29th ANNUAL BISTRO AWARDS GALA
Tuesday, March 4, 6:30 pm / Gotham Comedy Club
Ben Vereen Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award
Anita Gillette Recognized, along with
WBGO and Robert Creighton, among other winners
(New York City, January 21, 2014) –- The Tony Award-winning actor-singer-dancer Ben Vereen, who has appeared in numerous shows on Broadway and in his own one-man shows around the country, will be honored, along with 17 others, at the 29th Annual Bistro Awards gala, which recognizes outstanding achievement in New York cabaret, jazz, and comedy. The celebration will take place on Tuesday, March 4 at Gotham Comedy Club, 208 W. 23rd St. (between 7th & 8th avenues).
Mr. Vereen, who won Tony and Drama Desk Awards in 1973 for his performance in “Pippin” and has gone on to a busy career in film, television, theatre, and concerts, receiving many other awards and nominations along the way, is being honored with the Bob Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award.
Veteran performer Anita Gillette is being honored for her Major Engagement at the Metropolitan Room .Ms. Gillette, who has been in the business for 55 years, only recently made her cabaret debut, drawing on her life and career for source material. WBGO, the Newark-based public radio station, is being cited for its dedication to the popularization of jazz and related musical genres.
The evening will be emceed by multi-MAC- and Bistro award-winning singer Jeff Harnar and will be directed by Shellen Lubin. As is the Bistro tradition, the evening will feature performances from most of this year’s Bistro-winning artists.
Other Bistro Awards go to vocalist Karen Wyman, appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show as a teenager and who recently returned to cabaret performing after being largely absent from the scene since the 1970s, and Broadway performer Robert Creighton, who entertained cabaret audiences last year with his celebration of music and joy.
An award will be presented to Duplex staff members Thomas Honeck, general manager, and Lisa Moss, assistant manager, who, as a creative team, go beyond their formal job duties to devise innovative shows and nurture new performing and songwriting talent. WBGO, the Newark-based public radio station, is being cited for its dedication to the popularization of jazz and related musical genres.
A number of outstanding vocalists are in the spotlight this year: D.C.-based Sharón Clark, soprano Jillian Laurain, the droll and astute Elaine St. George, and rhythm and blues singer William Blake. And longtime cabaret artist Vickie Phillips is being recognized for her highly personal and illuminating Song Interpretations.
Jazz singer and trumpeter Bria Skonberg and singer-pianist Eric Yves Garcia are being honored in the categories of Jazz Artist and Singer-Instrumentalist, respectively. Tanya Moberly is being recognized in the Theme Show category for her offering “I Love New York Songwriters,” and Billie Roe will take home an award in the Tribute Show category for “1978 NYC Underground,” her homage to Tom Waits. Amy Wolk is receiving an award as Musical Comedy Performer.
The Ira Eaker Special Achievement Award, given to an outstanding performer on the rise, and named after Back Stage’s co-founder, co-publisher, and first cabaret critic, goes to multi-talented Nathan Chang.
The gala event will be held on Tuesday, March 4 at Gotham Comedy Club, 208 W. 23rd Street. A Champagne reception for Bistro recipients and Premium Ticket holders begins at 5 pm, followed by the awards presentation and show starting at 6:30 pm. Producer Sherry Eaker will host the annual event, along with the other members of the Bistro Awards Committee: Kevin Scott Hall (Edge Media Network, BistroAwards.com ), Roy Sander (BistroAwards.com, chairman of the Advisory Board of MAC), Robert Windeler (BistroAwards.com), and Mark Dundas Wood (simplyshowbiz.com, BistroAwards.com). Ms. Eaker, who heads the Bistro Committee, is the former longtime Editor-in-Chief of Back Stage and the producer of the event since its inception.
The Bistro Awards are sponsored by ASCAP, with in-kind support from Branson B. Champagne. General Admission tickets are $75; Premium Tickets are $125, which includes the pre-show Champagne reception, priority seating, and their names listed in the program. A two-drink minimum applies to both ticket categories, and all attendees are invited to the “After Bistros” supper party as guests of the Bistros. To purchase tickets, go to www.BistroAwards.com. For additional information: 917-239-5467.
A complete list of the winners being recognized for their outstanding work follows:
Ben Vereen / Bob Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award
Anita Gillette / Major Engagement / Metropolitan Room
Nathan Chang / Ira Eaker Special Achievement Award
William Blake / Vocalist / Birdland, Joe’s Pub
Sharón Clark / Vocalist / Metropolitan Room
Robert Creighton / Entertainer / 54 Below
Eric Yves Garcia / Singer-Instrumentalist / Chez Josephine, Laurie Beechman Theatre
Thomas Honeck and Lisa Moss / Special Award, Innovative and nurturing creative team / The Duplex
Jillian Laurain / Vocalist / Metropolitan Room
Tanya Moberly / Theme Show / “I Love New York Songwriters” / Don’t Tell Mama
Vickie Phillips / Song Interpretation / Don’t Tell Mama
Billie Roe / Tribute Show / “1978 NYC Underground” / Metropolitan Room, The Duplex
Elaine St. George / Vocalist / Don’t Tell Mama
Bria Skonberg / Jazz Artist / Café Carlyle, Iridium, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola
Amy Wolk / Musical Comedy Performer / The Duplex
Karen Wyman / Acclaimed Return to Cabaret / Metropolitan Room
WBGO Special Award, Outstanding Programming
The BISTRO AWARD was established by Bob Harrington in 1985 in his “Bistro Bits” column in the trade weekly Back Stage, then under the editorship of Sherry Eaker. For the first few years, the awards were merely listed in Harrington’s column as notable performances he had seen during the calendar year. The first formal presentation of the awards was held in 1990 at Eighty Eight’s, a popular cabaret venue in the West Village. From there, the show moved on to The Ballroom in Chelsea, and then relocated to the Supper Club in the Broadway District, where it remained for many years. This year marks the seventh year at Gotham Comedy Club.
The guidelines that Harrington set up for himself to determine the first winners have become the basic philosophy behind the Bistro Awards, which recognize achievement in a wide variety of categories — from outstanding performances to outstanding contributions by members of the cabaret community. The object is not to choose the “best” of anything of the year, but to recognize and congratulate the accomplishments of those who have done something special. Accordingly, categories can easily be created from year to year as they best fit the year’s distinguished work.
Some of the Bistro’s special honorees have included Lainie Kazan and Maurice Hines (2013), Kaye Ballard, Melissa Manchester, and Dee Dee Bridgewater (2012), Dionne Warwick and Carol Channing (2011), Mitzi Gaynor and Elaine Stritch (2010), Charles Aznavour and Liza Minnelli (2009), Marilyn Maye (2008), Betty Buckley (2007), Steve Ross (2006), as well as Cleo Laine and John Dankworth, Bobby Short, Eartha Kitt, Barbara Cook, and many others.