Life is again a cabaret as N.Y. hotspots flare

Life is again a cabaret as N.Y. hotspots flare

NEW YORK -- Tonight's the night several towering talents launch new cabaret acts in town and make us all aware that a) the summer's really kaput, b) the 2006-07 season is really under way and c) Manhattan has a really lively nightclub scene. Who can doubt it when, on the same evening, Elaine Stritch opens a new run at the Cafe Carlyle with an all-new show she's calling "At Home at the Carlyle ... Again" (she'll be there thru Nov. 11); Jack Jones, with his smooth, silver pipes, begins a two-week run in the Oak Room of the Algonquin; Ashford & Simpson start doing their thing at Feinstein's at the Regency, also thru Sept. 23 -- the three biggest cabaret venues in town, all jumping. ... The upcoming theater scene also looks like it's going to be lively. Besides welcoming the likes of Julianne Moore, Ethan Hawke, Billy Crudup, Eartha Kitt, George Grizzard, Amy Irving, Brian F. O'Byrne, Liev Schreiber, Jennifer Ehle, Jeff Daniels. Martha Plimpton, Donny Osmond, Ed Harris, Blythe Danner, Philip Bosco, Bill Nighy, Swoosie Kurtz, two Christines (Ebersol and Baranski), Mary Louise Wilson, Nathan Lane, Mark Linn-Baker, Dana Ivey, Sean Phillips and Raul Esparza (for starters), two legendary Tony winners also will be conspicuous, though much too momentarily this time around. The multi-Tonyed Angela Lansbury, who is as close to being Broadway's first lady as we have today, will be back on the local boards for one night only, Nov. 5., to star in a staged reading of works by the witty and salty Dorothy Parker called "This is On Me." It'll be at the Schoenfeld as a benefit for the Acting Company. Tom Fontana adapted the Parker works for the stage transition, Warner Shook directs. The magnificent Ms. Lansbury will be joined by Harriet Harris, Boyd Gaines, Lynn Collins and Lisa Banes. Lansbury, a longtime member of the Acting Company and chair of its Actors Advisory Board, says, "I've been Mame Dennis, Mama Rose and Mrs. Lovett, why not Dorothy Parker?" ... Two weeks earlier, Lansbury, the original Mrs. Lovett in "Sweeney Todd," will be presenting the most recent Mrs. Lovett, Patti LuPone, with the John Houseman Award "for outstanding contributions to the theater" at the Acting Company's Oct. 23 "Masquerade" dinner-dance-award evening at Cipriani Wall Street. That night there also will be entertainment galore, including another multi-Tonyed lady, Audra McDonald, emceed by Bob Martin, the creator-star-writer of the current "The Drowsy Chaperone." ... Meanwhile yet another Tony winner, Joel Grey, is back in the city for a spell after a busy year in L.A. (including guesting on episodes of "Alias" and this week's "House"). One thing he'll do is drop into the Ziegfeld Theatre when his Oscar-winning "Cabaret" is shown there Oct. 6 as part of the theatre's "Hollywood Classics" series. (Happy memories for Joel: The Ziegfeld is where that Fosse film premiered on Feb. 13, 1972.) Grey, who's also become an accomplished photographer, has a second book coming out in November; the man whose name is synonymous with the word "cabaret" also will likely be making a surprise appearance at this year's weeklong Cabaret Convention of the Mabel Mercer Foundation at Jazz at Lincoln Center, which runs Oct. 16-20.
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