1. Bridget Everett (Joe’s Pub)
The most dangerous woman in nightclub music shocked and awed us in shows that touched everyone who saw them in inappropriate places.
2. Laura Benanti (54 Below)
This beautiful, prodigiously gifted Broadway star knew exactly when to shine and when to twinkle in her enchanting collection of stories and songs.
3. Dee Snider (54 Below)
The Twisted Sister rocker covered Christmas chestnuts and show tunes in a roof-blasting set that was thrillingly ridiculous and sublime.
4. Rebecca Luker: ( 54 Below)
The erstwhile ingenue’s Jerome Kern set marked her as the musical heir of Barbara Cook, with a voice like spun gold and ever-deepening interpretative colors.
5. Joey Arias ( Joe’s Pub)
Deminonde icon Arias rocked the Pub and kept the spirit of the old East Village vibrating with pleasure.
6. Barbara Cook (54 Below)
Still the reigning queen of the Great American Songbook, Cook continued casting spells of timeless yearning and wisdom.
7. Dina Martina (Laurie Beechman Theatre)
The exquisitely demented drag star led her rabid cult following through another hilarious fun house of smeary showbiz mirrors.
9. Erin Markey ( Joe’s Pub )
A magnetic downtown performer—wild-eyed, hard-chinned, snarling, seductive—Markey kept everything off-balance in a commanding solo debut.
Rising star of the year: Marissa Mulder
The idiosyncratic and affecting young singer continued her meteoric rise in a year that found her ranging from Noël Coward to Tom Waits without hitting a false note.
It was a year of change in the cabaret world. Two of New York's most prestigious venues, the Oak Room and Feinstein's, closed for good in 2012, leaving other nightclubs to fill the vacuum. The offerings were, as always, highly varied: from old-school Great American Songbook collections to bawdy rock & roll comedy, from octogenarian masters to whippersnappers with attitude. As the dust settles, two venues have emerged as the pounding hearts of the cabaret scene: midtown's 54 Below, which leans toward high-grade theater talent, and Joe's Pub at the Public Theater, which emphasizes downtown invention. Here are my choices for the top ten cabaret shows of 2013. Honorable mentions: Judy Collins (Café Carlyle), Edward Hibbert (54 Below), Julie Klausner (Joe’s Pub), Ute Lemper (54 Below), The Meeting* with Justin Sayre (Duplex and 54 Below).