UTE LEMPER “VOYAGE” Chanteuse In Attack Mode: An Original

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UTE LEMPER

Performances through January 31st. The performance schedule is: Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8:45PM with late shows on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 10:45PM. There is a $50 cover charge with no minimum required. Dinner is served from 6:30PM. (Excellent Kitchen & Service). For reservations please call 212-570-7189. Visit www.thecarlyle.com for additional information.

Ute Lemper, international star of stage (Chicago, Cabaret, Cats) and screen (Pret-A-Porter), is unlike any other cabaret performer. In a select-world where anyone who puts together a group of songs (and that can be rock, pop, or obscure show tunes) can label it “cabaret,” it is a pleasure to see a colossal talent like Ms. Lemper, who is at once an historian, comedian, sex-goddess, actress and dancer — if we omitted anything please accept our apologies.

Lemper may be blond, of German descent, and exhibit a deliciously androgynous quality, but that is where the comparison with Marlene Dietrich ends. Here is a performer that can tease, taunt and tickle even the most jaded pessimist’s funny bone in a heartbeat.

Lemper must be the only mainstream cabaret performer who would have the chuspa to sing her opening number in Yiddish. Her antique velvet coat later gives way to a black gown revealing lots of bare skin and straps that cling lasciviously to a figure that can only be described as “Oh my God!”

Leper’s musical program, “VOYAGE,” is a journey through the sleepless cities and places of the world, between yesterday and tomorrow, either right here or somewhere at the end of the world…in music, poetry or silence – between war and peace…through the glossy upper world and the not-so-glossy underworld of whiskey bars and lost souls.

The journey includes musical reflections in Yiddish, Hebrew, Portuguese, Arabic, German, French and, of course, English. She saunters through sleepless nights of Brel and Piaf and includes the obligatory walk on the Weill side. There are also excursions with such offbeat contemporary writers as Tom Waits, Nick Cave and Elvis Costello. Alas, her weakest moment is an ill-conceived “September Mourn," an ode to 9/11 that is more interesting for its accompaniment than its message. All of Lemper’s arrangements and backup are first rate, thanks to Vana Gierig on piano, Mark Lambert on acoustic guitar and Todd Turkisher on creative drums. The diva and emissary of the Weimar epoch and political satire, Lemper, is not so vain as to sacrifice facial grimace, bridging on the macabre, when necessary. But nothing is done for effect. Each movement; every magical moment is delivered with precision and a raison d’etre.

Would any challenge daunt Ms. Lemper? I doubt it. She even achieves the near impossible mating of "Alabama Song" ("The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny") and "All That Jazz" ("Chicago"). It is part of a pre-closing medley that is riveting and the perfect set up for a quick change back to her opening outfit with the addition of a bowler hat. As if from the mist of an impressionistic painting, the haunting strains of the French composer, Erik Satie’s most famous piano composition (Gymnopédie No. 1 (1888)), segue to “Mac the Knife.” It is performed, as you have never heard it performed before. But then, in Ute Lemper’s world, that’s de rigueur.

Copyright 2014 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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FEINSTEIN’S AT LOEWS REGENCY PRESENTS THE DEBUT OF HOLLYWOOD AND BROADWAY LEGEND JANIS PAIGE STAR OF “THE PAJAMA GAME,” “MAME” & “SILK STOCKINGS”

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TWO SHOWS ONLY, MAY 20 AND MAY 21

FEINSTEIN’S AT LOEWS REGENCY, the nightclub proclaimed “Best of New York” by New York Magazine and “an invaluable New York institution” by The New York Post will continue its Spring 2012 season with the debut of Broadway and Hollywood legend, JANIS PAIGE for two nights only on May 20 and May 21. For her one-woman show, Paige shares favorite songs and recounts tales from her lifetime in show business — from achieving a dream of Hollywood stardom to her leading roles on Broadway, the famous people who influenced her life and career, her personal and professional triumphs, and the losses and laughs of a long and highly-successful career. A veteran of the stage and screen, Ms. Paige takes her audience along for a revealing, poignant, witty and unforgettable journey. Ms. Paige will appear for two shows only at the Loews Regency Hotel (540 Park Avenue at 61st Street).

JANIS PAIGE is the consummate entertainer, whose career spans every facet of show business, from film and theater to television and nightclubs. She’s made her mark from Hollywood to Broadway and countless cities in between, stealing the hearts of millions in hundreds of performances and appearances over seven decades. Ms. Paige’s film career includes critically-acclaimed turns opposite Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in Silk Stockings, and a flashy role in the comedy Please Don’t Eat the Daises. She co-starred in films including Bachelor in Paradise, Romance on the High Seas, The Caretakers, and Follow the Boys, Welcome to Hard Times, starring opposite film greats like Bob Hope, Doris Day, Lana Turner, Joan Crawford, David Niven and Henry Fonda.

Her first Broadway hit came in 1951, when she starred opposite Jackie Cooper in the Lindsay and Crouse comedy, Remains to Be Seen. Three years later, she returned to Broadway in the Tony Award winning musicalThe Pajama Game, followed by Meredith Willson’s Here’s Love. She then garnered rave reviews after replacing Angela Lansbury in the smash hit musical, Mame. Ms. Paige has enjoyed a thriving cabaret career, headlining major nightclubs and supper clubs around the country with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Alan King, Joe E. Lewis, Milton Berle, Liberace, Tony Bennett, Vic Damone, Dinah Shore, and many more.

Ms. Paige starred in her own television series, “It’s Always Jan” (1955-1956), co-starred with Richard Crenna and Bernadette Peters in “All’s Fair (1976),” starred as Art Carney’s wife in the Mystery Movie Theater series“Lanigan’s Rabbi” (1977), as Dick Van Patten’s sister on the beloved family series “Eight Is Enough” (1977-1980), and the sitcom “Baby Makes Five” (1983) starring Peter Scolari. Her guest turn on “All In The Family”(1976- 1978) as the sultry waitress who almost tempted Archie Bunker into an extra marital affair created such a stir with viewers that she was called back to reprise the role. In the last season of “Trapper John, M.D.”(1986), she played a recurring role as the beautiful and mature hospital administrator, Catherine Hackett.

FEINSTEIN’S AT LOEWS REGENCY will present JANIS PAIGE on Sunday, May 20 and Monday, May 21 at 8:00 PM. All shows have a $40.00 cover with $60.00 premium seats available. In addition, there is a $25.00 food and beverage minimum. Jackets are suggested but not required. The club is located at 540 Park Avenue at 61st Street in New York City. For ticket reservations and club information, please call (212) 339-4095 or visit us online at Feinsteinsatloewsregency.com and TicketWeb.com.

Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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HOWARD MC GILLIN MAKES OAK ROOM DEBUT IN “ISN’T IT ROMANTIC” WITH CHARM AND CONGENIALITY

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Best known for his record-setting performances as the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, Howard McGillin has enjoyed a varied career on both Broadway and London stages. Mr. McGillin, has a winning way with his audience and a lovely and cultured tenor voice that has made him the quintessential leading man in theatre.

At his eagerly awaited Oak Room debut, (From September 13-24),  McGillin presented an evening of love songs that aptly answered the question, “Isn’t It Romantic?” Howard offers a program, with appealing patter, that explores a variety of romantic experiences, highlighted by a rendition of “All The Things You Are,” (Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein II) that was simple and without embellishments, proving that a great song needs nothing more than to be sung with sensitivity to make its point.

A combined arrangement of “A Foggy Day IN LONDON TOWN” (George and Ira Gershwin) and the lovely “A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square” (Eric Maschwitz; Manning Sherwin; Jack Strachey)  gives Howard the opportunity to fill us in on his adventures, when living in London, and a neat duo pairing, a rollicking “SHE LOVES ME” (Sheldon Harnick; Jerry Bock) with a subtle version of “Dear Friend” (Sheldon Harnick; Jerry Bock) from the same show, allows Mr. McGillin to demonstrate his dramatic range and vocal finesse.

The high point of the evening was a stunning rendering of “Putting It Together” (Stephen Sondheim) that was eclipsed by the beyond-beautiful “Good Thing Going” (Stephen Sondheim), demonstrating that some of the best theater songs come from shows that are less than memorable.

“Time” (Barry Kleinbort; Joseph Thalken), offered an appealing contemporary touch, while “Two For The Road” (Henry Mancini; Leslie Bricusse) was the perfect encore.

Beautifully accompanied by Joseph Thalken at the piano and Richard Sarpola on bass, Howard McGillin is easy to like, easy to listen to and brings a thoroughly pleasant evening of entertainment to the Algonquin’s legendary Oak Room.  

Shows are Tuesday through Thursday at 8:30 pm and Friday and Saturday at 8:30 and 11 pm. There is a $50 cover charge plus either a $60 dinner at 7 or $30 food and beverage minimum. Reservations: 212 419 9331 or bmcgurn@algonquinhotel.com.

Copyright 2011 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved

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EMILY BERGL OPENS OAK ROOM SEASON WITH A BANG IN “KIDDING ON THE SQUARE”

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In her Oak Room debut August 30,  brilliant young actress singer Emily Bergl, star of Broadway (Nora Ephron’s "Love, Loss and What I Wore,"), film (“The Rage: Carrie 2”) and TV’s Royal Pains and Desperate Housewives, roars into the Oak Room with more gusto than Hurricane Irene in the her exhilarating act: ”Kidding on the Square.”

A theatrical cabaret-act that transports the audience on a fast-paced ride through love, heartbreak and everything in between, ”Kidding on the Square” is told from the perspective of a modern girl and the eccentric characters she inhabits,

Something old (the Boswell Sisters “We Just Couldn’t Say Goodbye”; something new (Peter Brown & Robert Rans “Material Girl" by way of Madonna); something borrowed ( "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" as an evolving Judy Garland); and something blue (as in Bergl’s deliciously compelling version of “Billy Barnes jazz classic Something Cool,”); the show features a rich array of songs that include Roy Orbison’s “Cryin’,” Fats Waller’s “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” a poignant characterization of Rodgers & Hart’s “Ten Cents a Dance as a down-and-out hostess,” Dietz & Schwartz’ Confession” and an unexpected opening number, interpreting Noel Coward’s “Mad About the Boy”  with a serious bent: the lady gets truly angry.

In ”Kidding on the Square,” Bergl does what she does best, which in the case of this hour and fifteen minutes appears to be everything. It comes as no surprise that her acting, where, comedic, dramatic or character is a paragon of perfection, but she looks terrific is a slinky gray “pull apart” gown, that becomes a sexy dress and finally morphs into leotards and tights. Her movement is as controlled as possible in these small quarters. But the big kicker is the voice: A luscious lyric soprano that can go into a metallic chest, when the material demands, as in an hilarious rendition of the vintage Andrews Sisters“Bei Mir Bist Du Schön” that is worth the price of admission.

High points test Ms. Bergl’s. comedic, dramatic and vocal abilities, which she passes with grade “A” marks. Memorable Moments: Pink Martini’s song "Sympathique" from the 1997 album Sympathique,  and you needn’t speak French to get the nuanced meaning.”

Kidding on the Square”  is beautifully directed by Sarna Lapine with G. Scott Lacy as musical director and receives outstanding backup from pianist Jonathan Mastro (Musical director of the hit revival of "Our Town,)" with the talented Ritt Henn on bass and ukulele.

After a fun closing (“Dream a Little Dream of Me,”) Ms. Bergl encores with a heart-wrenching version of the Peggy Lee hit “Is That All There Is.“ And indeed, this is one of the few times in recent memory, we felt that way too about a cabaret act: Absolutely electrifying and not to be missed. Reserve now! The show will run through Saturday September 10th.

Shows are Tuesday through Thursday at 8:30 and Friday and Saturday at 8:30 and 11 pm.   The cover charge is $50 per person plus either a $30 food and beverage minimum or a $60 prix fixe dinner.  Reservations:  212 419 9331 or bmcgurn@algonquinhotel.com

 

Note: The new menu features an amazingly tender and moist Berkshire pork chop that is in step with making the Algonquin kitchen on a par with the atmosphere, entertainment and service one encounters in this truly great New York institution.

Click Here To Visit Emily Bergl’s Official Website

Click Here To Visit Website of Oak Room Supper Club

Copyright 2011 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved

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CLAIRE MARTIN & RICHARD RODNEY BENNETT CLOSE OAK ROOM’S SPRING SEASON MAY 31-JUNE 18 IN “A COUPLE OF SWELLS”

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British musical stars Claire Martin and Richard Rodney Bennett love American music, and among their favorites are the songs of Irving Berlin, subject of Claire and Richard’s sparkling new salute, “A Couple of Swells,” from May 31st through June 18th, the final show of the Oak Room’s Spring season.

The very pretty Ms. Martin’s head voice may recall June Christy while her rich chest voice is somewhat reminiscent of Cleo Laine, but make no mistake: Martin is a seasoned vocalist/performer and the end result is uniquely original. Mercifully, the act is straight forward, without distracting patter and historical references. Sir Rodney gives subtle support on piano and offers a solid left hand, which is a good rhythmic stand-in for the non-existent rhythm section. 

Berlin gems with arrangements by Richard and vocals by Claire include a catchy opening syncopation of Puttin’ on the Ritz, a terrific rendition of Change Partners, a strikingly insightful What’ll I Do?, and the best versions of Let’s Face the Music and Dance and Cheek to Cheek we’ve heard in years. There are a smattering of lesser known tunes as well, contrasted by such tried and true standards as How Deep is the Ocean and Midnight Choo Choo.

Confirming the old adage , , , less is more, Claire Martin and Richard Rodney Bennett offer a fitting conclusion to a memorable season of the fabled Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel and deserve you patronage. A class act. Don’t miss it.

Shows are Tuesday through Thursday at 8:30 and Friday and Saturday at 8:30 and 11, with a cover charge of $50 weeknights and late weekends, and $60 early weekend shows, plus either a $30 minimum or $60 prix fixe dinner, with dinner seating at 7. Reservations: 212 419 9331 or bmcgurn@algonquinhotel.com

Renowned for her unmistakably unique “cool, burnished tone” (NY Times) and the flawless technique of “England’s most impressive female jazz artist” (LA Times), Claire Martin has performed with such artists as James Brown, Curtis Stigers, Jamie Cullum and Tony Bennett, who lists her among his favorite singers. She made a smash debut at the Algonquin in 2007 and followed up with Richard Rodney Bannett in 2009 in an acclaimed show celebrating the music of Cy Coleman. She has released 12 recordings for Linn Records and has a jazz interview show on BBC 3.

Knighted in 1998 for his services to music, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett is one of the UK’s most renowned musical figures, having achieved phenomenal success across a wide range of genres. In 2006 he premiered “Reflections on a Scottish Folk Song” commissioned by HRH Prince Charles in memory of the Queen Mother. He is an Oscar-nominated film composer…for Four Weddings and a Funeral, Far From the Madding Crowd and Murder on the Orient Express.

He has enjoyed great success as a jazz pianist, arranger and vocalist, having appeared with Marion Montgomery, Dame Cleo Laine, Mary Cleere Haran and Annie Ross.

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WITH “RHYME, WOMEN & SONG” KT SULLIVAN SALUTES MUSIC-MAKING LADIES IN THE OAK ROOM MAY 3-28

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Photo: Heather Sullivan

                                                                         The Dean of Divas Raises The Bar at The  Legendary Oak Room

Being the capital of cabaret, New York City has no shortage of world class cabaret performers. In a medium where the dolls outnumber the guys, KT SULLIVAN has established herself as the ultimate doll and dean of the divas of “The Great American Song Book.”

Her new act at the Oak Room proves to be her best ever. The material and carefully crafted patter flow in a stream on steroids from the lesser and (better known) songs of Kay Swift, including an especially poignant “Can’t We Be Friends,” through a rollicking version of Carolyn Leigh’s “The Best is Yet To Come, the ultimate camp rendition of” Mary Rodgers “The Boy From …,” and surprising interpretations of Edna Pinkard’s “Kitchen Man,” Peggy Lee’s “He’ll Make Me Believe He’s Mine,” Carole King’s “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” and Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You,”

It all began with her acclaimed salute to Dorothy Fields, who set the standard for female songwriters. In “Rhyme, Women & Song,” KT Sullivan expands her vision to display the work of Dorothy’s peers and heirs who have enriched the Great American Songbook. Sullivan contrasts the inimitable Dorothy’s “Sunny Side of the Street,”with an amazing take on “Good Morning Heartache,” that rivals the gold standard set by Billie Holiday, who introduced it in 1946.

An hilarious closing medley of 29 cleverly linked songs (“my age” Sullivan says as a throwaway), concludes with a subtle and sensitive rendition of Jerome Kern’s and Dorothy Fields eternally lovely “The Way You Look Tonight.”

Ms. Sullivan has never been in better voice and her dramatic range, comedic timing and versatility  shine.

The amazing Jon Weber is musical arranger and accompanist., while John Webber(with an “h” and 2 “bs”) admirably assists on bass, giving Sullivan outstanding backup.

Not only is The Oak Room New York’s most consistent cabaret experience, it is also a genuine bargain. The show, including a three course dinner (food has improved markedly over the years) is about the price of a ticket to the anemic offerings on Broadway. And besides a venue steeped in history, you may be one of the fortunates who get a glimpse of Matilda, the latest in a chain of indomitable felines.

Shows are Tuesday through Thursday at 8:30 and Friday and Saturday at 8:30 and 11. There is a $50 cover charge for weeknight and late shows and $60 for early shows Friday and Saturday, plus either a $30 food and beverage minimum or $60 prix fixe dinner. Reservations: 212 419 9331 or bmcgurn@algonquinhotel.com.

 

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ACCLAIMED ACTRESS-SINGER LONETTE MC KEE MAKES OAK ROOM DEBUT APRIL 5TH IN “CAN’T HELP LOVIN’”

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 Lonette McKee, Another Oak Room Triumph

 

Not just another pretty face or cookie cutter jazz singer, Lonette McKee has style and versatility. Ms. McKee’s songlist includes a touching version of “How Long Has This Been Going On,” “Them There Eyes,” “Ill Wind,” “When A Woman Loves a Man,” the ultimate rendering of “Bill.” Her interpretation will bring tears to your eyes.  Musical Director Bette Sussman, who has also worked with Whitney Houston, Bette Midler and Aretha Franklin offers fine support and is a virtuoso in her own right. Drums & Percussion: Kahlil Kwame Bell. Bass: Lee Nadel add to the musical mesh. As an aside, McKee, was just recovering from the flu, but her lush contralto remained unaffected.

McKee exploded onto the screen in the Motown-inspired cult musical Sparkle. She starred as a 30s torch singer opposite Gregory Hines in Cotton Club and a 50s Paris-based jazz singer in ‘Round Midnight. On Broadway she starred as Julie in two major productions of Show Boat and off-Broadway as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.

Shows are Tuesday through Thursday at 8:30 and Friday and Saturday at 8:30 and 11, with dinner seating at 7 pm. Cover charge per person is $50 weeknights and late shows and $60 for early weekend shows plus either a $30 minimum or a $60 prix fixe dinner. Reservations: 212 419 9331 or bmcgurn@algonquinhotel.com.

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