All stories by Marilyn Lester on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

IT: A Musical Parody De-Fangs the Sheer Terror of Stephen King with Madcap Glee by Marilyn Lester

Anyone who’s read the source material for the IT franchise knows the 1986 Stephen King book was unrelentingly terrifying. Less so by a smidge were the film adaptations—a 1990 television …

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 09:31PM

The New Museum of Broadway Is a Boffo Love Letter to The Great White Way by Marilyn Lester

The costumes, the scenery, the makeup, the props…” so go the lyrics to Irvig Berlin’s “There’s No Business Like Show Business” (Annie Get Your Gun). It’s all there and very muc…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 09:31PM
Sunday, January 1, 2023

Marilyn Maye—Is There Another Word for Beyond Marvelous? by Marilyn Lester

Once upon a time the great Duke Ellington designated the equally great Ella Fitzgerald as “beyond category,” an honor to be used sparingly. So while she’s widely known now as “The Ma…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 12:37AM
Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Marilyn Maye, the Marvelous, Was Totally Captivating at 54 Below by Marilyn Lester

By Marilyn Lester***If ever a performer was born to the stage, it’s actor-singer Marilyn Maye, dubbed the “Marvelous.” To that we’d gladly add “magnificent,” “mind-blowing” a…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 06:55PM
Monday, September 26, 2022

Amanda Reckonwith Proved a Stunning Force of Nature in Her Return to the Stage by Marilyn Lester

Having known a couple of opera divas in our time, be assured that the (former) lyric soprano, Amanda Reckonwith, who triumphed in her return to the stage at Pangea, after a 25-year absence, …

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 05:10PM
Thursday, September 22, 2022

“This Beautiful Future” Is an Irony of Love and Hope Among the Anguish of War by Marilyn Lester

Teenage love is complicated at the best of times. When it happens during war the stakes are beyond imagining. Such is the setting of This Beautiful Future, playing at the Off-Broadway Cherry…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 03:51PM
Wednesday, September 21, 2022

VANGARI’S “Funny You Should Ask” Exuded Plenty of Charm and Joy at Don’t Tell Mama by Marilyn Lester

Not only do Evangaline Johns and Ariana Johns share a surname, by virtue of DNA they are also mother and daughter—as well as a duo of certifiable charm and talent. How delightful that they…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 08:13PM

Ann Talman and The Shadow of Her Smile Was a Triumph in Storytelling by Marilyn Lester

Actress Ann Talman is no stranger to the stage as a gifted monologist. Talman is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker and a four-time Broadway vet, so she knows her way around storyte…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 05:51PM
Thursday, August 11, 2022

Karen Mason’s Celebration at Birdland of an Enduring Creative Partnership Was Magnificently Inspiring by Marilyn Lester

Could it be possible that the wondrous Karen Mason could outdo herself on the cabaret stage? Anyone present for her recent triumph at Broadway at Birdland with 30…and Counting would have t…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 05:25PM
Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Tony DeSare’s Return to Birdland Theater Was a Long-Awaited Evening of Jazz Perfection by Marilyn Lester

Possibly the only “down side” of singer-songwriter-pianist Tony DeSare is that he doesn’t appear in New York City often enough. Pandemic not withstanding, it’s been quite a while sin…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 12:50PM
Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Broadway Rising Stars Returned to The Town Hall with a Boffo Cast of Talent by Marilyn Lester

For 14 years, the Broadway Rising Stars concert, created, written, directed and hosted by Scott Siegel for The Town Hall, has been presenting new talent, most often fresh from their course o…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 05:01PM
Thursday, June 30, 2022

New Musical “Love Quirks” Is a Pleasant Romp Bolstered by Its Musical Score by Marilyn Lester

The long-awaited musical, Love Quirks, has finally opened at the AMT theater after a dozen years of fits and starts, which included the now all too familiar pandemic pause. A kind of take on…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 04:38PM
Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Vocalist Sandy Stewart Offered a Master Class of Performance at Birdland Theater by Marilyn Lester

To write about singer Sandy Stewart is not so much to review her as it is to acknowledge a bona fide master class in the art of vocal performance. The same can be said of the two musicians w…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 03:57PM
Sunday, June 12, 2022

Ty Stephens’ “Standard Tyme” at Birdland Was Full of Spirited Soul and Joyful Swing by Marilyn Lester

From the moment singer-songwriter and recording artist Ty Stephens opened his show Standard Tyme at Birdland Theater with a slow, evocative opener of “Round Midnight” (Thelonius Monk, Th…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 06:42PM
Monday, June 6, 2022

Stacy Sullivan and “I Like Men—Celebrating 102 Years of Miss Peggy Lee” Was Nothing Less than Superlative by Marilyn Lester

In 2020, singer-songwriter Peggy Lee would have turned 100. To celebrate, KT Sullivan and The Mabel Mercer Foundation were going to honor the icon at its annual concert at Carnegie Hall’s …

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 06:29PM
Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Ann Kittredge and ReIMAGINE Was a Joyous Triumph at The Laurie Beechman Theatre by Marilyn Lester

Actress-singer Ann Kittredge has developed a habit—and that is of putting together cabaret shows that seem to just get better and better. Her latest, reIMAGINE, celebrated her debut CD of …

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 03:43PM
Friday, May 27, 2022

Scott Evan Davis and Cast Presented a Mighty Powerful Show in “Connection Unstable,” at the Triad Theater by Marilyn Lester

If you subscribe to the notion that “there are no accidents” then Scott Evan Davis clearly had a destiny: to become a writer of songs with pleasing melodies and deeply realized lyrics. A…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 05:30PM
Sunday, May 22, 2022

Madelaine Warren’s “Invitation” Was an Evening of Eclectic Song, Elegance and Many Delights by Marilyn Lester

Who could resist an invitation from Madelaine Warren to reconvene after a pandemic-induced hiatus from live performance? In her new show, Invitation, at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, many del…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 07:05PM
Sunday, May 15, 2022

Andy Farber and his Orchestra Swung a Fantastic Evening of Jazz at Birdland by Marilyn Lester

Drawing mostly from his latest CD, Early Blue Evening, award-winning jazz composer, arranger and saxophonist, Andy Farber, brought his orchestra to Birdland Jazz Club for an early evening of…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 05:08PM
Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Nightclub Cantata at the cell theatre Sparkles and Shines with Exquisite Exuberance by Marilyn Lester

Back in 1977, Elizabeth Swados’ Nightclub Cantata premiered at the now defunct, but legendary Village Gate, with a rave review from equally legendary New York Times critic, Clive Barnes. T…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 03:54PM
Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Danny Bacher and His Quartet Spread Plenty of Musical Joy at Pangea by Marilyn Lester

Vocalist and soprano sax-master, Danny Bacher, is one of those performers who truly loves what he does, and it shows in his every performance. Versatile and multi-talented, this outing at Pa…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 03:29PM
Tuesday, April 5, 2022

T. Oliver Reid Delivered a Positively Swell Sunday Kind of Happy at Birdland Theater by Marilyn Lester

Broadway triple-threat, T. Oliver Reid can always be depended on to deliver plenty of polish and great satisfaction in his cabaret shows. A Sunday Kind of Love on Valentine’s Eve at Birdla…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 07:53AM
Saturday, March 12, 2022

Dawn Derow’s Feinstein’s/54 Debut Tribute to Eydie Gormé Captured the Legend to a “T” by Marilyn Lester

Cabaret tribute shows can be tricky—the task is for the creator to find a balance between inhabiting the persona of the honoree while maintaining an identity of self. In Dawn Derow Sings E…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 04:50PM
Monday, March 7, 2022

One Night Only with Norm Lewis and The NY Pops Was a Master Class in All That a Concert Should Be by Marilyn Lester

In the way that royalty is preceded by a fanfare, the entrance of Norm Lewis on the Carnegie Hall Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage was ushered in by the majestic sound of The New York Pops, u…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 03:15PM
Sunday, February 6, 2022

Jeff Harnar’s A Collective Cy Was a Collective’s Cry of “Huzzah!” at Birdland Jazz Club by Marilyn Lester

There were so many points in this amazing evening of A Collective Cy that a collective sigh of unanimous appreciation for Jeff Harnar turned the atmosphere of Birdland Jazz Club electric. Pa…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 08:18PM
Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Scott Siegel and Company’s Special Concert Tribute to Barbra Streisand Was Definitely Evergreen by Marilyn Lester

Impresario Scott Siegel does what impresarios do best—which is to produce shows modest to grand with consummate ease and expertise. In this delightful outing at home base, Feinstein’s/54…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 07:29PM
Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Singer Dawn Derow Steered the Superlative “My Ship” Through Waters Deep and Thrilling by Marilyn Lester

A heck of a lot happened in 1941. This is a fact that came to Dawn Derow’s attention several years ago, and upon which she built the superlative cabaret show, My Ship: Songs from
1941. S…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 05:17PM
Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Scott Siegel’s Hat Tip to 10 Years of Feinstein’s/54 Below Gloriously Celebrated Tony Award Nominees by Marilyn Lester

Impresario Scott Siegel most often hits ’em out of the park, but this time the Universe pitched him a curve ball. The Omicron variant of the covid virus caused some of Siegel’s planned g…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 05:27PM
Monday, December 20, 2021

Karen Mason’s “Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!” Offered a Sublime Gift of Holiday Cheer by Marilyn Lester

If there’s a soul left in the world who doesn’t yet know why Broadway and cabaret doyenne and concert-recording artist Karen Mason is a star—capital “S”—they need only look to he…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 03:08PM
Wednesday, December 8, 2021

A Wow-’em, Jazzy Tedd Firth Trio Was Totally Transporting at Birdland Theater by Marilyn Lester

For those who know pianist Tedd Firth mainly as a crackerjack accompanist/musical director/arranger to stars such as Melissa Errico, Karen Akers, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Christine Ebersole, M…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 05:30PM
Friday, November 26, 2021

Andrea Bell Wolff’s Vegas Adventure Offered a Peek Into a Sin City That Once Was, with Plenty of Humor and Pizzazz by Marilyn Lester

One of the launching points of Andrea Bell Wolff’s Vegas Adventure at Don’t Tell Mama is an admission of age by the singer-actress. She just celebrated a birthday that’s quite a few de…

SOURCE: NiteLifeExchange at 04:20PM

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