Friday, December 2, 2011

Applause! Applause! Review of "Jamie deRoy & Friends" by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of the Variety Production entitled "Jamie deRoy & Friends" was written and published by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and appeared in Volume I, Issue 1 (November, 1997) of Applause! Applause!

"Jamie deRoy & Friends" - Variety Production
Carolines (1626 Broadway, NYC)

The benefit of a variety production is that you get to sample the talents of many individuals. Then, after you have discovered the performers you like, you can make reservations to catch them the next time they star in their own shows.

As variety productions go, "Jamie deRoy & Friends" is one of the very best. The format is that Jamie deRoy, the President of the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs, performs and MC's shows which feature recognized and new talents. Formerly at Don't Tell Mama, this particular production of "Jamie deRoy and Friends" was moved to Carolines. For the reasonable cover charge of $14 (1/2 off for MAC members) and a two drink minimum, the night featured an hour and fifty minutes of live entertainment. A feast by any standards!

My favorite performers were Heather MacRae, the daughter of Gordon & Sheila Mac Rae singing Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Surrey With the Fringe on Top"; Natalie Gamsu, in the character Hecky Baba Boom singing Dino Fekaris & Freddie Perren's "I Will Survive"; Mark Nadler performing Irving Berlin's "I Love A Piano" as it has never been performed before, after which he received enthusiastic applause and announced "Mama. I'm pretty, mama!!"; Michele LaFong, a very talented ventriloquist with a unique act; and Jamie deRoy herself, who always sings a few numbers in her shows.

There were a few problems with this production of "Jamie deRoy & Friends" which were completely out of her control. The first problem was that the production started late. The scheduled starting time was 9:30 p.m.. However, the audience was not seated until 9:45 p.m. because the previous show "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To El Barrio" ran late. The start was also delayed by Carolines policy of not letting patrons of the earlier show out of the room without a stub proving that they paid their bill, a policy not to my knowledge followed by most other popular cabaret rooms. Tempers flared on the line getting out of the previous show resulting in a vicious fist-fight between a patron and the gate-keeper. Curse words and threats followed. After this pre-show entertainment ended, we were seated. However, the delay interrupted the normal tech rehearsal and adjustments had to be made during the first minutes of the show.

From that point on, it was all smooth sailing. I had the pleasure of sitting next to Sylvia Miles and the room was full of celebrities. The only person in the audience who seemed to get out of hand was the comedian Freddy Roman, who spoke out to interact with Jamie deRoy as if he were or wanted to be part of the show.

The evening was a complete delight. Many in the audience learned for the first time that Sardi's has an actor's menu for all those with an equity card. Because of the late hour and the fact that some of the audience members began to leave, the song "Talk Show," to be performed by Jamie deRoy, was cut from the schedule. The only tragic event of the evening was that comedian Greg Fitzsimmons was asked NOT to go on in light of the late hour. This was not only unfair to him since he gave up another gig to participate in the production, but was also unfair to the audience who was looking forward to hearing him. This should not happen in the future.

Whenever you see "Jamie deRoy & Friends" listed or advertised, immediately make reservations for yourself and your friends. You will never be disappointed!!

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