Singer Rosemary Clooney, scheduled to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award on April 1 from the Manhattan Association of Cabaret and Clubs, (MAC) opened her own New York show with Big Kahuna and Copa Cat Pack on March 27 at Feinstein’s at the Regency.
Those comprising Clooney’s diverse opening night audience included singer Tony Bennett and singer, songwriter and Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson. Backstage, Wilson told Clooney that her show had “just made me feel so goddamn good.”
During her set, Clooney shared a Bob Hope story involving the entertainment legend’s daughter Linda. Quite recently, Clooney said, Linda had approached Hope and gently broached the subject of his internment.
“She said, ‘You know, Dad,’” Clooney recalled, “‘Someday, long from now, when you’re, you know, gone, where would you like to be?’ And she reminded him that Arlington had asked if he would like to be buried there. Or maybe California, or Palm Springs. Anywhere he wanted.”
Clooney said the entertainment legend took a long pause and then told his daughter, “Surprise me.” After her Feinstein’s show, Clooney told Playbill On-Line that she felt the MAC honor being conferred on her this Sunday was “just terrific.”
“I’m very excited about it,” Clooney said.
“She has such a universal appeal,” said MAC producer Nancy McGraw, describing Clooney. “The music she does spans so many generations and styles that she can sing with anyone.”
Clooney and Big Kahuna are performing at the MAC Awards, according to McGraw. “This is the 15th year of the MAC Awards,” McGraw said. “The show will begin with two of our Lifetime Achievement winners, Margaret Whiting and Julie Wilson, who will introduce our debut artists—the cabaret newcomers. We open with piano bar singers and close with Rosemary Clooney.”
McGraw and two-time Tony Award winner Thommie Walsh have produced the MAC Awards for three years. A former singer, McGraw has also worked to support Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids .
A MAC board member, McGraw said that the appeal of the MAC Awards is felt across the entire cabaret community. “If you don’t know anything about cabaret,” McGraw said, “our show will give you a great overview. This is all about developing an audience: the more people see something and the more cabaret they see, the more success we’ll have building audiences.” Also scheduled to receive top honors at Town Hall on April 1 are John McDaniel, musical director of television's "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," as well as numerous other talents from the cabaret world.
Live performances will be made by Clooney and McDaniel as well as Julie Wilson, Margaret Whiting, Susannah McCorkle, Jackie and Roy, Gary Giddins, Lorna Dallas, Baby Jane Dexter, Jack Donahue, Eileen Fulton, Barry Kleinbort, Angela LaGreca Sam Harris, Carol Woods and Erv Raible.
The MAC awards recognize "achievements in cabaret, comedy and jazz," in more than two dozen categories. MAC was created in 1983 and the awards program has been running for 15 years. In all, the group says, there are 54 clubs in New York City and around the country keeping the cabaret tradition alive. March has been designated as "Cabaret Month" by the City of New York and the MAC awards cap a "four-week celebration of Manhattan's cabarets, nightclubs, and its abundance of live talent."
At Town Hall, producer Nancy McGraw and director and Tony Award winning choreographer Thommie Walsh (A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, My One and Only ) are returning to stage the award show for the third time. Julie Halston is the event emcee.
Tickets are $25-$125. Town Hall is located at 123 W. 43 St. Tickets care available through TicketMaster at (212) 307-4100 or the Town Hall box office. For info on MAC visit www.macnyc.com.
—By Murdoch McBride