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Six Questions for Ricky Ritzel!

This is a Guest Post from our colleagues over at NiteLife Exchange! Thank you Scott Barbarino.  To visit NiteLife Exchange:  https://nitelifeexchange.com/

He’s recently been most associated with his monthly Rickey Ritzel’s Broadway cabaret show (which received the 2016, 2017 and 2018 MAC Award for Outstanding Recurring Series), but pianist-entertainer Ricky Ritzel has been on the forefront of the New York night life scene for almost 40 years. Writer, reviewer, author and clipmeister/historian Will Friedwald said of Ritzel in the Wall Street Journal, “He is the embodiment of the tradition.” Ritzel has also been named one of the “50 Most Influential People in Cabaret” by our own NiteLife Exchange and Outstanding Person in the Arts in New Jersey by State Senator, Brian Stack. And that’s only the beginning of his many accolades. His show, Ricky Ritzel Sings Elaine Stritch garnered a plethora of awards, including 18 MACs in 10 different categories.

Ritzel has performed nationally and internationally as a solo performer and as an accompanist/music director for the likes of Vivian Blaine, Ruth Warrick, Arthur Prysock, Varla Jean Merman, Julie Wilson, Nanette Fabray and more. He was musical director for the Sally Rand Tribute at The Town Hall and with Chicago jazz vocalist, Spider Saloff, created several award-winning revues  He’s also half of the “Lounge does Top 40” duo, The Loungeoleers, which has issued five CDs on the Emenar label. Among a vast number of other credits, Ritzel has served as the first Artistic Director for cabaret at the premiere season of the Gettysburg Festival, was MAC president from 2006- 2009 and entered the Guinness Book of World Records by being featured in the World’s Longest Variety Show at the Metropolitan Room, New York City.

NiteLife Exchange (NLE) asks Ricky Ritzel (RR) Six Questions

NLE: You originally set out to be an actor; why/how did you switch from your focus on this career into the world of cabaret?

RR: I’ve played piano since I was six. My teacher was a neighbor who lived a block away, but he was also a professor at Duquesne University.

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