Dr. Sue: “Come to the Orange Bunker-Boy Comedy Cabaret” Positive Entertainment
Here in solo quarantine due to Covid-19, life can be lonely and boring. Let’s face it, human beings need to share food, drinks…and show tunes!
All the theaters and cabaret venues in New York City are closed. There’s no stage, no scenery, no colored lights, no live audience – and worst of all – no cute waiters.
What’s a cabaret girl (or boy) to do? We still want to connect – and we need to stay creative. We need life purpose, we need human company, we need the arts, we need… “Orange Bunker-Boy Comedy Cabaret”!
Some of us live-stream; some of us zoom; some of us youtube, and some of us social media. Some online friends become ongoing friends – who comfort and cheer us through these dark days and nights – minus the bright light lights of Broadway and mini-lights of cabaret. This show is for you.
I call it my Home-Style Comedy Cabaret. It’s not as filling as home-fries, but on the bright side – I won’t have to burn calories at my gym – which is still closed 🙂
By the way, this show is called “Orange Bunker-Boy Comedy Cabaret” – so if you don’t like political comedy – or orange feather boas – and you do like the orange-themed POTUS – don’t watch my video!
But if you do, here we go-a with my boa!
What good is siting alone in your bunk? Come to where rainbows play With orange hair you’ll be quite a hunk Come to Orange Bunker-Boy Comedy Cabaret!
Dr. Sue sings “Come to the Orange Bunker-Boy Comedy Cabaret”
The Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs (MAC) celebrates live entertainment at this annual NYC awards show!
Director Lennie Watts ( MAC President), Producer Julie Miller, Musical Director Barry Levitt, Stage Manager Amy Wolk, and Host Karen Mason (plus a platoon of presenters) put together an evening that honors the gifted members of this creative community.
A blend of divas, divos, and glamorous gender-benders, the MAC awards are entertaining (super voices and standards plus songs from new writers). The evening was “a gas!” (and not just the bubbles in our champagne) beginning with the opening song “There You Are” (by Peter Napolitano) that gently kids the nominees and two-drink minimum and urges everyone (win, lose, or booze) to enjoy the show.
MAC Awards 3-26-15
Winners include: Gabrielle Stravelli (Female Vocalist), Sterns Matthews (Male Vocalist), Stacy Sullivan (Major Artist), Celia Berk (New York Debut – Female), Kristoffer Lowe (New York Debut – Male), Ivan Farkus (Musical Comedy Performer), Rev Roger Anthony Yolanda Mapes (Impersonation/Drag Artist), Ted Stafford and Lorinda Lisitza (Duo/Group), “Revolution” Dawn Derow and Kathleen France (Revue), Salon (Recurring Series), “Dancing with Death” Thomas Honeck (Special Production), Tom Gamblin (Emcee), Tom Hubbard – Bass (Ensemble Instrumentalist), Nate Bucieri (Don’t Tell Mama) Nate Buccieri – (Piano Bar Instrumentalist), Bill Zeffiro (La Mediteranee), Elaine Brier (Piano Bar Singing Entertainer – Female), Bobby Belfry (Piano Bar Singing Entertainer – Male), Tracy Stark (Musical Director), Eric Michael Gillett (Director), Jean-Pierre Perreaux (Technical Director), Stearns Matthews (Recording), Bruce Kimmel “Simply” (Song), Amy Wolk and William TN Hall “The Brit Song” (Comedy/Novelty Song), Phil Geoffrey Bond “The 54 Sings” (Show of the Year).Honorees include Meg Flather (Hanson Award), Baby Jane Dexter and Steve Ross (Lifetime Achievement Awards), David Kenney, WBAI FM Radio ( MAC’s Board of Directors Award), Marc Nadler (Celebrity Artist), Urban Stages, Winter Rhythms (Ruth Kurtzman Benefit Series Award). Live Tweets by Natasha Castillo
Creative Living by Dr. Sue: You’re Never Too Old or Too Young:
Steve Ross sings the age-defying “I’m Not Through” and teen group Wingspan (mentored by Frances Hill, Lennie Watts, and Peter Napolitano) sing “Over the Rainbow” as a chorus with solos. Cabaret is an entertainment tradition that welcomes groups that are often marginalized due to age, ethnicity, and/or gender issues etc. If you think that your personal difference excludes you from opportunities, come to the cabaret!
“You Can Be a Hero” by Singer-Songwriter Dr. Sue
Photos by “GENEVIEVE” (Genevieve Rafter-Keddy)
“Come to the …” Can you name this Broadway musical?
Even if you missed Cabaret by Kander/Ebb, you can still enjoy live entertainment in an intimate room or a large venue like BB King’s Restaurant, in Times Square NYC, which hosts the annual MAC Awards.
MAC stands for Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs, but the talent is international, and the material is varied: show tunes , jazz, pop , comedy, tribute shows, drag acts, singer-songwriters, etc.
Almost anything goes as long as it’s the personal vision of the performer.
The key is sincerity (and if you can fake that – you’ve got it made)!
MAC Awards – Dr. Sue Photo: Genevieve Rafter Keddy
I had the thrill of interviewing MAC winners and nominees (past and present) for StageBuddy.com – a website devoted to the best in NYC entertainment, where you can see our videos.
Lennie Watts, Head of MAC’s board of directors, and Julie Miller co-produced the awards show, directed by Watts, who won his own MAC award for direction (musical direction by Don Rebic).
Mr. Watts shared insights on how to help performers weave stories and songs into a cohesive show – plus the practical realities of sustaining a cabaret career.
Therese Genecco, hosted the show, sang a mashup that included “Applause”, told jokes, and modeled three outfits (two guys’ suits and one gown).
Video: Dr. Sue Interviews MAC Cabaret Celebs for StageBuddy.com
Highlights include the marvelous Marilyn Maye (86 years old and going strong!) who won a Lifetime Achievement Award presented by legendary costume designer Bob Mackie. (She considers it her “midlife award”). Ms. Maye delivered a powerful, emotive, singing tribute to life and “you” her appreciative audience. Her sensitive phrasing and attention to lyrics exemplified what she teaches in her master classes. Linda Lavin, who won the other Lifetime Achievement Award, sang and accompanied herself on piano.
Other winners included the Eugene O’Neill Cabaret and Performance Conference (accepted by John McDaniel), and Will Friedwald of The Wall Street Journal was among the presenters.
Songwriters Julie Gold (Grammy-winner “From a Distance”) and Christine Lavin (“Good Thing He/She Can’t Read My Mind” ) shared sources of inspiration (from the social idealism of the ’60’s to dating deceptions) plus the latest cabaret/internet interface: concertwindow.com
Baby Jane Dexter- Dr. Sue Photo: Genevieve Rafter Keddy
Singer Baby Jane Dexter infuses her cabaret show with raw emotion – some from her personal history.
She also teaches Master Classes to both aspiring cabaret stars and at-risk, inner-city teens.
There were sequins a-plenty, plus wigs.
(Hello, Reverend Yolanda, a six-foot tall gender-bender gospel goddess) – plus sensitivity and search for meaning in this most personal of performing art forms.
Did I miss anyone? Of course I did.
But you can make it up to them – if you come to the cabaret!
Cabaret connects performers and audiences in a way that mass media and stadium-sized arenas never can.
Performers develop their talents; audiences get to be part of an art form that’s individual and special – not canned and homogenized for the mass-market.
It’s unpredictable, in-the-moment, and interactive – like life.
You might even catch a rising star!
(Photographer: Genevieve Rafter Keddy & Jay Berman, Editor: Jay Berman, Videography StageBuddy)
A Jewish Girl Named Tex – Photo by Russ Weatherford
A song publisher once advised me to write story songs. He said that some of our favorite songs tell stories. Audiences enjoy them, and they’re hard to get!
I love stories, comedy, and writing challenges! I also believe that if you can do something a bit unusual, you have a real advantage, so I was excited about taking a class in comedy songwriting at my favorite songwriting/performance camps (www.Summersongs.com ), and Posi Music Festival at Empowerma.com in Orlando, Florida).
I wound up writing and performing my song “A Jewish Girl Named Tex” in many venues, including Summersongs concerts and New York City cabarets. Please enjoy the video, and read on for a few thoughts about writing story songs and comedy.
Video: “A Jewish Girl Named Tex”
1. What makes a great story? One of the most important elements is a central character with a strong “want”. Also, when a sympathetic character is unfairly mistreated and/or headed for trouble, we worry and want to know what comes next. In “A Jewish Girl Named Tex” the main character is abandoned by her parents, confused about her identity, and looking for love. Sympathetic? You bet!) The other important character – the impulsive mother – gets used and dumped by a no-goodnik, but she’s still “hopin’ for romance.” What happens? The song takes you on a journey that answers these questions.
2. What makes something funny? Question #1 doesn’t sound funny – but it is, because comedy is rooted in pain – as long as it’s framed as comedy pain and uses comic writing/performing techniques. How do you do that?
To answer that question (plus questions about comic combos like Brooklyn girls and cowboys, song structure, rhyme, punch lines, audience participation, etc) , we need more than a short blog. I invite all writers/performers (amateur and expert) to contact me for workshops in New York City, Online via Email, and at Summersongs.com and Posi Music Festival.
I also invite you to hear me sing romantic songs & parodies in New York City and songwriting camps like Summersongs!
Creative Living:Do What You Love – and Be Part of a Community: I love writing and performing songs. What do you love? Can you find a way to connect (via camps, conferences, meet-up groups, clubs, professional associations, etc.) that supports who you are. Chances are you’ll find more than feedback on your skills – you’ll find friends and community.
(Editor/Photographer: Jay Berman, Videography: Jim Vern)
The New York City 2012 Cabaret Convention, a celebration of song standards and divine divas rocks the rafters of the Rose Room at Lincoln Center October 17, 18, and 19 from 6-9pm. This annual showcase of Broadway and bistro talent makes audiences sing, “You’re the tops!” – a fitting tribute to Cole Porter and other creators of the Great Popular Songbook.
This year’s fest fetes the late Donald F. Smith (“The King of Cabaret”) former Executive Director of the Mabel Mercer Foundation. Stepping in Smith’s shoes (transformed into high-heeled pumps) is the ever-elegant KT Sullivan, newly appointed Artistic Director and Singing Host of the Gala Opening Night(Wednesday, October 18), who presents the Julie Wilson Award to newcomer Shana Farr and Noel Coward Award to Jeff Harnar, with performances by Emily Bergl, Barbara Carroll, Tony DeSare, Ms. Farr, Lauren Fox, Gregory Generet,Edward Hibbert, Valerie Lemon, Amanda McBroom, Mark Nadler, Catherine Russell,Ms. Sullivan, and Amra-Faye Wright (starring as Velma Kelly in Chicago The Musical on Broadway).
On Thursday, October 18th: Salute to Cole Porter (Smith’s favorite composer/lyricist) will be hosted by Andrea Marcovicci and Jeff Harnar, with performances by the Co-hosts, plus Karen Akers, Anna Bergman, Ann Hampton Callaway, Clint Holmes, Marilyn Maye, Maude Maggart, Colleen McHugh, Todd Murray, T. Oliver Reid, Steve Ross, Jennifer Sheehan, Daryl Sherman, and Billy Stritch.
On Friday, October 19th: Thanks for the Memory is hosted by Klea Blackhurst (who will be awarded the Donald F. Smith Award) and includes the presentation of the annual Mabel Mercer Award to Christine Andreas, with performances by the honorees, and Carole J. Bufford, Jim Caruso, Natalie Douglas, Nicolas King, Karen Mason, Beckie Menzie & Tom Michael, Sidney Myer, Lee Roy Reams, and Craig Rubano.
For more info and ticket orders, go to Jazz At Lincoln Center’s Rose Theatre box office (Broadway at 60th Street) online at www.jalc.org or call The Mabel Mercer Foundation at (212) 980-3026. Come to the Cabaret!
(Editor: Jay Berman)