YOU'RE THE TOP: The Songs of Cole Porter
KT Sullivan makes her debut at Birdland with her new Cole Porter show “You’re The Top” on April 10th. The title refers to KT’s concept that Cole Porter is at the top of the food chain when it comes to songsmiths, and thus her favorite. Among the musical gems from Cole’s catalog presented in Jim Caruso’s Monday night series will be It’s Delovely, In The Still Of The Night, Don’t Fence Me In, So In Love, I’ve Got You Under My Skin, Physician, Experiment, Down In The Depths On The 90th Floor, and Brush Up Your Shakespeare.
Musical Director: John Weber.
Bassist: Steve Doyle.
A SWING TIME KERNUCOPIA
KT Sullivan celebrates the master melodist Jerome Kern with songs both obscure (“Raggedy Ann” and “Bungalow In “Quogue”) and classic (“Bill”, “All the Things You Are” and, yes, “Old Man River”). And, buoyed by jazz greats Jon Weber and Steve Doyle, KT’ll surprise with hot tunes In Swing Time.
I CAN COOK: When Barbara Met Wally
2 Sopranos / 1 man - and how he changed their lives. Barbara Cook’s career was resurrected through a relationship with Wally Harper, who introduced her to the world of cabaret, opening an amazing second act in what had been a luminous career as an actress and vocalist. A Broadway legend, Ms. Cook found her musical equal in Harper, and he his muse in her.
THEN in 1980, a chance introduction to Barbara’s album IT’S BETTER WITH A BAND started a starry-eyed Oklahoma native on the way to a career in cabaret. In I CAN COOK, KT Sullivan pays tribute to both Barbara and Wally, and the amazing journey that began when they met.
Featuring SING A SONG WITH ME and IT’S BETTER WITH A BAND (both written by Harper) and classics arranged by Wally for Barbara such as DANCING IN THE DARK, WAIT TILL YOU SEE HIM, SWEET GEORGIA BROWN, I LOVE A PIANO, COME IN FROM THE RAIN, IF LOVE WERE ALL, and, of course, I CAN COOK.
As Will Friedwald wrote, “Sullivan is one of few appearing in cabaret rooms who can safely be described as a KILLER soprano”.
Eric Michael Gillett, Director
Jon Weber, Musical Director
RHYME, WOMEN & SONG
All the songs in “Rhyme, Women and Song” are written in whole or in part by women. Dorothy Fields, Carolyn Leigh, Kay Swift, Betty Comden, Dorothy Parker, Marilyn Bergman and Joni Mitchell are some of them. Accompanying Ms. Sullivan at the Oak Room are two (unrelated) musicians with almost identical names: Jon Weber, on piano, and John Webber, on bass, who give several numbers a solid jazz kick.
The changes in style and mood from song to song are so quick that at times “Rhyme, Women and Song” suggests a sequence of lightning-fast blackout sketches. But there is a rough through line under it all. Early in the show a medley of “Don’t Let a Good Thing Get Away,” “The Best Is Yet to Come,” “On the Sunny Side of the Street” and “The Other Side of the Tracks” becomes a suite about a woman’s determined upward mobility in which Ms. Sullivan doesn’t disguise the connections between romantic aspiration and material calculation. - Stephen Holden, New York Times
"Timeless Tunes," consists entirely of songs written in 1929 or earlier. Including such standards as "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" and "Shine on Harvest Moon"; relative obscurities (Cole Porter's hilarious "Tale of an Oyster," cut from his musical "50 Million Frenchmen," and selections from such operettas as "The Merry Widow" and "Die Fledermaus," the songs provoke a nostalgic swoon even in those who weren't yet born when they were written. Best of all, Sullivan, accompanied by superb pianist Jon Weber, performed most of the evening without a microphone, which only enhanced the crystalline beauty of her voice. She resorted to miking only once, when she wandered the room singing a wonderful medley of 29 numbers written in 1929. Clearly, that was a golden year for American popular songwriting. - Frank Scheck, New York Post
DANCING IN THE DARK The Songs of Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz
The spirit of the show, which also includes the work of collaborators like Leo Robin, Frank Loesser, Dorothy Fields and Vernon Duke, is predominantly lighthearted. The show is a series of quick changes connected by smart, funny patter that doesn’t waste a remark.
The ability to convey a sense of continual surprise and discovery while singing almost any standard is one of Ms. Sullivan’s many gifts. That her light-operatic voice is as supple today as ever is her ace in the hole. A virtuoso at multiple styles of musical comedy who has refined a hundred variations of the double take, Ms. Sullivan can turn on a dime and deliver a formal rendition of “Dancing in the Dark” in which her luscious middle and lower registers supply serious drama. - Stephen Holden, New York Times
ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE KT Celebrates Jerome Kern
Jerome Kern, the composer of “All the Things You Are,” “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” and the music from “Show Boat,” is widely regarded as the rock upon which American popular song was built. But being a monument comes with a price. Reverence precludes humor, and statues of founding fathers rarely wear smiles.
As KT Sullivan reveals in her Kern show, “All the Things You Are,” at the Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel, however, there is a lot more to him than stately ballads. The early, half-forgotten Kern of the Princess Theater musicals composed between 1915 and 1920 was a playful scamp, especially in collaborations with P. G. Wodehouse. The hilarious, dirty-minded “Cleopatterer” (from the 1917 show “Leave It to Jane”), which imagines the prolific sex life of Cleopatra, might even be seen as an early-20th-century prototype of rap. And Ms. Sullivan delivered it on Thursday with a tongue-in-cheek sense of merriment. - Stephen Holden, New York Times
COLORED LIGHTS (originally titled AUTUMN IN NEW YORK)
The journey from the sticks to the Broadway stage is a pilgrimage that has been made by countless performers. But no one in recent memory has turned it into the kind of thrill ride that the singer K T Sullivan makes of it in her new cabaret show, “Autumn in New York.”
As she travels in song from her rural hometown, Boggy Depot, Okla., to Manhattan, Ms. Sullivan evokes the mythical distance between polar dream worlds. The naïve show-business hopeful who begins the journey is given voice by two songs from “The Fantasticks”: “Try to Remember,” in which she looks back wistfully, and “Much More,” in which she dreams of going to town “in a golden gown.” The sophisticated urban malcontent her alter ego recognizes but refuses to become is evoked in songs by Stephen Sondheim (“Who’s That Woman?”) and Noël Coward (“World Weary”). It is a persona Ms. Sullivan would rather laugh at than embrace. - Stephen Holden, New York Times
THE LADIES OF THE SILVER SCREEN
The golden voice of KT Sullivan evokes memories of stellar screen legends in this superb tribute to the songs and singers made famous on film.
Through songs immortalized by those ladies of the silver screen, including Bette Davis and Doris Day to Carmen Miranda and Marlene Dietrich, you'll be transported back to vintage Hollywood, where you'' discover the truth aboutthe unknown female voices captured on celluloid.
KT Sullivan, a voluptuous platinum blonde with a bright-eyed wit, is a fusion of those not- so -dumb screen idols, Marilyn Monroe and Judy Holliday, and has built a thriving cabaret career on her stylised parody of a 1950's glamour girl. KT effortlessly moves from sassy tart to elegant vamp and is a pure delight as she salutes the singers, The Ladies Of The Silver Screen.
NOEL, COLE AND BART
The show is called “Noel, Cole and Bart” and is, quite naturally, a cornucopia of prime, patrician songs by Messrs. Coward, Porter and Howard. These are the kinds of songs Mabel Mercer used to sing – the finely crafted pearls of great wit, intelligence and musical sophistication I used to hear in rooms like L’Intrigue, R.S.V.P. and the Blue Angel. Mabel is gone now and the memory grows dim, but Ms. Sullivan keeps the flame at her altar burning brightly. She’s not old enough in years to remember how privileged New Yorkers were to sit around in exalted clusters at 2 A.M. listening and learning from Mabel about the art of song. But Ms. Sullivan is quite prepared in terms of compassion, enthusiasm and good taste. From Howard’s piercing “Walk-Up” and “It Was Worth It,” a raspberry to growing old that he wrote for Mabel’s 50th birthday, to Noel Coward’s hilarious 1945 obscurity “That Is the End of the News,” you are in for some delicious surprises. - Rex Reed, New York Observer
BEYOND THE RAINBOW Celebrating Harold Arlen's 100th Anniversary
Start with the artistry of Arlen -- his rich melodies, with their roots in cantorial music and blues riffs. Add wise and warm lyrics by such collaborators as Johnny Mercer, "Yip" Harburg, Ira Gershwin, Truman Capote, and the lesser-known Ted Koehler. Blend these songs with the style, sophistication and elegant musical teamwork of KT Sullivan and Larry Woodard, and you are reminded what truly entertaining, top-taste cabaret is all about. - Peter Haas, Cabaret Scenes
SCANDALS AND FOLLIES
Ms. Sullivan and her sidekick, the pianist and singer Larry Woodard, peer and revisit the byways of Broadway past with a refined blend of scholarship and wit. ''Scandals and Follies" gathers fragments of nearly 50 songs introduced in Broadway revues (including several Ziegfeld ''Follies'') from 1902 to 1952. The program is a musical scrapbook whose selections are captioned by Ms. Sullivan's revealing, often funny asides. Ms. Sullivan, whose singing stretches from a hard, bright Fanny Brice imitation to a fluttery semi-operatic register, flavors everything with a tongue-in-cheek attitude of wonder. - Stephen Holden, New York Times
RICHARD RODGERS SHOW
Whimsy is not a quality one normally associates with the music of Richard Rodgers. But in her effervescent new cabaret show, KT Sullivan presents his songs as a series of sidelong flashes that suggest a wise child playing a sophisticated game of peek-a-boo. - Stephen Holden, New York Times
MAKE SOMEONE HAPPY Saluting Betty Comden & Adolph Green
Life would be a snap if you followed some basic musical comedy advice. Make someone else happy, and you will be happy too. Remember that every day comes once in a lifetime, so make the most of every day; and so on and so forth. Those useful tips are embedded in the song lyrics of Betty Comden and Adolph Green, the dearly beloved team to whom Mark Nadler and KT Sullivan pay affectionate tribute in their effervescent cabaret show “Make Someone Happy.” - Stephen Holden, New York Times
SWEET AND LOWDOWN The Music of George Gershwin
A sparkling evening of the music of George Gershwin co-starring KT Sullivan. KT provides the sweet, (Stephen Holden wrote in The New York Times that she is "...the cabaret equivalent of whipped cream atop a surprisingly nutritious dessert.")
Mark, of course, provides the low-down. This is a fabulous two-act evening that includes some of the hit numbers from Mark and KT's award-winning off-Broadway Gershwin Revue, American Rhapsody. Among the highlights in this show, Mark and KT reenact the entire film, Shall We Dance and Mark performs his powerful signature arrangement of 'S Wonderful and Rhapsody In Blue.
ALWAYS The Love Story of Irvin Berlin
A book musical in which Mark Nadler and KT Sullivan tell, sing and reenact one of the great American love stories They put Irving Berlin's music in service to the story, weaving the composer's songs in and out of the narrative according to their emotional content and give us the intimate story of a musical colossus.
The two act evening features a zesty smorgasbord of Berlin tunes -- many well known, many rarely heard. Some are performed in their totality; others are woven into evocative medleys that punctuate dramatic arcs in Berlin's life. This show is rich in American history as well as a deeply moving theatrical event.
A SWELL PARTY RSVP Cole Porter
KT Sullivan and Mark Nadler invite one and all to A Swell Party - RSVP Cole Porter, celebrating the timeless words and music of the supreme musical sophisticate of the 20th century whose witty, naughty and romantic songs continue to enthrall audiences today as they did in the Jazz Age.
Among selections are It's De-lovely, I've Got You Under My Skin, Let's Do It, Brush Up Your Shakespeare, Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye, Night and Day, Begin the Beguine, Experiment and Let's Fall in Love.
EVERYTHING'S COMING UP ROSES The Music of Jule Styne
To celebrate the centennial of Jule Styne, composer of mega-hit musicals such as Gypsy, Funny Girl, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Bells Are Ringing as well as many hit songs from films such as I Don't Want To Walk Without You and Time After Time. KT Sullivan and Mark Nadler have created a stirring tribute full of song and anecodotes about one of the most colourful characters of the Great American Songbook.
A FINE ROMANCE A Centennial Salute to Dorothy Fields
A salute to the great Broadway and Hollywood lyricist Dorothy Fields, the first woman elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
The daughter of famed vaudevillian and theatrical producer Lew Fields, Dorothy Fields was a schoolteacher when she met composer Jimmy McHugh and found her talent as a lyricist. In 1928 they scored their first big hit with I Can't Give You Anything But Love. For the next five decades Fields collaborated with such legendary composers as Jerome Kern, Arthur Schwartz and Cy Coleman, and produced such imperishable gems as I'm In the Mood for Love, Don't Blame Me, Pick Yourself Up, He Had Refinement, Lovely to Look At, The Way You Look Tonight, I Won't Dance, Growing Pains, Poor Everybody Else, Baby Dream Your Dream, Remind Me and Sunny Side of the Street, which KT and Mark will render in their inimitable fashion.
ARE WE A PAIR Words and Music of Sondheim
An almost entirely sung-through concert, Are We A Pair: Words and Music of Sondheim lets the extraordinary work of Stephen Sondheim speak for itself. In creating this show, KT Sullivan and Mark Nadler have focused on Sondheim's ability to delve into the complications and complexities of every type of relationship with witty, probing lyrics to soaring romantic melodies.
ANOTHER HUNDRED PEOPLE Sullivan and Harnar Sing Sondheim: Act Two
“Another Hundred People,” a thrilling new revue at the Laurie Beechman Theater, is the most dramatic example I can remember of how a crash course in the songs of Stephen Sondheim can transform entertainers you thought you knew into beings far more complex and sophisticated than you ever suspected. As its stars, KT Sullivan and Jeff Harnar, dug into Mr. Sondheim’s catalog, it was as though they had suddenly grown up. - Stephen Holden, New York Times
OUR TIME Sullivan and Harnar Sing Sondheim
“Our Time,” the opening number of KT Sullivan and Jeff Harnar’s iconoclastic Stephen Sondheim show at the Laurie Beechman Theater on Wednesday evening, is the optimistic dawn-of-a-new-age anthem from “Merrily We Roll Along.” It’s the 1950s, and there are nothing but blue skies and bright futures ahead in the lives of its naïve musical-theater hopefuls gazing forward with starry-eyed confidence. - Stephen Holden, New York Times
STEVE ROSS and others
STEVE ROSS AND KT SULLIVAN Love, Noël
Ken Marks - The New Yorker Magazine
In addition to being a playwright (“Private Lives,” “Blithe Spirit”), a performer, a songwriter, and an author, the Englishman Noël Coward was a voluminous letter writer. The Coward scholar Barry Day has used that correspondence to charming effect in the ninety-minute diversion “Love, Noël: The Songs and Letters of Noël Coward,” directed by Charlotte Moore. Two of the city’s most prominent cabaret artists, Steve Ross, as Coward, and KT Sullivan, playing a wide range of the author’s leading ladies—including Gertrude Lawrence, Beatrice Lillie, Elaine Stritch, and Marlene Dietrich—read the letters, sing the songs, and dish the dirt. Of the two dozen Coward songs performed, in snippet or in full, only a few have entered the popular canon (among them “Mad About the Boy” and “Someday I’ll Find You”), but they’re all terribly clever and amusing.
STEVE ROSS AND KT SULLIVAN
This delightful duo effortlessly migrates between operetta, story-telling, nonchalant anecdotes and complex, yet easy-on-the-ear, his and hers medleys. Lamenting (Ira Gershwin style) that it’s a pity they had never met before, they bounce songs back and forth like balls in a top class tennis match.
Covering mostly standard material ranging from Who Cares to They All Laughed and a wonderfully poignant rendition of Chicago’s Class, they are equally at home entertaining solo. Ross is endearing as much as he is commanding, but most of all it is his superb piano playing and lyric positioning that stand out. His phrasing is reminiscent of Fred Astaire and the late Bobby Short.
Sullivan plays to her heritage with some 19th century authentic Irish material and wandr’es through cadenzas in Poor Wandr’ing One with gusto. She also salutes the great early 20th century cabaret singer Mabel Mercer. - Jennifer Reischel
KT & LARRY REMEMBER MABEL & BOBBY Mabel Mercer and Bobby Short
There probably isn’t a better pair than KT Sullivan and Larry Woodard to honor the memory—and repertoire—of cabaret royalty, Mabel Mercer and Bobby Short. KT & Larry Remember Mabel & Bobby took full advantage of their experience illuminating the Great American Songbook to bring to life songs like “I Can’t Get Started”/”You Are Too Beautiful” (Duke & Gershwin/Rodgers & Hart), Woodard’s opening medley, and “Confession”/”You Are Not My First Love” (Dietz & Schwartz/Bart Howard), Sullivan’s. - Joel Benjamin, Cabaret Scenes
GLAMOROUS SUMMER NIGHTS KT Sullivan and Larry Woodard
The show, “Glamorous Summer Nights,” reunited Ms. Sullivan with her sometime nightclub partner, the pianist and singer Larry Woodard heir of Bobby Short but with classical leanings. They displayed an easygoing chemistry. As much as the program honored show-business traditions, it celebrated the camaraderie of two cabaret troupers who “get” each other in a very deep way. They became archetypal showbiz, jouncing side by side on the bumpy highway of life. - Stephen Holden, New York Times
VIENNA TO WEIMAR KT Sullivan and Karen Kohler
Tucked into the saucy cabaret revue “Vienna to Weimar,” a survey of Austrian and German songs from operetta through the Weimar era at the Triad, is a guilty pleasure titled “A Little Attila.” Composed in 1922 by Rudolf Nelson and translated into English by Jeremy Lawrence, the song is a politically incorrect rape fantasy focused on Attila the Hun, whom the song describes as “a cute little brute” who’s “selfish and oblivious, lascivious and lewd.” The narrator declares, “I don’t need a flotilla or a villa by the sea/but oh for a scintilla of some virility.” - Stephen Holden, New York Times