Hotel undergoes facelift
More than 30 cabaret artists gathered Friday at the Cinegrill at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel to offer a swansong to the famed nightspot, which opened its doors in 1936.The hotel is undergoing a facelift in preparation for the March opening of the Kodak Theater, the new home of the Academy Awards, now under construction across the street on Hollywood Boulevard. Cinegrill manager J.D. Kessler said Hollywood Roosevelt management “has decided to close the Cinegrill that presently exists to begin construction for a new state-of-the-art facility” in a different section of the hotel. Ensuing 2½-hour program spotlighted a range of talent that included nitery vets Jason Graae, Eileen Barnett, Tony Award winner Michael Maguire, Gregg Marx, Lisa Mordente and Elmarie Wendel, who were accompanied by either musical director Michael Orland or Shelley Markham on piano. The tribute, directed by Clifford Bell, included performers from the Cinegrill Spotlight Series, a showcase for up-and-coming cabaret performers. Kessler, an accomplished vocalist in his own right, concluded the evening with Charles Bloom’s satiric “The Cinegrill Song,” a musical ode to the club’s three dreaded, un-strategically placed support columns that have become infamous for blocking the view of the stage. Kessler told the audience the new Cinegrill may not have the original’s history, but its sightlines will be clear.