Home For The Holidays: A Café Carlyle Tradition

David Andrako Photo

Steve Tyrell at The Café Carlyle

The good news is that Grammy Award-winner Steve Tyrell is back at the Café Carlyle for his twelfth consecutive holiday season, the dream gig he inherited in 2005 from the legendary Bobby Short, who headlined at the Carlyle during the Christmas season for thirty-six years prior. Even better, he’s brought his excellent band along with him for Home For The Holidays, playing now through New Year’s Eve.

The bad news is there aren’t a whole lot of tickets left, as savvy cabaret-goers have snatched many of them up, but there is still some time to land a table at this fabled cabaret venue, if you hurry.

You’ll be glad you did. There is no place like the Café Carlyle for the holidays, for dinner, drinks and a show, and I mean no place. This elegant bastion of premier New York nightlife, nestled within the swank confines of the Hotel Carlyle on Madison Avenue, is rich in history, and settling into one of the tables in its chic dining room is one of the best after-work pleasures this city has to offer. Cocktails and a swell dinner commence at seven o’clock, and there is a buzz of expectation in the air that builds throughout the service until the headliners make their way through the intimate confines of the room, right past your table, to take the stage.

Steve Tyrell, whose already accomplished career as a producer and songwriter took off in an unexpected direction after his vocals were prominently featured in the hit film Father Of The Bride, is clearly right at home at the Carlyle, and his smart mix of American Standards and jazzy old holiday chestnuts will play right into that sweet spot for most cabaret fans. His distinctive lyric baritone, caught somewhere between a whiskey voice and a scour pad, is perfect for this music. If Brillo could sing, and sing really well, it might sound just like Steve Tyrell. He has a laid-back, easygoing style and is as comfortable with a bluesy version of Billy Joel’s New York State Of Mind as he is with more traditional standards like Let’s Fall In Love or The Way You Look Tonight. As a pop vocalist, he seems to have inherited the mantle of Crooner-In-Chief from Frank Sinatra, in much the same way that he inherited this storied room from Bobby Short: by default. I can’t think of anyone else singing right now who could pull that off. It is no accident that Steve Tyrell is celebrating Frank Sinatra’s 101st birthday later this month on Sirius XM’s “Siriusly Sinatra” channel, hosting a live three-hour broadcast from Patsy’s for the third consecutive year: he is now The Guy. Michael Bublé, go away.

It takes more than guts to sing a signature Sinatra tune like Let’s Fall In Love or That’s Life. It takes chops, as well as a whole roomful of talent, and that is just what you’ve got with Musical Director Quinn Johnson on piano, David Finck on bass, arranger Bob Mann on guitar, Kevin Winard on drums, David Mann on saxophone and flute, and Jon Allen on keyboards and vocals. This snappy, sophisticated combo swings through the material effortlessly, completely in synch with the superb Mr. Tyrell, who is in excellent voice and command.

Whether you are already in the holiday spirit, or still looking for a festive night out on the town to jolt you into one, forget that Christmas tree and those Rockettes at Rockefeller Center, pick up the phone and call the Café Carlyle while there are still some seats left for Steve Tyrell and Home For The Holidays: A Café Carlyle Tradition.

Performances are Tuesday – Friday at 8:45pm, and Saturdays at 8:45pm and 10:45pm. No shows on Christmas Day; special pricing for New Year’s Eve, please book directly through the hotel. Reservations can be made by phone at 212.744.1600 or online via Ticketweb. Café Carlyle is located in The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel, 35 East 76th Street, at Madison Avenue. Dress code is chic attire; for gentlemen, jackets are required.

Michael Hillyer

Author: Michael Hillyer

Michael Hillyer was an Associate Director at the 29th Street Rep, Blue Heron Arts Center and the Wings Theatre Company, and has directed elsewhere in New York at Playhouse 91, Theatre For The New City, the William Redfield Theatre, Douglas Fairbanks Theatre, the Nat Horne Theatre and the Irish Arts Center. His long-running horror-movie send-up at the American Renaissance Theatre, SLASHER, THE SPLATTER ROCK MUSICAL, was revived Off-Broadway at the Perry Street Theatre, choreographed by Susan Stroman. He has also directed at the John Drew Theatre (As You Like It), Millbrook Summer Playhouse (Morning's At Seven), Thomaston Opera House (Born Yesterday), the Palace Theatre in Stamford, CT (The Boy Who Cried Elvis) and the Palace Theatre in Manchester, NH (Shenandoah, Man Of La Mancha), as well as at Cornell, Columbia and Seton Hall Universities. He has written articles about New York theatre for Backstage and The Village Voice.

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