The 38th Annual Bistro Awards Honors 15 Exceptional Performers
DARYL SHERMAN, MELISSA ERRICO, and ANN MORRISON Are Among the Recipients Along with Previously Announced Grammy-Winning Singer/Pianist and Songwriter RONNY WHYTE
(New York, March 7, 2023) —Fifteen musical artists will be honored for their cabaret and/or jazz artistry at the 38th annual Bistro Awards gala on Monday, April 17, 7:00 pm, at Gotham Comedy Club, 208 W. 23rd Street, Manhattan.
As previously revealed, beloved jazz cabaret performer Ronny Whyte will be presented with the ASCAP-Bob Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award for his decades of music making in the New York City area and beyond. Whyte is considered one of the premier interpreters of classic American songs. He has performed in such clubs as Café Carlyle, Rainbow & Stars, and the Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel, as well as in larger venues in Manhattan, including Carnegie/Weill Hall and Town Hall. He appeared Off Broadway in the hit musical Our Sinatra and has been an international headliner: performing in Paris, Tel Aviv, Sao Paulo, Caracas, and Johannesburg. He’s also an ASCAP Award– winning songwriter, an actor (Company, Pal Joey), and a prolific recording artist. His most recent album is 2019’s Whyte Witchcraft: Songs of Cy Coleman.
Honored with a special award for Enduring Artistry is another performer in the classic singer/pianist tradition, Daryl Sherman. Honored by Hothouse magazine as “Best Jazz Vocalist” in 2015, she has played at such clubs as Birdland, Jazz at Kitano, Mezzrow, Dizzy’s, and Iridium; has made several recordings; and has performed overseas, including in the UK and Japan. Perhaps her most renowned gig was a 14-year run at Manhattan’s Waldorf-Astoria, where she played Cole Porter’s Steinway.
Among special Bistro Awards bestowed through the years, the Ira Eaker Special Achievement Award, named after the founder of Back Stage magazine (and the father of Bistro Awards producer Sherry Eaker), is one of the most anticipated. It recognizes the achievements of an up-and-coming performer. This year, the award will go to an artist who is helping to extend the tradition of singer/pianist, as exemplified by Ronny Whyte and Daryl Sherman, into a new era. In 2022 Brandon James Gwinn, brought his piano-bar experience and his wealth of musical knowledge to the cabaret stage in Four Pianos at 54 Below, paying tribute to Blossom Dearie, Frances Faye, Diana Krall, and Bobby Short. When not entertaining in clubs, Gwinn is also an accomplished composer-lyricist and an experienced producer. He has recorded two solo albums: Bullit and Not Too Late.
Danny Bacher will be honored as outstanding Singer/Accompanist. A master of the demanding soprano saxophone, he combines his virtuosity as an instrumentalist with a vibrant singing voice and a talent for comedy and storytelling. He has performed in NYC (Blue Note, Birdland, 54 Below, Jazz at Lincoln Center) and has released two studio albums: Swing That Music! And Still Happy. He is a recent recipient of the prestigious Margaret Whiting Award.
Combining a charming manner with a beautiful tenor voice—and guided by honest and heartfelt storytelling—Tim Connell will be honored as an outstanding Vocalist. He presented three different shows at Pangea in 2022: Dreamin’ Again!, Lucky Me!, and …and so it goes…. Also an actor, Connell appeared on Broadway (in Nick and Nora), in national tours, and on television.
Making her New York debut at Birdland in 2022, Tawanda Suessbrich-Joaquim—known simply as Tawanda—will be presented a Bistro Award as outstanding Jazz Vocalist. Exposed to an array of musical sounds while growing up—from Cuba, the South Pacific Islands, the Middle East, and France—she performs in her own multi-genre fusion style. Tawanda tied for first place in the 2021 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition.
Danny Bolero will be honored for his outstanding Musical Characterization for his show They Call Me Cuban Pete, which celebrates the music and the entrepreneurial genius of Desi Arnaz. Bolero has appeared on the Broadway stage in three productions, most recently in a revival of Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite, starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick. For the past two years, he has voiced the role of Abuelo in the PBS Kids animated series Alma’s Way.
In the category of outstanding Comic Characterization, a Bistro Award goes to Scott F. Mason, who brought his impeccable impersonation of Barry Humphries’ character Dame Edna Everage to Don’t Tell Mama in the show One Dame Funny Night. Mason has played Dame Edna professionally for 20 years; in 2010 he was named “Honorary Understudy” for Humphries in a contest sponsored by Playbill. He is also known as a playwright, having written more than 25 scripts. He’s featured in the short documentary film Just About Famous.
Therese Lee is a versatile performer, who has performed in cabaret shows in Los Angeles, at such clubs as the Cinegrill, the Gardenia, and Feinstein’s at Vitello’s. She’ll be feted for outstanding Autobiographical Show, for her delightfully funny Riding the Bus to the Red Carpet, in which she relates her experiences as a celebrity interviewer. This show marked her New York cabaret debut.
Actor, singer, writer, director, and educator Ann Morrison has created roles in shows on Broadway and in London’s West End, as well as playing leading parts in regional theatre. She has also worked as a solo performer, most recently at 54 Below, where she appeared in Merrily from Center Stage, which told of her experience creating the role of Mary Flynn for the original Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along. It’s for that performance that she’ll be honored for outstanding Solo Musical.
With her radiant voice and plucky sense of humor, Josephine Sanges delighted audiences with her recent show The Funny Girl in Me, in which she sang music both performed by and inspired by legendary comic Fanny Brice and, in doing so, explored her own personal development. For this exuberant entertainment, she’ll be honored with a Bistro Award for outstanding Tribute Show.
When she was a girl, Ann Talman (Broadway’s The House of Blue Leaves, TV’s Seinfeld) debuted on Broadway, playing the role of Elizabeth Taylor’s daughter in Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes. The two then toured together with the show for 18 months, remaining friends until the star’s passing in 2011. Talman’s show, Elizabeth Taylor and the Shadow of Her Smile, explores—through story and song—her relationship with the indomitable Ms. Taylor. She’ll be honored with an award for Musical Memoir.
The Bistro Awards committee will honor three performers with awards for exceptional recording:
Multitalented Melissa Errico—singer, actor, and writer—will receive an award for the ambitious and beautifully executed Out of the Dark: The Film Noir Project, an album of songs that glory in evocative melodies associated with the glamorous and deadly realm of cinema’s most haunting genre. Her award is for outstanding Concept Album.
A collection of reconsidered jazz classics (“What a Way to Go,” “Here’s That Rainy Day”), Beverley Church Hogan’s Sweet Invitation is an album full of invigorating, nuanced music. Produced by Mark Winkler, the album shows this savvy singer at the top of her musical game. She will receive an award for outstanding Jazz Recording.
Mark Winkler himself will be honored for his recent album, the popular and critically celebrated Late Bloomin’ Jazzman, a collection of songs about the joys and challenges of growing older. The album became #1 on Amazon’s list of “Hot New Releases—Jazz Vocals.” In New York City, composer and performer Winkler has sung at Birdland, Blue Note, and Pangea. He has also performed internationally. His award is for outstanding Singer/Songwriter Recording.
The evening’s musicians include the award show’s resident maestro, Musical Director Daryl Kojak (piano), along with Ritt Henn (bass) and Rex Benincasa (drums).
Longtime BistroAwards.com critic Gerry Geddes—also a talented director of cabaret shows in New York—will direct the Bistro Awards show. Previously, he directed the Bistros virtual show in 2021.
The gala event will be held on Monday, April 17, at 7:00 pm at Gotham Comedy Club, 208 W. 23rd Street in Manhattan. Sherry Eaker, the former longtime Editor-in Chief of Back Stage and the producer of the event since its inception in 1985, heads up the BistroAwards.com roster of writers and critics. This team includes Gerry Geddes, Mark Dundas Wood, Penelope Thomas, Lisa Jo Sagolla, and Betsyann Faiella.
Mark Dundas Wood is Associate Producer for this year’s show.
Tickets range from $75.00 to $275.00. Ticket buyers in all categories are invited to the Bistro After Party as guests of the Bistro Awards. For details about the various ticket categories and early-purchase prices, visit www.BistroAwards.com. For additional information, call or text: 917-239-5467.
Following is a complete list of artists who, we believe, attained outstanding achievement in 2022 and/or for their body of work:
RONNY WHYTE / ASCAP-Bob Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award
DARYL SHERMAN / Enduring Artistry
BRANDON JAMES GWINN / Ira Eaker Special Achievement Award
DANNY BACHER / Singer/Instrumentalist
TIM CONNELL / Vocalist
TAWANDA / Jazz Vocalist
DANNY BOLERO / Musical Characterization (They Call Me Cuban Pete)
SCOTT F. MASON / Comic Characterization (One Dame Funny Night)
THERESE LEE / AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SHOW (Riding the Bus to the Red Carpet)
ANN MORRISON / SOLO MUSICAL (Merrily from Center Stage)
JOSEPHINE SANGES / TRIBUTE SHOW (The Funny Girl in Me)
ANN TALMAN / MUSICAL MEMOIR (Elizabeth Taylor and the Shadow of Her Smile)
MELISSA ERRICO / CONCEPT RECORDING (Out of the Dark: The Film Noir Project)
BEVERLEY CHURCH HOGAN / JAZZ RECORDING (Sweet Invitation)
MARK WINKLER / SINGER/SONGWRITER RECORDING (Late Bloomin’ Jazzman)