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Archive for the ‘Cabaret’ Category

Super-Sized Comedy: Bruce Vilanch

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Metro Weekly
Super-Sized Comedy: Bruce Vilanch
Bruce Vilanch and Judy Gold team up for an evening of comedy and Hollywood secrets
By Connor J. Hogan on November 5, 2015

4-27-2013 4-01-43 AM

“You get your start in comedy by looking in the mirror and thinking what you see is unusual,” says Bruce Vilanch. “So you start making funny faces and perform for yourself.”

Sixty-six years — and six Emmys — after first catching a glimpse of himself in the mirror, Vilanch is still screwing up his face and cracking wise. His signature heft, charmingly raspy voice, and unstoppable wit marked him for a career in comedy from the get go. It helped that he had a “deep-seated need to express [myself],” Vilanch says. “Also, to be funny.”

More than just a comedian, Vilanch has become a force of nature in Hollywood and is particularly known for co-penning the Academy Awards each year. Now, he’s teamed up with lesbian comedian Judy Gold (a two-time Emmy award winner herself) for Big and Tall: Bruce Vilanch and Judy Gold, playing this weekend at the Alden Theatre. “I’m number one, and she’s number two,” Vilanch quips. The comedians met while Gold was working on Margaret Cho’s sitcom, All-American Girl. “I don’t remember exactly when lightning struck,” Vilanch says, “but we were two big gay Jews, and we’re both very showbizzy, so it was a natural fit.”

But beyond being gay and Jewish, Gold has one more more handicap — at least in Hollywood’s terms — than Vilanch: being a woman. “It was interesting for Judy, because at the beginning she wasn’t out. It was pre-Ellen,” Vilanch says. “And because all women are perceived as romantic figures, the vast unwashed audiences had to think she had a shot at getting a man.”

In our post-Ellen world, however, Vilanch believes comedians can thrive on being gay. “There are people who are Professional Homosexuals, and those who are Homosexual Professionals,” he says. “People who were gay who did what they did, and people who what they did was being gay. When I get up there, I play myself. I’ve been authentic my entire life.” — Connor J. Hogan

Big and Tall: Bruce Vilanch and Judy Gold is Saturday, November 7th at 9 p.m. at the Alden Theatre in the McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean, Va. Tickets range from $20 to $72. For more information, visit

Bruce Vilanch brings Carnival fun to Provincetown Theater

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Provincetown Banner
Bruce Vilanch brings Carnival fun to Provincetown Theater
August 18, 2015

4-27-2013 3-29-19 AM

All kinds of fabulous people come to Provincetown during Carnival week. Bruce Vilanch is one of the funniest and he’s got a new 90-minute show at the Provincetown Theater, Aug. 20-22. Plus, he’s bringing some special friends, the Skivvies, with him.

The Skivvies, Vilanch explains, “are a man and a woman and they play instruments and they work in their underwear. They were in the John Doyle production of ‘Sweeney Todd’ and fell in love with their instruments.”

The Skivvies have a following of Broadway friends who hang with them and also play in their undies. For this show, Nick Adams, of “Wicked” and “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” fame, and Randy Harrison appear with them.

Everywhere Vilanch goes it’s a party — a celebration of gay life and culture. Here is a man who doesn’t need the Supreme Court to make him feel like a real person. He’s been making queer folks laugh and feel good about themselves for years. A wickedly outrageous comic with a heart of gold, he’s the Jewish mother you always wanted.

Vilanch started out as a child actor in New York doing commercials and summer stock, never the star but always in the show. “I was never a child star or we’d be having this conversation in rehab,” he says. “My parents encouraged it. They were happy that I was happy doing it. However, they wanted me to have something to fall back on. They thought journalism would be the thing.”

After college he worked for the Chicago Tribune. While there, he interviewed Bette Midler. Before long, he was writing her act and when she hit it big both of them were off and running. He also wrote for Lily Tomlin, Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams.

He was the head writer for the Academy Awards from 2000-2014 and served in the same capacity for the third iteration of Hollywood Squares.

“I’d been writing for Whoopi for years and when [‘Hollywood Squares’] made a deal with her, she said, ‘Vilanch should be the host,’” he says. “They thought she was crazy but they didn’t want to piss her off so early so they tested me.”

“They said your test is really funny but we need someone a little more mainstream to be the ringmaster in this circus,” says Vilanch. “They put me in a square next to Whoopi. They figured I could tame her, which is not a good idea because she’s really a Jewish boy and I’m a black woman. We had a lot of fun out there. All of a sudden I was on TV every night. Just like Donald Trump.”

‘One Starry Night’ Raises 200k For ALS

Friday, May 8th, 2015

Broadway World
Renee Zellweger and More Attend ‘ONE STARRY NIGHT’ Benefit for ALS Association
May 5, 2015

5-8-2015 3-50-34 AM

“One Starry Night: From Broadway to Hollywood,” a one-night-only musical and entertainment extravaganza in benefit of the ALS Association Golden West Chapter, was presented Monday, April 20 at the historic Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, CA. Thanks to performances and appearances by an exciting gathering of Broadway and Hollywood talent, and the greater Los Angeles community at large, the evening raised nearly $200,000. BWW TV’s Los Angeles Correspondent and Co-Producer Michael Sterling, along with Co-Producer/Videographer Paul Preston of Digital Mind Productions, spoke to the stars as they walked the red carpet prior to the evening’s festivities!

The star-studded event featured a cast which (in alphabetical order) included Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actor Ed Asner, Broadway’s Brent Barrett (“Silence The Musical”, “Chicago The Musical”), Grammy Award winner and international recording icon Petula Clark, Micky Dolenz (“The Monkees”), Juliana Hansen (Disney musical and concert star; NBC’s “Grease, You’re The One That I Want!”), singer/songwriter Devin Kelly, television and film star Jean Louisa Kelly (“Yes, Dear”; “Mr. Holland’s Opus”), noted television comedienne Wendy Liebman, TV, Film and Theatre star Bethany Joy Lenz, Broadway’s Norm Lewis (Phantom of the Opera), TV and Film star Kate Linder (“The Young and the Restless”), Musical Theatre star Lisa Livesay (“Wicked”), Ben Mankiewicz ((Film critic and Turner Classic Movie Network host), Film and TV star Heather McComb , Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Melissa Manchester, George Newbern (ABC TV’s “Scandal”), Broadway’s Kerry O’Malley (“White Christmas”, “Annie Get Your Gun”; “Showstoppers”/Wynn Hotel/Las Vegas), Timothy Omundson (ABC TV’s “Galavant”), Reagan Pasternak (Disney Channel’s “In A Heartbeat,”), Illusionist Jonathan Pendragon, Broadway and TV’s Eric Petersen (Shrek and TV’s “Kirstie” starrin Kirstie Alley), Jenna Lea Rosen (Disney TV’s “Sofia the First”), Jason Ritter (NBC’s “Parenthood”), Richard Sherman (Academy Award-winning Composer Disney’s “Mary Poppins”, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”, “The Jungle Book”), Bruce Vilanch (Broadway’s ” Hairspray”), and Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Renee Zellweger.

In addition to the performances, the Chapter’s Essey Awards were presented to notable supporters of the ALS community for their outstanding efforts in public awareness, care services, and research. The Essey Award is the Chapter’s highest honor and given annually in honor of one of the Chapter’s founding members, Richard Essey.

The Golden West Chapter recognized the following honorees for outstanding achievements in the fight against ALS:

THE 2015 SPOTLIGHT AWARD- The Filmmakers of “The Theory of Everything”

The Spotlight Award was presented to individuals and companies who help to raise ALS awareness by educating the public about the experience of living with ALS and the impact the disease has on loved ones and caregivers. The Golden West Chapter proudly presented this year’s Spotlight Award to the filmmakers of the Academy Award-winning film, “The Theory of Everything.” The movie, its cast and crew, the companies behind its production, and its real-life subjects – the Hawking family – have inspired the ALS community.

THE 2015 SPIRIT AWARD- Richard Glatzer & Wash Westmoreland, Writers/Directors of “Still Alice”

The Spirit Award was presented to individuals who have displayed extraordinary determination while living with ALS. Richard Glatzer, who recently lost his battle with ALS, along with his husband Wash Westmoreland, adapted and directed, “Still Alice,” earning Julianne Moore a 2015 Academy Award. Shortly before receiving the green light to begin production on the film, Richard was diagnosed with ALS, yet both he and Wash persevered to complete their work on this acclaimed project. As a part of the Spirit Award’s presentation and tribute to Richard and Wash, the event was pleased to have Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winner Ed Asner and George Newbern (ABC’s “Scandal”) performing an excerpt from “Tuesdays with Morrie.”

In addition, the Golden West Chapter celebrated Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for having earned the distinguished designation as an ALS Association Certified Treatment Center of Excellence. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is the only Certified Treatment Center of Excellence in southern California, and a flagship program in the country. Renee Zellweger presented the Cedars’ team with a plaque recognizing this outstanding achievement and Cedar’s commitment to ALS care and the search for an effective treatment and cure.

Produced by Juliana Hansen, Melissa Verdugo and Jonathan White, the evening was directed by Grammy Award-nominee and distinguished theatre director Bruce Kimmel directed, with musical direction and orchestrations provided by Richard Allen.

Proceeds from the event will provide funding for The ALS Association Golden West Chapter’s mission critical priorities in care services, public policy and cutting-edge global research toward treatments and cure for ALS. For further information, visit or call (800) 750-2572.

Bruce Vilanch To Play ProvinceTown Theater This Summer

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

4-27-2013 4-11-25 AM

Bruce Vilanch; Special Guests: The Barbrashop Quartet (Aug. 20-22). Vilanch, joins The Provincetown Theater for Carnival week to share funny stories alongside The Barbrashop Quartet, a new concert written by Vilanch, featuring four of Broadway’s hottest men honoring the one and only Streisand.

VIP $80 (First 2 rows)

RESERVED $65 (Middle rows A-D)

BACK $50 (Back 2 rows)

$3.50 is added to each ticket to support The Provincetown Theater Foundation. Select row AA or BB for handicap accessibility.

To purchase tickets: Click Here

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

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.


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


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.