Gary J. Budge, who is the general manager of the famed Manhattan hotel, said that despite "top-notch performers," declining audiences were responsible for the decision to close the supper club/cabaret, which has been in existence for decades.
Among the performers who have recently graced the intimate club are Tony nominee Karen Akers, KT Sullivan, Emily Bergl, Sandy Stewart and Bill Charlap, Steve Ross and Barbara Carroll.
About the closing of the room, celebrated singer-actress Marcovicci told Playbill.com, "I'm heartsick to hear of the closing of the legendary Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel, my musical home and creative inspiration for 25 years. From my first entrance in 1987, a jumble of nerves, to my last encore just this past Christmas, I have been blessed with the finest, warmest audiences a performer could ever hope for, and the most beautiful room in which to entertain. Although this is indeed sad news, I will take away the happiest memories and hope to establish a new venue soon for myself and the other Oak Room artists who cherish the American Popular Song as much as I do."
Actress-singer Bergl added, "I will be forever grateful to the Algonquin and the Oak Room for launching my musical career, and it deeply saddens me that no one else will be able to receive that blessing. The immortal chanteuse KT Sullivan, who has been gracing the Oak Room for twenty years, has said that it has closed before and it may well open again. Let's hope she's right."
The Oak Room was also the launching pad for Harry Connick Jr. and Michael Feinstein. The Oak Room Supper Club tradition, according to the Algonquin's official website, "began when friends petitioned owner Frank Case to open the room to an after-theatre crowd wishing to continue their merry-making until the wee hours of the morning. One of those friends was a charming Viennese chanteuse named Greta Keller, darling of such dashing chaps as the Prince of Wales and King Carol of Romania. Greta, who had starred with Peter Lorre and Marlena Dietrich in Vienna (and who reportedly taught the latter how to sing), became the first Oak Room cabaret star in November of 1939, to great acclaim. Cabaret was eclipsed as more of Case's—and The Algonquin's—resources went to the war effort. Its revival came during the 1980s when brilliant singer-pianist Steve Ross began charming audiences."
The hotel, which is located on West 44th Street, is expected to reopen in May following extensive renovations.