If you were throwing "A Swell Party," whom would you include? Well, if you're the Mabel Mercer Foundation, you'd invite Broadway and cabaret singers to perform the works of theatre legends.
That's exactly what the Foundation's doing, June 8-10 at NY's Town Hall, with shows featuring rising stars of cabaret, as well as tributes to Cole Porter and Gertrude Lawrence.
June 8 brings a dozen up-and-coming New York and California cabaret talents to the stage. On June 9, "Cole Porter Revisited" will showcase Anne Hampton Callaway, Paula Laurence (Something For The Boys), Marcia Lewis (Chicago), Elaine Stritch, Patricia Morison (the original cast of Kiss Me Kate), Abe Reybold, Steve Ross and David Staller. June 10 will bring "A Tribute to Gertrude Lawrence," featuring KT Sullivan (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes), Andrea Marcovicci, Phillip Officer, Jeff Harner, Alix Korey (Triumph of Love), Courtney Kenny, Dane Vannatter and actress Celeste Holm paying tribute to the late comic actress.
All three shows take place at Town Hall, 123 West 43rd St., at 6 PM (EST). For tickets ($10-$35) and information on "A Swell Party" call (212) 840 2824.
The Mercer Foundation is a not-for-profit arts organization that promotes cabaret across the world and tries to generate new audiences for the form. Producer Don Smith told Playbill On-Line (June 1), "Fewer and fewer venues pay tribute to the great American songbook. In schools we've been busy churning out computer experts and scientific training, but nothing to do with humanities or the arts. It's staggering and it all backfires eventually. But when young people hear the music, they love it." Mercer died in 1984 after singing for 67 years. Smith, who helped take care of her for her last twenty years, helped form the Foundation with other lovers of cabaret.
-- By David Lefkowitz