Posted in cabaret, comedy, dinner, musical theater, mystery, theater, theater songs

Dinner theater

Menu, American Hotel 1862: By Unknown – Own work, Public Domain,

Don’t disparage the chance to watch theater or hear music while enjoying a meal. It has the old time charm of the big band era. Thinking of dining while being entertained reminds me of ball gowns and tuxedos– in short it simply sounds elegant. Even the vulgar were properly attired in those days.

In our loosey goosey environs, the chances are that you are decked out in an elegant pair of shorts with a tucked in shirt. You order a burger, rather than prime rib, and beer rather than bubbly.

The show, too, may be less burlesque, drama, lounge act and cabaret than it might be one of those guess- who-dunnits from the murder mystery circuit. Don’t get me wrong, there is room for an amusing evening in which we wonder which of our neighbors stuck a knife in a sidekick’s back while we ate our fries! It just is not as highbrow or as uplifting as theater can sometimes be.  The dramatics and dramatization may be broader than on Broadway, too.

As for the dress code for the audience, well, I haven’t worn a gown to a show in a long time, if ever. I look to the costume designer to dress the actors in an inspirational way. I can aspire to high-falutin’, ya know.

Posted in cabaret

“A person could develop a cold….”

“I was gob-smacked,” Faith Prince says during a recent cabaret event. And, by golly, if the 92nd Street Y audience doesn’t get it!

Prince is giving that great anomaly, a daytime cabaret. (Did I mention how much I appreciate matinees?)

She is the consummate New Yorker (by way of a small  town in Virginia upbringing.) She is also a consummate performer. Her cabaret act offers many highlights, not least songs from her Tony-winning turn as Adelaide in Guys and Dolls. She also reveals just why she would have been a marvellous Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors, if only… but let her tell it when you catch the act.

Look for Faith Prince on Broadway in The First Wives Club, currently in development soon. Or catch her in cabaret.

Posted in cabaret, David Shrubsole, meditation on life, Simon Green

Mid-Life with Simon Green

Simon Green in “Simon Green: So, This Then Is Life,” part of Brits Off Broadway at 59E59 Theaters.
Photo by Carol Rosegg

Simon Green in “Simon Green: So, This Then Is Life,” part of
Brits Off Broadway at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Carol Rosegg

A performer with a middling voice and a fair amount of charisma, Simon Green offers his view of life at that tipping point of middle age. Pushing onto 57 seems to have made Mr. Green wax philosophical.

His “Simon Green: So, This Then Is Life,” in a US premiere at 59E59 Theaters through June 1, is a metaphysical cabaret, to piano accompaniment by Simon Green’s long time musical director, David Shrubsole. Mr. Shrubsole, co-creator with Simon Green for the program, has also provided the musical arrangements to songs by a wide range of composers from Noel Coward to Stephen Sondheim.

For more information about “Simon Green: So, This Then Is Life,” please visit

Posted in cabaret, musical theater, Penny Fuller, solo show with piano player

Penny Fuller Sings of "13 Things…"

Virginia (Penny Fuller) is a widow in distress. It seems her husband Ed mortgaged away their life’s assets to some shady characters, including his brother Frank and the local banker, Bob O’Klock, before his sudden death.

Musical Director Paul Greenwood plays the piano and Penny Fuller as Virginia sings in 13 Things About Ed Carpolotti. Photo by Carol Rosegg

In “13 Things About Ed Carpolotti,” at 59E59 Theaters through December 30th, Virginia under siege hums, sings and narrates her tale.

Penny Fuller as Virginia in “13 Things…” Directed by Barry Kleinbort (book, music and lyrics). Photo by Carol Rosegg


The tension in “13 Things About Ed Carpolotti” builds as new creditors approach Virginia. “We’re Gonna Be Fine,” the not-entirely-convinced Virginia says and sings. Penny Fuller, backed by pianist and musical director, Paul Greenwood, is a delight. She voices each of the townsfolk she encounters. Her emotions flutter then overflow. “We’re gonna be great… we’re gonna be swell.”

Penny Fuller is Virginia in “13 Things…” Photo by Carol Rosegg

The cafe seating is the showcase for a cabaret styled musical piece directed by Barry Kleinbort (book, music and lyrics), based on a play by Jeffrey Hatcher.

The humor is of the gentle gallows kind, the mood sentimental and sweet. “13 Things About Ed Carpolotti” proves to be a delightful little show.

For more information on “13 Things About Ed Carpolotti,” visit

Posted in Anderson Twins, cabaret, concert, movie, music, swing, The Fabulous Dorseys

The Fabulous Andersons In A Tribute to The Dorseys

The joint is jumping, you better believe it!

Swing, swing, swing is in the air as the fabulous Andersons give a tribute to Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey at 59E59 Theaters through October 7th.  “The Anderson Twins Play The Fabulous Dorseys” is set to snippets from the film “The Fabulous Dorseys” with a charmingly cornball script by the brothers Will and Pete.

Pete Anderson, Jon-Erik Kellso, Kevin Dorn and Will Anderson in  “The Anderson Twins Play The Fabulous Dorseys” at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Lynn Redmile.

The battles between siblings Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey are echoed on the bandstand by Pete and Will. The brothers Anderson, who also offer a standard Thursday night performance in the E-Bar at 59E59, talented musicians on the clarinet, sax and flute, are backed by their sextet in this cabaret production of “The Anderson Twins Play The Fabulous Dorseys.”   
For more information and tickets, go to  
Posted in cabaret, musical theater

Lincoln Center’s 2012 "American Songbook" Was An Inclusive Series

Taking off at the crossroads of standards, jazz, pop, Latin and hip hop, Lincoln Center’s American Songbook has transformed The Allen Room in Time Warner Center into the classiest cabaret joint in town.

Lin-Manuel Miranda performing his work-in-progress about the First Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton at The White House

Lincoln Center’s American Songbook has been a celebration of the varied best of our native music since 1998. This year’s season ended on February 12th with a special added show by Elaine Paige.

Elaine Paige, a British star and frequent Sondheim, interpreter, is an icon musical theater.
(See video by clicking here.

Ms Paige’s recent acclaim as Carlotta in Follies precedes her. (See review of Follies at

The rising Broadway great, Laura Benanti told tales and sang songs in two shows on February 11th.

On opening night, January 11th, Lin-Manuel Miranda, gave the 2012 American Songbook series a rousing kick-off with excerpts from his work in progress hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton, whose birthday was January 11 in either 1755 or 1757.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s mash-up of cultural phenomena over the centuries in the telling of his tale, The Hamilton Mixtape, provides a vibrant and entertaining history lesson. Inspired by Ron Chernow’s biography of the first US Secretary of the Treasury, LMM started his work on this musical in 2002. LMM’s mash-up of cultural phenomena over the centuries in the telling of his tale provides a vibrant and entertaining history lesson. Lin-Manuel Miranda did not single handedly welcome rap and hip-hop into American Songbook. For his evening at American Songbook, he brought along a strong supporting cast that included Mandy Gonzalez, Christopher Jackson, and Jon Rua, all familiar from “In The Heights.” Gavin Creel. the very talented Broadway vet, was one of the highlights in his role as the petulant King George. Rebecca Naomi Jones sang a beautiful love song from, “Helpless,” while James Monroe Iglehart joined LMM in the cathartic and energetic “My Shot.”
(See video of LMM performing the piece at the White House at from here.

Michael Cerveris, a Broadway star and Tony recipient for Sondheim’s “Assassins,” brought his extremely rarified country roots to the venue in an evening entitled “An Idea of South” on 21 Jan. Featuring some Guthrie, some traditional Americana, a Samuel Barber song set to James Agee’s “Knoxville: Summer of 1915,” as well as rollicking New Orleans stylings, it was evident that MC has traveled this country road before. The small stage filled with supporting talent including Jonathan Batiste, and singer-songwriter Paul Sanchez. For “Another Suitcase” from “Evita” MC who is set to join Ricky Martin in the revival on Broadway, was joined by Laura Cantrell, whose voice is reminiscent of the late Patsy Kline.MC’s ease on stage, and circling among the tables before the show, made for a fine down-home performance.

Was “Hello Gorgeous! Leslie Kritzer Sings Julie Styne,” this funny lady’s audition for a Broadway run? Producers recently backed off an anticipated revival of the 1964 Broadway hit “Funny Girl.” Lauren Ambrose was set to for the lead, but the backers felt that, despite plenty of theater cred, she lacked name recognition. When the production was cancelled, LK, who played Fanny Bryce at the Paper Mill Playhouse, reportedly threw her hat in the ring. LK sang three songs from “Funny Girl” in her American Songbook debut on 3 Feb. LK’s comic and vocal talents were on ample display. She even did an excellent impersonation of Liza.

Visit to learn more about Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series so you’ll be ready for next year.