WINTER RHYTHMS, marks the third year that Urban Stages has brought noted musical artists to its stage during the holiday period. Proceeds from the musical series helped fund Urban Stages’ Outreach Program that brings over 300 free “arts in education” presentations to libraries and schools throughout the five boroughs.
The opening night benefit took place on Thursday, December 1st and honored Donald Smith, founder of the Mabel Mercer Foundation. The evening was hosted by MAC winner Klea Blackhurst and featured some of cabaret’s brightest lights, including Jeff Harnar, Colleen McHugh, Karen Oberlin, Georgia Osborne, T. Oliver Reid and Jennifer Sheehan. Celebrated cabaret entertainer Steve Ross closed WINTER RHYTHMS at Urban Stages on Sunday, December 11.
Other performers to present solo shows in the series were Tony Award winner Chuck Cooper, award-winning cabaret artists Karen Oberlin, Jennifer Sheehan, Gay Marshall, Janice Hall, Sarah Rice and David Vernon, Daryl Glenn and Ricky Ritzel, Gretchen Reinhagen, Tanya Holt, Maureen Taylor, classical pianist Steven Cantor, instrumentalist Sean Harkness (Guitar) and Sean Hagerty (composite of electronic instruments). Special group shows included an evening devoted to the music of Emmy Award winner Glen Roven, composer/conductor, featuring opera star Lauren Flanigan with The Broadway Youth Ensemble, Broadway performers Jeff McCarthy, Donna Lynne Champlin, Luba Mason, Nikolas King and noted opera singers Benjamin Perry Wenzelberg, Matthew Garrett and Christopher Herbert; acclaimed musical director/pianist Barry Levitt’s ”Jazz Jam” with vocalists Kat Gang, Cleve Douglass and others to be announced; Very Special Material, an evening of the songs of Bistro Award winner Richard Eisenberg, Bill Zeffiro and others with performers to be announced; and All in Good Time: The Songs of Barry Levitt and Peter Napolitano, featuring their work together and with other collaborators, performed by Tony nominee Robert Cuccioli and cabaret artists Julie Reyburn, Susan Winter, Barbara Porteus, Helena Grenot, Deb Berman, Rob Langeder, Stacie Perlman, Janice Hall, Joshua Dixon, Fran Leonardis and Gary Crawford.
Also included in the series was seminars in the afternoons on Saturdays at 5PM and Sundays at 3PM at Urban Stages Theatre, 259 West 30th Street. These seminars were co-sponsored by Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs (MAC; Lennie Watts, President) and Urban Stages. They were free to MAC members and WINTER RHYTHMS ticket holders.