In an age of globalism, cabaret is a fundamentally local art: a private concert in an intimate nightclub, where music and storytelling merge at close range. And no city offers as wide a range of thrilling cabaret artists as New York City, from world-famous Broadway and pop stars to outrageous downtown provocateurs. Here's where to find the best of them this week.
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Best cabaret shows in NYC this week
Decked out in sequined splendor, Jones is a paradigm of R&B-diva grandeur circa 1982, with impeccable posture and elocution that bespeak an old-school black-star dignity. Created and performed by Daniel Alexander Jones, Jomama has starred in a series of shows, most recently the fascinating Duat; now she joins forces with young pianist Samora Abayomi Pinderhughes for a night of original "Afromystical" songs.
Amanda Green hosts the latest edition of the 92nd Street Y’s estimable Lyrics & Lyricists series. This episode is devoted to the wordsmiths (include Green's parents, Betty Comden and Adoph Green) who worked with Leonard Bernstein on such shows as On the Town, Wonderful Town, West Side Story and Candide. The singers are Mikaela Bennett, Andréa Burns, Darius de Haas, Howard McGillin and Tony Yazbeck.
Talented singers from the Broadway and cabaret worlds sing side by side in this monthly tribute to the master of musical theater that has often featured former cast members of Sondheim shows. Guests in February include George Dvorsky, Annie Golden, Sally Mayes, Sarah Rice, Bruce Sabath, Marissa Mulder, Courter Simmons, Lucia Spina and Alton Fitzgerald White.
Scott Siegel’s valuable concert series opens time capsules to some of the Great White Way's most memorable seasons. The February edition devotes its first act to shows from 1930 (e.g. Strike Up the Band, Nina Rosa, Girl Crazy and The New Yorkers) and its second act to shows from 1964 (e.g. Fiddler on the Roof, Funny Girl, Golden Boy, Hello Dolly!). The cast includes Chuck Cooper, Tonya Pinkins, Emily Skinner, Danny Gardner, Kerry O'Malley Scott Coulter and Pedro Coppeti.
He’s worked with Liza Minnelli, Kylie Minogue and just about every downtown act in NYC. Now composer, pianist and performer Lance Horne hosts his own wild night of singing, drinking and dancing, strip-teasing and bad behavior at the East Village nightlife hub Club Cumming. Expect advanced show-tune geekery and appearances by Broadway stars looking to get down by the piano. Plan on sleeping in on Tuesday.
Part cabaret, part piano bar and part social set, Cast Party offers a chance to hear rising and established talents step up to the microphone (backed by the slap and tickle of Steve Doyle on bass and Billy Stritch at the ivories, plus the bang of Daniel Glass on drums). The waggish Caruso presides as host.
The astonishing, totally fearless Bridget Everett has had a bona fide breakout year in film (Patti Cakes) and TV (Lady Dynamite), culminating in the pilot of an Amazon series of her very own, the endearingly raunchy Love You Too. The towering sex goddess's triumphant set at her usual stomping grounds, Joe's Pub, finds her belting and oversharing as only she can, and she never fails to shake up the room with hits like "Boob Song." Not to be missed.
Whether attracting or repelling her audiences, international chanteuse Lemper is never less than magnetic. Her style is perversely polymorphic: One moment she might tear into a song with predatory hunger, then she might purr out a dreamy croon or toss back her head for a brassy squeal of jazz. Her newest set is inspired by a long conversation she shared with languid legend Marlene Dietrich in 1988.
You're guaranteed to be delighted at this weekly showcase beside the piano, hosted by conquering empress of musical comedy Catherine Cohen and downtown cabaret essential Henry Koperski. Expect experimental sets, sing-a-longs to Mariah Carey favorites and other unhinged turns from a line-up of rising gems. On February 28, catch Chelsea Davidson, George Civeris, Jess Salamon, Dewayne Perkins, Jack Raymond and Ayo Edebiri; March 7 boasts SallyAnn Hall, Rebecca Vigil, Irene Merrow, Katie Hartman, Farah Brook, Chris Burns and Milly Tamarez; and March 14 features Sean Peter Drohan, Sarah Squirm, Candystore, Carmen Lagala , Sarah Grace Welbourn, Drew Anderson and Jes Tom. On March 21, catch Betsy Kenney, Liz Magee, Zach Reiner- Harris, Martin Urbano, Emily Panic and Edy Modica; and see Shalewa Sharpe, Lena Einbeinder, Daniel Tepper, Robby Hoffman, Harrison Greenbaum, Alyssa Limperis and Marissa Goldman on March 28.
Twisted southern-bred sketch and improv master Josh Sharp returns to the Joe's Pub stage for this sweet night of strange song covers and goony comedy. Between renditions of D'Angelo and Adele classics, he'll be joined by fellow powerhouses Jo Firestone and Phoebe Robinson. Now that he's stealing the show on The Opposition with Jordan Klepper, Sharp is likely to become an even hotter commodity. Catch him while you can.
Melissa Errico, Chilina Kennedy, Tony Yazbeck, Stephen DeRosa, Tracy Michailid, Steven Eng, Christine Toy Johnson and other notable actors perform songs by musical-theater maestro Leonard Bernstein (West Side Story, Candide) in this benefit for HB Studio.
Most of the original cast of Brian Hargrove and Barbara Anselmi's 2015 Broadway musical It Shoulda Been You, a zany wedding farce, reunites at a concert hosted by the shows's director, the ultracharming David Hyde Pierce. Tyne Daly, Farrah Alvin, Sierra Boggess, Josh Grisetti, Montego Glover, Adam Heller, Edward Hibbert and Chip Zien are among the assemblants.
Actor-singers Lauren Molina (Sweeney Todd) and Nick Cearley (Altar Boyz) get in their undies to offer stripped-down versions of pop songs, with multiple Broadway guest stars sharing their talents in the flesh. Guests at their March 5 show include Laura Benanti, Andrew Keenan Bolger, Paige Davis, Ray Lee, Mike Viruet, Emma Hunton, Kissy Simmons and the formidably fit Nick Adams.
Chita Rivera came to New York in the early 1950s, and the rest is razzle-dazzle history: starring roles in the original casts of West Side Story, Bye Bye Birdie and Chicago; 10 Tony nominations (and two wins); the 2002 Kennedy Center Honors. She’s often called a legend, but Rivera is very much here.
The star of Broadway's Bubbling Brown Sugar, among other things, is a lithe and dynamic triple-threat performer, with a voice that roams magically from contralto depths to R&B peaks. Her new set honors the career and legacy of Lena Horne; songs include "A Fine Romance," "The Lady Is a Tramp" and, of course, "Stormy Weather."
Broadway by the Year impresario Scott Siegel curates this monthly concert series, in which Broadway stars sing some of the Great White Way's best-loved tunes. Performers at the February edition include Oakley Boycott, John Easterlin,Marcus Lovett and Clara Regula.
Jason Kravits is a character actor (The Practice) and clever songwriter who won notice earlier this year with "Harrison," which imagined a Hamilton-like musical about the short-termed president William Henry Harrison. His extremely funny full-length show at the Duplex is devoted to improvisational comic songwriting based on audience suggestions—a high-wire act that is guaranteed to put a grin on your face.
Fresh off the bananas boat of RuPaul's Drag Race, Michelle returns to 54 Below with a musical memoir about how a nice Jewish boy from New York became a drag star with a theatrical bent. Pianist Brandon James Gwinn provides support for a set that ranges from standards to modern pop tunes.
Ruffelle has a place of her own in the hearts of musical-theater fans for her performance as sacrificial waif Éponine in the original London and Broadway casts of Les Misérables. Having recently relocated to New York City, she returns to the nightclub stage with a charmingly game and gamine monthly set at the Green Room 42.
Since 2014, brilliant stage sweetheart and total multihyphenate Lulu Krause has donned the guise of Louisa, a faded Broadway siren who still rules the Duplex stage. Along with pianist Frank Spitznagel, Louisa belts out classic numbers from her repertoire—all of which happen to be completely improvised off of audience suggestion. Witness the ageless marvel as she goes off-book and off the rails once again.