If the game is designed for you to lose, don't play that game. Play a different one. -- Seth Godin
As those of you who follow my blogs know, this week I'm focusing on the recipients of the 26th annual Bistro Awards taking place next Tuesday night at The Gotham Comedy Club. I hope you have your tickets. Over the past two days, I've written about Liz Larken Brown, Nate Buccieri, Carole J. Bufford, Carol Channing, Anthony Cochran, Tyne Daly, Kevin DoxierMichael Feinstein,and Dionne Warwick...all recipients! Today, I'm going to focus on Janice Hall, Sean Harkness, and Allan Harris.
The guidelines that Bob Harrington originally set up for himself to determine the first winners have become the basic philosophy behind the Bistro Awards, which recognize achievement in a wide variety of categories — from outstanding performances to outstanding contributions by members of the cabaret community. The object is not to choose the “best” of anything of the year, but to recognize and congratulate the accomplishments of those who have done something special. Accordingly, categories can easily be created from year to year as they best fit the year’s distinguished work. Loli Marquez-Sterling performs "Rie Llora" and receive her Bistro Award in "The Gotham Comedy Club". New York City. April - 2010
JANICE HALL will be receiving her award for her Tribute Show
"Grand Illusions: The Music of Marlene Dietrich"
Metropolitan Room, Urban Stages. I have been a fan of Janice for some time. She was/is a regular at Wednesday Night at The Iguana and ALWAYS delivers!
Janice Hall's international opera career has taken her to the Vienna State Opera; the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; the Salzburg Festival; the Komische Oper Berlin; the Lyric Opera of Chicago; and the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center, to name a few. Her roles have ranged from the Verdi heroine Violetta in the New York City Opera’s Emmy-winning telecast of La Traviata, in the "Live from Lincoln Center" series on PBS, to multiple roles in the operatic version of Tony Kushner’s play Angels in America, with the BBC Symphony in London.
After living in Europe for many years, Janice returned to the U.S. three years ago, and has since divided her time and attention between opera, theater, and cabaret. She was one of five finalists in 2010’s Metrostar Talent Challenge at the Metropolitan Room; writing about that contest, Beatrice Williams-Rude of Broadway After Dark remarked, "[A]ll the performers are sterling, some glitteringly; but one is pure, unalloyed gold: Janice Hall. She's sleek, chic and elegant in appearance as well as in the presentation of her songs."
In November, 2010, Janice unveiled her first New York solo cabaret show, Grand Illusions:The Music of Marlene Dietrich, at the Metropolitan Room. Peter Haas of Cabaret Scenes magazine wrote: “Many performers have “done” Marlene Dietrich, but none has offered her songs more richly, more movingly and with lovelier singing than a newcomer to cabaret, petite and elegant Janice Hall.”
Roy Sander wrote: "...a glorious hour...Some of her interpretations achieve a status beyond merely wonderful; they are memorable, unique, standards against which other renditions should be compared...When the show was over...I realized that I was responding to three forces, all working together: the enduring power of Dietrich, the strength of Hall's performance, and the brilliance of this show and all of its elements."
Grand Illusions was chosen as one of four shows to be presented at Urban Stages Theater in Feb-Mar 2011, as part of their “Musical Legends” series
In May, Janice travels to Salt Lake City to perform a one-woman show about Hollywood, at the Pygmalion Theatre Company.
Video by Corrine Cohen
And a great big congratulations to SEAN HARKNESS as well! I'm also a huge fan of Sean's! Sean is receiving his award as an outstanding instrumentalist.At home in New York City, guitarist Sean Harkness recently garnered in addition to the Outstanding Instrumentalist of 2011 Backstage Bistro Award, two nominations for MAC Awards; one for his New York Debut solo shows, and another for Musical Director.
In addition to featuring Sean on the cover of their 2011 product catalog, Walden Guitars is releasing a Sean Harkness Signature 12-string guitar in Europe, Asia, and North America.
Along with numerous compilations, TV, and film soundtracks, Mr. Harkness now has five commercial releases as an artist:
* Aloft [Windham Hill] -1999
* Trio Of One [independent release] -2001
* Urakaji solo guitar [Rinken Records, Japan, USA] -2004
* Harkness Knight w/saxman Eric Knight and great drummers -2009
* and brand new: H2 Flights: Volume One w/fab Canadian trumpeter Mike Herriott on Canadian Brass‘ label ODEG -2011
Each year Sean performs in concert halls around the country with other Windham Hill artists such as Liz Story, Will Ackerman, Barbara Higbie, Jim Brickman, Tuck & Patti, David Arkenstone, and Samite.
Mr. Harkness is a first-call guitarist who compliments an exhaustive client list of artists, instrumentalists, Broadway productions, and corporations nationally and internationally. He is the go-to guitarist for duets and ensemble work with singers from Broadway and television such as Alison Fraser, Susan Egan and Carole Demas.
Sean has appeared as an artist and sideman extensively in New York’s finest jazz venues including the Blue Note, Smoke, Small’s, the Jazz Standard, Birdland, Iridium, Feinstein’s, Edison Ballroom, Mile’s Café, the Metropolitan Room, St. Nick’s, and Top Of The Rock at Rockefeller Center.
Mr. Harkness also appears regularly in any of New York’s folk and rock singer/songwriter clubs such as the Bitter End, Mercury Lounge, Rockwood Music Hall, the Living Room, Bowery Poetry Club, P&G, and Shrine.
Sean was the guitarist in Contemporary Jewish icon Debbie Friedman’s band until her untimely passing in 2011. He continues to perform regularly with Craig Taubman and Josh Nelson in major congregations nationally.
* * *
Sean Harkness’ first guitar arrived on his eleventh birthday. Within six months, he had a weekly theater engagement in Bridgeport, CT. High School bands, studies with Stan Kenton Band’s guitarist Sal Salvador, Berklee College of Music, ‘busking’ in Europe, Vermont’s Green Mountains, 5 years assisting master guitar builder Chip Wilson, extensive world travel, and NYC’s vast music scene have all contributed to forming the seasoned professional Sean is today.
Congratulations, Sean! Well deserved!!
And my final honoree for today is ALLAN HARRIS for Ongoing Achievement in Jazz. I'm thrilled to be discovering Allan for the first time. Allan Harris sings it's only a Paper Moon at the WLRN Radio Studio, Miami, Florida Januray 5, 2007 (Video by Dave Hogerty www.myspace.com/davehogerty)Allan Harris is a world-class singer, guitarist and songwriter. Perhaps best known for his interpretations of jazz standards, Allan’s smooth vocals and guitar-styling easily crosses genres, from jazz to rock to blues.
Three-time winner of the New York Nightlife Award for "Outstanding Jazz Vocalist”, Tony Bennett calls Mr. Harris "my favorite singer" and The New York Times' Stephen Holden raves about "the protean talent that is Allan Harris." Allan has cultivated a global following, playing for packed audiences and received outstanding reviews throughout the United States, Europe, Russia and the Far East. He is regularly featured at the world’s great music festivals, e.g. Jazz Aspen, Wien Jazz Festival in Austria and the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy.
Allan’s Harris’s artistry transcends his diverse vocal performances. Harris has composed “Cross That River”, a full-scale musical celebrating the Old West as told through the words and music of a black cowboy, and has received a prestigious Chamber Music America Grant for that work. The theatrical production of “Cross That River” played to rave reviews during the 2009 New York Musical Theater Festival and is currently in pre-production for a long-term run in early 2011. Several original songs from “Cross That River” are also frequently featured in The Allan Harris Band’s concert performances.
In addition to music, Allan is passionate about giving back. He is a long-time supporter of the Children’s Miracle Network (helping to raise funds for children’s hospitals), and has performed many times alongside Vince Gill and Amy Grant at the Challenge Aspen Gala, an annual charity concert/golf tournament to benefit military service people who have sustained disabilities.
As a Gibson Guitar featured artist, Allan and Ruby (his constant 4 lb. canine companion and the first dog music critic) can frequently be found rehearsing at the Gibson Hit Factory, and along with The Allan Harris Band, enjoy playing the top music clubs in his hometown of New York City.
See how exciting these ENTERTAINERS ARE!?!?! Hope to see you Tuesday night as we celebrate ALL of our recipients!
Go here to buy tickets: http://www.bistroawards.com/buy-tickets/ticket-information.html
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Tomorrow's blog will feature HILARY KOLE, FAYE LANE, and COLLEEN McHUGH!
Please contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS: http://www.carolchanning.org/foundation.htm
TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED WEEK!
Richard Skipper, Associate producer of the 26th annual Bistro Awards , Richard@RichardSkipper.com