The best cabaret of 2008

Adam Feldman, cabaret writer

1 Barb Jungr: No Regrets and I Got Life
Metropolitan Room; January, September
The English singer cut loose with raw anguish and easy humor, confirming her status as the most exciting interpreter around.

2 Elaine Stritch: At Liberty
Caf Carlyle, January
The great gargoyle of Broadway offered a bracing yet intoxicating look at showbiz in an intimate reprise of her one-woman show.

3 Our Hit Parade
Zipper Factory, December
Downtown artists twisted pop music into hot, salty pretzels at the first episode of this raunchy, deliriously madcap variety show.

4 Maude Maggart: Speaking of Dreams
Oak Room, April--May
Reveries haunted the melodies of the ethereal singer’s beauteous new set, her most accomplished to date.

5 Paula West
The Oak Room, October--November
Big jazz singing in a small cabaret space? Nobody does it better than the estimable West.

6 Poor Baby Bree: Weary River
Don’t Tell Mama, various dates
Wry waif Bree Benton offered an unforgettable collection of forgotten maudlin vaudeville.

7 Chita Rivera
Feinstein’s, November
Rivera puts her whole body into every song, and that body is a temple of Broadway history.

8 Baby Jane Dexter: If...
Metropolitan Room, November
Dexter dominates a song like a biker mama with a long road behind her, equal parts kick-ass and wise.

9 Cashino
Laurie Beechman Theatre, various dates
Susan Mosher and John Boswell’s outrageously funny cult act gave lounge lizards a shiny new skin.

10 Molly Pope: The Diva-lution of Molly Pope
Various venues, various dates
At Don’t Tell Mama, Joe’s Pub and the Beechman, the ever-pert Pope breathed fresh air into an old style.