- CHARITY BENEFIT
by: Sandi Durell
B.B. Kings was the place to be on Thursday evening, March 29th for a night of congratulations in the closely knit Cabaret Community. With all the diverse and numerous categories, the presenters, performers and special Awards – - – it was a long night.
Hosted by the multi-talented Jason Graae (who came in from Hollywood for the occasion), there were laughs aplenty. This was the Year of the Songwriter and so special Lifetime Achievement Awards were awarded to Ervin Drake (Good Morning, Heartache, It Was A Very Good Year, I Believe), to David Friedman ( Listen To My Heart, Rich Famous and Powerful, We Can Be Kind); Board of Directors Awards to Francesca Blumenthal, John Bucchino and Julie Gold; the Hanson Award to Rosemary Loar.
The Winners in the various categories included:
Female Vocalist: Janice Hall
Male Vocalist: Craig Pomranz
Major Artist/Female or Duo: Terese Genecco
Major Artist Male: Eric Michael Gillett
Celebrity Artist: Marilyn Maye
New York Debut Female: Lauren Fox
New York Debut Male: T. Oliver Reid
Musical Comedy Performer: Joan Jaffe
Duo/Group: Tommy Femia & Rick Skye
Variety Production/Recurring Series: Wednesday Night at the Iguana
Open Mic: Salon
Host, Variety Show: Dana Lorge
Benefit: Cabaret Cares
Revue/Special Production: MetroStar Talent Challenge
Piano Bar/Singing Entertainer: Alison Nusbaum
Piano Bar/Instrumentalist: Bill Zeffiro
Director: Peter Napolitano
Technical Director: Jean-Pierre Perreaux
Song: He’s On His Way (Stamper/Rose)
Special Material: Universal Truth – Bill Zeffiro
Recording Award: H2 (Sean Harness, Mike Herriott)
Show of the Year: Terese Genecco
Winners performed or had their songs performed and there were several noteworthy acceptance speeches, especially by David Friedman. Well into the evening, and on the late side (especially for a 93 and 90 year old), songwriter Ervin Drake (and always by his side, lovely wife Edith) was finally awarded the Lifetime Achievement presented to him by Phil Ramone. In tribute, Mark Nadler sang “Evil Companions” from Her First Roman; Eric Comstock “A Room Without Windows;” Barbara Fasano “Good Morning Heartache” and granddaughter Nina Berman, a beautiful “I Believe.” Ervin ended with “It Was A Very Good Year,” his acceptance speech short and sweet.
The show refused to end, however, when Jason Graae returned to say goodnight, followed by Karen Mason, Marilyn Maye, Craig Pomranz, Janice Hall. . . . In fact, it may still be going on!
Congratulations to Julie Miller, who produced the event, Lennie Watts who directed, Amy Wolk, stage manager and the brilliant Tracy Stark, Musical Director/Pianist with Skip Ward on bass, David Silliman, drums. A special nod goes to the Trophy Girls, Allison Eckert Foley and Julia Cook.
Special Opening song “One Moment in Time” was sung by Liz Lark Brown, Scott Coulter, Kevin Dozier, Julie Reyburn, Sarah Rice, Steven Ray Watkins, Lennie Watts, Amy Wolk.
And a good time was had by all; now it’s on to the 27th.
*Photos by Stephen Sorokoff