Batt, Pedi, Denman, Graae and More Among Bistro Award Winners

News   Batt, Pedi, Denman, Graae and More Among Bistro Award Winners Back Stage Magazine has announced the winners of the annual Bistro Awards, which recognize outstanding achievement in the cabaret field.
Christine Pedi
Christine Pedi Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Among the winners of the 2008 awards are such Broadway names as Bryan Batt, Christine Pedi, Jason Graae and Jeffry Denman. A gala evening celebrating this year's winners will be held April 7 at the Gotham Comedy Club in Manhattan.

Winners were chosen by Elizabeth Ahlfors (Cabaret Scenes), David Finkle (Back Stage's Bistro Bits columnist), John Hoglund (former Bistro Bits columnist), Erv Raible (executive/artistic director of the Cabaret Conference at Yale University), Roy Sander (former Bistro Bits columnist) and Chuck Taylor (Billboard). The awards — created by the late cabaret critic Bob Harrington in 1995 — are a one-time honor; that is, recipients cannot be named for the same award more than once.

The complete list of 2008 Bistro Award Winners follows.

Vocalist: Bryan Batt at the Metropolitan Room; Marianne Challis at the Metropolitan Room; Stacy Sullivan at the Metropolitan Room.

Debut: Jonathan Whitton at the Triad, the Duplex and the Laurie Beechman Theatre at the West Bank Café. Major Engagement: Tony DeSare at the Oak Room at the Algonquin.

Musical Comedy Performer: Christine Pedi at the Metropolitan Room.

Song & Dance Man: Jeffry Denman at Birdland.

Unique Artist: Bree Benton (Poor Baby Bree) at Don't Tell Mama.

Characterization: Arnaldo! at the Duplex.

Musical Duo: Pinky Winters and Sir Richard Rodney Bennett at the Metropolitan Room.

Revue: When the Lights Go On Again, conceived, written, and directed by Bill Daugherty, produced by Max Weintraub, at the Triad.

Theme Show: Lavender Songs: Queer Berlin Cabaret from Weimar to Hitler, adapted and performed by Jeremy Lawrence, directed by Jason Jacobs, at the Duplex, based on an evening created by Alan Lareau; and BABALU-CY!--The Art of Desi Arnaz, conceived and performed by Greg Purnhagen, written by Purnhagen with director Leonard Peters, and musical direction by David Cook, at the Metropolitan Room.

Musical Comedy Number: "Fagnet," lyric by Melanie Adelman and Ellie Dvorkin; music by Noah Diamond and Amanda Sisk, performed by Adelman and Dvorkin in Mel & El: This Show Rhymes at the Laurie Beechman Theatre at the West Bank Café and at the Duplex.

Specialty Musical Material: "I'm Not Doing My Cabaret," lyric by and performed by Jason Graae, at Birdland.

Special Event: "Kabarett Fête," produced by Karen and Rob Kohler at Helen's.

Recording: Linda Kosut for "Long As You're Living: The Songs & Poetry of Oscar Brown Jr."

Special Award: to Bart Greenberg for helping to develop new audiences for cabaret through his creative programming of the "Any Wednesdays" series at Barnes & Noble; and to Ronny Whyte for bringing renewed energy as producer to the weekly "Midtown Jazz at Midday" series at St. Peter's.

Ira Eaker Special Achievement Award: Named for the co-founder of Back Stage and a nightclub enthusiast, the award goes to an outstanding performer on the rise, Gabrielle Stravelli.

Bob Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award: Marilyn Maye.

For ticket information to the Bistro Awards, e-mail bistros@backstage.com.