DAVID SABELLA, Editor-in-Chief
Performer, educator, and writer, David Sabella has enjoyed a very successful and varied career. As a performer, Mr Sabella has appeared on and off Broadway, most notably in the 1996 revival of CHICAGO with Bebe Neuwirth, Ann Reinking, Joel Grey, James Naughton and Marcia Lewis. Off-B’way credits include Kiss and Make Up (Lucile Lortel Theater, New York International Fringe Festival), The Green Room, Hexed in The City, Foxy, Watch Your Step, So Long 174th Street. and O’Henry’s Lovers (New York Musical Theater Festival). And, in 2018 he received the “Outstanding Performer in a Lead Role” award for his work in The Phillie Trilogy at the Fresh Fruit Festival. In addition to his work on and off-Broadway, Mr. Sabella has been an active performer in cabaret, since his debut show “No, More Mrs. Nice Guy,” at Judy’s Chelsea, 2002. And has performed, in both concert and cabaret, with the now legendary La Gran Scena Opera Company.
As a singer in classical music, Mr Sabella is a winner of the The Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition, and The New York Oratorio Society Competition at Carnegie Hall, and has performed in leading roles throughout the US and abroad. He has also appeared numerous times at both Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center as a principal soloist in such works as the Bach B-Minor Mass, Handel’s Messiah, and Peter Schickele’s comical Three Bargain-Counter Tenors.
As an educator, Mr. Sabella has served as President of the New York Singing Teachers Association (2008-14), and on several university faculty’s, including Montclair State University, Fordham University, Open Jar Institute, NYU-Tisch School of the Arts (CAP21 Studio); The New School University/Mannes College Prep. Division; the State University of New York, College at Purchase and College at Newpaltz. Additionally, he has been a faculty member, author, and workshop presenter at The Voice Foundation’s annual symposium, and has conducted master-classes, faculty training workshops, and musical theater pedagogy seminars throughout the contiguous United States and Alaska, and South America. And, as a Singing Voice Specialist, works with injured, and recovering singers, as part of a medical and professional holistic team.
As a writer, Mr. Sabella has been widely published in Voiceprints, the journal of the New York Singing Teacher’s Association, and is the author of “So You Want To Sing Cabaret” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020). In addition to being the Editor-in-Chief, and lead author/reviewer, for CabaretHotspot.com, he is also a contributing author/reviewer for the Bistro Awards (bistroawards.com).
SUE MATSUKI, Chief Correspondent
Multi award winning singer, producer, writer and teacher, Sue Matsuki, is a 25 year veteran of Cabaret/Jazz performance, having appeared at at some of New York’s most prestigious clubs, including The Village Gate, Birdland, The Iridium, Feinstein’s at the Regency, Feinstein’s 54 Below, The Metropolitan Room, The Laurie Beechman, Town Hall, Arci’s Place, Don’t Tell Mama, 88’s, Judy’s, Danny’s, Jan Wallman’s, The Duplex, The Triad, Caroline’s Comedy Club, Helen’s Hideaway Room and Broadway Baby.
She has also performed in other high profile clubs across the country, including The Cosmopolitan Room and Odette’s in New Hope, PA; The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival in Alaska; The Gardenia Room in Los Angeles; The Standing Room Only Cabaret in Hartford, CT; The Hackensack Cultural Arts Center, Voices for Charity, Trumpets & Le Dome at The Manor in NJ; The Rockland Cultural Arts Center & Neil Berg’s 100 Years of Broadway Series in Nyack & Town Hall in Tarrytown, NY; the CabaretFest in P-town, MA; Boothsbay Harbor Opera House in Maine and The Four Seasons in Las Vegas, NV.
She has received 10 MAC Award Nominations (in 6 different categories) and is a 3 time MAC Award Winner; 2002 MAC Award for Female Jazz/Pop/R&B Vocalist; 2002 MAC Award Nominee for Best Female Recording; 2004 MAC Award Nominee for Duo/Group with Marcus Simeone; 2006 MAC Award Winner for Special Productions; 2007 MAC Award Nominee for Female Vocalist; 2008 MAC Award Nominee for Duo/Group with Edd Clark; 2008 MAC Award Winner for Specialty Song (“One Stop Shopping” by Page/Matsuki/ Toroian); 2010 MAC Award Nominee for Female Vocalist and a 2011 & 2012 MAC Award Nominee for Duo/Group with Edd Clark.
As an accomplished New York actress, Sue has appeared in productions of Oklahoma, Bye, Bye Birdie, A Christmas Carol, Out of the Frying Pan, Agnes of God, West Side Story and They’re Playing Our Song. And has 2 CDs. “A New Take” and “Sue & Edd’s FABULOUS Christmas”, with Edd Clark, which may be downloaded on iTunes© or purchased at: www.cdbaby.com or www.amazon.com
She is also a producer, writer, reviewer and a Cabaret teacher in NY, as well as at The Theater Barn in Ridgefield, CT and at UCONN in Waterbury, CT for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). She has served on the MAC Board of Directors as their Treasurer. And, is an award winning songwriter. Cabaret Hotspot is Proud to have Sue Matsuki as a chief correspondent (Sue’s Views) and Cab U Instructor.
DOUG DEVITA, Contributing Correspondent
A member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Doug’s play The Fierce Urgency Of Now was produced at the 2016 Fresh Fruit festival, where it won four Fresh Fruit Awards of Distinction, including Outstanding Play, Outstanding Production, and two Outstanding Supporting Performance awards. Other work includes Phillie’s Trilogy (AKA The Phillie Trilogy,) which won Scrap Mettle Arts Inaugural Emerging Playwrights Program competition, was chosen to inaugurate Great Griffon’s “Seeking The Queer Voice” reading series in January 2017, and was produced as part of the 2017 Fresh Fruit Festival, also winning four Fresh Fruit Awards, including Outstanding Production; The Gruesomely Merry Adventures of NELL DASH, An Irrepressibly Sensible Capitalist With A Vengeance (Winner of two Winterfest Competition ’17 Awards: Best Set Design, and a Best Director nod to Dennis Corsi); and Just A Rumor (co-written with Gary Lyons) which was a semi-finalist at the Eugene O’Neill Playwright’s Conference and has had readings at New York’s Abingdon Theatre Company and London’s Menier Chocolate Factory. His ten-minute play, Checking The Basement for Leaks (the first play in The Phillie Trilogy) has been performed at the Gallery Players Black Box Festival in New York, The Driftwood Players Short Works Festival in Seattle, Ramapo College in New Jersey, and The Warner International Playwrights Festival in Connecticut. He has also collaborated with actress Lane Bradbury (the original Dainty June in Gypsy, starring Ethel Merman) on her one-woman show Let Me Entertain You, Again, which was performed at the Strasberg Institute in Los Angeles, and at Feinstein’s/54 Below and Don’t Tell Mama in New York.
JENNIE LITT, Contributing Correspondent
Lyricist/singer Jennie Litt is one half of the songwriting and performing team of Alpher & Litt, with her husband, composer/pianist David Alpher, known for their “brilliant” and “enchanting” original cabaret songs, two CDs-worth of which are available on CDBaby (Two Apples  and Songs For Sapiosexuals ). A fixture on the NYC cabaret circuit for the last decade, Alpher & Litt have taught the art and craft of cabaret performance throughout the five boroughs, in upstate NY, Vassar College, and Boston, and are on the faculty of SummerKeys in Lubec, Maine. Jennie is also an award-winning fiction writer, with an MFA from the prestigious Iowa Writers Workshop, and her works for theatre have been performed at Circle Rep (NYC) and the American Repertory Theatre (Cambridge, MA).
Cabaret Duo Jennie Litt & David Alpher
CD “Two Apples” available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/alpherlitt
SHEREE SANO, Contributing Correspondent
In addition to a successful songwriting career with recordings by Dionne Warwick and Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King, multiple ASCAP songwriter awards and membership in the BMI Musical Theater Workshop, Sheree Sano is well-known in the Cabaret world as a singer and a pianist with regular weekly gigs at Don’t Tell Mama and SpoonfedNYC in the heart of the Theater District.
Based in New York City, Sheree has performed at Lincoln Center, Sotheby’s Auction House, The Players Club, Explorer’s Club, Harvard Club, Monkey Bar, the Millennium Hilton, the Marriott Marquis and Water’s Edge to name a few.
In the greater US, Sheree has performed at BoothBay Harbor in Maine, The Balsams Ski Resort in New Hampshire, several venues on Cape Cod, casinos in Atlantic City and many major hotel chains around the country.
Sheree has also toured internationally performing at several venues in Oslo, Norway, also in Holland and in France (at several venues in Cannes and in Paris, where she tickled the ivories at Harry’s Bar). She has performed near the North Pole when she entertained at the US Military Base in Thule, Greenland and she has even entertained “en route” in the piano car of the AMTRAK Montrealer. Ms. Sano has also played “afloat” in piano bars aboard ships for Holland America and Carnival Cruise Lines.
Sheree has been honored with a MAC award from the Manhattan Association of Clubs and Cabarets and is a recent winner of the Tomatoes Got Talent vocal competition.
Sheree Sano believes that singing is one of the most “human” things a person can do and her understanding of the craft of singing and performance technique lead her to always see any performance as a personal statement worthy of respect.
ARON BEDERSON, Contributing Correspondent
Musical theatre performer Aron Bederson is a long time member of Medicine Show Theater Ensemble, the Cantorial soloist at The Actors Temple in Manhattan and an educator. He was most recently seen in the staged reading of the musical “Mendlesohn” at Theatre For The New City, Medicine Show’s Chekov/Porter as well as the original play he has been developing on the friendship and relationship of Thornton Wilder and Gertrude Stein at Medicine Show. He currently teaches humanities/ literature courses at Baruch College as well as voice and piano privately and in Westchester. He is celebrating the recent completion of his first CD “Songs I Love To Sing.”n New York.
ARI AXELROD, Contributing Correspondent
Ari has had the privilege of working with cabaret icons such as Tony Award winners Faith Prince and Christine Ebersole, Tony nominee Ann Hampton Callaway, Grammy Award winner Billy Stritch, multiple MAC Award winners Marilyn Maye, Karen Mason, and Lina Koutrakos, and Bistro Award winner Alix Korey. NYC credits include: Off-Broadway: Milk and Honey (Cantor/Sheep Boy) at The York Theatre Company. Regional: Weathervane Theatre: Last Five Years (Jamie), West Side Story (Riff), Hairspray (Corny Collins). Repertory Theatre of St. Louis: One Man Two Guvnors (Ensemble). Ari Axelrod’s solo cabaret, “Taking the Wheel”, directed by Tony Award Winner Faith Prince and music directed by multiple MAC Award winner Alex Rybeck, has been performed in multiple cities including two sold out performances at Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York City. Ari is also the founder and director of “Bridging the Gap”, a five-week master class focusing on how to bridge the gap between musical theatre performance and the intimate art of cabaret by honing the performer’s foundational training and getting in touch with their most authentic self. Ari is a proud member of Actors Equity Association. www.ariaxelrod.com
JIM SPEAKE, City Editor/Contributing Correspondent
Jim Speake, a member of SAG/AFTRA, is an actor/ singer who divides his time between New York City and Key West, Florida. Jim has made two recordings. The first, “My Generation”, was recorded live at Don’t Tell Mama in 2010. His second recording “Sweet Life” a studio recording, won the Lamott Friedman best recording award from MAC, the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs in 2016. He was nominated by MAC as best Musical Comedy Performer in 2013 and also as best Male Vocalist in 2015 and 2017.
Jim is originally from Alabama. His early years were spent on a cotton farm. He earned a degree in Business Administration from the University of Alabama and a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia. After working as a Landscape Architect for the Historic American Building Survey in Washington, DC, he lived and worked in Atlanta, Georgia where he was founder and President of Speake Garden Furnishings. This company sold quality garden furniture and accessories to the design trade from a showroom in The Atlanta Decorative Arts Center. While in Atlanta, Jim worked as an actor for several local theater companies including The Atlanta Lyric Theatre. He was also Vice President of the Atlanta Lyric Theatre. In 1996, Jim was one of four “Catfish” in the Opening Ceremonies of The US Olympic Games in Atlanta.
He moved to New York in 2000 to study acting and voice, and was cast in a number of Off Off Broadway productions in Brooklyn and Manhattan. He appeared in several television shows and was a guest on numerous national radio shows. He was in cabaret shows at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT as well as Birdland and in solo shows at The Laurie Beechman Theatre, Don’t Tell Mama, the Duplex and The Metropolitan Room in NYC. Jim was a member of the board of directors of the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs for five years and served as the secretary of the organization for four years.
LYNDA FRECHETTE, Contributing Correspondent
Lynda is truly the doyenne of art & culture in Key West, composing a weekly blog that is sent to more than two thousand people, relating all the goings on in Key West, with emphasis on the artistic community — art, theater, writing, lectures. etc. She is currently a member of the Key West Art & Historical Society, the Tropic Cinema, The Studios of Key West and a Producer at the Tennessee Williams Theatre.
A former elementary school teacher, Lynda has been a Member of the Waterfront Playhouse for over a dozen years and has coordinated the hugely successful Aqua Idol fundraiser at Club Aqua on Duval Street for the past ten years.
Lynda was the recipient of the Florence Recher Award for the Waterfront Playhouse and named its unsung hero. She is also the recipient of the Woman of Integrity Award for her contribution to the Arts in Key West. She is a former board member of The Key West Art & Historical Society and the recipient of two Capp Awards for her contributions to the Community.
RICHARD SKIPPER, Guest Contributor
In June of this year, Richard and Russ co-produced Carole Cook at Feinstein’s/54 Below for two SRO performances. Stay tuned for Carole’s return!
In April of 2017, Richard was chosen to introduce 1938’s Jezebel starring Bette Davis onstage at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood as part of the Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival with Tiffany Vazquez after sending in a screen test. (available for viewing on YouTube)
Richard was the associate producer of 2010, 2012, and 2013 Bistro Awards. He produced the late Peggy Herman’s CD Release Party at Feinstein’s, directed by Peter Glebo and Tommy Tune, and it was an SRO success. He writes under Richard Skipper Celebrates celebrating artists and their body of “worth” with a huge readership.
Richard can be seen in Dori Berenstein’s CAROL CHANNING: LARGER THAN LIFE.
Richard also continues to raise money for many worthwhile causes, especially Arts in Education and The Actors Fund.
Richard currently hosts a monthly Cabaret series in NYC called Richard Skipper Celebrates! an old-fashioned Talk/Variety Show, which encourages us to celebrate each and every day and the gems hidden therein. Recent guests have included Beth Fowler, Anita Gillette, Hilary Kole, Marilyn Maye, Melba Moore, Lee Roy Reams, Jana Robbins, and Stacy Sullivan among others. A tour-de-force Cabaret show with top names in musical entertainment meeting to talk and perform, with songs, stories and recollections of lifetimes and moments in show business, each show is designed around the particular date when it is scheduled, and features special guests who choose songs from the past and recent history of both Cabaret and Broadway that have a relationship to that date, and share their own stories and journeys in an intimate cabaret setting. Beck Lee from Media Blitz described the experience as, “Joel Grey crossed with Charlie Rose, with a soupcon of Bette Midler thrown in for good measure.” Previously held at The Triad Theatre, his upcoming shows are scheduled at The Laurie Beechman Theatre at the West Bank Café. Season Three begins on September 9th, 2018.
He is also writing a book on the history of Hello Dolly! from the opening with Carol Channing to the current Broadway revival starring Donna Murphy, Bernadette Peters, Bette Midler and subsequent tour starring Betty Buckley. Check out www.CallOnDolly.com for more information. Richard is available for lectures on the history of this show.
Check www.RichardSkipper.com for updates.
TOMMY VANCE, Contributing Correspondent
Tommy Vance has been a musical theater performer and writer for the last 20 years having trained as an actor at the American Academy of dramatic arts and studied vocal technique with the inimitable Eli Stone. Although he spent the majority of his career in musical theater, he spent years working in cabaret as a singing waiter/bartender at Sams Dream St. Cabaret and Helen’s hideaway. He has also performed in shows at Sam’s, Helen’s, the Metropolitan Room and the Triad. And will be making his 54 below debut later this year in “Chanukkah with Elli The King of Broadway and friends”. He is also the proud Playwright of “Kates dilemma.”