A Wonderful New York Night

Nightlife Awards ceremony offers important lesson for its glitzier cousins

There should be a special star in heaven––probably easier to accomplish celestially than in the New York cabaret scene––for Scott and Barbara Siegel. These tireless authors, critics and producers do more in a year to support cabaret than any other two New Yorkers going.

On January 12, they gave the city a remarkable gift in form of the 2004 Nightlife Awards, a four-hour extravaganza that honored some remarkable performers and provided a sumptuous “tasting menu” of some of the finest entertainment New York has to offer.

Rather than have award winners give speeches, this star-studded event featured performances by the winners, with the audience really receiving the reward.

Produced by Mr. Siegel, this fast-paced consistently engaging show should become a model for all awards shows—because it was about the work rather than the personalities or their clothes, though everyone did just fine in those categories, too.

The performances featured cabaret stars, many of whom are household names––Maureen McGovern, Margaret Whiting, Ornette Coleman, Betty Buckley; those beloved on the New York scene: Jim Caruso and Billy Stritch, Steve Ross, Phillip Officer and Sharon McNight; and several newcomers: Judy Gold, Demitri Martin, and Alan Harris. Each performance was unique and spectacular, showcasing the jaw-dropping array of talent available in Gotham on virtually any night.

Hosted by Andrea Marcovicci––who knew she had such a droll, and sometimes biting, sense of humor?––with elegance and grace, the evening was nothing short of amazing––a full-year’s entertainment in a night, and something not to miss next year.

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