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Cabaret Nights May 2017


It's been a struggle with capricious weather, but May in New York is finally here. At Birdland on May 6,13,20, with Eric Comstock and Sean Smith playing some of their favorite tunes at 6pm, it's a great way to start off a Saturday night in New York City. At Birdland on Monday nights don't miss George Dvorsky and Sally Mayes with The Return of Pete ‘n Keely In Concert on May 1. Those "Swingin' Sweethearts" of off-Broadway's dishy, swinging delightful musical, Pete ‘n Keely will tease us with this one-night-only Birdland appearance. Is this a hint of a possible Pete and Keely stage reunion after 17 years? Jazz singer, songwriter and saxophonist,  Curtis Stigers celebrates with songs from May 9-13. Award winning, Jamie deRoy & Friends will celebrate the upcoming Tony Awards with Chuck Cooper, Penny Fuller, Rupert Holmes, Doreen Montalvo, and Paulo Szot on May 7. On May 22 , Anita Gillette and Penny Fuller, two ladies who have been around TV and theater stages, will tell all about it in their popular show, Sin Twisters, Too. Christina Bianco, a singer with 1,000 voices, brings many of them to Birdland on May 29. Of course, not to forget, that favorite music and laughs man, Jim Caruso is the host of Monday Nights Cast Party.

Jim Caruso also moves uptown to the Hotel Carlyle's Bemelman's Bar on Sunday nights with Billy Stritch, playing, singing, doing their thing from 9pm-midnight. Order a drink, chill and enjoy. Across the hall, in the Cafe Carlyle, John Pizzarelli continues with his "Too Marvelous for Words" Johnny Mercer show through May 6. Chita Rivera, who delivered a knock-out performance at the Cafe Carlyle last year, will be back from May 9-20. Something to look forward to, followed by Tony B's little girl, Antonia Bennett , from May 23-June 3.

The Triad brings theater to its small stage with the popular Spamilton that lovingly roasts Broadway's mega-hit Hamilton. Through May 28. Also Lonestar, presents a small-town story with songs on May 6, 13. Once a month, the popular Celebrity Autobiography, brings in celebrities to read from other celebrities' lives in print. Look for the June date because May 20 is sold out.

Don't Tell Mama opens the month with great ladies, including Carol Shedlin and her new show, Serenade in Blue. (May 1, 23). On May 4, Lucille Carr-Kaffashan presents Unwritten and Karen Mason fills the house with her spectacular Mason at Mama's in May on May 7,8,14,15,21,22,28,29. Sally Darling serenades us with Love, Lust & Longing on May 10. In the Coming Home to Mama series, Sue Matsuki offers I Gots Da Navy Blues (It's Fleet Week!) on May 26 with special guest, Laurie Krauz. Amy Beth Williams will be Carried Away on May 31.

Lyrics and Lyricists: The American Songbook presents Songbook Classics by Unsung Lyricists on May 6-10 at the 92nd Street Y. You may not know their names but you know songs like "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend." Some of our favorite songs will be hosted by Rob Fisher with Sheldon Harnick (lyricist of Fiddler on the Roof ).

With political and social tension all around us, let's take advantage of cabaret and the merry musical month of May.

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New York's Leading Cabaret Venues
Feinstein's 54 Below, 254 West 54th Street,646) 476-3551. The club is just below the stage of Studio 54. For tickets, call (866) 468-7619. Reasonable, interesting menu and dramatic decor. The sightlines are all good. Seats about 144. Covers vary but they are reasonable. Credit cards are accepted.

Metropolitan Room, 34 West 22nd Street. (212)-206-0440. A favorite. Friendly, comfortable and reasonable. Covers are $15 to $35, depending on performer and two-drink minimum. Serves tempting pies, cakes (try the carrot cake), and a few snack bowls. Alas, food is not included in drink minimum. Every Tuesday, Annie Ross swings with great band.

Don't Tell Mama, 343 West 46 St. (212) 757-0788. Middle of theatre district with cabaret and a lively piano bar seven days a week. A long time favorite, reasonable, run well with wide variety of talent and friendly staff. Covers vary but are reasonable, plus two drink minimum. Credit cards not accepted.

The Duplex, 61 Christopher Street on 7th Avenue.Piano bar with an open mike downstairs and singers upstairs. Check out weekly events.

The Laurie Beechman Theater, West Bank Cafe, 407 West 42 Street. (212) 695-6909.$15 minimum plus cover. Besides nightly performers, they present New Voices on Monday nights ($10 cover). Friday nights is The After Party (No cover, no minimum). This spot is always adding something new.

Time Out Lounge, West 50 St., west of Eighth Avenue. If you're around New World Stages, take the elevator down to this no-cover little bar with jazz and standards.

Birdland, 315 W 44th St. NYC. Phone: 212-581-3080. Cabaret features Monday nights with "Broadway at Birdland" at 7pm. Then stay on for Jim Caruso's Cast Party, 9:30pm to 1:00am ($10 Cover and a $10 Food/Drink Minimum). Bar, minimum $5 plus cover. Offers good Cajun cooking at reasonable prices.

Iridium, 1650 Broadway (51st Street), (212) 582-2121. Monday nights with legendary Les Paul is a must-see. Strong jazz lineup the rest of the week and some solid jazzy singers. Prices vary.

Midtown Jazz at Midday, St. Peter's Church, Lexington Avenue and 54th Street, (212) 935-2200. A real bargain. Every Wednesday, bring your sandwich, pay $2 and watch top-notch jazz or cabaret artist for an hour. Begins 12:30pm.

Reprise Room @ Dillon's, 254 West 54 Street. NYC. Every Monday night, Back in Pictures, songs from movies. Check schedule.

Broadway Baby Bistro at Broadway Comedy Club. 318 W. 53 St. NYC., 212-757-5808. A piano bar and show room. Credit cards accepted.

The Triad Theatre, 158 W. 72nd St., 212-362-2590. Climb up the winding stairs to the cabaret room. Frequently features Off-off Broadway shows Covers vary often $10 or $15 or higher.

Joe's Pub, 425 Lafayette Street. 212-962-7555 or 212-539-8778. Good news/bad news. This is not a concert space and not a cabaret space, but a bit of both. It lacks intimacy but usually features intriguing artists and some big names trying new venues. Can be packed and some sightlines are undesirable, yet excitement level can be high. You must buy tickets in advance and then make seating/dinner reservations. Two drink or $12 food minimum per person.

When price is no object

Cafe Carlyle, Madison Avenue at 76th Street. (212) 744-1600. Beautiful room for posh night out with big-name entertainer. Monday night is jazz night with Woody Allen, if he shows up. Cover is high, and varies.

©Copyright 2017, Elyse Sommer.
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