I swear that New York has no bigger entertainment value than Jim Caruso’s Cast Party, a souped-up open mic that takes place at Birdland every Monday night from 9:30 until closing. The weekly event features a jaw-dropping line-up of talent, all in “see and be seen mode” at the 150ish seat club. For a $20 cover. And that includes a drink coupon!
To give just one example, when I was there Monday night Liza Minnelli was in the house, surrounded by friends and celebrating her birthday. (Host Jim Caruso was one of the collaborators on her recent Kay Thompson show and that evening’s music director, Billy Stritch, is currently recording a CD with her.) Oh, and by the way, she sang a selection that they just recorded, sounding great and looking phenomenal, rested, and svelte in a black sequnied pants suit.
Other performers that I saw included Hilary Kole, Tony DiSare, Zoe Lewis (an amazing Provincetown-based singer/witer/pianist), Klea Blackhurst, Ray Jessel (who wrote that great song that Matt Howe sings, “Wanna Sing a Showtune”). Not only did Jenna Esposito sing, but showing what it takes to be an IT girl, her people distributed postcards promoting her upcoming show at Feinstein’s during her number. Even I could only take so much, so I left at midnight before hearing if Michael Feinstein, Joel Grey, and Parker Posey who also were in the house were going to sing.