The singer, actress and comedienne Kaye Ballard, the Grammy and Tony Award-winning singer/songwriter and actress Dee Dee Bridgewater, and the jazz trumpeter and cornetist Warren Vaché will be the special honorees of the 2012 Bistro Awards tonight, April 23 at 6:30pm. Taking place at Gotham Comedy Club, 208 West 23rd Street (between 7th & 8th avenues), the 27th Annual Bistro Awards gala, which celebrates outstanding achievement in New York cabaret and jazz, will also recognize 22 other artists and shows.
Among this year's Bistro Award recipients are Rita Gardner, the original “Girl” in The Fantasticks, for “Try to Remember…” her look back at the early years of Off Broadway (Major Engagement); Joyce Breach, for her years sensitively interpreting the American Popular Songbook (Bistro Award for Ongoing Vocal Artistry), and the jazz violinist and entertainer Aaron Weinstein, who receives the Ira Eaker Special Achievement Award, honoring an outstanding performer on the rise, and named after Back Stage’s co-founder, co-publisher and first cabaret critic.
Other musical Bistros will honor Amy Beth Williams (Vocalist); Nicolas King (Vocalist); Lauren Fox (Debut), and Jon Weber (Musical Director). Parker Scott and accompanist/arranger Wells Hanley take the prize for their CD, “Selecting Souvenirs” (Recording).
Earning comedy kudos are Justin Sayre’s “The Meeting” (Comedy Artistry) and “Max & Maxine: Together…AGAIN!” which features the talents of Gary Adler, Bryan Scott Johnson and Jen Perry (Musical Comedy).
Some of the singers and shows being honored paid tribute to other musical artists: Terese Genecco, Shaynee Rainbolt, and Billy Stritch fêted Russ Garcia on his 95th birthday, while Jean Brassard paid homage to Yves Montand. Both shows are being honored in the Tribute category. “If It Only Even Runs A Minute,” and its creators Jennifer Ashley Tepper and Kevin Michael Murphy and musical director Caleb Hoyer, applaud Broadway musicals that enjoyed the affection of theatregoers if not commercial success (Musical Series), and Billie Roe offered us a glimpse of an iconic era in cinema in “Dangerous Women: Life in Film Noir” (Theme Show).
Receiving the evening's prestigious Bob Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award, Ms. Ballard has been a beloved presence on television and the stage for nearly seven decades. Ms. Bridgewater, for forty years an internationally celebrated vocalist, is being honored for her Ongoing Artistry in Jazz. And Mr. Vaché, one of the jazz world's most acclaimed musicians, receives an Award for Ongoing Excellence as a Jazz Instrumentalist. Recent special honorees have included Dionne Warwick and Carol Channing (2011), Mitzi Gaynor and Elaine Stritch (2010), Charles Aznavour and Liza Minnelli (2009), Marilyn Maye (2008), Betty Buckley (2007), and Steve Ross (2006).
Taking place at the Gotham Comedy Club, the evening is hosted by comedian and actor Jim David. Produced by Sherry Eaker, with direction by Sara Louise Lazarus, and musical direction by Lenny Babbish, the show features performances from most of this year’s Bistro-winning artists. The evening's festivities include a Champagne reception for the Bistro recipients and Premium Ticket holders (5 pm), followed by the awards presentation and show (6:30 pm).