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Cabaret Impresario Erv Raible Dies At 68

 Cabaret impresario Erv Raible, 68, died on Wednesday, February 19 at Lenox Hill Hospital after a long illness. Funeral and memorial arrangements are pending and will be announced.

For many years, Erv Raible played a prominent role in the cabaret and nightclub scene in Manhattan. He owned four of New York's most popular and legendary cabarets and piano bars including: The Duplex (1978-1984) , Brandy's Piano Bar (1980-1985), Don't Tell Mama (1982-1989) and was also an owner and booking manager of Eighty Eight's from 1988 to 1999 when it closed. No one else has had such success in New York nightclubs before or after.

Some of the successful shows to come from these venues include: “Nunsense.” Closer Than Ever” as well as prominent artists like Bonnie Franklin, Linda Lavin and Harvey Fierstein.


Erv Raible - Rob HoskinsErv Raible & Rob Hoskins

His beloved life partner, Rob Hoskins, worked by his side from the start (in 1978) until his own death in December 1984. Erv continued to expand his activities and even brought local artists to perform in Paris (where he had a home for many years) as well as presenting performers in other parts of the United States. In a career that spanned 40 years, Erv Raible presented more than 4000 artists – many went on to achieve recognition and stardom on Broadway and television. He also worked with student and longtime friend Sarah Jessica Parker. For years, he was regarded as cabaret's strongest, most vocal champion of the art form and even fought authorities, unions and politicians for musicians' and performers' rights.

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Along with New York Post critic Curt Davis, Erv co-founded the Manhattan Association of Cabarets (MAC) – later renamed the Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs and remained president for 13 years. This was the very first cabaret trade organization of its kind. Their annual spring awards gala honors legendary artists, rising stars  and newcomers.

Erv became the Associate Producer of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s Cabaret Symposium in Waterford, Connecticut for eight years. He served as a master teacher for twelve years and taught cabaret classes for Talent Ventures, Inc (TVI.) Over the last six years, he taught cabaret classes and ran seminars for DreamsCome True (DCT) Enterprises and Biz Kids NYC.

Mr. Raible was the Executive Director of Cabaret & Concert Artists International, and was a New York City based cabaret

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coach, director, publicist, consultant and talent representative. He was also the Executive/Artistic Director of the Cabaret Conference At Yale University which was developed in conjunction with the Yale School of Drama and the Yale Repertory Theater and is an international teaching program that offers an intensive look at the art of performance technique training professionals for the live entertainment industry. He also served on the Back Stage Bistro Award Selection Committee.

Mr. Raible received many honors over the years. He was the recipient of the 2004 Back Stage Bistro Award for Outstanding Director. He was a 2002, 2003 and 2004 MAC Award nominee for Outstanding Director and was a recipient of a 2000 Back Stage Bistro Award for Eighty Eight’s; a 1992 MAC and Back Stage Bistro winner for conceiving, producing and directing the groundbreaking Outstanding Musical Revue, Here’s To Our Friends…The AIDS Music Revue, a 1992 MAC nomination for Outstanding Special Musical Material for the song I Wish I Might written with Emmy Award winning composer Brian Lasser, a 1991 Back Stage Bistro award for promoting cabaret and founding MAC. In 1989, he was awarded the Piaf d’Honneur from the French government in Paris for his success promoting, producing and directing cabaret internationally. Nancy LaMott, Jenifer Lewis, Jeff Harnar and Sharon McNight were among the artists he presented in cabaret and concert in Paris.

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Aside from Erv Raible Cabaret & Concert Artists' International, he served on the Advisory Boards of the Washington DC Cabaret Network, Boston Association Of  Cabaret Artists, Chicago Cabaret Professionals, Cabaret West/Los Angeles, Pacific Northwest Cabaret Association and the West Michigan Cabaret Association.

Erv was also a respected art teacher, collector and historian who traveled extensively pursuing art rarities around the globe. An exhibition from his personal collection of art and Chinese porcelain toured Asia and Europe.

In spite of his many creative and tutorial interests, Erv Raible will likely best be remembered for the plethora of talents he nurtured and presented from Tony and Emmy nominated or winning artists like  Lea 

Delaria and Sharon McNight, Karen Mason, Sally Mayes, Jenifer Lewis, Nathan Lane and Sarah Jessica Parker to a bevy of newcomers and rising artists whom he delighted in teaching the art of live performance. Social media has been burning with caring and heartfelt messages and tributes to the man since news of his passing spread.

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Current MAC president Lennie Watts issued a statement that sums the man up best,, “Erv Raible was a pioneer in the Cabaret and Nightlife World. He supported countless artists by not only nurturing them, but by giving them a place to call home, in the clubs that he owned and ran. He was one of the major forces behind MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) and was a strong advocate for the rights of Cabaret performers. Cabaret as we know it would not exist if not for the vision of Erv Raible.” Cabaret legend Julie Wilson said, “Erv was a natural teacher – a joy to work with. He cared for those he taught – He was a Manhattan institution.” Baby Jane Dexter said, “... He was totally nurturing, supportive and made 88's completely available to me - and is responsible for my restarting my career.”

As aforementioned, funeral arrangements and a memorial will be announced. Mr. Raible will be interred in Cincinnati next to his parents, Erwin and Dorothy Raible and his beloved life-partner Rob Hoskins.

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