All stories by Marilyn Lester on BroadwayStars

Monday, January 20, 2020

Australian Fires: Bravo to Broadway for Enlightened Philanthropy by Marilyn Lester

Hats off and applause to the Broadway and theater community for their outpouring of love and for their actions in response to the devastating bush fires in Australia. As a result of record …

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Monday, December 30, 2019

Ad Lib on NLE: Upper Westside Jazz Club Cleopatra’s Needle: Another Cultural Casualty Among Many by Marilyn Lester

They’re toppling like dominoes—long-established restaurants and institutions that can’t keep up with the rising costs of doing business in Manhattan. Lately, the Boat Basin Cafe at 79t…

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Saturday, November 23, 2019

Those Show Broads Leave ‘Em Wanting MORE! by Marilyn Lester

What fun! Marta Sanders and Leanne Borghesi sure know how to put on a show and leave ’em wanting more. Their Showbroads was a powerhouse of entertainment, as you’d expect from two broads…

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Sunday, October 20, 2019

In Soul Searching, Mark Arthur Miller Has Found Some Answers by Marilyn Lester

Sometimes it’s not easy to walk in parental footsteps, especially for gifted children of the famous. But if they’re fortunate, their own art can be a guide out of the shadows. This is th…

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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Part Two of Songbook Summit, The Andersons Spotlight Armstrong—Well, Hello Louis! by Marilyn Lester

Reed-meisters Peter and Will Anderson‘s second installment of their annual Songbook Summit directed the spotlight on the life and music of the trumpeter/vocalist/composer Louis Armstrong…

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Thursday, August 8, 2019

Ad Lib on NLE: Richard Skipper Celebrates and Is Heartily Celebrated by Marilyn Lester

What can you say about a five year-old on a tobacco farm in South Carolina who thinks he’s Carol Channing, and who plays to the tombstones in a local cemetery as his audience? Only that he…

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Monday, July 29, 2019

Jazz in July Pays Tribute to Clifford Brown with Plenty of Brass by Marilyn Lester

The wall of sound that brass can create in simultaneous play is an experience high on the scale of titanically thrilling. This adrenaline rush is exactly what trumpet masters Jeremy Pelt, Wa…

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Ad Lib on NiteLife: The House Concert Goes Casually Glam with Broadway Veteran Carole Demas by Marilyn Lester

In the world of entertainment, the venerable house concert is an institution long enjoyed from the beginnings of music itself. From the caves of early humans to the courts of royalty and the…

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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Sarah DeLeo: A Heartfelt Tribute to Judy Garland by Marilyn Lester

To mark the 50th Anniversary of the passing of Judy Garland, the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, and the 80th Anniversary of the release of The Wizard of Oz, singer Sarah DeLeo was …

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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Ad Lib on NiteLife: The Future of the Arts: Anxiety, Questioning and—Hope by Marilyn Lester

Chances are if you’re reading you’re already a champion of the arts—and therefore understand the vital necessity to cultivate and teach the arts to succeeding gene…

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Monday, May 6, 2019

Review: Julie Budd Takes a Walk Down Memory Lane at Birdland by Marilyn Lester

From the Catskills to Las Vegas and back again, singer Julie Budd is one of the last performers standing from the glamorous age of nightclubs and variety television. She’s got quite a foll…

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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Ken Peplowski and Big Band Wowed ‘Em at Birdland by Marilyn Lester

Clarinetist Ken Peplowski is not only a virtuoso of the licorice stick, but a darn good leader too. His assembled big band at Birdland on the eve of Duke Ellington’s 120th birthday (April …

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Daryl Sherman: A Breath of Spring Warming a Chilly April Night by Marilyn Lester

Singer-pianist Daryl Sherman has been a long-time fixture in the international and New York City jazz world. Her endurance as a favorite is well-founded in her talent and charm. She’s full…

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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Versatility: Alexis Cole, Part 2—Cabaret Artist by Marilyn Lester

Vocalist-pianist Alexis Cole put aside the piano for an evening at the Beach Cafe, with a show entitled Canary in Combat Boots. This was the cabaret side of Cole, with a hint of her jazz per…

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Monday, April 8, 2019

Swing: Alexis Cole, Part 1—Jazz Artist by Marilyn Lester

Vocalist Alexis Cole is one of the few females in the jazz world to be able to claim first rate singing ability along with piano chops. You can count them on one hand—the late Barbara Carr…

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Monday, April 1, 2019

Michael Feinstein’s ‘S Wonderful and Marvelous Salute to Jewish Broadway by Marilyn Lester

In his ongoing Standard Time series at Zankel Hall, Michael Feinstein created another winner of a show with The Great American Jewish Songbook. More specifically, the singer’s template of …

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Saturday, March 2, 2019

Yes I Can: The Sammy Davis Jr. Songbook Proved a Boffo Tribute by Marilyn Lester

With Yes I Can: The Sammy Davis Jr. Songbook, the powers behind 92Y’s Lyrics and and Lyricists series not only put on a tremendously important and entertaining tribute to one of America’…

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A Feast of Open Mics Awaits Those Itching to Perform by Marilyn Lester

The open mic— a time-honored way for singers to perform, test material, keep vocal chords in shape, socialize with peers and so much more. There are quite a few regular sessions in Manhatt…

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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Lyrics and Lyricists’ “We’ll Have Manhattan: Rodgers & Hart in New York” at 92nd St. Y Scores a Grand Slam by Marilyn Lester

Call it inspired, a perfect storm of creative ideas or even perfection—but no matter how you describe it, the first of this year’s Lyrics and Lyricists programs at the 92nd Street Y was …

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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Christmas in Hell, Playing at the York Theatre, Is…Cute as Hell by Marilyn Lester

Christmas in Hell is, well, as cute as hell. The music is delightful and the cast a wonderful dispenser of screwball antics. For those looking for a good time, the show is a kind of dark Dis…

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Sunday, October 14, 2018

October 12, 2018: CabCon Night Four—An Ending with Alan Jay Lerner and Plenty of Sparkle by Marilyn Lester

How do you wrap up a fabulous four nights of cabaret? Why, with a blitzkrieg of super talent—a 21-gun salute of singers honoring the 100th birthday of songbook treasure, Alan Jay Lerner. A…

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Friday, October 12, 2018

This Weekend with Welsh Diva Iris Williams Includes the Cabaret Convention Friday, October 12 and the Beach Café on Saturday, October 13 by Marilyn Lester

Garbed in Sunday clothes with beads and buckles and bows, and most definitely getting their picture took, was a thrilling cast of performers singing the Jerry Herman songbook at the Mabel Me…

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

October 10, 2018: CabCon Night Two Celebrates the Ladies—Clooney, Cook and Wilson by Marilyn Lester

Shifting focus from a broad panorama to a narrower lens celebrating three icons of cabaret, the second night of the 29th Annual Mabel Mercer Foundation Cabaret Convention saw a dozen A-list …

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

October 9, 2018: The Cabaret Convention Convenes Brightly at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall by Marilyn Lester

The first night of the four-night Mabel Mercer Foundation Cabaret Convention began auspiciously at 6 pm in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall. The 29th annual event, subtitled Cabaret Toda…

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Saturday, October 6, 2018

An Installment Plan for Theater Tickets: An Idea Whose Time Has Come or a WTF? What Do You Think? by Marilyn Lester

This week, it was announced that Ticketmaster would institute an installment plan to pay for Broadway tickets for Hamilton (top ticket at a whopping $1,551, fees included) and a dozen other …

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

What’s New? Ann Hampton Callaway Sublimely Sings the Linda Ronstadt Songbook by Marilyn Lester

Poise, polish and presence are just a few of the accolades deserved by Ann Hampton Callaway in debuting her latest show, The Songbook of Linda Ronstadt. The match is a good one. Ronstadt’s…

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Friday, July 27, 2018

Richard Rodgers: With a Song in My Heart—Another Jazz in July Triumph by Marilyn Lester

The thirty fourth annual Jazz in July series at the 92nd Street Y has just concluded with six shows, each one a gem. Series artistic director, Grammy Award-winning pianist, Bill Charlap, has…

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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Universal Language of Jazz—Uptown and Across the Pond by Marilyn Lester

If music is an international language, then it’s nowhere more true than in the jazz world. Jazz artists—singers and instrumentalists—make up a tight community of travelers. Mention the…

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Bea Lillie Is in Good Hands with Sally Darling by Marilyn Lester

As time marches on, as new songs enter the American songbook and as more and more cabaret shows move further away from the classics of the past, preservation of this musical heritage becomes…

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Keeping the Music Playing—How Four Major Nonprofits Are Protecting America’s Musical Legacy by Marilyn Lester

A new foundation, a rebranded foundation and two established foundations are stepping up to keep American music safe. And be assured, American music in all of its forms does need to be prote…

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Friday, June 22, 2018

Natalie Douglas and Shirley Bassey Are a Perfect Match by Marilyn Lester

If ever there was a match made in entertainment heaven, it is Natalie Douglas with Dame Shirley Bassey. Both singers have remarkable vocal instruments—powerful voices and the wherewithal t…

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All that Chat

Oct 06: Slave Play
Feb 01: The Minutes
TBA: Blue