As the first season of Trust Cabaret Series wrapped up Monday night, a new one was announced.
Karen Akers employed her grace and intellect as a storyteller to give a lecture in song about the enduring legacy of Cole Porter's music. There weren't a lot of vocal gymnastics from the Broadway and concert performer, and none were necessary. The 1982 Tony nominee for "Nine," dressed in a slinky black gown and knotted pearls, bade a charming farewell to the 2012-13 season at the Cabaret at Theater Square with a well-researched 90-minute show that was anything goes. It ran the gamut from Porter's laugh-out-loud lyrics to "The Tale of the Oyster" to the bluesy "Begin the Beguine," which Ms. Akers described as a tune about love fulfilled and love unrequited.
While the audience was falling for Ms. Akers, as in the other cabarets this season, it witnessed a pro who was elevated by a longtime accompanist, in this case musical director Don Rebic, whose expert piano licks were evident during numbers such as "It's Alright With Me."
It will be a long, hot summer before the series picks up again in October.
Clint Holmes will be the first male voice of the series as part of the 2013-14 season that includes Marilyn Maye, Maureen McGovern, Carol Woods and Liz Callaway, who gets a solo show after showstopping turns for Pittsburgh CLO in the Andrew Lloyd Webber revue "Love Changes Everything" and as Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard."
The 2013-14 series schedule:
Oct. 6: Marilyn Maye -- A Grammy nominee for best new artist in 1965, Ms. Maye holds the record with 76 appearances on "The Tonight Show," when late night was ruled by Johnny Carson. For five consecutive years, since 2009, she has received the Celebrity of the Year award from the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs. In January, she received the Legend Award from New York's Nightlife Critics Association.
Nov. 4: Maureen McGovern -- The singer's 40-year career has taken her from "The Disaster Theme Queen" (Oscar-winning, chart-topping "The Morning After" and "We May Never Love Like This Again") to "The Stradivarius Voice." The late Marvin Hamlisch said, "Maureen McGovern can make a song sound new and exciting -- even to its composer. Bringing emotional depth and perfect pitch, hers is a voice that you want to hear more and more." She began a successful Broadway career in 1981's "The Pirates of Penzance" and has been touring in her musical memoir, "Carry It On."
March 3, 2014: Carol Woods -- The busy concert performer was nominated for an Olivier Award for her outstanding performance in "Blues in the Night." Broadway credits include "Chicago," "One Mo' Time," the 2001 revival of "Follies," "Big River" and "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas." She also can be seen in movies and TV, including her performance at the 50th Grammy Awards of "Let It Be" from the Grammy-nominated soundtrack of "Across the Universe."
April 4, 2014: Liz Callaway -- Tony nominee ("Baby"), Emmy winner, concert performer and recording and voice artist, the Broadway veteran for five years sang "Memory" in "Cats" and was in the original casts of "Miss Saigon," "The Three Musketeers" and "The Look of Love." She provided singing voices for animated characters in the Oscar-nominated "Anastasia," "The Swan Princess" and "Aladdin," among others.
May 12, 2014: Clint Holmes -- His "Playground in My Mind" reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100's 1973 chart, and he has performed all over the world. These days, Mr. Holmes is the artist-in-residence at Cabaret Jazz at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas. The New York Times' Steve Holden, reviewing his Cafe Carlyle appearance last year of the show "This Thing Called Love -- The Music of Cole Porter and Paul Simon," called the singer "a brainy showman whose sensitivity to lyrics is matched by his fearlessness as a performer."
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust presents the series at the Cabaret at Theater Square with the support of the Benter Foundation and Richard E. Rauh. Subscription packages: $200 or $240 at 412-456-1390, or visit TrustArts.org for more information.
Sharon Eberson: email@example.com or 412-263-1960.