NYC’s Best Cabaret Picks for October: Jane Monheit Does Ella Fitzgerald & More

Monday 10/5
Lennie Watts
Don’t Tell Mama
7 p.m., $20

A powerhouse performer who might have gone national eons ago had he not chosen to devote much of his time to working with eager aspirants. When he’s onstage, he’s not only masterful at socking the blues through the roof and any other genre into which he ventures. He’s also off-the-cuff hilarious. Steven Ray Watkins is at the piano, as always when Watts is around, and another force to be reckoned with. High Watt-age, indeed. Watts will spend most of October at Don’t Tell Mama, with a Monday night residency taking him through October 19.

Monday 10/12
Michael Garin
The Metropolitan Room
9:30 p.m., $22.50 – $115

If you want to see a master class on how to work a room, this is the spot to do it  Garin is like a male Texas Guinan, if you happen to remember who that Twenties speakeasy gal was. He plays piano and sings some songs he wrote and some songs he didn’t, and it’s all in an endlessly infectious spirit. Should you come away unenthused, it’s your fault, not his. No stranger to the bigger rooms of Broadway and the intimate confines of downtown’s cabarets, Garin is a joy to watch on any stage.

Tuesday 10/13 – Saturday 10/17
Jane Monheit
8:30 p.m. and 11 p.m., $40

Monheit — a Grammy-nominated, Concord Records-signed vocal powerhouse — has gone on record as admiring Ella Fitzgerald since she was a tot. It might be that without her celebrated predecessor she wouldn’t be singing at all. She certainly wouldn’t be singing with the purity and adventurous jazz-inflected style she’s skillfully honed. The Birdland fixture will pluck tunes from the many best-selling, now-classic songbooks Fitzgerald put together in the Fifties and Sixties.

Wednesday 10/28 – Saturday 10/31
Barb Jungr and John McDaniel
54 Below
$35-$75, 7 p.m.

The astonishing set is called “Come Together: The Music of The Beatles.” Throughout it the twosome find a different depth in the repertoire that even songwriters Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison didn’t reach. She’s in front, he’s at the piano. In tandem they’re turning “Eleanor Rigby” into an art song and bringing all sorts of new colors to a couple dozen others favorites. The phrase “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” takes on new meaning here.

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