We’ll be announcing our forthcoming 2024 season soon! In the interim enjoy the Cabaret Convention coverage roundup below. 

34th New York Cabaret Convention curtain call at Jazz At Lincoln Center's Rose Theater on October 17, 2023 - Photo by Richard Termine


Speak Low: The Songs of Kurt Weill– 34th Annual Cabaret Convention – Opening Night

Posted on October 20, 2023 by Alix Cohen 

Here’s to Donald Smith! What was bandied about among friends so many years ago continues, despite frequent pronouncements of its death, to draw cabaret faithful and curious to city watering holes big and (increasingly) small. This, our annual community celebration, goes on year after year bringing fans together with appreciation.

Kurt Julian Weill (1900 –1950) was a classical, popular and theater composer active from the 1920s in his native country of Germany. He fled to Paris in 1933 and two years later arrived in New York. The Threepenny Opera had already been given its premiere on Broadway, but closed after 13 performances to mixed reviews. Theater collaborations with Bertolt Brecht, Maxwell Anderson, and Ira Gershwin spotlight the composer’s legacy. Weill songs are often, though not always, dark as gracious hosts Jeff Harnar and Andrea Marcovicci set out to show, beginning with “One Life to Live” and “Live, Love, and Laughter.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE

As Time Goes By: Timeless Tunes – 34th Annual Cabaret Convention Night 3

Posted on October 20, 2023 by Alix Cohen 

Two things stand out after this 34th Annual Convention: Jazz has made a firm inroad and young people with old souls are pursuing the craft with preternatural talent. Welcoming us, KT Sullivan, artistic director of The Mabel Mercer Foundation since 2012, assumes the piano bench for a heartfelt “Hello, Young Lovers,” a song so true to her experience she might’ve written it. Highlights of the evening:
Anais Reno, past winner of The Julie Wilson Award, begins “Lover Man” with lengthy a capella, a successful risk. Soft bass, brushes and agile guitar create elevated melancholy. Reno kneads the notes. A tandem “Rose’s Turn” and “Broadway Baby” arrive by way of the glamorous, Diva La Marr. She is, as they say, full of beans; self possessed and flirty. “Here she is world! Here she is, boys!” Klea Blackhurst’s “Satan’s Little Lamb” expansively conjures a revival meeting, albeit to a burlesque beat. “It’s glory, glory, while I’m livin’…” Hallelujah sisters and brothers! A melodic imperative.  READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Sentimental Journey: A Tribute to Doris Day – 34th Annual Cabaret Convention Night 2

Posted on October 22, 2023 by Alix Cohen 
Doris Day, born Doris Mary Kappelhoff (1922 –2019) was a singer, actress, and animal rights activist who for many years unwittingly shone as America’s Sweetheart. Day’s success in music and on the screen was not carried over to a personal life she spent unsuccessfully trying to replace a father that died early with a series of what turned out to be dishonest and/or abusive men. Host Rex Reed was her friend.
“She was a girl from Cincinnati, Ohio who wanted to be a dancer,” Reed begins. Sidelined at 15 after a horrific car accident, over two years in bed, with shattered legs, her mother Alma encouraged Doris “to try to sing.” Vocal lessons began; radio spots followed, now under the name Doris Day. “Shanghai” (after Charlie Yee’s Shanghai Inn) brought her to the attention of Les Brown (Les Brown and His Band of Renown) who signed the young woman in 1940. READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Photos: The Mabel Mercer Foundation Celebrates Opening Night Of The Cabaret Convention

By: Stephen Sorokoff – October 18, 2023

Included are some photos of the backstage activities before the performers went out on stage to wow the house on opening night. 

PHOTOS: Backstage as Rex Reed Hosts Doris Day Evening at Cabaret Convention

By: Stephen Sorokoff – October 19, 2023

The second night of the convention was a wonderful, tuneful, and sunny evening in tribute to the most wonderful, tuneful, and sunny singer of them all.

Photos: Backstage at the Concluding Night of The Cabaret Convention

By: Stephen Sorokoff – October 19, 2023

Afrer the performance, some of the cast entertained patrons of the Mabel Mercer Foundation. BroadwayWorld was behind the scenes at the final night of the Cabaret Convention hosted by artistic director KT Sullivan.  Klea Blackhurst presented Billy Stritch with the Donald F. Smith Award. After the performance, some of the cast entertained patrons of the Mabel Mercer Foundation. VIEW THE PHOTOS

The 34th Annual Cabaret Convention—Speak Low: The Songs of Kurt Weill

October 20, 2023 – By Marilyn Lester

Composer Kurt Julian Weill (March 2, 1900 – April 3, 1950) was German-born, finding success in the Weimar-era music scene, mostly pairing his work with Bertolt Brecht as lyricist. Their most enduring collaboration remains The Threepenny Opera (1928). Night one of the Mabel Mercer Foundation‘s 34th Annual Cabaret ConventionSpeak Low: The Songs of Kurt Weill, honored that work plus the catalog of songs that came after. READ THE FULL ARTICLE

The 34th Annual Cabaret Convention—Sentimental Journey: A Tribute to Doris Day

October 21, 2023 – By Marilyn Lester

Doris Mary Kappelhoff, who became known as Doris Day, thought she was born in 1924, but on her 95th birthday, the Associated Press found her birth certificate showing a 1922 date. No matter as Rex Reed, her good friend noted as host of Sentimental Journey: A Tribute to Doris Day, there have been virtually no tributes for her centenary, no matter what the correct date. So, a shout-out to the Mabel Mercer Foundation for celebrating one of America’s greatest iconic film and singing stars on the second night of the 34th annual Cabaret Convention. READ THE FULL ARTICLE

The 34th Annual Cabaret Convention: As Time Goes By: Timeless Tunes

October 22, 2023 – By Marilyn Lester

Wrapping up the three nights of the Mabel Mercer 34th Annual Cabaret ConventionAs Time Goes By: Timeless Tunes delivered on the promise of classics of the American Songbook, sung by a top-drawer cast of cabaret and jazz artists. As is the custom, Mabel Mercer Foundation Artistic Director, KT Sullivan was the evening’s host. But this year, the start of the festivities was a little different. During the recent Covid era, Sullivan became a singing pianist, in the fine tradition of that craft. At the piano, she offered ““Hello Young Lovers.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE

My View: Come Backstage And To The Party at Day One of the Cabaret Convention

By: Stephen Sorokoff – October 18, 2023

I must confess, sometimes this hobby of mine is hard work. Hanging with all these women in one big dressing room, hearing them giggle and sharing beauty secrets.  Those after parties can also be exhausting. It was a fantastic start of the 3 night Cabaret Convention… VIEW THE PHOTOS

My View: Rex Reed Hosts A Tuneful, Sunny Evening Doris Day Tribute at The Cabaret Convention

By: Stephen Sorokoff – October 19, 2023

The second night of the 2023 Cabaret Convention was a wonderful, tuneful, and sunny evening in tribute to the most wonderful, tuneful, and sunny blonde singer of them all – the great Doris Day. Rex Reed, who in addition to being perhaps the most internationally celebrated film critic and columnist of the last fifty years, was also a close friend of the late Miss Day (2022-2019), and held forth as producer, host, narrator, and, in two cases, surprise vocalist. It was a highly welcome chance to enjoy some rare out-of-town visitors, like the Minneapolis-based Maude Hixson and Rex’s special guest Florida-based Debbie Silver, as well as local New York favorites like Nicolas King, Karen Oberlin, and Heather MacRae. We also were graced with superstars, baritone Tom Wopat, Linda Purl and the marvelous Marilyn Maye.  In all, it was one of the best Cabaret Convention evenings that anyone could remember. VIEW THE PHOTOS

My View: Who Says They Don’t Have Parties Like In The Golden Era of NYC Nightlife!

By: Stephen Sorokoff – October 20, 2023
After 3 evenings of quality popular American Music sung by some of the finest Cabaret performers on the planet the patrons and artists of The Mabel Mercer Foundation’s Cabaret Convention headed to the “House of Morgan” (Howard & Eleanor that is) to celebrate.  It was like in the “old days” ( not that I was there, I read about it).  Lovers of the arts and artists gathering to enjoy each others company.  Think the Gershwin’s, Oscar Levant, and all their friends at a house party on 5th Avenue in the 1930’s and that’s what it was like last night. VIEW THE PHOTOS


“Speak Low: The Music of Kurt Weill”

The Mabel Mercer Foundation 34th Annual Cabaret Convention – PHOTOS BY STEPHEN SOROKOFF

October 18, 2023 by Will Friedwald

Both sides of Kurt Weill were celebrated on Tuesday as the official opening night of the 34th annual Mabel Mercer Foundation Cabaret Convention.  Dawn Derow sang the romantic “My Ship” (from Lady in the Dark) in the middle of Act One, and then, as the climax of the first half, the one and only Ute Lemper stopped the show with “Pirate Jenny” (Threepenny Opera), one of the most bloodcurdling songs of revenge and retribution in all of musical theater.  There’s nothing even in Sweeney Todd that’s as terrifying as Pirate Jenny.  READ THE FULL ARTICLE


Doris Day meets Kurt Weill

Last night’s Doris Day celebration was absolutely terrific! Among other things, Rex Reed shared some very funny, very sweet stories from his long friendship with the great lady. Since I already have him telling them on tape – do we still refer to digital recordings as “tape?” – I may, at some point soon, share them here too. READ THE FULL ARTICLE

To bring the 34th New York Cabaret Convention to a close, KT Sullivan, artistic director of the Mabel Mercer Foundation, hosted a group of cabaret artists (veterans and newcomers,) who presented a concert of classic popular songs. Because most of the artists contributed only a single number, the evening moved quickly and smoothly, and Sullivan kept the introductions to a minimum. There wasn’t a dull performance in the evening, and many soared far above the standard, beginning with the hostess herself. The evening kicked off with Sullivan in her new role as a singer-pianist with a deeply felt “Hello, Young Lovers.” Brian Eng followed; he also accompanied himself on the piano (backed up by Steve Doyle on bass and Ray Marchica on drums, both of whom continued through much of the evening) for a jazzy “Change Partners.”

“You’re Going to Hear from Me” promised Lianne Marie Dobbs, and indeed we did. She introduced her song with a moving passage from Michelle Obama’s memoir. Ben Jones continued with another powerful premonition, “The Best Is Yet to Come.” A change of pace came when with singer/pianist Nicole Zaraitis delivered a gentle rendition of “If Ever I Would Leave You.” Jonathan Karrant offered “No Moon at All,” a selection from his new album, Eclectic. Olivia Stevens followed with a delicate version of the lesser known “I Know a Miracle Will Happen One Day.” Pianist/singer Eric Yves Garcia delivered the classic “All the Way” with his customary panache.

The precocious Anaïs Reno thrilled with a passionate “Lover Man.” After that, the glamorous Diva LaMarr, in an outstanding and outrageous costume reveal, delivered a theatrical blend of “Rose’s Turn” and “Broadway Baby.” Klea Blackhurst took the stage to deliver an obscure Ethel Merman tune, “Satin’s Li’l Lamb,” with her customary brio. She remained on stage to present, with great humor and warmth, The Donald F. Smith Award to her good friend (and a great friend of the cabaret community) Billy Stritch. He then sang for his supper with a medley of selections from Singin’ in the Rain to bring the first half to a close.

To open the second half, that lady in red Carole J. Bufford ignited the hall with “Put the Blame on Mame.” The future was again on display when Oklahoma high school student Lincoln Johnson who showed off a stirring voice on “If.” Alexis Cole offe-ed up a jazzy “Come Back to Me,” complete with controlled scatting. One of the loveliest couples in the cabaret world, Eric Comstock and Barbara Fasano, were brought on stage to show some of their magic— he with a charming “Mam’selle” and she with an ultra-romantic “In the Still of the Night.” Together they sang a playful “As Long as I Live.” Another young performer, Lizzie Buller (winner of the Adele & Larry Elow American Songbook Competition) had fun with “A Stranger Here Myself.” Then one of our grand balladeers, Todd Murray, flowed through a flawless “Stardust.”

Brazilian Fil Sofia offered an ardent “Manha de Carnaval”/A Day in the Life of a Fool” in both Portuguese and English. Keeping up with the international flavor of the moment, Britisher Gary Williams charmed with “Isn’t It a Lovely Day.” Then Josephine Sanges came on to rip the place apart with her version of “My Man.” Finally, Aisha de Hass sang the title song of the evening, “As Time Goes By” with a winning style.

In addition to those musicians previously mentioned were pianists Ron Abel, James Followell, Jon Webber, Ian Herman, and John Cook; bassist David Finck; guitarist Sean Harkness; and drummer Kenny Hassler. All were part of the night’s glowing entertainment.