Creative Team 2023
Daryl Kojak—Musical Director and Pianist
Daryl Kojak—pianist, arranger, producer, musical director, composer and songwriter—is honored to have worked with a long list of talent, including Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Phoebe Snow, Ben Vereen, Sheila Jordan, Michael Feinstein, Jane Monheit, Cheryl Bentyne, Kristin Chenoweth, Vicki Sue Robinson, George Coleman, Randy Brecker, Sheldon Harnick, Sandra Bernhard, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Mary Testa, Rita Rudner, Richard Belzer, Tiny Tim, Catherine Russell, Laurie Krauz, Heather MacRae, Stephanie Pope, and many others. He has composed and scored music for film, television, stage, artist recordings, and video games and has been honored with the Bistro Award for Outstanding Musical Director, the Caribbean Gospel Music Award for Top Gospel Arranger, the MAC Award for Best Jazz Group, and—with Laurie Krauz—the Bistro Award for Outstanding Theme Show for Tapestry Rewoven.
Rex Benincasa has been a freelancing drummer and percussionist in New York since 1978. Along with hundreds of television/radio soundtracks and commercial recordings, he has performed with the Concordia Chamber Players, Ba Ban Chinese Music Society, Eurasia Consort, New Music Consort, Apollo’s Fire, Ensemble Caprice, Alba Consort, Flamenco Latino, Carlota Santana Spanish Dance Theatre, Andrea Del Conte Danza España, Zorongo Flamenco Dance, Pilar Rioja, and Amanecer Flamenco Progressivo. He has recorded CDs and/or movie soundtracks for Marty Balin, Karen Mason, Andrea Marcovicci, Craig Rubano, Jamie deRoy, Stephanie Pope, Foday Musa Suso, Douglas Cuomo, Philip Glass, Sesame Street, and NFL Films to name but a few. Benincasa has played many show scores for all kinds of productions. His Broadway appearances have been with Fosse, Elaine Stritch at Liberty, The Full Monty, Flower Drum Song, Man of LaMancha, Never Gonna Dance, Little Shop of Horrors, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Hairspray, The Drowsy Chaperone, The Color Purple, Shrek, In The Heights, Billy Elliot, Peter and the Starcatcher, Motown: The Musical, and Mrs. Doubtfire. Rex likes all kinds of music. RexVB@aol.com
Ritt Henn plays bass, writes songs, and lives in New York City. He’s played Off-Broadway, toured the U.S., Europe, and Asia, and been a featured performer with Carnatic global fusion violinist Dr. L. Subramaniam. He has released four CDs of original music and a DVD of short films, produced over 200 episodes of ManBassBoxTV, and won both Bistro and MAC Awards for his work as a solo artist. Ritt has played for Kathleen Turner, Liz Callaway, Ann Hampton Callaway, Len Cariou, Penny Fuller, Anita Gillette, Chuck Berry, Amanda McBroom, Karen Mason, Bob Malone, and more. He also whistles and plays the ukulele. ManBassBoxTV.com
Jean-Pierre Perreaux—Sound Engineer
Jean-Pierre Perreaux was born and raised in France. Combining his background in electronics with his love and study of music, he headed up both the music and technical departments of the Clamart Cultural Center, located outside of Paris. He has designed lights and sound for various nightclubs and theatres in France and the U.S. As sound engineer and/or tech consultant, he has run—and overseen—the lights in many NYC nightclubs and music spaces (Arci’s Place, The Encore, The Metropolitan Room, Barnes & Noble). He was sound designer for the Big Apple Circus from 2011 to 2015. Special assignments include shows in outdoor venues, including events under the Brooklyn Bridge and at the annual music festival in Miami. Jean-Pierre is a Billboard-reviewed record producer and appears on many CDs as a musician and/or producer / sound engineer. He has done sound work on various film and TV projects and was featured as a multifaceted technician in Live Sound magazine. He was the recipient of 10 Manhattan Association of Cabarets Awards for Best Technical Director between 2007 and 2019. He received a Bistro Award for outstanding Achievement in Technical Direction in 2002.
Jonny Mercado—Lighting Design
Jonny Mercado is an actor and freelance technician who’s been working professionally in New York City since 2014. This is his sixth year as lighting designer for the Bistro Awards. He joined the technical staff at the Metropolitan Room in 2015, earning a MAC Award Nomination for his work the following year and in subsequent years as well. His past experience has included being technical manager at Don’t Tell Mama—eventually the club’s associate booking manager—and the booking manager and special events director at the Laurie Beechman Theatre. Jonny received his training at the Chicago College of Performing Arts of Roosevelt University and enjoyed a decade of work at Chicago’s Davenport’s Piano Bar and Cabaret before relocating to New York City. He also serves as director of sacred music at a Roman Catholic parish in Westchester County, where he is also organist and choirmaster.
Scott F. Mason—Host
Scott F. Mason has an artistic résumé that spans over 30 years. He was a member of the National Dramatists Guild, having written over 25 plays, including the books for two shows with his musical theatre partner, Joyce Hill Stoner, that were presented at Don’t Tell Mama in the ’90s. He has acted more than 100 roles and directed more than 75 plays for community/regional theatre. Mason has been a professional Dame Edna impersonator for 20 years and made his NYC debut as the character at Don’t Tell Mama in Fall 2022. In 2010 he was named “Honorary Understudy” for the Dame Edna character by her creator, Barry Humphries, in a contest sponsored by Playbill. He has twice been named “Best Comedian” at the Las Vegas Reel Awards and is in the Sunburst Professional Impersonators Hall of Fame as “Funniest Male.” Finally, he is featured prominently in the award-winning documentary short subject Just About Famous.
Sidney Myer has been seen on screen most recently in the six-time Emmy-winning Amazon Prime series After Forever, Seasons 1 & 2. He has entertained from Palm Springs to London and is a recipient of MAC, Bistro, Broadway World, Theater Pizzazz, Mabel Mercer Foundation’s Cabaret Classic, and Paula Laurence Awards. Sidney has been a cabaret booking manager for four decades (Don’t Tell Mama, Rose’s Turn, Panache). Off-Broadway credits include Grandma Sylvia’s Funeral, Dressing Room, and Split Ends. Other theatre: 25th Anniversary Revival of Irene, Kaye Playhouse; Edinburgh Festival Fringe with La Gran Scena Opera Co.; Beauty and the Beast, Theatre By The Sea; Times Square Angel with Charles Busch; The Boys in the Band; Laughing Wild; The Ball. Film: 20th Century Fox’s Headin’ For Broadway. Television: Celebrity interviewer on cable’s Broadway Beat and Cabaret Beat, and on a Nancy LaMott DVD, I’ll Be Here With You. Commercials: RCA Victor, New York Lotto. Radio: Regular on The Joey Reynolds Show. Upcoming performances include appearances at Pangea in the spring.
Evan Seplow—Web Producer and Videographer
Evan Seplow is a film and video director, producer, writer, shooter, editor, and graphics specialist. He has worked on features, shorts, commercials, music videos, and corporate films, as well as marketing and promotional films and events—including live action, animation, and livestreamed and broadcast events. His clients include Fortune 500 companies such as Nike, Disney, Avon, Sony, Reuters, Miss America, and more. He has also worked with a huge number of Broadway shows and tours, among them Macbeth with Daniel Craig, Plaza Suite with Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, and Mr. Saturday Night with Billy Crystal. His company can be found on the web at imagefactory.tv
Frank Dain—Program and Promo Design
Frank Dain has designed the Bistro Awards program since 2010. He has been the editor of Cabaret Scenes magazine since 2013 and was honored for his 20 years at the magazine at a star-studded event in December 2022. He is the treasurer for the American Songbook Association and is on the Board of the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and on the Advisory Board of the Mabel Mercer Foundation. He has provided designs for Kurt Peterson’s James William Productions (Proud Ladies, When Everything Was Possible, Zero Hour, Captain Louis), St. Luke’s Theatre, Theatre at St. Clement’s, and for many cabaret performers. Frank is a MAC nominee for Male Vocalist, and has performed at Carnegie Hall, Café Pierre, Waldorf-Astoria, Jazz at Kitano, Don’t Tell Mama, Laurie Beechman Theatre, Metropolitan Room, Pangea, Chelsea Table + Stage, and Danny’s Skylight Room. His CD, I Thought About You, received high praise and extensive radio play. He has served as one of the permanent judges for Don’t Tell Mama’s talent contest, Mama’s Next BIG Act!, since its inception. frankdain.com.
Bob Peterson—Logo Design
Bob Peterson, a director and digital artist/animator, comes to the Bistro Awards with more than 30 years’ experience in multimedia design and production. His animations and designs have been viewed on Broadway in The Normal Heart (Hewes Award for projection design), Lucky Guy, and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. He is the lead animator for the Exhibitions Department at the American Museum of Natural History. His past work has included permanent installations for the British Olympic Museum in London, Russia’s first Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, and the Museum of Tolerance in Chattanooga, Tennessee.