With all events free, the 15th Annual Cabaret Festival began May 17 and continues through May 21 (Sunday), 2017. Performers include Steve Ross, Nicolas King, Veronica Swift, Matt Baker, Jon Weber, Pamela Lewis and other singers as young as 9 and into their 80s. Artists in Partnership (A.I.P.) and the Long Beach Public Library are the presenters and all performances are open to the public, no reservations needed, and are held in the library’s second-floor performance space, 111 West Park Avenue, Long Beach, NY, a few blocks from the Long Island Railroad stop, making it accessible for out-of-towners traveling by rail. This year’s theme is “Cabaret… at Any Age” and that is underscored by the inclusion of three impressive and serious-minded singers like an award-winning 16-year-old just accepted for her second summer program/competition under the auspices of Michael Feinstein, two acclaimed vocalists in their early 20s; and some over the age of 60 (three of them actually over 80!); and one ageless local favorite returnee. The eclectic roster features singers and musicians of different stripes who have won acclaim and awards.
A.I.P.’s special guest star, with a full-length show on Friday the 19th is the sophisticated and beloved singer-pianist Steve Ross (seen at left) dubbed the “Crown Prince of Cabaret,” who plays posh rooms all over the world. He has been especially celebrated for his interpretations of songwriters Cole Porter and Noël Coward (in whose Present Laughter he appeared on Broadway) and was recently honored by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs (MAC) with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Several other MAC Award winners are included in the week’s musical events, too.
The weekend schedule is the busiest. Saturday afternoon’s event is a panel discussion, peppered by performances, led by AIP Founder Susan James and cabaret journalist Rob Lester (Cabaret Scenes Magazine, www.NiteLifeExchange.com) with comments, anecdotes and songs from 25-year-old veteran of cabarets, nightclubs, Broadway (three shows), and Liza Minnelli protegé Nicolas King (currently pictured on the cover of Cabaret Scenes, with a featured article within and at right), plus 22-year-old jazz sensation, now a regular at Birdland, Veronica Swift, first runner-up in the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. Both come from musical families and began performing professionally as kids. Joining them are jazz pianist/composer/arranger extraordinaire Matt Baker, and two NYC-based singers on opposite ends of the age/experience spectrum: veteran actress/singer/comedienne Joan Jaffe, a MAC Award winner in the Musical Comedy category, and Joie Bianco (below, left), 16-year-old winner of a singing contest at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Room and a special award from Michael Feinstein’s annual competition for teens, who scored quite a coup being included in the annual Cabaret Convention’s opening night, garnering notice in The New York Times. King, Swift, and Baker all perform in concert Saturday night, while Bianco opens Sunday afternoon’s events with her solo show. Also on stage on Sunday will be New York cabaret favorite Robin Westle (Robin’s Nest host/creator, with three solo shows to her credit), and three vital singers who have passed the milestone age of still sing regularly in the clubs, proving that age is no barrier: Barbara Malley (another MAC Award winner in Musical Comedy) and this year’s winner of MAC’s special Hanson Award, Ira Lee Collings. The third of these merry musical musketeers is paying a return visit to the Festival: effervescent singer/recording artist and Bistro Award winner Cynthia Crane. These folks will be on the bill that day with two NYC youngsters studying voice, acting, and cabaret who– like their seniors — love the Great American Songbook. They are Nyla Robotham, who is 12-going-on-13, and Julian Lerner, who is all of 9 years old. They’ll all be joined by Musical Director/jazz pianist Jon Weber, also a festival returnee.
Sunday wraps up the festival which is set to begin cozily on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 17 with Ms. James, a singer herself, chronicling AIP’s Cabaret Memories with archival video clips and her perspective and musical appreciation. The Thursday event brings back to the festival the popular singer and Long Island resident Pamela Lewis, winner of a Broadway World cabaret award for her work in the city.
At left: Julian Lerner
See www.AIP-Arts.org for more, including membership information, and details of other arts-related events during the year. All activities for this non-profit are made possible by local memberships, donations, and grants from local government and civic organizations. See also the Facebook page /www.facebook.com/AIPArts/.
For more information, call Susan James 516-322-1138 or write firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, May 17 @ 2 pm: AIP Founder Susan James presents “Cabaret Memories”,showing video clips from the AIP Festival archives, with anecdotes and commentary on the rich history of the Great American Songbook.
Thursday, May 18 @ 8 pm: Performance by Pamela Lewis, with Bill Heller on piano and Ritt Henn on bass.
Friday, May 19 @ 8 pm: Performance by Steve Ross, “The Crown Prince of Cabaret”
Saturday, May 20:@ 1:30 pm: “Conversation on the Arts” – songs and behind the scenes insights from artists Veronica Swift, Nicolas King, Joan Jaffe, Joie Bianco, Matt Baker, and music critic Rob Lester, with Susan James moderating.@ 7:00 pm: Performance by Nicolas King, with Matt Baker on piano.@ 8:30 pm: Performance by Veronica Swift, with Matt Baker on piano.
Sunday, May 21 @ 1:30 pm: “The American Songbook… Great at Any Age” – with “Seasoned Performers” Barbara Malley, Ira Lee Collings, Cynthia Crane, Robin Westle, and Young Performers Joie Bianco, Nyla Robotham, and Julian Lerner. Jon Weber, Musical Director.
For details and performer bios, visit http://aip-arts.org/Current+Events and Like us at https://www.facebook.com/AIPArts/