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 Broadway and pop legends like Patti LuPone and Debbie Harry to outrageous downtown provocateurs like Bridget Everett and Taylor Mac, drag stars like Alaska and Dina Martina and world-class interpreters like Barb Jungr and Meow Meow. Here's where to find the best of them this week.
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Best Cabaret Shows in NYC This Week
The Pops snap and crackle through a concert that celebrates the oeuvre of the peerless Broadway team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Expect selections from all 11 of the team's musical collaborations, including Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music. Steven Reineke wields the baton, and Broadway talents Laura Michelle Kelly (Mary Poppins) and Max von Essen (An American in Paris) provide guest vocals.
The witty husband-and-wife cabaret duo takes wing at Birdland with a 1960s-themed bash that draws from Broadway (Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick) as well as popular music (James Brown, Cream).
The 92nd Street Y’s estimable Lyrics & Lyricists series begins its new season with a salute to Great American Songbook giant and leftist social activist Yip Harburg, who gave us the words to "Over the Rainbow" as well as “April in Paris,” “Paper Moon,” and “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” The singers are Mikaela Bennett, Clifton Duncan, Desi Oakley, Megan Sikora and Nick Spangler; Matt Kunkel directs, and Paul Masse is the musical director.
Pianist, songwriter and bon vivant Horne takes up residency at Joe's Pub with a pack of his friends—let's call them the Horne dogs—to share highlights from the past two years of his wild weekly open-mike nights on Mondays at Club Cumming. Expect singing, semi-dancing, makeshift props and costumes and joyful show-tune geekery. Proceeds benefit volunteer firefighters in Australia.
Actor-musicians Lauren Molina (Sweeney Todd) and Nick Cearley (All Shook Up) are not only talented at playing the cello, ukulele and glockenspiel but also at performing stripped-down versions of pop songs in their underwear, with multiple Broadway guest stars sharing their talents in the flesh. The scheduled guests at the January edition are Brennyn Lark, Claybourne Elder, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Logan Hart, Kuhoo Verma, Max von Essen and Natalie Walker.
The slyly flamboyant André De Shields, Broadway's original Wiz, has had an amazing stage career that has only gotten richer in recent years. (Let's forget about his turn as an ape in Prymate.) Now he's riding high again in Hadestown, which earned him a Tony Award last year. The master showman will have ample opportunity to strut his stuff at this American Songbook concert.
Murtagh salutes the golden-voiced Italian-American operatic tenor Mario Lanza, the crossover star of MGM's The Great Caruso, who shone brightly and then burned out at the age of 38. Expect movie songs, opera and Neapolitan classics.
Alt-cabaret siren Cion explores inner and outer spaces in a reprise her tribute to shape-shifting rock icon David Bowie.
After many years as something of a cult musical-theater figure, pop-rock showtunesmith Iconis had a breakout year in 2019, when his teen-oriented musical Be More Chill rode viral success to a run on Broadway. His rowdy cabaret shows, often stuffed with longtime friends and collaborators, have an joyous sense of community. In this American Songbook concert, he shares new material as well as favorites from his career so far. (We'd be disappointed if he didn't include "Broadway, Here I Come!" from the TV series Smash.)
After originating the web-singing title role in Broadway's ill-fated Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Carney has gone on to star as Dorian Gray in Penny Dreadful and has recently swung back onto Broadway as Orpheus in Hadestown. Now he brings his otherworldly tenor to the Green Room 42 with a solo show that includes some standards but focuses on original songs from his 2016 album, Youth Is Wasted.
The four-time Tony nominee Tovah Feldshuh is a formidable actor (Golda's Balcony, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) and Scarsdale spitfire whose nightclub performances tend to show off her zany streak. Tonight she revives one of her most successful one-woman ventures.
Thomas March curates and hosts this quarterly evening of poetry, storytelling and song. The theme for the February show is "Smitten"; the lineup includes poets Ariel Francisco, Joseph Legaspi and Ansley Moon, comedians Calvin Cato and Keira McGill, and singers Liz Bouk and Angela DiCarlo. Kyle Forester is at the keys.
Fashion designer, Project Runway: All Stars judge and media personality Mizrahi ventures back to the Carlyle with a new collection of standards and pop songs (by John Denver, Bill Withers, Cy Coleman, Stephen Sondheim and more), accompanied by a jazz band led by Ben Waltzer. The ebullient storyteller knows how to serve up amusing dish about the high life.
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.
Mosher is one of those talents you need to see to believe: warm, funny, biting, ferociously committed. In her weekly series at the downstairs Birdland Theater, she invites a gaggle of performers from Broadway and beyond to show their talents. Guests at the January 21 edition include Spencer Glass, Josh Daniel, the Golden Gays, Anais Reno, Anne Steele, Monica PassinCatherine Porter, Jim Vallance, Michael Garin, Mardie Millet and musical director Brad Simmons.
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.
After re-creating the strange magic of Nico in a series of excellent shows, the daring, hilarious, persona-shifting Tammy Faye turns to another icon of distressed rock glamour: British singer, addict and comeback queen Marianne Faithfull. In this performance, she covers Faithfull's seminal 1979 album, Broken English, in its entirety.
Pope's viscerally thrilling alto is a rich gusher of sound that emerges like a full-on blast from the past, but her cabaret shows are hilariously full of present tension. In this new series of sets at the Duplex, she sets her sights on joy by applying her Ed Sullivan Show neoretro vocals to standards and contemporary pops. Joining her at the piano are rotating music directors: Drew Wutke (January 23, March 26, May 28), Matt Aument (February 27) and Brian Nash (April 23).