ANDREA MARCOVICCI CELEBRATES HER 25THANNIVERSARY

OAK ROOM SEASON NOVEMBER 15-DECEMBER 30

The Queen of Cabaret holds the record for the longest continuous run at the famed Algonquin Oak Room.  Our most sophisticated performer is the only female entertainer ever to reach such a milestone in the history of cabaret.  The New York Times dubbed her “the high priestess of the American Songbook,” falling “under her spell,” while the Wall Street Journal called an evening with Andrea “the most immersive experience you will ever have.”

Everyone looks forward to getting away from it all.  To celebrate Andrea’s unprecedented achievement, her latest show, “No Strings,” does just that!  Andrea takes the audience on a wonderful trip around the world.  It’s a journey about life on the road—a warm, funny, heartfelt and candid tale of Andrea’s travels from city to city and what that bittersweet journey has meant for her as a singer, an actress, a wife and mother.

Marcovicci looks especially dazzling and her voice is more in control than usual. The big this, as always is her sensational acting ability and impeccable timing.  Highlights include “Sunday in New York,” “Two For the Road,” “How Are Things in Glocca Morra?,” “Under Paris Skies” and “A Foggy Day.”  In addition, Andrea recreates her celebrated rendition of “These Foolish Things.”  It’s an odyssey that flows from the romance of Andrea’s favorite places to unexpected bumps in the road producing some pretty wacky and wonderful stories…a fun, sweet and romantic saga as only Andrea can tell it!  A nostalgic look at a quarter century of a singer’s life.   Andrea is skillfully accompanied on piano by Shelly Markham with Jered Egan on bass.

“No Strings” will run November 15 through December 30, with shows Tuesday through Thursday at 8:30 and Friday and Saturday at 8:30 and 11:00.  Holiday shows are Thanksgiving at 7:30, Christmas Eve at 7:30 and Monday December 26 (Boxing Day) at 7:30.  There is a $60 cover charge per person Tuesday-Thursday and late Friday-Saturday, and $65 for the 8:30 shows Friday and Saturday, plus either a $30 food and beverage minimum or a $60 prix fixe dinner.

Note: The Algonquin  will close Jan. 1 for a four-month, $15 million renovation.

Let us hope the The Oak Room will remain virtually unscathed and that the powers that be will have come to their senses and allowed the fabled hotel to  re-install the latest feline (Matilda lll),  in a beloved chain of ten mascots, dating back to 1933. New York has survived street fairs, bicycles monopolizing our sidewalks and a demoralized Times Square. Let the pussy cats work in peace.

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KAREN AKERS EMBRACES “SONDHEIM” IN THE ALGONQUIN HOTEL’S OAK ROOM SEPTEMBER 27-OCTOBER 29

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Having triumphed these past two years in her Oak Room celebrations of Cole Porter and Rodgers & Hart, beautiful and beguiling Karen Akers now sets her sights on the leading musical theater composer-lyricist of the last half century.

Among her selections from the Stephen Sondheim Songbook are some less familiar offerings such as “More” (Dick Tracy) with its multiplicity of George Gershwin references and “Live, Laugh, Love” (Follies). More to the point,“Send in the Clowns” (A Little Night Music), “Broadway Baby” (Follies), “You Could Drive a Person Crazy (Company), “The Story of Lucy & Jessie” (Follies) and “Moments in the Woods” (Into the Woods) are not just old friends, but warmly welcomed ones. . The show is subtly directed by Eric Michael Gillett with the admirable Don Rebic as Musical Director.

From September 27th through October 29th, “Live, Laugh, Love—Akers Sings Sondheim” plays Tuesdays through Thursdays at 8:30 and Fridays and Saturdays at 8:30 and 11 pm. There is a $60 cover charge for all shows except the dinner shows Friday and Saturday, when the cover is $65, plus either a $30 minimum or $60 prix fixe dinner.

Karen Akers, Stephen Sondheim, the incredible Don Rebic all embraced by the magical Oak Room at the world fabled Algonquin Hotel: Need we say more? (Other than to book now).This is a hot ticket.

Reservations: 212-419-9331 or bmcgurn@algonquinhotel.com

Copyright 2011 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved

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SANDY STEWART & BILL CHARLAP RETURN TO THE OAK ROOM NOVEMBER 1-12 IN A LIMITED TWO-WEEK ENGAGEMENT. Not To Be Missed!

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Sandy Stewart, celebrated for her sensual voice and impeccable phrasing, and acclaimed jazz pianist Bill Charlap, join forces at he Oak Room for two weeks only in a new show, “The Best Thing for You.”

The pair—who happen also to be mother and son— provide seasoned New Yorkers, as well as savvy out-of-town guests, with the definitive cabaret experience. While nothing old fashioned need apply, here is one of the few chances to enjoy the golden age of cabaret with two world class performers. Stewart is poised and elegant in  stunning black, embellished with a single  piece of jewelry. Opening with an immaculately phrased version of Rodgers and Hart’s “Where or When,” the audience is under her magnetic spell from that moment on. No need for patter, histrionics and (thankfully)  lessons in history. Her mellow voice travels the road from sultry throatiness to muted chest and gentle head tones with an admirable ease .

Charlap is better than ever, a bit more subtle than usual, and takes command of the room in his expected solo stint, which on our visit included an outstanding rendition of Cole Porter’s “Easy To Love.”

Other Stewart standouts offered  a haunting “I Don’t Stand A Ghost of a Chance,” a heart-wrenching rendition of Duke Ellington’s “Solitude” and the unlikely choice of closing with “When You Wish Upon a Star”, so exquisitely performed that a standing ovation would not have been out of order.” (Bill Charlap’s piano interludes feature different songs each show. )

For those who crave the real thing and will settle for nothing less that a sophisticated evening of “classic cab”, shows are Tuesday through Thursday at 8:30 and Friday and Saturday at 8:30 and 11:00.   There is a $60 cover charge per person plus either a $30 minimum or $60 prix fixe dinner. Make Reservations ASAP: 212 419 9331 or bmcgurn@algonquinhotel.com.

Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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HOWARD MC GILLIN MAKES OAK ROOM DEBUT IN “ISN’T IT ROMANTIC” WITH CHARM AND CONGENIALITY

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Best known for his record-setting performances as the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, Howard McGillin has enjoyed a varied career on both Broadway and London stages. Mr. McGillin, has a winning way with his audience and a lovely and cultured tenor voice that has made him the quintessential leading man in theatre.

At his eagerly awaited Oak Room debut, (From September 13-24),  McGillin presented an evening of love songs that aptly answered the question, “Isn’t It Romantic?” Howard offers a program, with appealing patter, that explores a variety of romantic experiences, highlighted by a rendition of “All The Things You Are,” (Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein II) that was simple and without embellishments, proving that a great song needs nothing more than to be sung with sensitivity to make its point.

A combined arrangement of “A Foggy Day IN LONDON TOWN” (George and Ira Gershwin) and the lovely “A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square” (Eric Maschwitz; Manning Sherwin; Jack Strachey)  gives Howard the opportunity to fill us in on his adventures, when living in London, and a neat duo pairing, a rollicking “SHE LOVES ME” (Sheldon Harnick; Jerry Bock) with a subtle version of “Dear Friend” (Sheldon Harnick; Jerry Bock) from the same show, allows Mr. McGillin to demonstrate his dramatic range and vocal finesse.

The high point of the evening was a stunning rendering of “Putting It Together” (Stephen Sondheim) that was eclipsed by the beyond-beautiful “Good Thing Going” (Stephen Sondheim), demonstrating that some of the best theater songs come from shows that are less than memorable.

“Time” (Barry Kleinbort; Joseph Thalken), offered an appealing contemporary touch, while “Two For The Road” (Henry Mancini; Leslie Bricusse) was the perfect encore.

Beautifully accompanied by Joseph Thalken at the piano and Richard Sarpola on bass, Howard McGillin is easy to like, easy to listen to and brings a thoroughly pleasant evening of entertainment to the Algonquin’s legendary Oak Room.  

Shows are Tuesday through Thursday at 8:30 pm and Friday and Saturday at 8:30 and 11 pm. There is a $50 cover charge plus either a $60 dinner at 7 or $30 food and beverage minimum. Reservations: 212 419 9331 or bmcgurn@algonquinhotel.com.

Copyright 2011 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved

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EMILY BERGL OPENS OAK ROOM SEASON WITH A BANG IN “KIDDING ON THE SQUARE”

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In her Oak Room debut August 30,  brilliant young actress singer Emily Bergl, star of Broadway (Nora Ephron’s "Love, Loss and What I Wore,"), film (“The Rage: Carrie 2”) and TV’s Royal Pains and Desperate Housewives, roars into the Oak Room with more gusto than Hurricane Irene in the her exhilarating act: ”Kidding on the Square.”

A theatrical cabaret-act that transports the audience on a fast-paced ride through love, heartbreak and everything in between, ”Kidding on the Square” is told from the perspective of a modern girl and the eccentric characters she inhabits,

Something old (the Boswell Sisters “We Just Couldn’t Say Goodbye”; something new (Peter Brown & Robert Rans “Material Girl" by way of Madonna); something borrowed ( "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" as an evolving Judy Garland); and something blue (as in Bergl’s deliciously compelling version of “Billy Barnes jazz classic Something Cool,”); the show features a rich array of songs that include Roy Orbison’s “Cryin’,” Fats Waller’s “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” a poignant characterization of Rodgers & Hart’s “Ten Cents a Dance as a down-and-out hostess,” Dietz & Schwartz’ Confession” and an unexpected opening number, interpreting Noel Coward’s “Mad About the Boy”  with a serious bent: the lady gets truly angry.

In ”Kidding on the Square,” Bergl does what she does best, which in the case of this hour and fifteen minutes appears to be everything. It comes as no surprise that her acting, where, comedic, dramatic or character is a paragon of perfection, but she looks terrific is a slinky gray “pull apart” gown, that becomes a sexy dress and finally morphs into leotards and tights. Her movement is as controlled as possible in these small quarters. But the big kicker is the voice: A luscious lyric soprano that can go into a metallic chest, when the material demands, as in an hilarious rendition of the vintage Andrews Sisters“Bei Mir Bist Du Schön” that is worth the price of admission.

High points test Ms. Bergl’s. comedic, dramatic and vocal abilities, which she passes with grade “A” marks. Memorable Moments: Pink Martini’s song "Sympathique" from the 1997 album Sympathique,  and you needn’t speak French to get the nuanced meaning.”

Kidding on the Square”  is beautifully directed by Sarna Lapine with G. Scott Lacy as musical director and receives outstanding backup from pianist Jonathan Mastro (Musical director of the hit revival of "Our Town,)" with the talented Ritt Henn on bass and ukulele.

After a fun closing (“Dream a Little Dream of Me,”) Ms. Bergl encores with a heart-wrenching version of the Peggy Lee hit “Is That All There Is.“ And indeed, this is one of the few times in recent memory, we felt that way too about a cabaret act: Absolutely electrifying and not to be missed. Reserve now! The show will run through Saturday September 10th.

Shows are Tuesday through Thursday at 8:30 and Friday and Saturday at 8:30 and 11 pm.   The cover charge is $50 per person plus either a $30 food and beverage minimum or a $60 prix fixe dinner.  Reservations:  212 419 9331 or bmcgurn@algonquinhotel.com

 

Note: The new menu features an amazingly tender and moist Berkshire pork chop that is in step with making the Algonquin kitchen on a par with the atmosphere, entertainment and service one encounters in this truly great New York institution.

Click Here To Visit Emily Bergl’s Official Website

Click Here To Visit Website of Oak Room Supper Club

Copyright 2011 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved

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The Jewel In The Crown: 2008 Alexander’s Crown Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon. California Royalty

The 2008 Alexander’s Crown Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon completes the Single Vineyard Cabernet Offering of Rodney Strong Vineyards. (Along with Rockaway and Brothers Ridge).

2008 Alexander's Crown Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon*

Established in 1971 and recognized as the first vineyard in Sonoma County to produce a single vineyard cabernet sauvignon, Alexander’s Crown is perched on a hill in the south-center of the Alexander Valley just west of Jimtown. It rises to about 350 feet at its peak with a soil composition of predominantly well drained gravelly loam derived from both river sediments and volcanic activity. The top of the hill, block 1, is red in color, and tends to produce the most intensely flavored wine. The first part of the valley to feel ocean air in the afternoon, the Crown expresses cabernet in an almost Bordeaux-like style, with ripe flavors centered on red fruit, soft tannins, and balanced acidity.

For the second year in a row, the 2008 vintage started off with a very dry spring, which typically produces smaller clusters, smaller berries and less canopy overall. Frost visited many vineyards over several nights in April, further reducing potential to yield. Then a hot spell engulfed the region in the middle of May, while grape clusters were flowering, again threatening to lower yields. The main growing season, however, was without incident, with warm to hot days and cool nights the rule. This Alexander’s Crown vineyard cabernet harvest commenced on October 17th, and concluded on October 21st.

Established in 1971 and recognized as the first vineyard in Sonoma County to produce a single vineyard cabernet sauvignon, Alexander’s Crown is perched on a hill in the south-center of the Alexander Valley just west of Jimtown. It rises to about 350 feet at its peak with a soil composition of predominantly well drained gravelly loam derived from both river sediments and volcanic activity. The top of the hill, block 1, is red in color, and tends to produce the most intensely flavored wine.

The first part of the valley to feel ocean air in the afternoon, the Crown expresses cabernet in an almost Bordeaux-like style, with ripe flavors centered on red fruit, soft tannins, and balanced acidity. For the second year in a row, the 2008 vintage started off with a very dry spring, which typically produces smaller clusters, smaller berries, and less canopy overall. Frost visited many vineyards over several nights in April, further reducing potential yield. Then a hot spell engulfed the region in the middle of May, while grape clusters were flowering, again threatening to lower yields. The main growing season, however, was without incident, with warm to hot days and cool nights the rule. Our Alexander’s Crown vineyard cabernet harvest commenced on October 17th, and concluded on October 21st.

Some wine-writer friends recently brought several “Garage Wines” for us to taste with dinner. Not one of the reds (most costing more than double the price of this Alexander’s Crown) compared. So what’s in a name? A hell of a lot if that name happens to be Rodney Strong Vineyards, where the folks behind the product know what they are doing and quality is the name of the game!

At a Suggested Retail Price of $75, this wine is intense, full of tannins and a mouth-full of lush fruit with hints of berries, herbs and mint and sufficient acid for good aging potential. The structure is elegant, classic and royal. A few years of cellar aging be rewarded with a wine of greatness and superior quality. How great can a California be. Here lies the answer. A superb product, with a great future. Enjoy with roasts, game, fine cheeses or as an end of the meal reward.

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100% Cabernet Sauvignon
27.1˚ Brix
22 months in 100% French oak barrels, 47% new
15.5%
.61 g/100mL
3.59
Winemakers: Rick Sayre, David Ramey (consultant), Tom Klein (vintner)
Wine Growers: Doug McIlroy, Bob Steinhauer (consultant)
Release Date: May, 2011
ALEXANDER’S CROWN ALEXANDER VALLEY
2 0 0 8
http://www.alexanderscrown.com
Alexander’s Crown

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CLAIRE MARTIN & RICHARD RODNEY BENNETT CLOSE OAK ROOM’S SPRING SEASON MAY 31-JUNE 18 IN “A COUPLE OF SWELLS”

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British musical stars Claire Martin and Richard Rodney Bennett love American music, and among their favorites are the songs of Irving Berlin, subject of Claire and Richard’s sparkling new salute, “A Couple of Swells,” from May 31st through June 18th, the final show of the Oak Room’s Spring season.

The very pretty Ms. Martin’s head voice may recall June Christy while her rich chest voice is somewhat reminiscent of Cleo Laine, but make no mistake: Martin is a seasoned vocalist/performer and the end result is uniquely original. Mercifully, the act is straight forward, without distracting patter and historical references. Sir Rodney gives subtle support on piano and offers a solid left hand, which is a good rhythmic stand-in for the non-existent rhythm section. 

Berlin gems with arrangements by Richard and vocals by Claire include a catchy opening syncopation of Puttin’ on the Ritz, a terrific rendition of Change Partners, a strikingly insightful What’ll I Do?, and the best versions of Let’s Face the Music and Dance and Cheek to Cheek we’ve heard in years. There are a smattering of lesser known tunes as well, contrasted by such tried and true standards as How Deep is the Ocean and Midnight Choo Choo.

Confirming the old adage , , , less is more, Claire Martin and Richard Rodney Bennett offer a fitting conclusion to a memorable season of the fabled Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel and deserve you patronage. A class act. Don’t miss it.

Shows are Tuesday through Thursday at 8:30 and Friday and Saturday at 8:30 and 11, with a cover charge of $50 weeknights and late weekends, and $60 early weekend shows, plus either a $30 minimum or $60 prix fixe dinner, with dinner seating at 7. Reservations: 212 419 9331 or bmcgurn@algonquinhotel.com

Renowned for her unmistakably unique “cool, burnished tone” (NY Times) and the flawless technique of “England’s most impressive female jazz artist” (LA Times), Claire Martin has performed with such artists as James Brown, Curtis Stigers, Jamie Cullum and Tony Bennett, who lists her among his favorite singers. She made a smash debut at the Algonquin in 2007 and followed up with Richard Rodney Bannett in 2009 in an acclaimed show celebrating the music of Cy Coleman. She has released 12 recordings for Linn Records and has a jazz interview show on BBC 3.

Knighted in 1998 for his services to music, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett is one of the UK’s most renowned musical figures, having achieved phenomenal success across a wide range of genres. In 2006 he premiered “Reflections on a Scottish Folk Song” commissioned by HRH Prince Charles in memory of the Queen Mother. He is an Oscar-nominated film composer…for Four Weddings and a Funeral, Far From the Madding Crowd and Murder on the Orient Express.

He has enjoyed great success as a jazz pianist, arranger and vocalist, having appeared with Marion Montgomery, Dame Cleo Laine, Mary Cleere Haran and Annie Ross.

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WITH “RHYME, WOMEN & SONG” KT SULLIVAN SALUTES MUSIC-MAKING LADIES IN THE OAK ROOM MAY 3-28

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Photo: Heather Sullivan

                                                                         The Dean of Divas Raises The Bar at The  Legendary Oak Room

Being the capital of cabaret, New York City has no shortage of world class cabaret performers. In a medium where the dolls outnumber the guys, KT SULLIVAN has established herself as the ultimate doll and dean of the divas of “The Great American Song Book.”

Her new act at the Oak Room proves to be her best ever. The material and carefully crafted patter flow in a stream on steroids from the lesser and (better known) songs of Kay Swift, including an especially poignant “Can’t We Be Friends,” through a rollicking version of Carolyn Leigh’s “The Best is Yet To Come, the ultimate camp rendition of” Mary Rodgers “The Boy From …,” and surprising interpretations of Edna Pinkard’s “Kitchen Man,” Peggy Lee’s “He’ll Make Me Believe He’s Mine,” Carole King’s “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” and Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You,”

It all began with her acclaimed salute to Dorothy Fields, who set the standard for female songwriters. In “Rhyme, Women & Song,” KT Sullivan expands her vision to display the work of Dorothy’s peers and heirs who have enriched the Great American Songbook. Sullivan contrasts the inimitable Dorothy’s “Sunny Side of the Street,”with an amazing take on “Good Morning Heartache,” that rivals the gold standard set by Billie Holiday, who introduced it in 1946.

An hilarious closing medley of 29 cleverly linked songs (“my age” Sullivan says as a throwaway), concludes with a subtle and sensitive rendition of Jerome Kern’s and Dorothy Fields eternally lovely “The Way You Look Tonight.”

Ms. Sullivan has never been in better voice and her dramatic range, comedic timing and versatility  shine.

The amazing Jon Weber is musical arranger and accompanist., while John Webber(with an “h” and 2 “bs”) admirably assists on bass, giving Sullivan outstanding backup.

Not only is The Oak Room New York’s most consistent cabaret experience, it is also a genuine bargain. The show, including a three course dinner (food has improved markedly over the years) is about the price of a ticket to the anemic offerings on Broadway. And besides a venue steeped in history, you may be one of the fortunates who get a glimpse of Matilda, the latest in a chain of indomitable felines.

Shows are Tuesday through Thursday at 8:30 and Friday and Saturday at 8:30 and 11. There is a $50 cover charge for weeknight and late shows and $60 for early shows Friday and Saturday, plus either a $30 food and beverage minimum or $60 prix fixe dinner. Reservations: 212 419 9331 or bmcgurn@algonquinhotel.com.

 

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