PHOTO CALL: LaChanze, Elaine Stritch, Phillip Boykin, Billy Porter and More Visit 54 Below
By Krissie Fullerton
It was a star-studded week at the new cabaret venue, 54 Below, located just under the famed Studio 54. Performers including Faith Prince, Jason Graae, Maurice Hines, Tonya Pinkins and more welcomed such guests as Elaine Stritch, LaChanze and Billy Porter.
Tony-winning actress, Tonya Pinkins celebrated the life and music of Ethel Waters with excerpts from her upcoming one-woman show written in collaboration with Dennis Courtney, Hurricane Ethel.
Maurice Hines brought Tap'in Through Life, his original show with The DIVA Orchestra (an all female band), to 54 Below. Audience members were treaded to classic tunes such as Come Fly with Me, All the Way, Luck Be a Lady and Route 66. Hines, a childhood sensation with his brother Gregory, appeared as a tap dancing duo in New York, Las Vegas and Europe, and on television shows ranging from The Pearl Baily Show, Hollywood Palace and a remarkable 35 appearances on The Tonight Show. A smash in 1978's Broadway sensation Eubie!, critically-acclaimed appearances on the Great White Way in Bring Back Birdie, Sophisticated Ladies and Uptown… It's Hot, which he also conceived, directed and choreographed, soon followed.
Meanwhile, Tony winner Faith Prince and Jason Graae presented The Prince and the Showboy, a delightful evening of music and hijinks. Veterans of thirteen Broadway shows between them, this pair took to the cabaret stage singing their most requested and memorable Broadway tunes. The show featured a heartfelt tribute to Broadway legend Jerry Herman, who has been a significant influence on each of them, both personally and professionally.
Here's a look back at the past week at Studio 54:
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