While London announced its lauded Olivier Awards last weekend, Manhattan had its own reason to celebrate as the 1997 Back Stage Bistro Award winners were announced to honor excellence in cabaret.
The Awards will be presented Monday, March 3, at The Supper Club, with a reception, awards presentation, show and buffet supper. The show will be directed by Sara Louise Lazarus; John Fugelsang will be the guest emcee, along with Roy Sander, John Hoglund and Sherry Eaker.
The 36 awards will be distributed at the 12th annual event, which, according to Back Stage editor Eaker, "expresses the diversity of talent and ideas being showcased in the cabaret industry today." Winners were chosen by Back Stage's cabaret critics, Sander and Hoglund.
In order to accommodate the flexible nature of cabaret, and to counter-act the idea of awards as simply being a "best of" list rather than an acknowledgment of fine work all around, categories change from year to year. 1997 offering two new awards: "Unique Entertainer" and "Unique Entertainment." Readers should also note that once a performer wins a Bistro Award, he is no longer eligible in years to come, thus clearing the way for new names and talents.
Here are the winners of the 1997 Back Stage Bistro Awards
OUTSTANDING VOCALIST: Barbara Brussell at Eighty Eights; India Galyean at Eighty Eights; Laurie Krauz at Danny's Skylight Room; Michael Murphy at Judy's; Paula West at The Oak Room at The Algonquin.
OUTSTANDING VOCAL GROUP: The Accidentals at Dont Tell Mama.
OUTSTANDING SINGER/INSTRUMENTALIST: Rick DellaRatta at Birdland, The Blue Note, and One Fifth.
OUTSTANDING INSTRUMENTALISTS: Diva at Tavern on the Green.
OUTSTANDING MUSICAL COMEDY: Bob Walton and Jim Walton in My Brother's Keeper at The Triad.
OUTSTANDING MUSICAL REVUE: Get Your Tickets Now! at Don't Tell Mama, created and performed by Scott Coulter, Jessica Hendy, Denene Mulay, & Richard Oberacker; "Party of One" at Don't Tell Mama, written by Morris Bobrow.
OUTSTANDING PERFORMERS IN A REVUE: The cast of "Party of One:" Shelley Clarke, Chris DellArmo, Eileen Fowler, and Daniel Sclafani.
OUTSTANDING IMPERSONATION: James Beaman as Marlene Dietrich in Queen of the World, at The Triad and Dont Tell Mama.
OUTSTANDING CHARACTERIZATION: Varla Jean Merman in I, Who Have Nothing at Eighty Eights.
UNIQUE ENTERTAINER: Gary Lyons at Eighty Eights.
UNIQUE ENTERTAINMENT: Erik and the Snow Maidens at Eighty Eights, written and directed by John-Richard Thompson.
OUTSTANDING SONGWRITER: Barry Kleinbort.
OUTSTANDING SPECIAL MATERIAL: Altos Lament, by Zina Goldrich & Marcy Heisler.
OUTSTANDING DIRECTION: Craig North for "Party of One."
OUTSTANDING MUSICAL DIRECTION: Ross Patterson.
OUTSTANDING TECHNICAL DIRECTION: Jaye Lee at Eighty Eights.
OUTSTANDING COMEDY PERFORMER: Jeffrey Ross; Tom Shillue.
OUTSTANDING RECORDING: Alix Korey for Gifts of Love; Daryl Sherman for Look What I Found.
SPECIAL AWARDS: Peter Ligeti for promoting the art of cabaret throughout the country; Karen Mason for preserving the songs of the late Brian Lasser through her recording, Better Days.
BOB HARRINGTON LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: To be announced at the March 3 ceremony.
For tickets ($30) and information on the event, call (212) 536-1413.
--By David Lefkowitz