The best (and worst) cabaret of 2012

Protean peacock Taylor Mac topped our tally of New York cabaret's finest hours

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  • Photograph and makeup: Derrick Little

    Taylor Mac

  • Photograph: Andy Kropa / Getty Images

    Patti LuPone: Far Away Places at 54 Below

  • Photograph: Thom Kaine

    Sherie Rene Scott

  • Justin Vivian Bond

  • Photograph: Allison Michael Orenstein

    Bridget Everett

  • Photograph: Gor Megaera

    Maude Maggart

  • Photograph by Kit Kittle

    Christine Ebersole

  • Norbert Leo Butz

  • Photograph: Allison Michael Orenstein

    Cole Escola

  • Photograph: Allison Michael Orenstein

    Molly Pope

  • Our Hit Parade

     

Photograph and makeup: Derrick Little

Taylor Mac

The best

1
Taylor Mac

Taylor Mac

Ragingly original and bracingly radical, Mac took audiences on wild trips to previously unimagined destinations.

2
Patti LuPone: Far Away Places at 54 Below

Patti LuPone: Far Away Places

Broadway’s reigning diva, gutsy and glorious, christened the fabulous new 54 Below with a smashing set.

3
Sherie Rene Scott

Sherie Rene Scott: A Piece of Meat

Scott sliced her midtown star power with downtown edge in a witty and insightful metacabaret triumph.

4
Justin Vivian Bond

Justin Vivian Bond

Heir to and investor in the Weimar and Warhol traditions, NYC’s great trans shaman commanded fascination.

5
Bridget Everett

Bridget Everett

A blond grenade of alt cabaret, Everett exploded in blasts of rock and raunch, clearing new paths wherever she went.

6
Maude Maggart

Maude Maggart: Into the Garden

The ethereal chanteuse explored the American Songbook to cultivate blooms that were all her own.

7

Christine Ebersole: The End of the World as We Know It

Cabaret Ebersole popped and bubbled like a dry champagne in the chameleonic entertainer’s latest Carlyle bash.

8
Norbert Leo Butz

Norbert Leo Butz

One of musical theater’s most magnetic stars cast bluesy, puckish magic in his expert nightclub debut.

9
Cole Escola

Cole Escola

The boyish spark plug’s unique mix of irony, tragedy, pluck and pizzazz made him the best gamin in town.

10
Molly Pope

Molly Pope

Pope belted her heart out, then had the guts to wear it on the patterned sleeves of her delightfully retro getups.


The worst

Our Hit Parade

Our Hit Parade ended its madcap march

The seminal Joe’s Pub neocabaret showcase and performance hub—hosted monthly by Kenny Mellman, Neal Medlyn and Bridget Everett—called it quits in December, going out in a fabulous Viking-ship blaze of laughter, tears and unfettered excess.



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