Thanks to Simon Cowell and to the scornful fellow's frequently equating "cabaret" with "old-fashioned," millions of televiewers have no idea that cabaret can be as fresh a form of entertainment as any others available to the hungry public.
If hot music means more to you than heated politics, the place to be this past Tuesday wasn't Charlotte, North Carolina but New York City where Michael Feinstein and Marilyn Maye were -- as the title of their tandem show has it -- "Swingin' the Night Away."
Sheera Ben-David is, consciously or unconsciously, hewing closely to the small-room conventions that 1920s Germans called "kabarett." A dramatic mezzo, she's drawn to less well-known songs that plumb the darker emotional depths.
Andrea Marcovicci and Bebe Neuwirth represent those who say that what's important for performers appearing in intimate rooms is not that the voice be considered first and foremost but that appreciation of a lyric is equally as important as vocal reproduction and projection.
If Michael Feinstein's American Songbook accomplishes anything -- it indisputably does -- it's that his commitment to the task of perpetuating the music is at least equal to his devotion to performing.
At one point, Hyde Pierce and Feinstein said they'd be doing a number originally done by Bing and Frank, "And if you don't know who Bing and Frank are, you're probably in the wrong show." This is true.