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Entries in The Metropolitan Room (14)


Showtunes and Sneakers


I guess when you’re married to your musical director that little voice that sits on your shoulder and says “why don’t you put together your own show” also sits on your sofa and hangs out in your kitchen.

Melanie Kann’s husband (pianist, composer and musical director Jason Loffredo) had been on her case for ten years, asking when she was going to make her cabaret debut. It wasn’t until she found herself at a loose end after a bunch of summer gigs fell through that she set to work on Songs for Square Pegs which debuted last September.

The decision was actually made after having drinks with another composer friend who said “You should do your own show.” When she went home and told Loffredo he threw his hands up and said “I’ve been telling you for years!”

The New Yorker’s experience playing at the Metropolitan Room was a very positive one. “It was so much fun, I have no idea what I was so afraid of”, she says. “I knew some people who’d done shows there and so I emailed them.” The venue is always so supportive of their artists. “They’re always asking themselves: What else can we do? How else can we highlight the people that we have? They keep us in the loop constantly, ‘hey we’ve got these dates, who’s got a show?’ and then help you fill the house.”


Melanie was invited to be part of the Metropolitan Room’s New Year’s Marathon Variety Spectacular 

“The World Record thing was wacky! I saw a lot of acts that I probably wouldn’t have seen ordinarily. That was kind of fun. I definitely didn’t expect to be up after a woman who did unmentionable things with a balloon animal balloon. But why not?” 

Songs for Square Pegs is returning to the Metropolitan Room this Wednesday. There aren’t any major changes to the show since it’s initial outing last September but it comes out a bit differently every time. “You’re always in a different place when you sing the songs and I’m finding that they have a different meaning now than they did three or four months ago. I’ve swapped out one Billy Joel song for another and stuff like that, but it worked really well the first time around and I’m keen to see what happens now I officially know what I’m doing.”

Melanie enjoys the variations that come with each new performance. “I think my favourite part is interacting with the audience and all the unplanned things. I’m an OCD OMG Virgo through and through but I think my specialty is having a plan then abandoning it and just letting whatever happens happen. Every time you sing a song it lives a little differently and I like that.”


When she’s not acting and singing, you’ll find Melanie running. “I’ve run 15 marathons and an ultra.” She’ll receive her running coach certification soon and has just started working with a great youth organisation called Run for Fun - with little ‘teeny tiny’ kids. She’s also looking at starting a blog called Showtunes and Sneakers.

“I just left my job of nine years with Weight Watchers so I’m excited to throw myself back into performing and identify myself as an actor. An actor who runs a lot of miles.”

Ultimately Kann would like to play Songs for Square Pegs in various rooms around New York and tour outside the city. “My parents live in Georgia. They’re always saying ‘you should bring your show down here - we’ve got lots of friends who’d love to see you.’” 

“I’ve got a lot of inappropriate jokes that I’m going to have to re-think.”


Visit Melanie Kann’s website and follow her on Twitter.

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Songs for Square Pegs
Metropolitan Room NYC
Wednesday Mar 11, 2015 9.30pm
General Admission $22.50
VIP Silver & Gold Packages available



New Year's Marathon Variety Spectacular

 Ringing in the New Year traditionally involves some introspection. We ask ourselves questions like “What went well last year?” and “What would I like to achieve in the next twelve months?” Many of us set lofty goals but find that within weeks (or days) they’ve been replaced with far less ambitious targets. 

Bernie FurshpanBernie Furshpan, owner of New York’s Metropolitan Room, has done the opposite. He set out to promote the club in order to “keep it in the minds and hearts of those who enjoy live entertainment and  great performances.” He came up with the idea of a continuous 24 hour event about four months ago, but his plan has grown to become an unprecedented show involving over 300 people and a live online broadcast.

Over the first three days of 2015 - Thursday Jan 1 at 7pm to Sunday Jan 4 at 7am - the intimate concert venue will stage the “Marathon Variety Show” with a continuous 60 hours of entertainment.

The production is eligible to qualify as a Guinness World Records record-holder for the longest variety show, planning to smash the record that currently stands at 12 hours and 8 minutes. In order to be accredited by Guinness, the entertainment must be ‘continuous’ and emcees must introduce each new act within 5 minutes. 

Celebrating the full range of shows at the Metropolitan Room, the event features music, burlesque, comedy, spoken word, drag, theatre, opera, magic and puppetry acts from over 235 performers - from its most prominent starts to its most promising emerging talents.

Musical performers will include Billy Stritch, Tony Danza, Emily Bergl, KT Sullivan, Steve Ross, Sue Matsuki and Aaron Weinstein.

Comedy and magic acts include Judy Gold, Eddie Brill, Harrison Greenbaum and Michael Six Muldoon.

Featured burlesque and drag performers include Hedda Letttuce, Quinn Lemley and Sasha Pierce and from the puppet world will be Jonathan Ellers, Flor Bromley and Jenny Hann.

A full list of the line-up and performance times is available on the Metropolitan Room website.

The centre-piece of the marathon - Jan 2 & 3 at 7pm - will be Marilyn Maye with her fourth annual “By Request” holiday party-show. “Having Marilyn smack in the middle of this three-day variety show signals that this marathon is much more than an endurance test,” says Bernie Furshpan. “We are going to celebrate the range of sows at the Metropolitan Room and program the best and most original…it’s this impressive mix that makes our club truly one of a kind.”

Although many of the featured entertainers have already played the Metropolitan Room since its opening in May 2006, quite a few will be making their Metropolitan Room debuts at the history making event.

Entertainment icon Joe Franklin will be Grand Marshal of the show. No stranger to variety, Joe hosted his own television talk show for forty three years and holds the Guinness Book of World Records title for Longest Continuous Talk Show Host.

Day passes for the “Marathon Variety Show” cost $25 per person, with three-day passes for $60. The Metropolitan Room offers a complimentary beverage with each ticket purchased. There will be no food or beverage minimums throughout the marathon, except for the legendary Marilyn Maye, who’s “By Request” (playing Fri & Sat at 7pm) requires a separate ticket purchase ($35 plus a two drink minimum). For reservations call 212.216.0440 or to book online visit

Managing a team of over 300 people is akin to “organizing 100 weddings” says Furshpan. “I’m always pushing the envelope and stretching myself to see how far I can go.” With numerous spreadsheets and a team of 10+ people helping the club’s regular staff to coordinate the Marathon, he seems to have covered every contingency. The acts are carefully programmed in 10 or 15 minute spots, transport to and from the club has been considered and breakfast is even provided for those who attend that early (or that late).

Furshpan is thrilled with the support the performance has received from the New York community. “I’ve learned that in events such as this, everyone feels responsible for making it successful”. They are “willing to work any shift and do whatever it takes to make it work for everyone” While he knew he could rely on team spirit even he has been surprised by the degree of enthusiasm the event has generated.

To ensure the marathon meets the strict Guiness World Record requirements, 9 cabaret experts have been engaged to adjudicate the event including Stu Hamstra of the legendary publication and website Cabaret Hotline Online. Stu will be covering the 5am-9am shift on Jan 2 and looks forward to tweeting his impressions from @stuhamstra.

For those who can’t make it to 34 West 22nd Street to witness the Marathon live, the Metropolitan Room has teamed with Andrew Kotliar of to broadcast all 60 hours live on the web. LIVAMP works to identify and broadcast unique live performances worldwide in high quality to bring them to a wider audience. If the spirit of cabaret is sharing entertainment with an audience in an intimate setting, then watching it from your living room has got to be the next best thing to actually being part of the live audience at the club. You can register to watch the marathon for free at


Sources for this piece include: and


Barb Jungr Live Dates and News - April 2012


Photo by Habie Schwarz


British performer and acclaimed song reinterpreter Barb Jungr has a lot of news – April will be a big month with US Spring Tour in New York City coming up. Her new album, which will be released in September this year, is also being recorded and her official fan club has launched with the first edition of regular newsletter.


Spring US Tour

Following a phenomenally successful tour in the US last year, Barb Jungr returns to New York City for a three-week run by popular demand at the Metropolitan Room.

She’ll be performing songs from her critically acclaimed album Man in the Long Black Coat, which was a re-working of her 2002 release Every Grain of Sand, featured several brand new tracks (“Sara”, “Man In The Long Black Coat”, “It Ain’t Me Babe” and “With God On Our Side”), and marked the culmination of a decade-long love affair with the songs of Bob Dylan; as Barb states “Once I had started singing Dylan’s songs I couldn’t stop.”

When Man in the Long Black Coat premiered in October, NY Post called the show “revelatory,” The Wall Street Journal called it “cosmic,” and The New York Times said, “landed with an explosion.” It was also chosen as TimeOut NY’s #1 top live cabaret act for 2011.


Barb Jungr in Man in the Long Black Coat

Dates: April 10-28

Venue: Metropolitan Room

Address: 34 West 22nd Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues

Tel: 212 206 0440  

Click here for more information and booking Dates: April 10-28

Venue: Metropolitan Room


Address: 34 West 22nd Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues

Tel: 212 206 0440


Click here for more information and booking.

Click here for all the live dates.


New album

Barb Jungr is currently recording her new album Stockport to Memphis, later this year on the Naim record label. This new album will include Barb’s interpretations of songs by some of her favourite songwriters and some of Barb’s self-penned compositions!


Official Fan Club

Barb’s official fan club and newsletter were launched in the last week of March. The official regular newsletter The News from Pimlico is packed full exclusive news, special deals for the members, contributions from her fans and a message from Barb herself. To join the fan club and read the newsletter, you simply have to subscribe to The News from Pimlico.

Click here to subscribe.


Barb Jungr’s official website:


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Barb Jungr named Best Cabaret Act of 2011 by Time Out New York

Photo by Steve Ullathorne


I was delighted to read that British chanteuse, songwriter, composer, and song reinterpreter extraordinaire Barb Jungr was named Best Cabaret Act of 2011 by Time Out New York for her show Man in the Long Black Coat’s season at the Metropolitan Room in October. Performers such as Christine Ebersole, Justin Sayre, Maude Maggart and Bridget Everett were also on the list of top 10 acts.

This accolade follows a successful US autumn tour playing in New York, San Francisco, LA and Austin with Tracy Stark on piano.  Barb was “absolutely thrilled” when she heard the news. “We had such fun on the autumn tour and people loved the show, but hearing that someone thinks enough of it to do that – well, that blew me away!”

When Jungr’s second Bob Dylan compilation album Man in the Long Black Coat was released this year, she was the one who blew everyone away. She reinvented Dylan’s classics in the most imaginative fashion and the album and show received numerous glowing reviews. Her previous album Men I Love: The New American Songbook was chosen as the best cabaret CD of 2010 by New York Time Out last year, which makes this an even more amazing achievement.

Her boundless energy, emotional depth and the extraordinary ability to inhabit each song that she sings make her shows unforgettable. It’s easy to see the chemistry between the Dylan songs and Barb Jungr. “(Dylan’s music) is complex and subtle. It’s different every single time you sing it, the songs are so layered and the melodies so infinitely open, I love singing those songs.”

She talks about her time in the US fondly. “Every place we went had its own special something. In San Francisco, there was a full moon and Ben Fong Torres; the legendary ex-editor of Rolling Stone Magazine came to the show. In New York, I did a 2-week run and every night was gorgeous. The staff at the Metropolitan Room were a joy to be with. In LA, I sang on Sunset Boulevard, which is one of my favourite films, so I was in heaven. Dan Davilla, one of my first ever fans in the USA, was there. In Austin we just had a superb time - great audiences and a great place!” Entertainment industry heavyweights like Screenwriter and playwright Jon Robin Baitz (Brothers and Sisters, West Wing), Grammy and Emmy-winning composer, pianist, arranger and record producer John McDaniel (Rosie O’Donnell Show) and writer Andrew Goldberg (co-director of upcoming Lincoln Centre/National Theatre of Scotland production of Macbeth), Robert Falls (director of the Goodman Theatre in Chicago) were also among the audience.

Barb Jungr will be back in New York City for a return engagement at the Metropolitan Room in April 2012. “I am looking forward to diving back into Dylan, seeing friends, and playing with the wonderful Tracy Stark again.”


Click here to read the live reviews from her Autunm US tour.

Cick here to read the album reviews on Man in the Long Black Coat.

Read all the previous posts on Barb Jungr here



*Calling all Adelaide Fringe 2012 cabaret performers! If you are interested in having your Fringe show featured on Cabaret Confessional, click here for more information.

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Barb Jungr’s Man in the Long Black Coat US Autumn Tour: Reviews from the web


Photo by Alan Nahigian

The UK based renowned cabaret artist Barb Jungr is currently touring the USA to celebrate the release of her new album Man in the Long Black Coat, which features a collection of Bob Dylan songs. Her show of the same name debuted in the UK to critical acclaim.

The reviews are in, and they’re fabulous. She is dazzling the critics and audience members alike with her electric performance.  After kicking off the tour in San Francisco at the Rrazz Room, she’s now at The Metropolitan Room in New York City. The New York season continues until October 29th and the tour goes on to LA and Austin.  Click here for the detailed tour information.

Read all the reviews and find out why you MUST go see Barb Jungr’s show – you’ll be kicking yourself for a long time if you don’t.  She is a phenomenal master song interpreter and stylist. Listen to Dylan’s songs like you’ve never imagined before… You’ll be richly rewarded.


Barb Jungr’s official website:

‘Like” Barb Jungr’s Official fan page on Facebook

Barb Jungr’s MySpace page:


Click here to see the Photo Coverage piece on Broadway World by Stephen Sorokoff. 


Cabaret Scenes

The Man in the Long Black Coat is beautifully researched and crammed with sharp humor. Jungr is extremely likeable. She inhabits songs, which seem to then control her expressive face and body. Dylan’s folk and gospel periods are exemplified, sometimes as ballads where the original recordings were folk rock. Numbers tilting towards blues and jazz work with fresh musicality. Observations about influential women in the songwriter’s life are bright and informing, as is Jungr’s take on Dylan’s quintessentially male psyche. A strong through line of mostly successful arrangements carries the show like a current; many are by the singer in capable partnership with the arrangers.

Read the full review by Alix Cohen here.


New York Times

…Barb Jungr, a fearless iconoclast who dives into the deepest waters of popular song to wrest exotic treasure from the ocean floor, delivered a fiery personal tutorial on Mr. Dylan at Tuesday’s opening-night performance of her show “Man in the Long Black Coat” at the Metropolitan Room.        

Neither Ms. Jungr nor her pianist, Tracy Stark, pretended to be blues musicians. They did it their way, and it landed with an explosion.         

Read the full review by Stephen Holden here.


Wall Street Journal

She now has collected 13 additional Dylan songs into an excellent new album, “The Man in The Long Black Coat,” yet experiencing her in person is even more moving: She forges a truly cosmic connection between singer and songwriter, performer and material, artist and art.

Read the full review by Will Friedwald here.


New York Post

The 57-year-old has long been celebrated for her iconoclastic versions of familiar pop staples, but here she outdoes herself. She takes considerable liberties with her often dramatic transformations of the familiar songs, but in every case mines them for their deep emotional truths.

Read the full review by Frank Scheck here.


Times Square Chronicles

With a rich voice that ranges from a whisper to a belt, an ease with bringing a variety of emotions to the songs, combined with intricate yet accessible arrangements, Jungr doesn’t just interpret 13 Dylan classics, she re-imagines them. During her recent run at the Metropolitan Room, Jungr observed that Dylan “doesn’t have a conversation with his feminine side,” which made hearing his songs sensitively and “righteously” (her favorite Dylan word) delivered by a female all the more fascinating and engrossing.
Read the full review by Stephen Hawks here.


New York Theatre Wire

“…it is Jungr’s inspired interpretations of Dylan’s songs that make her performance so electrifying. Jungr’s voice and tone can move effortlessly form gentle to sultry to angry and back to loving. What’s more, she is blessed with terrific arrangers and, for this show, the exceptional piano playing of Tracy Stark, who even joins in for vocal harmony.”

Read the full review by Paulanne Simmons here


Village Voice Blogs

…she’s female, energetic, dryly witty, and crisp — so the contrast makes for surprise, not to mention strongly acted vocals, comically incisive monologues, and carefully enunciated lyrics.

From a fiery, exultant “The Times They Are A-Changing” to a silky-soft “Sara” and beyond, Barb gets to the heart of the songs while blowing into your consciousness like a rllng stn.

Fill in your own vowels there.

Read the full review by Michael Musto here.


Wolf Entertainment Guide

It is exciting to savor what Jungr does with Dylan, who is thought of mostly for his earthy, folk style as a performer. However, Dylan is also a superb composer and lyricist with a broad vision of subject matter, and Jungr, unabashedly a fan, digs into his work with an effort to extract full meaning. What emerges is her own style, Jungr singing Dylan, not Jungr as Dylan. She gives a full-force treatment to his numbers, with various effective arrangements and Tracy Stark at the piano.

Read the full review by William Wolf here.



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