During the past year, I’ve had the pleasure of serving on the Bistro Awards committee, which honors excellence in New York cabaret. Last night, recipients for the 27th Annual Bistro Awards were honored in Manhattan’s Gotham Comedy Club, where they performed for the assembled crowd.
Lifetime Achievement winner Kaye Ballard (whom I interviewed recently for this website) was not on hand, but her good friend, columnist Liz Smith was there, and Ballard was Skyped in from her home in Palm Springs for a brief chat. Lee Roy Reams—who performed with Ballard recently in Texas and California—also got into the conversation.
Jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater had missed her original flight to NYC, but she arrived at the club directly from the airport, her Maltese in tow (it was a two-dog night: Ballard had earlier brought one of her pups into the Skype’s eye view). Bridgewater sang “God Bless the Child” plus a blistering version of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things.” (You don’t see the adjective “blistering” applied to that song very often, do you?)The evening concluded with an appearance by honoree Melissa Manchester. Introduced by Marvin Hamlisch, she sang a honey-sweet rendition of “Through the Eyes of Love.” Hamlisch accompanied her on the song (which he co-wrote with Carole Bayer Sager for the film Ice Castles).
Among other performers honored during the evening were jazz cornetist-trumpeter Warren Vaché and singers Jean Brassard and Rita Gardner (both of whom have been interviewed in recent months for Simply-Showbiz.com). Producer Sherry Eaker opened and closed the evening, and comedian Jim David served as the delightfully wry host.
The evening gave evidence that cabaret’s vital signs are still excellent. And the audience’s enthusiasm demonstrated that this is an entertainment genre that brooks no age restrictions. From 20-year-old Bistro-winning vocalist Nicolas King to 86-year old Ballard—all have a place at the cabaret table.
Powered by Facebook Comments