s Tommy who hangs out downstairs and is touched. A gentle soul, who loves the Yankees. Constance was an original Copa girl who fantasizes about Ted Kennedy being in love with her. She would write me these notes and put them under my door. She used to be quite glamorous. Now her hair has gone gray and she walks with a cane. She goes out for her smokes and though still delusional, I know she’s taken care of. I miss some of the great actors that lived her like Reno Roop and Brian Murray. There are so many people you get to know.

T2C: What are your fondest memories of living in the plaza?

KT Sullivan: I Love Ruby Rims. During the AIDS crisis he was down to like 90 lbs, but after the cocktail he thrived. At one of his fabulous Christmas benefits in the Ellington Room he sang “This Is The Moment” and I told him my age. Until I turned 65 I didn’t tell anyone my age, but I told Ruby because we share the same birthday, Halloween 1953.

KT Photo taken by Heather Sullivan

T2C: What are you doing professionally now?

KT Sullivan: The Mabel Mercer Foundation takes a lot out of my time. We do the Cabaret Convention,The Adela and Larry Elow American Songbook High School Competition and in June are doing a show called “I Like Men! Celebrating 100 years of Miss Peggy Lee” hosted by my sister Stacy. This summer I be back at the Irish Repertory, with Steve Ross in Love Noel!

Stephen and the view from the balcony

T2C: Have does living in the building make you feel?

KT Sullivan: Secure. Everyone is worried right now about their rent. This building is benchmarked, so rent is affordable.

T2C: What has this building allowed you to accomplish?

KT Sullivan: Location, location, location. I can see a Broadway show and be there in 10 minutes. Everything is so simple. I’m not slinging hash to pay the rent so I can do my shows and see others perform. In fact my favorite place to perform is the Laurie Beechman Theatre, as I take the elevator and never have to leave the building.

KT and Steve in their apartment

T2C: How is the building reacting to the Coronavirus?

KT Sullivan: At 7pm we stand outside and clap for the healthcare workers who have done so much. The building also has great vivid signs posted everywhere. I feel protected, taken care of, as if we were here together protecting each other. People take care of each other here.

T2C: What would you change from your time living in Manhattan Plaza?

KT Sullivan: There was a man Mike Davis, who lived next door. He canoed on the river everyday. There are practice rooms in the building, so you don’t annoy your neighbors, but Mike always complimented me on everything I was rehearsing. One time he said, “I loved the Gershwin!” When he died, they had this tiny electric piano and I stupidly declined to sing. I regretted that then and I still regret it that to this day.

KT and Stephen Downey at their glorious wedding
Mark Nadler and KT at her party at the National Arts Club

T2C: What is your fondest memory of New York and Manhattan Plaza?

KT Sullivan: For Manhattan Plaza it is that people take care of each other here. They replace broken appliances and care. My fondest memory is my wedding in 1999 to Stephen. My ring bearer was three and in tails and now he stands 6’6 ft tall. I was wearing a red dress like Jezebel or those Chinese brides. My father was a part of this and I am grateful for that. The church was filled with artists of all kind. It certainly was star studded. Celeste Holmes and Charles Busch were in attendance among others. After I said “I Do” the choir broke into the “Hallelujah Chorus”. We had our reception at the National Arts Club where Terry Burrell, Mark Nadler, Tommy Femia and Tovah Feldshuh and so many others sang. Julie Halston wrote a historical monologue for the occasion.

T2C: What would you like us to know that we haven’t asked you?

KT Sullivan: I want you to know about my mother. In 1999 she made her New York debut with “The Lords Prayer” at my wedding. She was born in 1930 and I am so happy and privileged to have such an artist as my loving mother. I owe her everything. Showing gratitude is the most joy you’ll ever get and I delight in being able to share my mother’s artistry. This is my greatest joy.

The documentary Miracle on 42nd Street, is available on Amazon and will soon be available to stream. 

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

Cabaret

Karen Mason and Louis Rosen

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Karen Mason and Louis Rosen met back in the 70s in Chicago. Karen was a young singer accompanied by a the incomparable pianist-songwriter Brian Lasser. He was close friends with guitarist, pianist-songwriter, Louis Rosen. Mason and Lasser moved to New York and two years later Rosen was there as well. A little over ten years later Lasser died of AIDS. Rosen and Mason have made sure that Lasser’s music is remembered.

Karen Mason

Louis Rosen

Mason and Rosen are back together again celebrating nearly 50 years of collaboration and friendship. The evening is stripped down bare with Rosen on guitar and piano and Mason and Rosen on vocals. Most of the material is Rosen’s songs many from his most recent albums, but added are a few selections by  Lasser, that make you know he died way to soon.

Karen Mason

Louis Rosen

Rosen’s music is what singer/songwriters use to write, full of blues riffs, uplifting swing, folk melodies, jazz cadences and soulful powerful lyrics. It is like an old soul left their words to impart. This night so made me want to hear his newest album “Love and Ashes”. Rosen is a musicians musician.

“A master interpreter… Mason produces a depth of sound and brilliance of color that converge in the work of very few singers!” (Chicago Tribune)

Mason has an authenticity to her voice. She is a storyteller, rich in tone and truly excels on Lasser’s music. She is a belter at heart, but Rosen’s music has her venerable and exposed, which is a new side to her art.

It is always wonderful to watch two artists collaborate,

Luba Mason and Karen Mason

Louis Rosen

Karen Mason and Louis Rosen: Ages Since the Last Time: Chelsea Table + Stage, 152 West 26th Street.

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Cabaret

My View: Why CAN’T A Woman…? This Woman Can…Lianne Marie Dobbs

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The actor Lianne Marie Dobbs played a 1900’s woman in the HBO series The Gilded Age. You also might have seen her in Law & Order, The Equalizer and F.B.I., but yesterday at Chelsea Tables + Stage she wasn’t just playing the part of a Cabaret singer!  Ms. Dobbs is the real deal, and she captivated an audience of music connoisseurs with her formidable vocal talents and wit in her show titled “Why CAN’T a Woman…? 

Lianne’s cabaret act utilizes Broadway leading men’s songs and sassy standards, served up with a twist of SHE, to celebrate all the hats that women wear, and she answered the shows question authoritatively….This woman sure can!

Lianne Marie Dobbs was named one of the Best Vocalists of the Decade (BroadwayWorld, 2020) and has filled The Green Room 42, 54Below, Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael, Feinstein’s at the Nikko, Blue Strawberry in St. Louis, and will be featured in Chicago’s Cabaret Week later in May.  “Why CAN’T a Woman…?” was named one of the best cabaret shows of the year (2022) by BroadwayWorld, and called “an honest to goodness emerging work of art”.  She has appeared in leading roles Off-Broadway, in National Tours, and at renowned theaters such as Denver Center, Repertory of St. Louis, Ogunquit Playhouse, Goodspeed and many more.

Ron Abel is Lianne’s music director and arranger, whose accolades include: LA Critics Circle Award Winner and L.A. Weekly Award Winner for his original compositions and unique arrangements of Broadway hits for orchestras and singers. He has been the music director for acclaimed vocalists such as Lucie Arnaz, Peter Allen, Joely Fisher, Valarie Pettiford, Julia Migenes, Helen Reddy, and John Lloyd Young.

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS & RON ABEL

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS & RON ABEL

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS & RON ABEL

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS & RON ABEL

CHELSEA TABLE + STAGE

CHELSEA TABLE + STAGE

STANDING OVATION

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS & CAROLE J. BUFFORD

PAUL KREPPEL, RON ABEL, EDA SOROKOFF, MURPHY CROSS

EDA SOROKOFF & TAKAKO HARKNESS

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Cabaret

My View: The City Was Special Last Night….Melissa Errico at 54 Below

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The evening at 54 Below was advertised as a “ Vinyl Release Celebration Concert” and how apt that VINYL, the unrivaled substance utilized to capture the subtle nuances and breadth of music has now been used to capture the elegant voice of Melissa Errico singing the songs of  “Sondheim in the City” for posterity. 

Caveat: While Vinyl may capture in analog glory the beautiful notes and words of Melissa, one must be in her presence to experience her irrepressible beauty, wit, and intelligence on stage.

Melissa Errico….Sondheim In The City Vinyl Release Celebration at 54 Below May 7,8,9…..

Tedd Firth Music Director, David Finck (Bass), Eric Halvorson (Drums) Bruce Harris (Trumpet)

About the show:

After the critical triumph of her Sondheim Sublime album-called “the finest all Sondheim recording ever made” by the Wall Street Journal, Melissa Errico returned to one of her cabaret homes (54 Below) last night and to her favorite songwriter with an entire new program of Sondheim songs, celebrating her new album (released February 16, 2024 on Concord) and a different side of Steve, praised in The New York Times as “a New York house tour of thrill and heartbreak..from one of Sondheim’s deepest-hearted yet lightest-touch interpreters.”

Sondheim in the City is the Sondheim of smart, sophisticated New York, the Sondheim of the quick, witty, sardonic, love-seeking and sex-driven city that he recorded and worked in through his long life. From the anthem of city busyness “Another Hundred People” to the bittersweet hymns of city marriage, “Sorry, Grateful” and “Good Thing Going,” with time for hardboiled surprises like “Uptown, Downtown” and surprisingly soft-centered ballads like “All That I Need” and “Dawn”

MELISSA ERRICO

MELISSA ERRICO

MELISSA ERRICO

MELISSA ERRICO

MELISSA ERRICO

MELISSA ERRICO

MELISSA ERRICO

MELISSA ERRICO & TEDD FIRTH, music director

54 Below, Eda Sorokoff

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Cabaret

Klea Blackhurst Brings The Songbook Of Jerry Herman To Life

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Klea Blackhurst returned to Chelsea Table and Stage last Sunday with another installment of her monthly series “The Box Set”. Each month Klea reprises one of her acclaimed shows. Last  Sunday she performed  One of the Girls: “The Words and Music of Jerry Herman”. Klea sang Herman’s songs that were made famous by the women in his life.

The evening started with Klea descending down the long staircase of the club singing “Just Leave Everything to Me” from the film, “Hello Dolly!” and she was off running. She is  an actress, singer, comedian and Mermanologist. What is a Mermanologist you ask ? Someone who is an expert on Ethel Merman.

Klea relayed some wonderful stories about Jerry Herman. She  got to know the composer well.  You can feel her admiration for him not only as a composer, but as a human being.

Klea was backed up by superb musicians: Michael Rice – piano/arrangements, Aaon Russell on drums and Tom Hubbard on bass. In between Jerry Herman stories Klea sang some of Herman’s great songs: “Put on Your Sunday Clothes”, “It Only Takes a Moment” from Hello Dolly!, “Open A New Window” and “It’s Today from Mame,  “Time Heals Everything” from Mack &Mabel, “Just Go to The Movies” from A Day in Hollywood/ A Night in the Ukraine and “I Don’t want to Know” from Dear World. Klea knocked it out of the park with her rendition  of “I’m  What I Am” from La Cage aux Folles.

Very seldom do I leave a show and feel I that I need to spread the world about a great performer but for Ms. Blackhurst… I do.

Klea is truly one of the greats of this generation of entertainers.

We have to wait till September 15, 2024 for her next show “Dreaming of A Song” The Music of Hoagy Carmichael co-staring Billy Stritch.

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Cabaret

Laura Slutsky Does Cabaret for a Cause

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Laura Slutsky’s and my paths have crossed many times over the years and I have always found her witty, kind and engaging. I just didn’t know how big a heart she had until I saw she was producing cabaret and comedy shows to raise money for various charities. Over the past few months, she has gathered groups of talented performers to raise money for Parkinson’s Disease and the people of Maui after the devastating fires. On April 28th I was able to attend her latest fundraiser at the Triad Theater to support St Jude Children’s Hospital.  Lyzette Dorado, St Jude Marketing Director for New York City, was in attendance and was able to share how the organization helps the young cancer patients and their families.

Laura Slutsky

Lizette Dorado, St Jude Marketing Director shares what their mission

Laura Slutsky Singing Eydie Gorme

Laura and Sue Matsuki Cohosts of the Evening

I met Sue Matsuki a few years ago when she was organizing the Winter Rhythms concerts for Urban Stages. She is an award winning (MAC, Bistro and Julie Wilson Awards) singer and author. She met Laura in January and in those 3 short months they were able to organize this wonderful entertaining afternoon with a list of Grade A talent.

Sue Matsuki Singing Judy Garland

Saundra Silliman Sings Nancy Wilson

Elvira Tortora Sings Babara Cook

Debra Stone Sings Amanda McBroom

Laura’s Shmoozin’ with Slutsky series of special performance events each has a different theme and this one was “Legends that ‘Muse’ Me,” a 90 minute concert with eleven powerhouse performers, each singing a song from one of their favorite influences. Each performer wowed the packed house and as all proceeds benefitted St Jude it showed a true sense of community and caring.

Jacqueline Draper Sings Piaf

Meg Flather sings one of her own compositions

Kati Nieheisel Sings Julie London

Eva Steinberg Sings Peggy Lee

Ms Slutsky, in addition to co-emceeing with her special wit sang Eydie Gorme and Sue honored Judy Garland.  The afternoon was a wonderful variety of singers each with a different style including ballads, jazz, blues a popular tunes. Saundra Silliman sang Nancy Wilson; Elvira Tortora, Babara Cook and Debra Stone, Amanda McBroom. Jacqueline Draper performed Piaf in French and English while Meg Flather sang one of her own compositions. Kati Nieheisel and Eva Steinberg spoke of Julie London and Peggy Lee, respectively, before giving them tribute in song. Margaret Curry and Leslee Warren, influenced by Linda Ronstadt and Ethel Waters, respectively, turned up the temperature with Blue Bayou and Heat Wave. Lina Koutrakis completed the line up with two 2 songs; one from Michele Brourman and one of her own.

Debra Stone and all the ladies are accompanied by the Gregory Toroian Band

Margaret Curry Sings Linda Ronstadt

Leslee Warren Sings Ethel Waters

Lina Koutrakis sang 2 songs; One from Michele Brourman and one of her own

All the women were accompanied by the Gregory Toroian Band with Mr. Toroian on piano, Skip Ward on bass and Eric Halvorson on drums.

If this afternoon was an example of all the Shmoozin with Slutsky shows I am sorry I am late to the party. She knows how to bring out the best talent and showcase them in a gleaming light. What’s even more special is that she does this for the benefit of so many in need. Her next Shmooze will raise money for Prostate Cancer (date to be determined) but in the meantime you can support St. Jude Children’s Hospital https://www.stjude.org for more information.

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