Author Archive: Robert Windeler

Robert Windeler is the author of 17 books, including biographies of Mary Pickford, Julie Andrews, Shirley Temple, and Burt Lancaster. As a West Coast correspondent for The New York Times and Time magazine, he covered movies, television and music, and he was an arts and entertainment critic for National Public Radio. He has contributed to a variety of other publications, including TV Guide, Architectural Digest, The Sondheim Review, and People, for which he wrote 35 cover stories. He is a graduate of Duke University in English literature and holds a masters in journalism from Columbia, where he studied critical writing with Judith Crist. He has been a theatre critic for Back Stage since 1999, writes reviews for BistroAwards.com, and is a member of The Players and the American Theatre Critics Association.

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Cacophony Daniels

Cacophony Daniels

July 24, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

I have never before seen a tribute show quite like Wanna Bette?, drag artist Cacophony Daniels’s homage to Bette Midler, currently at Don’t Tell Mama. The evening celebrates Midler and her long professional career—52 years and counting—in fine style, and provides a thoroughly entertaining and stylish cabaret act. There is no real connection between the […]

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Andrea Axelrod

Andrea Axelrod

June 8, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

It would take a daring performer with solid and wide-ranging singing chops and a sense of humor to pull off an effective and memorable tribute to six major musical artists from the last century in a one-hour show. Fortunately for us in the audience, Andrea Axelrod was more than up to this task in Centenary, […]

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Natalie Douglas

Natalie Douglas

May 20, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Ella Fitzgerald was arguably the premier female jazz and pop singer of the mid-20th century, certainly when it came to recordings and perhaps in live performance as well. Natalie Douglas clearly thinks so, and she made a very strong case for that premise in her recent remarkable Fitzgerald tribute show at Birdland. At the top […]

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Sierra Rein

Sierra Rein

May 6, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

The title of Sierra Rein’s show at the Laurie Beechman Theatre is a deliberately ironic misnomer: Running in Place (directed by James Beaman) actually celebrates—in fine style—her arrival at a long-delayed finish line. Striding onto the stage in a tight-fitting black cocktail dress and high heels, Rein makes it clear she’s totally in command of […]

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Liz Robertson

Liz Robertson

April 22, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

There is a great deal to be said for inside information when it comes to creating and presenting a musical cabaret tribute show. Almost any singer could compile such an offering based on public domain material—or solely on Wikipedia snippets—combined with the honoree’s greatest hits. But an artist’s knowing or having known one’s subject well […]

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Cynthia Sayer

Cynthia Sayer

March 28, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Ever since I first heard Stephen Foster’s “Oh! Susanna” on a Little Golden Record in early childhood, I’ve loved the sound of the banjo. I cottoned to Mickie Finn’s club in San Diego and its successful 1966 TV show, with Mickie herself on the banjo. To see the Mummers’ string band parade in Philadelphia, I […]

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Brooke Davis

Brooke Davis

March 11, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

In Late to the Party, her recent show at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, directed by Barbara Grecki, Brooke Davis touchingly and comically re-invented the autobiographical cabaret hour by appropriating mostly familiar songs in a partly new context. She even had a somewhat non-traditional backing trio: music director, arranger and pianist Darren R. Cohen; Peter Sachon […]

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Matthew Morrison

Matthew Morrison

January 23, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Sometimes a large following based on solid television and Broadway musical credits can be enough to assure a successful cabaret stint. No need to name your club show or to provide a thoughtful theme or through-line for it. As Matthew Morrison proved anew in his most recent run at Feinstein’s/54 Below, you can simply name […]

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Gretchen Reinhagen

Gretchen Reinhagen

December 28, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

When a cabaret show begins with the song “Life Sucks and Then You Die” (Ray Jessel) you might be forgiven for thinking you’re in for yet another “poor me” sob story without benefit of even a minimally redeeming happy ending. But in the case of Gretchen Reinhagen’s recent, entirely enjoyable set at Don’t Tell Mama, […]

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Audrey Appleby

Audrey Appleby

November 16, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

In Ladies Cheap Cocktails, her show at Pangea, Audrey Appleby offers an appealingly personal portrait of love and romance in a program of original music and lyrics, mostly written by her, with occasional assists from others. It may often be difficult to discern which of her fourteen songs derive from her own experience, which are […]

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