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Cabaret

The Best of Cabaret: My Top 10 for 2019

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This year cabaret was filled with some amazing performers. Newcomers had a hard time making this list, because the talent that was out there was out of this world. This was a fabulous year for cabaret

At number 1 is Farah Alvin. Her show at The Green Room 42 was the best of the year. Thanks to her musical director, guitarist, pianist, arranger, the amazing Michael Holland. This show was well put together co-conceived by Marc Tuminilli and Ms. Alvin, with Ms. Alvin showing, just what her amazing voice can do. She is a singers singer and returns to The Green Room 42 March 1st.

Jason Robert Brown, Betty Buckley Photo by Erika Kapin

Jason Robert Brown Residency at Sub Culture: I am late to this party, but Jason Robert Brown’s monthly gigs at SubCulture are like musical nirvana. He has two shows in the best list. His 5th anniversary and his concert with Betty Buckley. How do you choose between perfection. If you have not experienced his monthly shows, you are missing out!

Zane, Paris and Reeve Carney

The Carneys: Make no mistake, this family is full of musical savants. Singing on perfect pitch, playing an array of instruments and taking melodies to really interesting places, watching the Carney’s breaks the barriers of talent. Reeve is a musical genius and rock God, Zane takes playing a guitar to new levels and Paris lends her smokey vocals. You can catch Reeve at The Green Room 42, February 2nd and I heard rumor the family is trying to do a March gig as well. Reeve was on last years list too, and he just keeps honing his craft!

Frances Ruffelle

Frances Ruffelle: The superbly intoxicating Frances Ruffelle made last years list and is back. This energetic ball of fire easily casts a spell when she sings. With talent in abundance, she makes you love life. Look for Ms. Ruffelle to be writing a new musical with Alan Cumming for The New York Theatre Workshop. The Green Room 42 is on a roll.

Jeremy Jordan Photo by Genevieve Rafter Keddy

The New York Pops With Jeremy Jordan: One of my favorite nights out to review is the fabulous New York Pops. When they added guest star Jeremy Jordan the show rose to a new level. Jordan’s voice exquisitely filled Carnegie Hall and his version of “Soliloquy” from Carousel, was dedicated to Jordan’s 6-month-old daughter Clara. Jordan’s version was raw, honest, melodic and perfectly sung.

The Broadway Series with Seth Rudskey Jessie Mueller and Megan Hitley: Broadway @ Town Hall was on last years list with six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald. This year Rudskey out did himself with Tony nominee Megan Hilty and Tony winner Jessie Mueller. The insightful stories, the musical backstories and the songs themselves make this one special night of musical and theatre. Seth Rudetsky’s Broadway continues February 3 with special guest Patina Miller and April 13 with special guest Brian Stokes Mitchell.

Ann Hampton Callaway, Liz Callaway Photo by Jeffrey Lyle Segal

Liz and Ann Hampton Callaway: Broadway the Calla-way at Feinstein’s/ 54 Below brought back Ann singing a fabulous “Blues in the Night,” and Liz, recreating David Shire and Richard Maltby Jr.’s “The Story Goes On”. For this alone they rated the best of the year. I would love to see these two alternate roles in a revival of Mame.

Mark Nadler

Mark Nadler:  I am amazed mark is not a Broadway star. In his newest cabaret act “The Old Razzle Dazzle: an evening of Lies, Lying and Liars”, Nadler pulls out all the stops. In a political climate where everyone is pulling the wool over our eyes, at the Laurie Beechman, Nadler gives us a fresh perspective.

Joan Ryan

Joan Ryan: In order to be a great singer you must also be a great actor and Joan Ryan has that under her belt. Besides an impressive four octave range, Joan knows how to get into the heart and the soul of a song. Birdland knew what they were doing when they booked this petite talent and this coming year you can catch Joan March 7th at The Green Room 42.

Sam Harris: Feinstein’s/ 54 Below brought to the stage Harris’ smooth stylings. Harris brings a simplicity to the lyric that cuts to the bone. His rifts, connection to lyric and soulful renditions made him a must for this years list.

Honorable mention Jackie Evancho, Jamie Lozano, Luba Mason, Charlie Romo and Mark William.

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

Norm Lewis, Stephen Schwartz Made For a Fabulous Summertime at 54 Below

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Norm Lewis is presenting “SUMMERTIME (Special Tony Edition)” from June 6-13, 2024 at 54 Below.

Stephen Schwartz

The night of June 7, Mr. Lewis was joined on stage by composer Stephen Schwartz and Bobby Lewis ( Mr. Lewis’ cousin). The show was directed by Richard Jay-Alexander, musical direction and piano Joseph Joubert, drums – Perry Cavari and on Bass -Dylan Shamat.

Norm began the evening by entering through the audience greeting the enthusiastic crowd singing “Don’t Rain on My Parade” (Julie Stone/Bob Merrill).’

Norm Lewis

At one point While he left the stage for wardrobe change his special guest Stephen Schwartz took to the piano to sing “The Hardest Part of Love” from his musical Children of Eden.

Norm and Bobby Lewis

Mr. Lewis left the stage one more time to give the moment to Bobby Lewis singing ”One Song Glory ” from Rent (music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson.

Lee Roy Reams, Marilyn Maye

Before leaving the stage Mr Lewis joined  his cousin Bobby Lewis in a duet singing “For Good” from Wicked (music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz.
Each night of the run will feature surprise guest .
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Cabaret

My View: SUMMERTIME Starring Norm Lewis Just Keeps Getting HOTTER!

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I don’t usually post multiple photo essays of the same show/event, but, in this case, I simply must or I wouldn’t be doing my job of “reporting” here in Times Square Chronicles. The fact of the matter is that my wife, Eda, and I have been to Norm Lewis’s new show SUMMERTIME (Special Tony Edition) 3 times now and it has been “delivering” on a nightly basis more thrills and excitement than any other run of a show we have previously witnessed. The show is beautifully directed by the gifted Richard Jay-Alexander, with musical direction and arrangements from the equally gifted Joseph Joubert. What Norm and his artistic posse have put together is so satisfying that you get drawn in and forget you’ve already seen it. Add to this unexplainable phenomenon the array of Broadway Guests and each night has been a delight for so many different reasons. Because I live conveniently close, I am able to capture historic pairings of creative giants and I had to put this together so you could witness the kind of history that has already been made each of these nights at 54 Below. Norm has 4 more shows and many more Special Guests on June 10, 11, 12 and 13 and I can only heartily recommend you go see this man who is so comfortable in his stardom, that he easily seduces you into his world of music and Broadway. You will not be disappointed. I must also note that there has been as much star power in his audiences as there are on stage, adding extra excitement to every night.

( I couldn’t catch all the celebs in the audience but here are a few photo highlights)

NORM LEWIS & LEN CARIOU

NORM LEWIS (Sweeny Todd)

LEN CARIOU

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ & WALTER MARKS

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ & NORM LEWIS

MARC SHAIMAN & NORM LEWIS

NORM LEWIS & MARC SHAIMAN

LEN CARIOU, NORM LEWIS, MARC SHAIMAN

MELBA MOORE & NORM LEWIS

MELBA MOORE & NORM LEWIS

MALBA MOORE & NORM LEWIS

MARILYN MAYE & NORM LEWIS

MARILYN MAYE

LEE ROY REAMS & MARILYN MAYE

WALTER MARKS, JENNIFER HALLIE DIAMOND, ROBERT DIAMOND, founder/owner BROADWAYWORLD, RICHARD JAY-ALEXANDER

NORM LEWIS, ROBERT DIAMOND, JENNIFER HALLIE DIAMOND

HUGH PANARO, EDA SOROKOFF, STEVEN REINEKE, music director/conductor The New York Pops, ERIC GABBARD

RICHARD JAY-ALEXANDER, EDA SOROKOFF, STEVEN REINEKE, ERIC GABBARD

LORNA DALLAS BROWN, LEE ROY REAMS, MARILYN MAYE

RICHARD JAY-ALEXANDER & NORM LEWIS

PASTOR BOBBY LEWIS (Norm’s cousin) & NORM LEWIS

JOSEPH JOUBERT, music director

RICHARD JAY-ALEXANDER, NORM LEWIS, CATHERINE ADLER

JENNIFER ASHLEY TEPPER & RICHARD JAY-ALEXANDER

MARK SENDROFF, RICHARD JAY-ALEXANDER, RICHARD SKIPPER

54 BELOW

MACON PRICKETT

CARLOS CLEMENZ & MARC SHAIMAN

NORM LEWIS

EDA SOROKOFF & CATHERINE ADLER

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Cabaret

My View: Norm Lewis Brings On The Summer Heat at 54 Below

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“The Heat is On” at 54 Below with a new show Norm Lewis is performing, called SUMMERTIME (Special TONY Edition). From his dazzling entrance to his beautiful “goodnight” the evening is wall-to wall Broadway treasure. Yes, summer arrived early ,last night, and whatever the kinship and connection between the star, his musical director Joseph Joubert and his director Richard Jay-Alexander, is, it bathed us in magic with stunning music, beautiful arrangements, humor, glamour, stories and vocals that are, quite honestly, beyond just having a powerful skill set. Norm is a sublime actor who happens to possess a magnificent voice and he uses every dimension of it.

During the run he will have special guests who are both friends and Broadway royalty. Last night, he “blew up” this concept by introducing us to the legendary TONY winner, Melba Moore. I don’t usually write about specific material, but when your brain can’t comprehend that Miss Moore tore into “Aquarius” and “Let The Sunshine In” from HAIR with Mr. Lewis, hearts were jumping and joy exploded in the room. Only to be followed by Melba singing “I Got Love” from PURLIE (wait for it) in the original key! The 3 piece band, led by Joubert, also consisted of Perry Cavari on drums and percussion and Dylan Shamat on both acoustic and electric bass. The sounds they made all night were as versatile as could be accomplished and have become a trademark, of sorts, for Norm. Don’t hesitate to get to 54 Below and start your summer early. This man brings the heat with him onto the stage. 

Norm Lewis

NORM LEWIS

NORM LEWIS

NORM LEWIS

MELBA MOORE

MELBA MOORE & NORM LEWIS

MELBA MOORE

MELBA MOORE

54 BELOW

54 BELOW

NORM LEWIS

NORM LEWIS

NORM LEWIS

NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award

JOSEPH JOUBERT

54 BELOW

MELBA MOORE & NORM LEWIS

RICHARD JAY-ALEXANDER & NORM LEWIS

MELBA MOORE & NORM LEWIS

HUGH PANARO, EDA SOROKOFF, STEVEN REINEKE, ERIC GABBARD

STEVEN REINEKE, ERIC GABBARD, NORM LEWIS

RICHARD SKIPPER, RICHARD JAY-ALEXANDER, NORM LEWIS, MARK SENDROFF

CARLOS CLEMENZ & NORM LEWIS

RICHARD JAY-ALEXANDER & NORM LEWIS

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Broadway

We Say Good-Bye To Janice Paige

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Janice Paige turned 100 was born on September 16, 2022, and died at her on June 2, 2024, at the age of 101. Paige was an American actress and singer. With a career spanning nearly 60 years, she was one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Born in Tacoma, Washington, Paige began singing in local amateur shows at the age of five. After high school, she moved to Los Angeles, where she became a singer at the Hollywood Canteen during World War II, as well as posing as a pin-up model. This led to a film contract with Warner Bros. She later left the studio to pursue live theatre work, appearing in a number of Broadway shows. She continued to alternate between film and theatre work for much of her career. Beginning in the mid-1950s, she also made numerous television appearances, as well as starring in her own sitcom It’s Always Jan.

Paige began co-starring in low-budget musicals, often paired with Dennis Morgan or Jack Carson. She co-starred in Romance on the High Seas (1948), the film in which Doris Day made her movie debut. Paige later co-starred in adventures and dramas, in which she felt out of place. Following her role in Two Gals and a Guy (1951), she decided to leave Hollywood.

Paige appeared on Broadway in a 1951 comedy-mystery play Remains to Be Seen. She also toured successfully as a cabaret singer. 


Stardom came in 1954 with her role as Babe in the Broadway musical The Pajama Game.  For the screen version, the studio wanted one major movie star to guarantee the film’s success, so John Raitt’s role of Sid was offered to Frank Sinatra, who would have been paired with Paige. When Sinatra declined, the producers offered Paige’s role of Babe to Doris Day, who accepted and was paired with Raitt.

Paige returned to Hollywood in Silk Stockings (1957), which starred Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse, the Doris Day/David Niven comedy Please Don’t Eat the Daisies (1960), and as a love-starved married neighbor in Bachelor in Paradise (1961) with Bob Hope. A rare dramatic role was as Marion, an institutionalized prostitute, in The Caretakers (1963).


Paige returned to Broadway in 1963 in the short-lived Here’s Love. In 1968, when after nearly two years Angela Lansbury left the Broadway production of the musical Mame to take the show on a limited U.S. tour, Paige was the star chosen to be the first Broadway replacement.

Paige appeared in touring productions of musicals such as Annie Get Your Gun, Applause, Sweet Charity, Ballroom, Gypsy: A Musical Fable, and Guys and Dolls. In 1984, back on Broadway in a nonmusical play, Alone Together


Paige made her live dramatic TV debut June 27, 1957 in “The Latch Key” on Lux Video Theatre. She appeared as troubadour Hallie Martin in The Fugitive episode “Ballad for a Ghost” (1964). She also had a recurring role as Auntie V, Tom Bradford’s sister, in Eight Is Enough. Paige appeared as a waitress named Denise in both the seventh and ninth seasons of All in the Family. In her first appearance, she has a flirtation with Archie Bunker that threatens to become serious.

Paige appeared on episodes of 87th Precinct; Trapper John, M.D.;Columbo; Night Court; Caroline in the City; and in the 1975 television movie John O’Hara’s Gibbsville (also known as The Turning Point of Jim Malloy). In 1982, she appeared on St. Elsewhere as a female flasher who stalked the hallways of the hospital to “cheer up” the male patients. She also appeared on a season 11 episode of Happy Days, as a roadside diner waitress named Angela who may or may not be Fonzie’s long lost mother; Fonzie has a heartfelt talk with Angela, and it is left up to the viewer to determine if she is his mother or not. In the 1980s and 1990s, she was seen on several soap operas, including Capitol (1987, as Sam Clegg’s first wife, Laureen), General Hospital(1989–1990, as Katharine Delafield’s flashy Aunt Iona, a lady counterfeiter), and Santa Barbara (1990–1993, replacing Dame Judith Anderson as matriarch Minx Lockridge).


Paige was given a star in the Motion Picture section of the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6624 Hollywood Boulevard on February 9, 1960.


In 2017, Paige wrote a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter in which she stated that Alfred Bloomingdale had attempted to rape her when she was 22 years old. She alleges that she was sexually assaulted after being lured into Bloomingdale’s apartment under false pretenses.

Paige was married three times.

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Cabaret

My View: 54 Below At It’s Best…..The Staff Show

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I had no idea that 54 DOES 54 has been an annual event for many years, but I am so glad I was there on Sunday night to witness the range of talents and the performances from so many of the staff of the club and personnel from the offices upstairs of 54 Below. The legendary room was packed and you know it’s gonna be a big night when all 3 owners are there to cheer their “home team” on. The musical direction and the band were flying through all kinds of styles and tempos, never relenting in their power or rhythmic drive. That, alone, was truly amazing.

Now, I must say REMEMBER THESE NAMES: ALEX MARTINS, RU CABRALIS, KATIE O’DONNELL, SHANIA MUNDY, JAMES KLAPAK (their Executive Chef), DEJA-SIMONE CRUMPTON, GRETCHEN SCHNEIDER, GRACE FLAVIEN, ELIZABETH PRECIUS, HANNAH ROSE PICKLE, BRIANNA JUSTINE, MARK BEYER, ADELINA CORREA, GABRIEL GENERALLY, CASSI MIKAT,

LUIS PALOMINO, MACON PRICKETT and MANDISA BOXILL. On any given night, at 54 Below, this fantastic family of individuals are your Servers, Bartenders, Hosts, Guest Relations folks, Marketing Managers, Digital Marketing Associates, Back Servers, Guest Relations Managers, Maitre D’s, Assistant Programming Directors and, of course, General Manager. Also spotted in the room were the club’s Jennifer Ashley Tepper (with her mom) and Nella Vera, as well as drop-in regulars who work at 54 quite a bit – Mr. Lee Roy Reams, Mr. Richard Jay-Alexander and Mr. Ron Abel. On lights and sound, we saw Amanda Raymond & KJ Hardy, who are absolutely beloved by everyone who plays that room. Friends, family and fans brought the club, repeatedly, to a fever pitch, and the warmth, love and good will in the room were palpable. Plenty of showstoppers, plenty of surprises and some “specialties” that were unexpected. The room was so alive and it was a thrill to be there. But, I wouldn’t be fairly representing, with just my photos, if I didn’t tell you that they saved General Manager of 54 Below, Mandisa Boxill, for last, and it was no surprise why. Macon Prickett put the evening together and he told us everyone really worked hard over the month it took to put the show together, but, nothing could have prepared us for Ms. Boxill killing it with Beyoncés “Crazy In Love.” The place just exploded, like the finale in a fireworks display, when you know “this is it” you have hit the zenith. I am happy to share with you many photos here to “take you there” and this may have been my first time, but you can rest assured, I will be there next year, too! Congratulations to all! You should be really, really proud.

LOUIS PALOMNO, server

MACON PRICKETT, host/producer

ALEX MARTINS

RU CABRALIS

KATIE O’DONNELL

SHANIA MUNDY

JAMES KLAPAK

DEJA-SIMONE CRUMPTON

GRETCHEN SCHNEIDER

GRACE FLAVIEN

ELIZABETH PRECIUS

HANNAH ROSE PICKLE

BRIANNA JUSTINE

MARK BEYER

ADELINA CORREA

GABRIEL GENERALLY

CASSI MIKAT

LOUIS PALOMINO

MACON PRICKETT

MANDISA BOXILL

MANDISA BOXILL

MANDISA BOXILL

RICHARD JAY-ALEXANDER

JENNIFER ASHLEY TEPPER

STEVE BARUCH, EDA BARUCH, RICHARD FRANKEL

RON ABEL, EDA SOROKOFF, RICHARD FRANKEL

MANDISA BOXILL

RICHARD JAY-ALEXANDER & MANDISA BOXILL

STEPHEN SOROKOFF, EDA SOROKOFF, JENNIFER ASHLEY TEPPPER, MOM, RON ABEL

 

54 DOES 54

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