Thanks 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.
BILLIE ROE, 1978 NYC Underground
Metropolitan Room, Duplex
JONATHAN WHITTON, The Free Residency; Black Sheep Carnival
Don’t Tell Mama
MARISSA MULDER, Tom…In His Words: The Songs of Tom Waits
Metropolitan Room, Stage 72, Joe’s Pub
ANITA GILLETTE, After All
Metropolitan Room, St. James Studio (London), Cape May Stage (NJ)
NEW YORK DEBUT – FEMALE
MARY LAHTI, A Kid Again
NEW YORK DEBUT – MALE
GARY CRAWFORD, In Love With Love
Metropolitan Room, Don’t Tell Mama
MUSICAL COMEDY PERFORMER
COLLEEN MCHUGH, Calendar Girl
ROGER ANTHONY MAPES, Rev. Yolanda’s Old Time Gospel Hour
TANYA HOLT & MARCUS SIMEONE, Quiet Storm
TWENTIETH CENTURY GIRL: THE LOIS MORTON SONGBOOK, Music and lyrics by Lois Morton, directed by Lennie Watts, musical direction and arrangements by Paul Greenwood
Don’t Tell Mama, Duplex
SALON (founder, artistic director and host, Mark Janas)
THE AMANDA MCBROOM PROJECT. Conceived and Directed by Eric Michael Gillett, songs by Amanda McBroom. Laurie Beechman Theater
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
Don’t Tell Mama, Duplex
RESTAURANT/HOTEL LOUNGE INSTRUMENTALIST
PIANO BAR/RESTAURANT SINGING ENTERTAINER – FEMALE
Don’t Tell Mama
PIANO BAR/RESTAURANT SINGING ENTERTAINER – MALE
Barb Jungr (Joe’s Pub, O’Neill Conference, 59E59), Billie Roe (Metropolitan Room, Duplex), Tanya Holt & MarcusSimeone (Metropolitan Room)
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)
Marilyn Maye, Anita Gillette, Annie Ross (Metropolitan Room)
BEST RECORDING (LaMott Friedman Award)
Tom… In His Words
THE RIGHT TIME by Andrew Sotomayor
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.