×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

2007 Nightlife Awards

The big surprise at the 2007 Nightlife Awards was the unbilled lady in black who turned out to be a glam Liza Minnelli, lookin' good and proclaiming the event to be "the best damn party in town!" Minnelli, who presented an award to Jim Caruso, host of the Monday night "Cast Party" series at Birdland, topped a heady all-star lineup saluting the year's best in Gotham cabaret, jazz and comedy.

With:
With: Performers and presenters: Tom Anderson, Lisa Asher, Todd Barkan, Charles Busch, Ann Hampton Callaway, Jim Caruso, David Colbert, Freddie Cole, Scott Coulter, Tim Di Pasqua, Christine Ebersole, Larry Gatlin, Judy Gold, Rupert Holmes, Lorinda Lisitza, Laurel Masse, Maureen McGovern, Terrence McNally, Liza Minnelli, Jessica Molaskey, Rita Moreno, John Pizzarelli, Daniel Richard, Ben Riley's Monk Legacy Septet, Susan H. Schulman, Billy Stritch, TJ & Dave, Paula West, Tom Wopat.

The big surprise at the 2007 Nightlife Awards was the unbilled lady in black who turned out to be a glam Liza Minnelli, lookin’ good and proclaiming the event to be “the best damn party in town!” Minnelli, who presented an award to Jim Caruso, host of the Monday night “Cast Party” series at Birdland, topped a heady all-star lineup saluting the year’s best in Gotham cabaret, jazz and comedy.

The fifth annual fete, produced and hosted by Scott Siegel, is unique among awards ceremonies. Barred from making the customary “thank you” speeches hailing maiden aunts and third-grade teachers, the winners instead do what they do best: They perform.

Dan Foster staged a tight three-hour concert, with Siegel adding a few well-placed theatrical bon mots.

Terrence McNally, who balked (tongue-in-cheek) at the hefty cover charges at Cafe Carlyle and Feinstein’s at the Regency, praised the cabaret community. The playwright introduced cabaret’s first family, John Pizzarelli (“the prime interpreter of American song”) and his wife, Jessica Molaskey (“gorgeous, sexy and talented!”). Honored as outstanding cabaret vocalists, the pair will make a Cafe Carlyle debut in May. They followed a simmering bossa nova medley with a daring bit of Sondheim’s tongue-twisting declaration “(I’m Not) Getting Married Today,” sung in counterpoint by Molaskey with Pizzarelli romping to John Hendricks’ “Cloudburst.”

The Nightlife Legend honor went to Maureen McGovern, introduced by choreographer Susan Schulman as “the ultimate diva.” The singer capped the eve with a Richard Rodgers couplet of “My Favorite Things” and a regally appropriate “With a Song in My Heart.”

Freddie Cole, who took the male jazz vocal honor, offered a beautifully subtle perf. Not only posing an ardent question, Cole found a dash of seductive humor in “What Are You Afraid Of?,” from his new Hi Note CD. While several performers came out swinging, Cole proved less is more with a cunning demonstration of class and taste.

Femme jazz vocal award went to Paula West, who phrased the old operetta classic “Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise” with a keen awareness of its sweeping musical structure and stunning, picturesque lyric.

For cabaret duo, Broadway’s Christine Ebersole and piano partner Billy Stritch offered a delightful buggy ride with “Surrey With the Fringe on Top,” and Ebersole reprised the poignant query “Will You?” from “Grey Gardens.”

Composer Rupert Holmes, primed for the Broadway opening of “Curtains,” the new tuner whose book he co-authored, remembered late singers Nancy LaMott and Susannah McCorkle, who featured his composition ‘The People That You Never Get to Know” in their repertoires.

Some 30 Manhattan reviewers serve as judges for the annual affair. Additional kudos went to vocalists Lisa Asher and Scott Coulter, pianist Cedar Walton and the jazz combo Ben Riley’s Monk Legacy Septet. Demetri Martin and Sarah Silverman topped comedy honors, along with TJ & Dave.

For revue, plaques were awarded to Tom Andersen, Tim Di Pasqua and Coulter, and David Colbert received the nod for that Big Apple staple, the piano bar. Gotham’s cozy new downtown performance space, the Metropolitan Room, also was cited.

Siegel kicks off the Town Hall Broadway by the Year series Feb. 26 with the musicals of 1928.

2007 Nightlife Awards

Town Hall, 1,500 seats; $75 top

Production: Conceived, produced and hosted by Scott Siegel. Directed by Dan Foster.

Creative: Lighting, John Gordon; sound, Morph; production stage manager, Sherry Cohen. Reviewed Jan. 29, 2007.

Cast: With: Performers and presenters: Tom Anderson, Lisa Asher, Todd Barkan, Charles Busch, Ann Hampton Callaway, Jim Caruso, David Colbert, Freddie Cole, Scott Coulter, Tim Di Pasqua, Christine Ebersole, Larry Gatlin, Judy Gold, Rupert Holmes, Lorinda Lisitza, Laurel Masse, Maureen McGovern, Terrence McNally, Liza Minnelli, Jessica Molaskey, Rita Moreno, John Pizzarelli, Daniel Richard, Ben Riley's Monk Legacy Septet, Susan H. Schulman, Billy Stritch, TJ & Dave, Paula West, Tom Wopat.

More Legit

  • Michael Shannon Audra McDonald

    Michael Shannon, Audra McDonald to Star in Broadway Revival of 'Frankie and Johnny'

    Michael Shannon and Audra McDonald will portray two lovers whose one-night stand turns into something deeper in the Broadway revival of “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.” The production is being mounted in honor of playwright Terrence McNally’s 80th birthday. Shannon will play a short-order cook and McDonald will portray a waitress, roles [...]

  • Hamilton review London

    ‘Hamilton’ Helps Drive London Theater Attendance, Box Office to Record Levels

    Brits don’t just like going to the movies; they’re heading to the theater in greater numbers than before, too. “Hamilton” and other hits, particularly musicals, helped drive an uptick in box office receipts and attendance in London’s West End and across the U.K. last year, according to figures from the organizations Society of London Theatre [...]

  • Ethan Hawke

    Listen: Ethan Hawke on 'True West' and the Ghost of Philip Seymour Hoffman

    Ethan Hawke had a long relationship with Sam Shepard and his work — but he never thought he’d end up on Broadway in “True West.” That’s because Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly had already put their stamp on the show in the 2000 Broadway revival of the play. “I kind of felt that that [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Kaye Ballard, Star of 'The Mothers-in-Law,' Dies at 93

    Singer-comedienne Kaye Ballard, who starred alongside Eve Arden in the 1960s sitcom “The Mothers-in-Law” and was among the stars of the 1976 feature based on Terrence McNally’s farce “The Ritz,” died Monday in Rancho Mirage, Calif. She was 93. She had recently attended a screening of a documentary about her life, “Kaye Ballard: The Show [...]

  • CAROL CHANNING HERSCHFELD. Actress Carol Channing

    Remembering Carol Channing: A Master of Channeling the Power of Personality

    There was only one Carol Channing, and her outsize personality was a source of delight to many fans — and imitators. Gerard Alessandrini’s stage spoof “Forbidden Broadway” had many incarnations over the years, including the 1994 edition when an audience member was selected every evening to come onstage and impersonate Carol Channing with the cast. [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Viola Davis, Lin-Manuel Miranda Among Celebrities Remembering Carol Channing

    Viola Davis, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Bernadette Peters are among the slew of celebrities taking to Twitter to pay tribute to late singer, comedienne and actress Carol Channing. Known for her starring roles in Broadway’s “Hello Dolly!” and “Gentleman Prefer Blondes,” the legend of the stage and screen died Tuesday at her home in Rancho Mirage, [...]

  • What the Constitution Means to Me

    Listen: How Things Got Scary in 'What the Constitution Means to Me'

    For a decade, writer-performer Heidi Schreck had wanted to write a play inspired by her experiences as a teen debater. But over the years the show started to develop into something both urgently political and deeply personal — and things got scary. In the Broadway-bound “What the Constitution Means to Me,” Schreck reimagines her speech-and-debate [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content