NEWS - FESTIVALS
NE: PROVINCETOWN CABARET FEST 2010 "HIGHLIGHTS"
By Joni Rapp
The 2010 Provincetown Cabaret Fest was held on Friday through Sunday, April 16th through 18th in that famous little town at the very tip of Cape Cod. Although the beautiful NEW CROWN AND ANCHOR CABARET ROOM (47 Commercial Street, Provincetown, MA - 508-487-1430 - ) was the official venue for the three day Fest, this was not a local affair. Some of the best singer/performers in Cabaret today (from NY, Boston, Chicago ...and Cape Cod as well) took the stage for a star studded smorgasbord of musical talent.
Billy Stritch (singer, piano player/arranger to the stars) co-hosted Friday's "Opening Night" with funnyman/singer, Jim Caruso ...the zany MC of Monday Night's "Cast Party" at BIRDLAND (315 West 44th Street, NYC - 212-581-3080 - ) in NY. The duo opened with a lively duet, then, (in Cast Party fashion) offered up an entertaining glimpse of all the singers booked for "Official" weekend shows (themselves included), plus other handpicked talent just for this opening event. Jim introduced the performers while Billy accompanied them all (covering a range of musical styles that only further highlights what a marvelous musician Stritch really is). In between the acts the two found time for mischief and some well-timed banter that had the audience in stitches. Both also sang solos (Stritch chose a lovely Mel Torme' ballad and Caruso, an insanely funny comic country tune. The "official" Stritch & Caruso Show was held Saturday night at 8:00 pm (reviews of all the shows on the Hotline website in the next few days).
Among the performers were Boston's Dane Vannatter and Krisanthi Pappas (doing a separate, yet combined show the next day at 5:00 pm). Each took a turn wowing the crowd (both are remarkable singers who have also spent much time at NY clubs) and then finished up with a duet. When not singing on the road, Vannatter also hosts an open Mike at CLUB CAFE (209 Columbus Avenue, Boston, MA - 617-536-0966 - ) on Thursday nights. Pappas, who plays piano and writes (twenty published tunes already), is being honored as a second place winner in the Billboard World Songwriting Contest, and also at the THE NEW YORK SHEET MUSIC SOCIETY on May 8th.
Belting out a tune for the enthusiastic crowd was, "The First Lady of Boston Cabaret" the timeless diva, Carol O'Shaughnessy. After a little banter with the boys she bounced into the wonderful "No Time at All" from Pippin and had the audience singing along with her. The winner of multiple cabaret awards, O'Shaugnessy (I'll tell you right here) kept the crowd in town long enough to end the weekend series with her Sunday Brunch show.
Performers who were invited to sing (although not scheduled for official shows) was singer/songwriter Zoe Lewis (a summer regular in the P'town clubs ... who often plays NY). She played piano and harmonica and sang an original tune called the Breakfast Food Blues (hilarious).
Lisa Jason wore a floor length sequined yellow gown (imagine the fun Jim had with that) and belted out an old fashioned "hit 'em in the top tiers" version of Johnny One Note. She's also appeared at Cast Party in NY, but you can catch her in all summer in Chatham, hosting her own talent show ever Wednesday at Marley's, as well as her own show, "Little Voice" at the Wequasett Inn.
Bubba McNeeley (and old friend of Caruso and Stritch from their Texas club days) belted out a wonderful version of, "Let's Stay Together" and was followed by a feisty little blonde woman (who spends her winters singing once a week at the Boca Bar and Grill) doing a bouncy, adorable grandmotherly version of "Cabaret" (of which I'm sure Billy did not need the music).
Paul Motundo, an ex New Yorker now living and playing the clubs in Chicago sang "Taking a Chance on Love" in a Buble' kind of style that showcased a lovely voice. He's already filled NY's Metropolitan room once, and I think could easily do it again).
Patricia Fitzpatrick was all over the place this week: She sang at the IGUANA'S VIP LOUNGE (240 West 54th Street, NYC - 212-765-5454 - ) in NY on Wednesday night, the 14th, then hopped a plane back in time to sing a sexy, Peggy Lee sounding, "I Thought About You" for the Fest show, and then was off the next day to sign and sell copies of her still warm CD (the five time grandmothers' first!), where Dane Vannatter, and Boston/P'town legend Bobby Wetherbee joined her to sing their own songs as well (since she decided a trio would add a nice touch to the afternoon).
Speaking of Bobby Wetherbee, he took over the piano at the CROWN AND ANCHOR as the Opening Night Show ended and kept people there with his piano and songs until closing. I can only describe this man (now in his 60th year in show business) as a combination of NY's Jerry Scott (open mike and personality) and the late Bobby Short (the history behind almost all the tunes he plays ...from the 1920's to now).
As Wetherbee mesmerized, Fitzpatrick was yet off again to close the evening with a bang at yet another club, where she was joined by John Thomas and a host of talented "late night" talent too "psyched" by the entire evening to head home without just a little more music for the road. Even an ex Selectman for the town played piano and sang, as well as a young man named Michael Steers that seriously ought to consider giving up drag shows and heading for the nearest theater with his remarkable well-trained tenor.
All in all, if more people knew about this wonderful weekend of music and song they would GO!
It's time word got out - and I have a feeling that Billy Stritch and Jim Caruso will be making their third appearance next year.
LOCAL PROVINCETOWN PHOTOS BY JONI RAPP
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