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Archive for the ‘Cabaret’ Category

Cabaret group honors the year’s best at B.B. King’s

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

North Jersey
Cabaret group honors the year’s best at B.B. King’s
MARCH 28, 2015 LAST UPDATED: SATURDAY, MARCH 28, 2015, 1:21 AM
BY BILL ERVOLINO
STAFF WRITER | THE RECORD

4-27-2013 4-10-47 AM

Manhattan’s robust cabaret community turned out to honor its own Thursday evening as the annual MAC Awards were presented at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on 42nd Street.

For 19 years, MAC — the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs — has honored nightclub performers who make the city a little funnier and a whole lot more musical. Presenters, all of whom continue to work in cabaret, included Julie Budd, Barb Jungr, Billy Stritch, Broadway star Lina Koutrakos, Village People founding member Randy Jones and comic actor Bruce Vilanch, who is perhaps best known these days for co-writing the Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy awards shows.

The 54 Sings Series, created by Phil Geoffrey Bond and produced at 54 Below, took top honors for show of the year.

Top vocalist awards went to Gabrielle Stravelli for her performance at the Metropolitan Room and Stearns Matthews for his shows “Sneak Peak” and “Spark” at The Duplex.

Stacy Sullivan, creator of “On the Air: Songs of Marian McPartland” took the award for best major artist. “Revolution,” which ran at The Duplex, took the best revue trophy. And the award for impersonation went to drag artist Rev Roger Anthony Yolanda Mapes.

Singer/pianist Steve Ross, who reopened the Oak Room at the Hotel Algonquin in 1981 and has performed around the world since then, received one of the evening’s two lifetime achievement awards.

Belter Baby Jane Dexter received the other, and performed two songs after being introduced by Vilanch, who often opened for Dexter when she appeared at the nightclub Reno Sweeney in the 1970s.

The MAC Board of Directors award went to David Kenney, producer and host of the radio show “Everything Old Is New Again” on WBAI-FM.

Email: ervolino@northjersey.com

Bruce Vilanch Is Hysterical In THE BIRTHDAY BOYS: The Songs of Stephen Sondheim & Andrew Lloyd Webber

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Broadway World
BWW Reviews: Kritzerland Revels its Captivated Crowd with THE BIRTHDAY BOYS: The Songs of Stephen Sondheim & Andrew Lloyd Webber
March 9, 2015
by Gil Kaan

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Kritzerland Presents The Birthday Boys: The Songs of Stephen Sondheim & Andrew Lloyd Webber/produced & hosted by Bruce Kimmel/musical direction by Lloyd Cooper/Kritzerland at Sterling’s Upstairs at The Federal

On March 8, the 55th version of Kritzerland At Sterling’s Upstairs at The Federal followed its successful formula of monthly themed cabarets with The Birthday Boys: The Songs of Stephen Sondheim & Andrew Lloyd Webber. Bruce Kimmel, a most amiable host, intros each song with a tiny encyclopedia of fun trivia, some of which are yet new to the Sondheim and Webber aficionados. Kimmel even sang some warring salvos that he envisioned Sondheim and Webber might have sent each other, re-BWW Reviews: Kritzerland Revels its Captivated Crowd with THE BIRTHDAY BOYS: The Songs of Stephen Sondheim & Andrew Lloyd Webberwriting the lyrics to “Agony” and “Music of the Night.” Too funny!

The sixteen songs selected from the Sondheim and Webber canons receive delicious execution from the collective melodic vocal talents of Stan Chandler, Kevin Earley, Kimberly Hessler, Valerie Perri, Sue Raney, Bruce Vilanch (yes, the comedian does sing, and well!), and Adrienne Visnic.

The rich-voiced Visnic amusingly opens the evening with “Invocation and Instructions to the Audience” from Sondheim’s Frogs. Later Visnic just kills it with her “Getting Married Today” from Sondheim’s Company. Her machine gun vocals use the same sped-up tempo Madeline Kahn used in 1970’s Company. Bulls-eye, Ms. Visnic

Hessler’s gorgeous operatic tones in “Half a Moment” from Webber’s By Jeeves totally reminiscent of the ideal Christine in The Phantom of the Opera.

BWW Reviews: Kritzerland Revels its Captivated Crowd with THE BIRTHDAY BOYS: The Songs of Stephen Sondheim & Andrew Lloyd WebberChandler and Earley duet with well-matched booming voices and competing egos on Sondheim’s genius comic tune “Agony” from Into the Woods. Chandler’s lilting high tenor notes sustain beautifully in his ending of “Love Changes Everything” from Webber’s Aspects of Love. Earley wonderfully displays his comic timing in “Make the Most of Your Music” from Sondheim’s Follies and his wi-i-ide vocal range in “Music of the Night” from Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera.

Perri readily combines her acting prowess with her strong vocals in “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar and “As If We Never Said Goodbye” from his Sunset Boulevard.

The always hysterical Vilanch loses his mind in “Losing My Mind” from Sondheim’s Follies, but manages to find it to tell a very funny, very timely joke involving Harrison Ford with Brian Williams, Bill O’Reilly and Hillary Clinton. Comedic gold, Vilanch is!

BWW Reviews: Kritzerland Revels its Captivated Crowd with THE BIRTHDAY BOYS: The Songs of Stephen Sondheim & Andrew Lloyd WebberRaney showed all she still has what it takes to sell a song in her slowed down version of “Send in the Clowns” from Sondheims’ A Little Night Music. Shelly Markham superbly accompanied Ms. Raney.

The masterful musical director Lloyd Cooper, backing up all the other performers, worked his magic; converting his single piano sound into what seemed a full section of harmonizing instruments. Very nice!

The 56th edition of Kritzerland Presents will be on Sunday April 5.

www.msapr.net/Sterling-s-at-The-Federal.html


Kritzerland to Bring ‘THE BIRTHDAY BOYS’ to Sterling’s Upstairs at The Federal, 3/8

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Broadway World
Kritzerland to Bring ‘THE BIRTHDAY BOYS’ to Sterling’s Upstairs at The Federal, 3/8
February 20, 2015

4-27-2013 3-29-19 AM

Kritzerland at Sterling’s Upstairs at The Federal presents “THE BIRTHDAY BOYS: THE SONGS OF STEPHEN SONDHEIM & ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER” on Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 7:00 PM.

Sue Raney was signed to Capitol Records at age 17 and, with Nelson Riddle, recorded her first album,”When Your Lover Is Gone.” Since then, she’s recorded more than 20 other albums singing Johnny Mandel, Henry Mancini, and dozens of other Great American Songbook songs. She’s been raved about by such NY critics as Rex Reed, who says he’d travel to LA just to hear her sing, by Nat “King” Cole, and by Julie Andrews, who calls her “a marvel.”http://sueraneysro.com

Bruce Vilanch (Primarily known as writer for a variety of celebrities, including Bette Midler, Lily Tomlin, Billy Crystal, and many more, he went to write for the Academy Awards, and scored acting roles in the film Mahogany, Bosom Buddies, Law & Order, his own one-man show, and starred on Broadway as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray after playing the role for two years in the show’s first national stage tour.)

Music Director: Lloyd Cooper

For our 55th Kritzerland show we’ve taken two wildly different musical theatre songwriters and paired them up, since no one in their right mind except Kritzerland would do such a thing. Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber just happen to share a birthday in March – March 22nd to be exact – and we’re here to celebrate that occasion with a wild, wacky and wonderful show. As always, you’ll hear the known and the unknown, the common and the uncommon, from shows such as Follies, Phantom of the Opera, Company, Cats, Anyone Can Whistle, Sunset Blvd. and many more. We’ve assembled an amazing cast and back with us is one of our favorite guest stars, the inimitable Bruce Vilanch. We’ll have some surprises, too, so don’t wait too long to make your reservation. Speaking of reservations, be sure to read the new reservation information below. We’ve switched to a ticketing service for the cover charge – we fought against doing this as long as we could, but all the shows at Sterling’s now use it, and frankly we were simply having way too many people reserve and then not show up, without even cancelling, which means we turned people away. Anyway, it’s easy/breezy. For March only we’re the second Sunday, due to a wedding reception at The Federal on the first Sunday. Kritzerland is produced and hosted by Bruce Kimmel, and co-produced by Adryan Russ.

The only way to reserve now is via Brown Paper Tickets! It’s easy! Go to:http://sterlingsupstairskritz.brownpapertickets.com. This takes you directly to the BPT page for Kritzerland. If you prefer to reserve by phone, call (800) 832 3006. Live operators are available to assist you 24/7! $15 entertainment cover + $5 venue/security fee = $20/ticket. Email confirmations will be sent to you by BPT following your transaction. For anyone wanting to reserve tickets from your SmartPhone, go directly towww.brownpapertickets.com.

*Please note: Once you’ve reserved your seats, the BPT cancellation policy kicks in. You have a 12-hour window to make any adjustment in your reservation, or to cancel your reservation for a refund. After that window has passed, all sales are final. No exchanges or refunds.

Early reservations are highly recommended. Dinner reservations: DOORS OPEN 5:30pm. SHOW STARTS 7:00pm! Reservations have already started coming in, and are highly recommended.

Sterling’s at The Federal is located at 5303 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601. The Federal Bar is adjacent to the El Portal Theatre. The North Hollywood Stations for the Metrolink Red Line and Orange Line are directly across the street, north of Chandler on Lankershim. Parking is available – entrance for Federal lot is on Weddington Street (directly behind the building) at $3.50. There is also available street parking.

For information (only) about Sterling’s Upstairs at The Federal, visit www.msapr.net/Sterling-s-at-The-Federal.html or call 818 754 8700.

Bruce Vilanch To Host Upright Cabaret’s 9th Annual A Broadway Christmas

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Broadway World
Upright Cabaret Presents 9th Annual A BROADWAY CHRISTMAS, 12/17-18
December 7, 2014

4-27-2013 4-03-03 AM

Chris Isaacson Presents in association with Ryan O’Connor has announced Upright Cabaret’s 9th Annual A Broadway Christmas. Hosted by six-time Emmy Awardwinner Bruce Vilanch with musical direction by Gregory Nabours, there will be two performances only on Wednesday, December 17 and Thursday, December 18 at 8:30pm at the Catalina Bar & Grill in Brandon Wardell, with more to be announced.

Under boughs of holly and multi-media of silver and gold, stars and snowflakes will glitter as Upright Cabaret combines the Best of Broadway with the Carols of Christmas. Along with the extraordinary vocal talent of the performers, brassy horns and sentimental strings will create a wonderland of cheerful songs and melodies guaranteed to bring on the holiday spirit.

Host Bruce Vilanch is best known for his work as a writer on 23 Oscar telecasts. He spent six years on The Hollywood Squares and played Edna Turnblad in Hairspray on Broadway an on tour across the U.S. Musical director Gregory Nabours is a composer/lyricist and music director who recently had an evening of his original work performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. He is a founding member of the Coeurage Theatre Company and is the winner of two Ovation Awards, and LA Drama Critics Circle Award, an LA Weekly Award, and the NAACP Theatre Award.

Upright Cabaret’s 9th Annual A Broadway Christmas will take place at the Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 Sunset Boulevard, in Hollywood. Tickets are $25 and $30 with a $5 discount on purchases made by December 10. VIP packages are available, and tickets purchased online receive priority seating. Single entrée or drink minimums apply. Go to www.TicketWeb.com or www.ChrisIsaacsonPresents.com or call (866) 468-3399.

Chris Isaacson Presents is currently nominated for four BroadwayWorld.com Awards for its presentation of concerts this past year starring Laura Benanti, Danny Gurwin, Jeremy Jordan, and Jennifer Holliday. For more information about this and other CIP events including evenings with Mandy Gonzalez and Molly Ringwald coming up in 2015, visit www.ChrisIsaacsonPresents.com.

Kritzerland to Celebrate 4th Anniversary with Special Guests Kerry O’Malley and Bruce Vilanch, 9/7

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Broadway World
Kritzerland to Celebrate 4th Anniversary with Special Guests Kerry O’Malley and Bruce Vilanch, 9/7
August 14 2014

4-27-2013 3-55-20 AM

Kritzerland at Sterling’s Upstairs at The Federal presents its fourth anniversary show—THE SONGS THAT GOT AWAY III —on Sunday, September 7, 2014 at 7 p.m.

Evan Buckley Harris (Li’L Abner, (Abner) LACC; Memphis (Huey); Grease 40th Anniversary (Kenickie); South Pacific (Lt. Cable).

Kimberly Hessler (La Mirada/McCoy-Rigby, Les Miserables (Cosette); El Portal Spelling Bee (Olive); Most Happy Fella (Rosabella).

Travis Leland (Norman Rockwell’s America, Freedom Machine, Justin Love, The Giver, Fly By Night, Adding Machine: A Musical.)

Bruce Merkle (McCoy-Rigby, Les Miserables; The Tonight Show with Jay Leno; Rules of Engagement, How I Met Your Mother.)

Hadley Miller (National: Cathy Rigby Is Peter Pan; Tiny Tim; A Christmas Carol, South Coast Rep,www.hadleybellemiller.com)

Madison Claire Parks (Oklahoma! (Laurey), Musical Theatre West; Phantom of the Opera (Christine); Lil Abner (Daisy Mae).

Jenna Lea Rosen (Disney’s Sofia the First (Shelly, Singing Voice of Clio & Hildegard), Parade 3DT (Monteen, Ovation Award.)

Sami Staitman (Annie, Annie, Pioneer, Utah;Young Cosette,Les Mise?rables;Singing in the Rain, Cabrillo; L’il Abner. TV: House of Lies)

Adrienne Visnic (BFA Acting USC, The Most Happy Fella (Cleo), USC Outstanding Actress, LA’s Next Great Stage Star Finalist)

Robert Yacko (Broadway: Fiddler on the Roof; Company with Carol Burnett; Sunday in the Park; Ovation Award, Parade)

Kerry O’Malley (Broadway/Off-Broadway: White Christmas; On A Clear Day; Billy Elliot; Into The Woods; Annie Get Your Gun; Promises, Promises (Encores!); Finian’s Rainbow; How I Learned to Drive; Dublin Carol. TV and film: Upcoming: Terminator: Genesis; Case 39; Earth to Echo; Those Who Kill; Masters of Sex; Shameless; Brotherhood; Boardwalk Empire.)

Bruce Vilanch (Primarily known as writer for a variety of celebrities, including Bette MidlerLily TomlinBilly Crystal, and many more, he went to write for the Academy Awards, and scored acting roles in the film Mahogany, Bosom Buddies, Law & Order, his own one-man show, and starred on Broadway as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray after playing the role for two years in the show’s first national stage tour.)

Music DirectorJohn Boswell

For our 49th Kritzerland show, we celebrate our four-year anniversary of doing monthly shows. We began in September 2010 at the Gardenia. We moved to Michael Sterling’s room at Vitello’s for only three months, before finding our new home here at Kritzerland at Sterling’s Upstairs at The Federal. As with our past three anniversary shows, this one is a potpourri – no theme other than the songs have been recorded by producer Bruce Kimmel on various albums that we haven’t gotten to yet or songs we weren’t able to include because of time. But it’s also the ten-year anniversary of Bruce Kimmel’s hit musical revue, What If, so we’re celebrating that, too, by doing a few of its parody numbers. We’ve assembled an amazing cast, and have two great guest stars – Kerry O’Malley and the wonderful Bruce Vilanch. It will be an evening of wonderful songs, lots of humor and fantastic performances. As with our past anniversary shows, as our gift to our loyal and incredible audiences, this show will have no cover charge. These anniversary shows sell out in about ten minutes so don’t delay because when they’re sold out they’re sold out, although we will be taking a waiting list and usually we have no-shows and the waiting list usually does get in.

This show is likely to be jam-packed. We recommend early reservations. Don’t wait until the last minute!

The only way to reserve: 818-754-8700. Your phone reservation will be confirmed (usually a few days before the show). Dinner reservations: DOORS OPEN 5:30pm. SHOW STARTS 7:00pm! Reservations have already started coming in, and are highly recommended. FOR THIS SHOW ONLY: NO COVER CHARGE! $10 food minimum + $4 facility charge. Yes! You can eat dinner and see the show for only about $15!

Sterling’s at The Federal is located at 5303 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601. The Federal Bar is adjacent to the El Portal Theatre. The North Hollywood Stations for the Metrolink Red Line and Orange Line are directly across the street, north of Chandler on Lankershim. Parking is available—entrance for Federal lot
is on Weddington Street (directly behind the building) at $3.50. There is also available street parking.

For information about Sterling’s Upstairs at The Federal, visit: http://www.msapr.net/Sterling-s-at-The-Federal.html.

Bruce Vilanch’s Big Gay Comedy Show Lands in San Francisco

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Bruce Vilanch’s Big Gay Comedy Show Lands in San Francisco
By Corey Andrew | Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014 | Updated 4:03 PM PDT

4-27-2013 3-51-51 AM

We got Bruce!


Vilanch, that is. One of the most celebrated joke writers in the business has descended on San Francisco to mine local news nuggets, gobs of gossip and salacious stories to share on the Marines Memorial Theater stage at 8 p.m. on Sunday, April 13, for the Big Gay Comedy Show, a benefit for Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation.


“It will be a lot of comedy with a couple of cabaret performers thrown in, but they’re funny: Shawn Ryan and Jason Brock. San Francisco is such a uniquely comic town. You get really political comics like Marga Gomez, and then you get really artistic people,” Vilanch said.


Big Gay Comedy Show will also feature B.O.O.B.s, Leanne Borghesi, Shann Carr, Cassandra Cass, Ali Mafi, Katya Smirnoff-Skyy and Kitty Tapata.


The red bespectacled, wacky T-shirt adorned Vilanch is currently “casing the joint” to gather up-to-the-minute material for his portion of the show.


“I have a week to get to know all of that, which is more than usual. I will probably tell stories. That’s what I do,” he said.


After more than four decades in the business—writing for every conceivable awards show including a bunch of Oscars—Vilanch has more celeb, behind-the-scenes tales than Kathy Griffin. His “almost famous” life is chronicled in the documentary “Get Bruce,” which is now streaming on Netflix.


But while he’s made a sweet living writing funny lines for other performers to say on stage,


ilanch’s passion is performing. He’s probably best known for his years on “Hollywood Squares” and for performing in drag as Edna Turnblad in the Broadway and touring productions of “Hairspray.”


“I’ve been looking for the kind of stuff to do that Nathan Lane always gets to do because he’s the master of it right now,” Vilanch said. “The singing and dancing fat guys is what I would love to do. More acting. Playing a woman is one thing, but to get them to accept me as a straight man will be even more interesting.”


Vilanch is getting his chance with 42nd Street Moon’s revival of the Cole Porter musical, “Du Barry Was a Lady,” in which he plays a swanky nightclub men’s room attendant who wins the lottery, gets slipped a Mickey Finn and thinks he’s King Louis XV. Burt Lahr originated the role in 1939.


“Since I’ve been compared to the Cowardly Lion in looks alone, I thought it was time I brought one of Burt Lahr’s other roles out of the closet and see what I could do with it,” Vilanch said. “He was so brilliantly funny. I was a huge fan of his.”


The musical runs at the Eureka Theater April 30 to May 18.


“It’s lyrically wonderful. The stuff that I get to sing is all comic patter. The most famous is ‘Friendship, friendship, just a perfect blendship!” That was written for him and Ethel Merman. People think it was written for Lucy and Ethel, because ‘I Love Lucy’ did it a couple of times,” Vilanch said.


 With Disney now in control of the future of “Star Wars,” one of Vilanch’s old projects might see the light of day. He was a writer on the much-maligned “Star Wars Holiday Special” that aired one time only in November 1978.


“Oh, my God, I have the script. I save the script to everything. Occasionally, I will go back and look at that thing and say, ‘Oh, my God, we actually did this. We really did this.’ I think there was a prop I took. I think I got a mug from the cantina on the planet Tatooine, where the aliens and Bea Arthur had a big number,” Vilanch said.


Tickets for Big Gay Comedy Show are available by calling (415) 273-1620 or online atbiggaycomedyshow.eventbrite.com. For more information on “Du Barry Was a Lady,” visit42ndstmoon.org.


Corey Andrew has been interviewing comedians and writing about comedy for the last decade and a half. He recently published the book, “Laugh Lines: Conversations with Comedians.” Corey was a writer and performer with Midwest sketch troupe, The NonProphets, before moving to the Bay Area with his family several years ago. If you have ideas for future columns about comedy, you can send them to coreywrites@yahoo.com or follow him at twitter.com/coreyshame.