Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs – 2014 Award Winners

photoThanks to my friend Bestyann Faiella of Savoy PR, I was able to attend this year’s MAC Awards.  For those of you who don’t know, MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) is not a computer geek group.  It is an amazing amalgamation of extraordinary performers.  This is not the TONY Awards or the SAG Awards.  This is the People Who Sing Because They MUST awards.

We hunkered down at BB King’s and helped ourselves to salads and fried everything.  People were hugging and kissing and just being swell on all accounts.  Our host was Terese Genecco who sported no less than three outfits, including one dress.The gala was produced by Julie Miller and directed by Lennie Watts, the current MAC President. 

Two Lifetime Achievement Awards were previously announced for Linda Lavin and Marilyn Maye, as well as the 2014 Board of Directors Award for the Eugene O’Neill Cabaret and Performance Conference.

The Ruth Kurtzman Benefit Award went to the Park Concert Series (formerly The Concerts for City Greens), and was accepted by its founder, Raissa Katona Bennett.

The Hanson Award went to vocalist Amy Beth Williams, and two scholarships for performing Arts education were awarded to youth from WingspanArts: Jenna Barricklo and Sofia Bryant.

With the exception of Marilyn Maye (who walks on water and BLEW THE ROOF off the place when she performed and is reviewed here) I knew none of these performers.  Each winner performed (they all prepared but only the winner performed – dedicated or what??!!) These are the people who look like you and me.  Their glamour is in their music.  They come in all shapes and sizes and (Yesssss!!!!!) all A-G-E-S.  Seems as though Cabaret is a place where your age gives you gravitas.  The older  you get the more  you know, and the more you know the richer your music.  Duh – what a concept.  The theatre world could take a page from that book, eh?

Places like Don’t Tell Mama, The Metropolitan Room, The Duplex, Joe’s Pub and Café Carlyle), Laurie Beechman Theater, Iridium, 54 Below, Cutting Room, Brandy’s – these are the canaries in the mine.  As long as they keep singing we are doing okay.  Who knows?  Perhaps they will increase in number.  Who would argue with a dream like that?

When introducing the winner for Piano Bar Instrumentalist Nate Buccieri the presenter said something like, “Remember these are the folks who stay up until 5:00.”  They are the people who keep New York humming and throbbing until the wee hours.  These are the people who make New York “the city that never sleeps” as well as the city with a song in its heart.  Have a look below – these are folks you want to follow.  I promise.

FEMALE VOCALIST

BILLIE ROE1978 NYC Underground
Metropolitan Room, Duplex

MALE VOCALIST
JONATHAN WHITTONThe Free Residency; Black Sheep Carnival
Don’t Tell Mama

MAJOR ARTIST
MARISSA MULDERTom…In His Words: The Songs of Tom Waits
Metropolitan Room, Stage 72, Joe’s Pub

CELEBRITY ARTIST
ANITA GILLETTEAfter All
Metropolitan Room, St. James Studio (London), Cape May Stage (NJ)

NEW YORK DEBUT – FEMALE
MARY LAHTIA Kid Again
Duplex

NEW YORK DEBUT – MALE
GARY CRAWFORD, In Love With Love
Metropolitan Room, Don’t Tell Mama

MUSICAL COMEDY PERFORMER
COLLEEN MCHUGH, Calendar Girl
Duplex

IMPERSONATION/CHARACTERIZATION/DRAG ARTIST
ROGER ANTHONY MAPES, Rev. Yolanda’s Old Time Gospel Hour
Duplex

DUO/GROUP
TANYA HOLT & MARCUS SIMEONEQuiet Storm
Metropolitan Room

REVUE
TWENTIETH CENTURY GIRL: THE LOIS MORTON SONGBOOKMusic and lyrics by Lois Morton, directed by Lennie Watts, musical direction and arrangements by Paul Greenwood
Don’t Tell Mama, Duplex

RECURRING SERIES

SALON (founder, artistic director and host, Mark Janas)

SPECIAL PRODUCTION
THE AMANDA MCBROOM PROJECT. Conceived and Directed by Eric Michael Gillett, songs by Amanda McBroom. Laurie Beechman Theater

EMCEE-RECURRING SERIES
DANA LORGE

ENSEMBLE  INSTRUMENTALIST
SEAN HARKNESS, Guitar
Lauren Fox (Metropolitan Room); Terese Genecco’s Little Big Band (Iridium, 54 Below, Cutting Room); Karen Akers (Allen Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center), Joanne Tatham (Café Carlyle)

PIANO BAR INSTRUMENTALIST
NATE BUCCIERI
Don’t Tell Mama, Duplex

RESTAURANT/HOTEL LOUNGE INSTRUMENTALIST
BILL ZEFFIRO
La Mediterranée

PIANO BAR/RESTAURANT SINGING ENTERTAINER – FEMALE
ALISON NUSBAUM
Don’t Tell Mama

PIANO BAR/RESTAURANT SINGING ENTERTAINER – MALE
BOBBY BELFRY
Brandy’s

MUSICAL DIRECTOR
T
RACY STARK
Barb Jungr (Joe’s Pub, O’Neill Conference, 59E59), Billie Roe (Metropolitan Room, Duplex), Tanya Holt & MarcusSimeone (Metropolitan Room)

DIRECTOR
LENNIE WATTS
Billie Roe (Metropolitan Room, Duplex), Marquee Five (54 Below), Picture Perfect – The Music and Lyrics of Scott EvanDavis (Duplex, Catalina Jazz Club), 20th Century Girl: The Lois Morton Songbook (Don’t Tell Mama, Duplex)

TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
JEAN-PIERRE PERREAUX
Marilyn Maye, Anita Gillette, Annie Ross (Metropolitan Room)

BEST RECORDING (LaMott Friedman Award)
MARISSA MULDER
Tom… In His Words

BEST SONG
THE RIGHT TIME by Andrew Sotomayor

COMEDY/NOVELTY SONG
SHALOM, SANTA
Music by Douglas J. Cohen and Lyrics by Tom Toce

SHOW OF THE YEAR
ECHOES OF ETTA: A TRIBUTE TO ETTA JAMES, Created and conceived by William Blake and Michael ThomasMurray, starring William Blake, musical direction by Michael Thomas Murray Birdland, Joe’s Pub, Café Carlyle

The Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs (MAC) was founded in 1983, primarily as an organization for cabaret owners, managers, and booking agents to meet and exchange ideas. The organization started accepting performers in 1985. MAC’s mission is to advance the art and business of live entertainment, heighten public awareness of the field’s contributions and vitality, to honor its creativity, to build its current and future audiences, and to speak out as an influential voice on behalf of MAC members and the industry at large. 
Members of MAC include cabaret, comedy and jazz artists and directors, technicians, management, clubs, club owners and personnel, members of the journalism and PR professions and a wide variety of supporters of live entertainment.

 

Tulis McCall

Author: Tulis McCall

For my money, the theatre is up there in the ten top reasons to be human. I leave my home and go sit in a dark room with complete strangers and watch actors do their stuff because I want to be inspired. I’m asking to be involved. I’m volunteering to be led down any old path they choose as long as they don’t let go of my hand. And if I see a show, and it is NOT so very good – I will try to divert you, because I don’t want you to come to the temple when the preaching isn’t up to snuff. I will bar the door, I will swing from rafters, I will yell FIRE just to set your feet on a path that does not lead to disappointment. Do something different with your evening I will say. Save your money for dinner with a friend you haven’t seen in months because you are too frigging busy. Go take a walk with your dog or your child or your significant other. Go to bed early, I will say. Don’t come to the theatre when it is less than it can be. I’m an usher snob, and that’s all there is to it.

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