The estimable York Theatre and Riki Kane Larimer (Vice President of the York Theatre Board) have assembled crossover talents to offer a cabaret series with a decidedly Broadway bent. Having presented one-off cabaret events in association with Mufti performances i.e. an evening of Cole Porter song after mounting a series of Porter shows, an evening of Jule Styne after musical theater by Styne, Producing Artistic Director James Morgan notes this is a natural outgrowth.
When Morgan came to the city in 1976, his first foray into the world of cabaret was Bobby Short at the Carlyle. “Friends for whom I babysat treated me to Bobby the first time. I didn’t know much about him, but I studied up, and by the time we went and met him afterwards, I was in awe.” The newcomer thrilled to Elaine Stritch, Lisa Kirk, Karen Akers at the Algonquin, Martha Schlamme and Will Holt, Mabel Mercer…He saw Barbara Cook when she first entered cabaret. “Her performance was transcendent. From song to song she became other characters both vocally and dramatically.”
“Those early cabaret experiences really shaped my view of that world– and also had a big effect on my theater tastes. The relationship of musical theater to cabaret has always fascinated me.”
The York has presented Vivian Reed, Mark Nadler, Ute Lemper, The Skivvies, Andrea Freirson, Don Pippin, Karen Akers and Stacey Sullivan in successful solo shows.
Hosted by Michael Feinstein (from the coast) and directed/shaped by Barry Kleinbort (on premises), artists performed and were professionally filmed and recorded at Larimer’s elegant, generously donated apartment for atmosphere and continuity. All precautions were taken from masks to the proverbial thermometer, from wipe-downs between shows to ventilation. Featured artists have some relationship with the theater past or present. Not a single person turned down a request to appear.
Each show has an opening, then runs five additional performances, including two matinees. Tickets can be purchased online right up until curtain time. $20 per show; $16 for York Members and $12 for York Plus Members.
The link to access a show is sent shortly before each performance. All of this benefits one of New York’s most active and imaginative venues. Theaters need our help to survive. Broadway’s Great American Songbook – yorktheatrecompany –
George Abud from the Broadway companies of The Visit and The Band’s Visit… November 25 at 7 p.m.; Nov. 26 at 2:30 p.m., Nov 27 at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., Nov.28 at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Ben Vereen from Broadway’s Pippin, Jesus Christ Superstar, Fosse, Jelly’s Last Jam… and Klea Blackhurst who starred in the York’s Panama Hattie and elsewhere in Hazel and Showboat December 2 at 7 p.m.; Dec. 3 at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., December 4, at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Robert Creighton from Broadway’s Frozen, The Lion King, The Mystery of Edwin Drood…as well as the York’s Cagney which moved Off Broadway December 9 at 7 p.m.; Dec. 10 at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., Dec. 11 at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Lillias White from Broadway’s Barnum, Dreamgirls, Cats, Once On This Island… December 16 at 7 p.m.; Dec. 17 at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., Dec. 18 at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The York Theatre Gala Monday December 21 at 7 p.m. Details online shortly will feature: George Abud, Klea Blackhurst, Robert Creighton, Karen Mason, Lee Roy Reams, Ben Vereen, Alton Fitzgerald White, with special guests Jeremy Benton, Richard Kind, Kylie Kuioka “and more.”
The York Theatre Company is the only theater in New York City—and one of very few in the world—dedicated to developing and fully producing new musicals as well as preserving neglected, notable shows from the past.
All photos Courtesy of The York Theatre