Jack Quinn

Victor Gluck

Chip Deffaa

The 11th Annual Nightlife Awards (January 14, 2013)
By: Linda Amiel Burns
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Host Bruce Vilanch
(All photos by Maryann Lopinto)

The Nightlife Awards honors performers in the worlds of cabaret, jazz and comedy who play in music venues and clubs in New York City and environs. This is their 11th year at The Town Hall and the only awards ceremony where there are no acceptance speeches and the honorees perform to show why they were chosen. There were 14 Awards given this year on Monday, January 14, 2013 as opposed to 2012 when there were only five given out. As Scott says in the Program, “Instead of an Awards Show, we are giving you an ‘Awards Concert.’”

Leslie Uggams, Nightlife Legend Winner

One of the best things about the evening was host funny man and writer Bruce Vilanch who kept the show moving with his offbeat humor telling stories that had nothing to do with the Awards, but had the audience in stitches. As always with Awards ceremonies, some “winners” were more deserving than others and some didn’t fully demonstrate in their performances why they are considered “outstanding.”

The two “Legend” winners Leslie Uggams and Marilyn Maye proved that they can still make magic and that experience triumphs every time. Leslie performed “Love” and “Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home” and announced that she is working on a Lena Horne Tribute show. Marilyn, always looking every inch the star, sang a terrific New York Medley and hit a home run as usual.

Jane Monheit, Outstanding Jazz Performer

Kate McGarry, Outstanding Jazz Performer

The three winners in the Jazz category couldn’t be more different. Jane Monheit made a stunning debut ten years ago and continues to get better and proved it with her fine rendition of “Stardust.” Catherine Russell performed a great version of “Romance in the Dark” showing off her jazz chops. Although Kate McGarry made an interesting choice to sing “We Kiss in a Shadow” with her husband accompanying her on guitar, it didn’t work or come off well.

Emily Bergl, Outstanding Musical Comedy Performer

Julie Halston, Outstanding Comedy Performer

The winners in Comedy made the evening fun. Emily Bergl lampooned “It Had to Be You,” Jessica Kirson was entertaining with her standup routine, and the super talented duo of Faith Prince and Jason Graae practically stole the show with a song from their act, “The Prince & The Showboy Medley.” Each also performed a fun solo, Faith’s “The Boy From” – a parody of “The Boy from Ipanema” and Jason’s
over-the-top, “In Excess.” Jim Caruso performed the sardonic “A Song for My Friends” before introducing his friend and comic genius Julie Halston who never misses. One of Julie’s well-known bits is reading wedding announcements from the New York Times word for word and it is always a laugh riot.

Mark Nadler, Outstanding Cabaret Performer

Carole J. Bufford, Outstanding Cabaret Performer

One of the great talents in cabaret and anywhere is Mark Nadler who performed “Bilbao Song” from his well-received new show, I’m A Stranger Here Myself, coming to the York Theatre in the spring. Carole J. Bufford, a newcomer to cabaret, has made quite a name for herself and showed why with a passionate “Cry Me A River.” Lauren Fox scored with Jackson Browne’s “Before the Deluge” accompanied by “her band” of extraordinary musicians.

James Barbour, Outstanding Cabaret Performer

There is some controversy about the performance of Bill Charlap, the great jazz pianist, who played an agonizingly slow version of “On the Sunny Side of the Street.” He said that it was in tribute to Richard Rodney Bennett who died last month, but there was little energy in his performance and it felt as if he was just tinkling the keys with the melody almost unrecognizable. The show closed with a smashing performance by James Barbour whose fabulous voice rang out through the hall with “Measure of a Man.”

Jessica Kirson, Outstanding Standup Comedy Performer

Congratulations to Scott Siegel for conceiving the Nightlife Awards and for honoring many of the unsung heroes of cabaret, jazz and comedy for over a decade. We cannot figure out how he accomplishes all the things he does – the Broadway By The Year Series, Summer Cabaret Festival, Broadway Unplugged and in 2012, the weekly Ballyhoo at Feinstein’s at The Regency. Scott and his wife Barbara are also at every show in town reviewing for various publications.

The first Broadway By The Year (Musicals of 1937) will be at The Town Hall on February 11th.

The 11th Nightlife Awards (January 14, 2013)
The Town Hall, 123 W. 43rd Street, in Manhattan
For more information: visit www.siegelpresents.com

2013 Nightlife Award Winners:

Marilyn Maye
Leslie Uggams
James Barbour
Carole J. Bufford
Lauren Fox
Mark Nadler
Emily Bergl
Faith Prince & Jason Graae
Julie Halston
Jessica Kirson
Bill Charlap
Kate McGarry
Jane Monheit
Catherine Russell

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