The noun “cabaret” is defined by OxfordDictionaries.com as, “entertainment held in a nightclub or restaurant while the audience eats or drinks at tables.” In the 1960s, we had some then unknown, now world famous, performers entertain San Franciscans at Enrico Banducci’s cabaret-style club called the hungry i. Here is a performer who was just about to release her first record album. The media was invited to create some buzz about her debut at the club on March 27, 1963:
For photos of the club, and some fun info on how this performer came to the City, check out:
Banducci and his iconic club are gone now. And cabaret-style performances across the country are dwindling. But native San Franciscan Marilyn Levinson is committed to maintaining this unique art form with her 10-year-old nonprofit called Bay Area Cabaret. A part of her main goal is, “to not only reintroduce this wonderful type of entertainment but to expand the definition of cabaret…” In 2010, Bay Area Cabaret reopened the Fairmont Hotel’s Venetian Room as the venue for cabaret performances. Tony Bennett sang, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” for the first time in the Venetian Room in 1961. And more legendary performers are coming back.
Do you remember who became a star performing the original role of “Anita” in the musical “West Side Story” on Broadway in 1957? And who was “Velma” in the original cast for the Broadway musical “Chicago” in 1975? It was Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero, also known as Chita Rivera. Here is Ms. Rivera performing in a tribute to Broadway at the Kennedy Center in 1982. FYI, Ms. Rivera was 49 years old in this performance.
This Sunday, February 23, Ms. Rivera will be performing her one-woman show, celebrating her 80th birthday, for Bay Area Cabaret guests at the Venetian Room. There are two shows. For tickets for all of the shows, including a March 15 performance by singer/songwriter Judy Collins, go to: www.bayareacabaret.org