I don't know how you feel about old age... but in my case I didn't even see it coming. 

It hit me from the rear.  ~Phyllis Diller

May is Older Americans Month, a perfect opportunity for organizations and all of us to show appreciation for the older adults in their community. The theme for Older Americans Month 2012: “Never Too Old to Play” puts a spotlight on today’s engaged, active and involved elders. In Age-Friendly New York City, many senior centers are hosting special events this month. Consider calling your local center to inquire about activities or get help planning and promoting events at the link below.

92 year old Ervin Drake is in the hospital and on the mend after a fall at home. He has been there for over a week after developing an infection in his knee, and a very high fever. He required surgery on the knee and will remain on antibiotics for about another week and will hopefully be out by the end of next week He is generally in good spirits and is catching up on some reading. Sending hopes for a speedy recovery. Incidentally, he likes jokes. So, his friend/songwriter Christine Lavin is collecting funny anecdotes for him on Facebook!

Donald  Smith pic - H Sullivan

    There will be a public memorial service for the late Donald Smith on Tuesday, May 22 at 6:00PM at Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street.  “Remembering Donald Smith” will pay tribute to the entrepreneur/producer who founded the Mabel Mercer Foundation and conceived and produced the Cabaret Conventions for years at Town Hall before moving on to Jazz At Lincoln Center. Town Hall is the appropriate venue as Donald was instrumental in preserving the Manhattan mainstay as a New York City landmark. The event will be a concert featuring some of Donald's favorite performers TBA. The is no charge. Tickets are limited and issued on a first come, first served basis. To RSVP, call (212) 980 3026 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

   Best to reserve early if you would like to attend and also pick up your tickets at the box office (highly recommended) after May 14th between 12:00 noon and 6:00PM, Monday through Saturday. It is requested that in lieu of flowers, a donation be made to Donald's favorite charity – The Mabel Mercer Foundation. If so, you can send a check to The Mabel Mercer Foundation – 160 East 48th Street, #1P, New York, NY 10017 . As previously announced, KT Sullivan is the new Artistic Director of MMF.

In his introductory remarks a few years ago at Jazz At Lincoln Center, the late Mr. Smith stood at the podium telling amusing anecdotes and facts about the cabaret conventions and it's future. He closed his comments by saying, “Please friends - don't let this music die.”

And so, legacies continue. As Smith wanted, the organization he founded continues to honor the great American songbook. The Mabel Mercer Foundation presents Coward In Concert – a 90-minute celebration of the cabaret legacy of Sir Noel Coward on May 17 at 6:00pm at The New York Public Library For the Performing Arts, Bruno Walter Auditorium (Amsterdam Ave. & 65th Street.) The program is free of charge and open to the general public on a first come, first served basis. Further details will be announced shortly.

We all know that Donald was articulate and left no stone unturned in his mission. This will mark the first event held by MMF with Ms. Sullivan as artistic director.


Liza Minnelli will be signing copies of her re-released CD, Live At The Winter Garden on Wednesday, May 9 at noon at Barnes & Noble at 555 Fifth Avenue (46th Street.)  The winner of four Tony Awards, an Oscar, a Grammy, two Golden Globe Awards and an Emmy, Ms. Minnelli remains one of the world's consummate performers. Masterworks is releasing her legendary concert album of one of the highlights of her career; Live At the Winter Garden. The long-awaited recording is derived from the original master engineered by Phil Ramone. This concert recording includes performances from Minnelli's show in January 1974 as well as three recently discovered live bonus tracks that were recorded but not included on the original LP.

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Jack Kleinsinger’s Highlights In Jazz :New York’s Longest Running Jazz Concert Series,"We Call it Jazz" featuring Christian McBride Big Band, Michael Wolff Trio - and special guest Baby Jane Dexter on Thursday, May 10 at 8PM at TriBeCa Performing Arts Center









JH-Roslyn Kind  The Walt Whitman Auditorium at Brooklyn College was mobbed on Saturday, April 28. The occasion: Roslyn Kind  returned to Brooklyn - after a slight hiatus. With the brilliant David Snyder at the piano, Roz had the crowd in the palm of her hand with her show, Coming Home as she sang well-chosen songs from Broadway to pop to standards. She bravely fought a wacky sound system that alternately had too much echo or no monitors turned on. What a classy lady to gently nudge the technicians for a little help without getting temperamental or making everyone uncomfortable. It took almost mid-way through the show for a tech guy to walk on for three seconds and turn on the monitor and suddenly the glitches went away. Her versions of the rarity Someday (recorded decades ago by Shirley Bassey and also by The Carpenters,) was a highlight as was her special delivery on Stephen Schwartz's Meadowlark from The Baker's Wife. The audience loved it and she could do no wrong. The biggest problem is that she doesn't perform more in the New York area where she has so many fans. After the concert , she graciously sat at a table in the lobby and greeted her long line of fans signing CDs and memorabilia.

BJD M Room promo


Local cabaret legend Baby Jane Dexter returns to the Metropolitan Room with an encore performance of what has been hailed by many critics' as her best how to date for five final performances only starting June 1. This will be the very last chance to catch this incredible show in New York. Dates: Fridays and Saturdays, June 1, 2, 9, 22 and 29 all at 7PM. Of course musical partner Ross Patterson will be at the piano. When I wrote about this show for Cabaret Scenes Magazine, I said with glee, “Only a handful of honest singers have ever touched such gold.” I wasn't making that up. Go

 Another beloved icon, two-time Tony nominee Andre de Shields is back on the scene, He brings his acclaimed theatrical concert, Black By Popular Demand, into the Laurie Beechman Theatre at the West Bank Cafe' for two more shows only on three Fridays, May 11 and 18 at 11PM. There are two shows left. 

Andre de Shields poster

Certainly no stranger to New York’s cabaret scene, De Shields reigned as King of Cabaret during the 1970s with the creation of his innovative theatrical concerts in such popular clubs as Reno Sweeney, Horn of Plenty, The Grand Finale, Les Mouches, The Club at La MaMa and many other venues around the world. The Hollywood Reporter once dubbed De Shields “the most lethal pelvis since Elvis!”

Enthusiastically referred to as “a pleasure delivery machine” by journalist Patrick Pacheco, Black By Popular Demand features De Shields along with his longtime partners in crime, vocalists Freida Williams and Marléne Danielle, with accompaniment by pianist Larry Spivack.

In a career spanning more than forty years, André De Shields has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, choreographer and educator. He is the recipient of the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival Living Legend Award, the 2009 AUDELCO Award for Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actor in a Musical/Male (Archbishop Supreme Tartuffe), and the 2007 Village Voice OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. De Shields is best known for his show stopping performances in the original Broadway productions of four legendary musicals: The Full Monty, for which he received Tony, Drama Desk and Astaire Award nominations, in addition to both the Outer Critics Circle and Drama League Awards; Play On! (Tony nomination), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award) and The Wiz (title role). He is currently featured in Chicago’s Goodman Theatre production of Camino Real (through April 8).

Congratulations are in order to our own Karen Mason for landing the pivotal role of Mrs. Danvers in the upcoming brand new Broadway production of Rebecca. The show begins previews on October 30 with an opening scheduled for November 18. Also starring in the production will be James Barbour and Howard McGillan. The leading roles of “I” and Maxim de Winter which were previously to have been played by Sierra Boggess and Tam Mutu will be announced in the coming weeks.

The musical is based on the classic novel by Daphne du Maurier and tells the story of Maxim de Winter, his new wife ("I") and Mrs. Danvers, the obsessive, controlling and manipulative housekeeper of Maxim's West Country estate of Manderley, where the memory of his first wife, the glamorous and mysterious Rebecca, still casts a shadow.

Raissa Katona Bennett

    An all new season of Concerts for City Greens  (free) outdoor concert series resumes on Wednesday, May 30th at 6:30 pm at Tudor City Greens Park (enter at Tudor City Place between East 42nd and East 43rd Streets). The event features performers from Broadway and the local cabaret/jazz scene, who donate their time and talent to benefit the Parks. The concert will be hosted by Tudor City resident, Broadway and cabaret performer Raissa Katona Bennett (Phantom of the Opera, Chess). This May's season opener concert performers TBA. The Concerts for City Greens, the free outdoor concert series, brings the sounds of live music to diverse urban audiences in unique, privately maintained public green spaces across the city. This popular event is free and open to the public.



 Currently, Feinstein's at Loews Regency Hotel (is presenting the return of Bistro Award-winning jazz vocalist Nicole Henry through Saturday, May 8th through 12th at 8:00 pm, with added late shows at10:30 pm on Friday & Saturday (540 Park Avenue, NYC - 212-339-4095 - http://www.feinsteinsattheregency.com/ )

Yanna Avis


   There are two more chances left to catch stunning international chanteuse Yanna Avis in her sensuous, European-flavored cabaret show at the Metropolitan Room on Wednesdays, May 16 and 30th at 9:30pm. Writing in the New York Times about her recent shows, Stephen Holden referred to her “50s glamor … singing in French, English and German … her husky voice and continental attitude are enough to carry a show … its essence is distilled in a word heard less and less nowadays: chic!” This continental beauty seduces any room she plays around the world and brings back a style that is but a memory.


  Remember: It all happens after dark ...