Cabaret Hotline Online is an independent website with more than 7,400 pages of news, information and stories on cabaret, owned and maintained by Stu Hamstra. CABARET HOTLINE ONLINE is not affiliated with any club or organization. It is totally supported through advertising and membership donations. This blog is an extension of the website and newsletter.


"His eye is on the sparrow...."

Saturday, August 15, 2009



COMING FROM OUT OF TOWN to NYC for the MABEL MERCER CABARET CONVENTION, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, October 7th through 9th? How about a CABARET HOTLINE ONLINE 'meet & greet' somewhere? Maybe an open mic? Maybe just a schmooze fest? Maybe a cabaret CD party? It won't be just for members, and all locals and out-of-town subscribers will be invited - I guess we'll need to take reservations, in case all 2700 subscribers (and partners) decide to come.

If you're interested, and will be in town, let me know at If we get enough response, and I can get some sponsors to cover room and pianist, it will be a no-cover event. I am going to poll the local cabaret venues to see what rooms are available for a 9:30 pm event on one of those nights - or maybe on Saturday afternoon.


Johnson & Toledo Entertainment presents "As Gay As It Gets!" a new musical comedy revue by Eduardo Toledo and Maury Johnson on Saturday, August 15th at THE DUPLEX CABARET THEATRE (61 Christopher Street, NYC - 1-212-255-5438). Both performances begin at 7:00 pm. The cast for As Gay As It Gets! includes Lennie Joel, Patrick Kuzara, and Elias John Ruperto, all three making their NYC cabaret debut. Direction is by Jay Rogers, who will also perform a song a la Noel Coward. The show presents twelve all-original songs, created by the new songwriting team of Maury Johnson and Eduardo Toledo, covering the joys of gay life: the gym, hot studs, love affairs, divas, cowboys, circuit parties, the down low and ... fashion school. Each topic is matched up with a specific musical genre, ranging from pop to jazz, disco, hip hop, Beatles, Burt Bacharach, Bollywood, Roy Rogers, Devo, bossa nova, and more to deliver an eclectic and electric new queer musical revue. The evening will be presided over by award-winning cabaret legend Jay Rogers, who will also perform a song a la Noel Coward. There is a $20 cover plus a 2-drink minimum. $15 cover for members of CABARET HOTLINE ONLINE.
Eadie Scott brings her award winning show "Wished on the Moon: A Tribute to Dorothy Parker" to THE WEST BANK CAFE/LAURIE BEECHMAN THEATER (407 West 42nd Street, NYC - 212-695-6909) on Monday, August 17th at 7:00 pm. Wished on the Moon follows the journey of one woman in her search for love. Dorothy Parker was born Dorothy Rothschild in 1893 and is best remembered for her outrageous one liners, drama reviews and short stories for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Mrs. Parker was a renowned member of the Algonquin Round Table, poetess, playwright and screenwriter. Using poetry, monologues and lyrics by Dorothy Parker, Scott's character recounts the tales of loves lost with pathos, hope and timeless humor. Additional songs written by Jerome Kern and Cole Porter as well as contemporary cabaret notables Francesca Blumenthal and John Meyer. Musical Direction is by Ricky Ritzel. Directed by Collette Black. Wished on the Moon was originally conceived and performed by Eadie Scott in 1993 as a celebration of Dorothy Parker's 100th birthday. There is a $15 cover plus a $15 food/drink minimum. $10 cover for members of CABARET HOTLINE ONLINE.
Two and a Half Women, a new cabaret show dedicated to the women who survived the noxious men that once captivated them and a caveat for those who can't seem to kick the habit, will premiere at DON'T TELL MAMA (343 West 46th Street, NYC - 212-757-0788 - ) on Wednesday, August 19th at 7:00 pm, with additional performances on Friday, August 21st at 9:15 pm, Thursday, August 27th at 8:15 pm, and Monday, August 31st at 7:00 pm. Starring Haleigh Carabin, Alie Marie and Angela Sytko with musical direction & accompaniment by Jeff Cubeta and direction by Rob Grippa, the revue will describe, through song, the struggle to conquer the mundane and see a new day arise out of the darkness, all the while hoping to set free that beautiful and optimistic child that lies deep inside, so close to our hearts. The show features the songs of Harold Arlen, Ahrens & Flaherty, Jason Robert Brown, Jule Styne, Craig Carnelia, Jacques Brel, Irving Berlin, Andrew Lippa, Burt Bacharach, Peter Allen, and more. There is a $15 cover plus a 2-drink minimum. $12 cover for members of CABARET HOTLINE ONLINE.

Friday, August 14, 2009


At THE WEST BANK CAFE/LAURIE BEECHMAN THEATER (407 West 42nd Street, NYC - 212-695-6909) on Fridays at 10:30 pm, 2009 MAC AWARD NOMINEE Brandon Cutrell hosts AFTER PARTY, a free-wheeling open-mic with guest stars from Broadway and Cabaret, Ray Fellman at the piano and and Becca Johnson & Gabrielle Stravelli serving up drinks and taking turns at the mic. Guest performers from Broadway, off-Broadway and cabaret drop by each week to sing, chat and join in the fun. This week's AFTER PARTY special guest is Wicked's Chelsea Krombach. No cover, no minimum.


On Thursday, August 20th, in conjunction with New York's Dorothy Parker Society, Big Night Out will once again host its annual singer's competition, Big Night Out Presents 1930's Idol honoring the 116th birthday of writer Dorothy Parker and celebrating the music of the Jazz Age. The contest will take place at DON'T TELL MAMA (343 West 46th Street, NYC - 212-757-0788 ). On August 20th, Big Night Out will present The 1930's Idol Grand Finals. The ten finalists are Sierra Rein, Natalie Wilson, Sigali Hamberger, Julie Leedes, Alex Brook Lynn, Ritt Henn, Cherry Duke, Henry Kaiser, Merrill Grant and Courtney Rottenburger. The contest's talented contestants from the cabaret and musical theatre stage are competing for prizes and the titles of "Audience Favorite," "1st Runner Up" and the "1930's Idol Champion." Participants and audience members are encouraged to dress in period style and "party like its 1929." The show on the 20th will include special performances by Daryl Sherman, Jazz Duo Gelber & Manning, plus the cast of Off-Broadway's Danny and Sylvia. There is a $12 cover plus a 2-drink minimum.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Mark Janas and Peter Napolitano now present THE SUMMER OAK ROOM SALON every Thursday night in the famed OAK ROOM of the the ALGONQUIN SALON on Sundays in the lobby of THE ALGONQUIN HOTEL (59 West 44th Street, NYC - 212-419-9331 - ) from 7:00 to 10:00 pm. Mark Janas is at the piano. The show on August 13th co-host will be Sue Matsuki, with violinist Martin Lass as her Featured Guest. SEATING IS EXTREMELY LIMITED! Reservations MUST be made by in advance by e-mailing Those arriving without reservations may not be able to be accommodated. There is a $10 cover plus a $10 food/drink minimum.


NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg began "twittering" this week and is now a "follower" on both the HOTLINE news blog and our own personal blog! You can follow him at . Tweets from Mike use "I" or signed "-mike" Otherwise the tweet is by his staff. Now, if we can get him to come to some cabaret shows.... (I am sort of doubtful that he actually reads all his "tweets" - he "follows" over 8000 others).


Official word (via Sue Matsuki) regarding cabaret maven Michael Nelson, who underwent surgery last week at Beth Israel Hospital: he's recovering and should be home soon and back out to seeing shows as soon as he feels up to it. (Later report says he may even be going home today - Thursday).


On Sunday, August 16th, EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN, on the Radio over WBAI 99.5 FM and on the Internet at, usually heard from 9:00 to 11:00 pm and hosted by David Kenney will feature feature a tribute to LES PAUL featuring segments of Davids extensive interviews with Les Paul, praise from his world wide audience, decades of music from The Les Paul Trio, Les Paul & Mary Ford and never-released LIVE Recordings from his Iridium performances. Each week David presents the usual blend of big-band jazz, swing, standards, showtunes, contemporary cabaret and celebrity interviews plus MEGA-MEDLEY MADNESS. For more information contact: You are also invited to e-mail your comments and suggestions for future shows. You can listen to past shows at any time by going to the WBAI Archives at .



The World Has Lost a Remarkable Innovator and Musician

New York, NY…August 13, 2009…Les Paul, acclaimed guitar player, entertainer and inventor, passed away today from complications of severe pneumonia at White Plains Hospital in White Plain, New York, surrounded by family and loved ones. He had been receiving the best available treatment through this final battle and in keeping with his persona, he showed incredible strength, tenacity and courage. The family would like to express their heartfelt thanks for the thoughts and prayers from his dear friends and fans. Les Paul was 94.

One of the foremost influences on 20th century sound and responsible for the world’s most famous guitar, the Les Paul model, Les Paul’s prestigious career in music and invention spans from the 1930s to the present. Though he’s indisputably one of America’s most popular, influential, and accomplished electric guitarists, Les Paul is best known as an early innovator in the development of the solid body guitar. His groundbreaking design would become the template for Gibson’s best-selling electric, the Les Paul model, introduced in 1952. Today, countless musical legends still consider Paul’s iconic guitar unmatched in sound and prowess. Among Paul’s most enduring contributions are those in the technological realm, including ingenious developments in multi-track recording, guitar effects, and the mechanics of sound in general.

Born Lester William Polsfuss in Waukesha, Wisconsin on June 9, 1915, Les Paul was already performing publicly as a honky-tonk guitarist by the age of 13. So clear was his calling that Paul dropped out of high school at 17 to play in Sunny Joe Wolverton’s Radio Band in St. Louis. As Paul’s mentor, Wolverton was the one to christen him with the stage name “Rhubarb Red,” a moniker that would follow him to Chicago in 1934. There, Paul became a bonafide radio star, known as both hillbilly picker Rhubarb Red and Django Reinhardt-informed jazz guitarist Les Paul. His first recordings were done in 1936 on an acoustic—alone as Rhubarb Red, as well as backing blues singer Georgia White. The next year he formed his first trio, but by 1938 he’d moved to New York to begin his tenure on national radio with one of the more popular dance orchestras in the country, Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians.

Tinkering with electronics and guitar amplification since his youth, Les Paul began constructing his own electric guitar in the late ’30s. Unhappy with the first generation of commercially available hollowbodies because of their thin tone, lack of sustain, and feedback problems, Paul opted to build an entirely new structure. “I was interested in proving that a vibration-free top was the way to go,” he has said. “I even built a guitar out of a railroad rail to prove it. What I wanted was to amplify pure string vibration, without the resonance of the wood getting involved in the sound.” With the good graces of Epiphone president Epi Stathopoulo, Paul used the Epiphone plant and machinery in 1941 to bring his vision to fruition. He affectionately dubbed the guitar “The Log.”

Les Paul’s tireless experiments sometimes proved to be dangerous, and he nearly electrocuted himself in 1940 during a session in the cellar of his Queens apartment. During the next two years of rehabilitation, Les earned his living producing radio music. Forced to put the Pennsylvanians and the rest of his career on hold, Les Paul moved to Hollywood. During World War II, he was drafted into the Army but permitted to stay in California, where he became a regular player for Armed Forces Radio Service. By 1943 he had assembled a trio that regularly performed live, on the radio, and on V-Discs. In 1944 he entered the jazz spotlight—thanks to his dazzling work filling in for Oscar Moore alongside Nat King Cole, Illinois Jacquet, and other superstars —at the first of the prestigious Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts.

By his mid-thirties, Paul had successfully combined Reinhardt-inspired jazz playing and the western swing and twang of his Rhubarb Red persona into one distinctive, electrifying style. In the Les Paul Trio he translated the dizzying runs and unusual harmonies found on Jazz at the Philharmonic into a slower, subtler, more commercial approach. His novelty instrumentals were tighter, brasher, and punctuated with effects. Overall, the trademark Les Paul sound was razor-sharp, clean-shaven, and divinely smooth.

As small combos eclipsed big bands toward the end of World War II, Les Paul Trio’s popularity grew. They cut records for Decca both alone and behind the likes of Helen Forrest, the Andrews Sisters, the Delta Rhythm Boys, Dick Hayes, and, most notably, Bing Crosby. Since 1945, when the crooner brought them into the studio to back him on a few numbers, the Trio had become regular guests on Crosby’s hit radio show. The highlight of the session was Paul’s first No. 1 hit and million-seller, the gorgeous “It’s Been a Long, Long Time.”

Meanwhile, Paul began to experiment with dubbing live tracks over recorded tracks, also altering the playback speed. This resulted in “Lover (When You’re Near Me),” his revolutionary 1947 predecessor to multi-track recording. The hit instrumental featured Les Paul on eight different electric guitar parts, all playing together. In 1948, Paul nearly lost his life to a devastating car crash that shattered his right arm and elbow. Still, he convinced doctors to set his broken arm in the guitar-picking and cradling position. Laid up but undaunted, Paul acquired a first generation Ampex tape recorder from Crosby in 1949, and began his most important multi-tracking adventure, adding a fourth head to the recorder to create sound-on-sound recordings. While tinkering with the machine and its many possibilities, he also came up with tape delay. These tricks, along with another recent Les Paul innovation—close mic-ing vocals—were integrated for the first time on a single recording: the 1950 No. 1 tour de force “How High the Moon.” This historic track was performed during a duo with future wife Mary Ford. The couple’s prolific string of hits for Capitol Records not only included some of the most popular recordings of the early 1950s, but also wrote the book on contemporary studio production. The dense but crystal clear harmonic layering of guitars and vocals, along with Ford’s close mic-ed voice and Paul’s guitar effects, produced distinctively contemporary recordings with unprecedented sonic qualities. Through hits, tours, and popular radio shows, Paul and Ford kept one foot in the technological vanguard and the other in the cultural mainstream.

All the while, Les Paul continued to pine for the perfect guitar. Though The Log came close, it wasn’t quite what he was after. In the early 1950s, Gibson Guitar would cultivate a partnership with Paul that would lead to the creation of the guitar he’d seen only in his dreams. In 1948, Gibson elected to design its first solidbody, and Paul, a self-described “dyed-in-the-wool Gibson man,” seemed the right man for the job. Gibson avidly courted the guitar legend, even driving deep into the Pennsylvania mountains to deliver the first model to newlyweds Les Paul and Mary Ford.

“Les played it, and his eyes lighted up,” then-Gibson President Ted McCarty has recalled. The year was 1950, and Paul had just signed on as the namesake of Gibson’s first electric solidbody, with exclusive design privileges. Working closely with Paul, Gibson forged a relationship that would change popular culture forever. The Gibson Les Paul model—the most powerful and respected electric guitar in history—began with the 1952 release of the Les Paul Goldtop. After introducing the original Les Paul Goldtop in 1952, Gibson issued the Black Beauty, the mahogany-topped Les Paul Custom, in 1954. The Les Paul Junior (1954) and Special (1955) were also introduced before the canonical Les Paul Standard hit the market in 1958. With revolutionary humbucker pickups, this sunburst classic has remained unchanged for the half-century since it hit the market.

“The world has lost a truly innovative and exceptional human being today. I cannot imagine life without Les Paul. He would walk into a room and put a smile on anyone’s face. His musical charm was extraordinary and his techniques unmatched anywhere in the world,” said Henry Juszkiewicz, Chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar. “We will dedicate ourselves to preserving Les’ legacy to insure that it lives on forever. He touched so many lives throughout his remarkable life and his influence extends around the globe and across every boundary. I have lost a dear, personal friend and mentor, a man who has changed so many of our lives for the better.”

“I don’t think any words can describe the man we know as Les Paul adequately. The English language does not contain words that can pay enough homage to someone like Les. As the “Father of the Electric Guitar”, he was not only one of the world’s greatest innovators but a legend who created, inspired and contributed to the success of musicians around the world,” said Dave Berryman, President of Gibson Guitar. “I have had the privilege to know and work with Les for many, many years and his passing has left a deep personal void. He was simply put – remarkable in every way. As a person, a musician, a friend, an inventor. He will be sorely missed by us all,”

With the rise of the rock ’n’ roll revolution of 1955, Les Paul and Mary Ford’s popularity began to wane with younger listeners, though Paul would prove to be a massive influence on younger generation of guitarists. Still, Paul and Ford maintained their iconic presence with their wildly popular television show, which ran from 1953-1960. In 1964, the couple, parents to a son and daughter, divorced. Paul began playing in Japan, and recorded an LP for London Records before poor health forced him to take time off—as much as someone so inspired can take time off.

In the 1977, Paul resurfaced with a Grammy-winning Chet Atkins collaboration, Chester and Lester. Then the ailing guitarist, who’d already suffered arthritis and permanent hearing loss, had a heart attack, followed by bypass surgery.

Ever stubborn, Les recovered, and returned to live performance in the late 1980s. Even releasing the 2005 double-Grammy winner Les Paul & Friends: American Made World Played, featuring collaborations with a veritable who’s who of the electric guitar, including dozens of illustrious fans like Keith Richards, Buddy Guy, Billy Gibbons, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, and Joe Perry. In 2008, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame paid tribute to Les Paul in a week-long celebration of his life which culminated with a live performance by Les himself. Until recently Les continued to perform two weekly New York shows with the Les Paul Trio, at The Iridium Jazz Club in New York City, for over twelve years where a literal whos who of the entertainment world has paid homage. It has been an honor to have Les Paul perfrorm at The Iridium Jazz Club for the past twelve years hosting such luminaries as Paul McCartney, Keith Richards and others and is a tragic loss to owner Ron Sturm both personally and professionally. Iridium intends to celebrate Les Paul's music and legacy every Monday night.

Les Paul has since become the only individual to share membership into the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Les is survived by his three sons Lester (Rus) G. Paul, Gene W. Paul and Robert (Bobby) R. Paul, his daughter Colleen Wess, son-in-law Gary Wess, long time friend Arlene Palmer, five grandchildren and five great grandchildren. A private Funeral service will be held in New York. A service in Waukesha, WI will be announced at a later date. Details will follow and will be announced for all services. Memorial tributes for the public will be announced at a future date. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Les Paul Foundation, 236 West 30th Street, 7th Floor, New York, New York 10001.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Joanna Mosca made a big splash in cabaret a few years back, and then made the "crossover" into "country" - singing and songwriting. But she keeps in touch with her "cabaret cousins" and wrote that she just got back from Nashville, TN, where she worked with acclaimed song writer Jeremy Spillman on two new songs. Jeremy has written for some of the top artists in music today including Trisha Yearwood, Lee Ann Womack, Josh Turner and Trace Adkins. He was also nominated for an Oscar for his work on the Brokeback Mountain soundtrack. Meantime she has been putting the finishing touches on my debut album and it will be released in the fall of this year. She recently completed three new songs, "Keep on Going", "The Little Things" and "A Good Distraction". One of the new songs, "Keep on Going" is currently playing on the radio in over 30 markets and Joanna is working on a video for that song.


NYC might actually get its first 90+ (f) temperature day of the summer today. The weather forecasters keep "fudging" - it may only get to 89 in the city, with New Jersey getting the 90+ mark. We had a series of killer storms overnight, and the big story today will be the combined heat & humidity (currently 70%). As I write this paragraph it is just 9:00 am, and the temperature at the weather station about 2 blocks away is 80 degrees, while midtown the official temperature is just 76 degrees. I plan to stay indoors, at least until 6:00 pm, hoping to make at 7:00 pm show tonight. I'll repeat the current temperatures at the bottom of this issue just before it goes out some time around 12:30 pm.


Every morning I send out my daily cabaret picks for shows for that day on the CABARET HOTLINE ONLINE TWITTER account - and there are a few shows in the next few days that I want to call your special attention to.

"Nobody Does It Like Me" featuring Teresa Fischer will be presented at DON'T TELL MAMA tonight at 7:00 pm. It's a familiar tale - a constant topic in the world of cabaret - love, deceit, heartbreak .... and revenge by way of a cabaret show. But Ms. Fischer's approach is anything but familiar. Concentrating on the silver lining rather than the dark cloud, this fun-filled show is upbeat from the second song on - the first song served sort of as a "scene setter." I urge you to catch it - final performance is tonight.

Thursday night, August 13th, is also your last chance to catch Joan Crowe's "In The Key of Comedy" at THE METROPOLITAN ROOM at 9:45 pm. This week's show - the final show in the series - is "Jesters of Jive: Musical Mayhem from Masters of Wit!" including as special guest the very amazing vocalist Eddie Bruce, who will be performing a special Tony Bennett tribute show on Saturday & Sunday in the same venue. I am going to do my darnedest to make it this week - if the weather permits. Joan is a triple-threat performer: fantastic vocalist, hilarious comic and a truly giving entertainer.

And on Friday, August 14th at 9:45 pm, Los Angeles-based jazz vocalist Tish Oney debuts at THE METROPOLITAN ROOM with a tribute show to Peggy Lee. I have only dealt with this refreshingly charming young lady by e-mail - but have also listened to samples of her vocals on her website. She's coming into town to do just one show - at least to start - and I hope all my NYC subscribers can to their part to "fill the house" (it's just a $15 cover). You can get a sample of Ms. Oney's vocals on Wednesday night at 6:00 pm for free at BARNES & NOBLE, where copies of her CD "Dear Peg" will be available.


John Hoglund reports that he has added some additional names to the extensive list of performers who will appear in the benefit A THRILLER IN CABARET, a tribute to Michael Jackson on what would have been Michael's 51st birthday, Saturday, August 29th at 7:30 pm at THE METROPOLITAN ROOM (34 West 22nd Street, NYC - 212-206-0440 - ). In addition to the lineup of stars in the listings below Stacey Brass, John Burr, Brandon Cutrell, Anaiza Otis, Miles Phillips, Heather Sullivan, Lumiri Tubo and Carol Woods will also appear. (now I have to figure out a way to add them to the SUPER-SIDEBAR ad on the CABARET HOTLINE ONLINE website!) He also tells me that reservations are pouring in so I advise that your make that call today - METROPOLITAN ROOM phones open at noon. The show is a benefit on behalf of God's Love, We Deliver