After one of the sultriest summers on record in N.Y.C., autumn is gratefully upon us. Yet, the temperature is about to rise again as the cabaret season begins; in fact, with some cool-toned acts ensconced in high-class clout, the Algonquin, the Café Carlyle and Feinstein’s at the Regency are ready to begin serving some of the best the field has to offer.
While her Algonquin engagement is brief (Sept. 5-9), anticipation is high for the arrival of jazz singer Sarah Partridge. Known to cinema cultists as the girl who, while still a student at Northwestern University, landed a supporting role opposite Tom Cruise in his 1983 breakthrough movie "Risky Business," Partridge, who continued booking guest spots as an actress on such episodic TV shows as "Melrose Place” and "Murder, She Wrote," couldn’t stop the pull to perform in cabarets. What first began as a karaoke fluke in the early nineties swiftly sent Partridge to live music clubs where she started taking standards like "Almost Like Being in Love" and "How Long Has This Been Going On?" and giving them her clear-voiced (and often belty) stamp. Check her out.
Following Partridge’s gig, the famed Oak Room hosts the Big Apple return of that master balladeer of balladeers, Jack Jones. Having just completed a month-long tour of Great Britain, the two-time Grammy Award-winning recording star (and iconic crooner of TV’s “Love Boat” theme song) will bring his soaring, soothing baritone to town Sept. 12-23. Afterwards, KT Sullivan and Allan Harris round out the month (and play to Oct. 14) with their new duet show, "Mercer & Ellington: American Naturals." On Nov. 14 one of cabaret’s finest, Andrea Marcovicci, begins an eight-week engagement celebrating the career and songs of the late Hildegarde.
On the Upper East Side nostalgia with an edge seems to be the order of the day, as R&B legends Ashford & Simpson hit Park Avenue’s Feinstein’s at the Regency for a rare New York outing Sept. 12- 23. The following week begins the now-annual birthday salute to that majestic doyenne of the arts, Kitty Carlyle Hart, Sept. 26-30. Proudly turning 96, Hart brings along her trusty musical director David Lewis to help celebrate her many returns of the day.
And, finally, over at the Café Carlyle, the month of September heralds a pair of New York troupers to (perhaps) beat all New York troupers: Stritch and Woody. That’s Elaine and Mr. Allen, respectively. With the Tony Award-winning Stritch beginning her new show—"At Home at the Carlyle II"—on Sept. 12 (through Nov. 4), the Academy Award-winning filmmaker, who has been experiencing a bona fide rekindling of popularity with his hit films "Match Point" and "Scoop," will purse his lips back onto his clarinet reed and join in with the Eddie David New Orleans Band on Mondays, Sept. 18-Dec. 18. Ah, yes, autumn in New York.
Downtown, Near Is Here
On Sept. 27 and 28 the great political activist and singer of the seminal 1978 hit song "Imagine My Surprise," Holly Near steps into Joe’s Pub at 425 Lafayette Street for two concerts only. Accompanied by her longtime musical director, the composer John Bucchino, Near sings a selection of songs from her latest album, Show Up. For tickets call (212) 239-6200.
—Actor-writer David Drake contributes a monthly column, "The Cabaret Beat," to the Playbill subscription issue.