Board of Directors

BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2018-19

LENNIE WATTS (President) is a 16 time MAC, 5 time Backstage Bistro, and 3 time Nightlife Award winner. Recognized as an outstanding vocalist, director, producer, and booking manager, he has been active in the New York cabaret scene for 30 years. In addition to directing in small cabaret venues, he has directed events at Symphony Space, Town Hall, BB Kings, and Sony Hall. He has toured nationally and internationally with productions of “The Music Man” (Marcellus) and “The Wizard Of Oz” (Lion). Other roles: Man in Chair (The Drowsy Chaperone) Psuedelus (A Funny Thing…), Herod (Jesus Christ Superstar), Nicely Nicely Johnson (Guys and Dolls), Jinx (Forever Plaid. He has performed at Town Hall in several concerts, including “Broadway Unplugged” and “Broadway By The Year, 1949”, and can be heard on the cast recordings of both shows. As a theater director, he has directed productions of “Godspell”, “Dames at Sea”, “Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, and “Phantom”.  Watts is the creator and Artistic Director of Singnasium, a nonprofit vocal school in New York City, as well as The Singers Retreat at Herons Landing. David Finkle of “The Village Voice” calls him “A one man cabaret army!” He appeared on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show”, and released his debut CD “I want… You want…” in 2000. He is currently the President of MAC, and was recently named one of “The 50 Most Influential People in New York Cabaret” by Nightlife Exchange. Singnasium.org

JULIE MILLER (Vice President) is a NYC based producer and general manager of theater and film, and has also practiced law in NYC for many years. For MAC, Julie has produced the annual MAC AWARDS SHOW for the past four years, and is on the production committee for MAC PRESENTS THEY WRITE THE SONGS. Among the recent feature films she has produced are the original rock musical CLEAR BLUE TUESDAY and the science fiction three-part story FADE TO WHITE. In theater, she recently produced the new musical ZAPATA at the Pershing Square Signature Center, and was general manager for the shows SLEEPOVER at The Cherry Lane Theatre, and AMIGO DUENDE at the Theater at El Museo del Barrio. Other recent production and/or general management projects include the FringeNYC production of THE HURRICANE KATRINA COMEDY FESTIVAL at the Soho Playhouse, which won the Overall Excellence of Production festival prize, as well as SHOW CHOIR THE MUSICAL at The American Theater of Actors, and the musical THE LAST STARFIGHTER at The Theater at St. Clements, for the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Julie has worked on a wide variety of productions including the DRAMA DESK AWARDS, BROADWAY UNPLUGGED, THE NIGHTLIFE AWARDS, and various series at The Town Hall, including “BROADWAY BY THE YEAR, THE BROADWAY CABARET FESTIVAL, and THE SUMMER BROADWAY FESTIVAL.” Julie is on the Board of Directors of the Prospect Theater Company in New York, for which she event produced several special-event concerts, including both FOOLS FOR LOVE and LONELY RHYMES at the Laurie Beechman Theater, and a staged reading of WITH GLEE at the Lucille Lortel Theater. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Haym Salomon Division Of The Arts, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly and persons with disabilities through the development of innovative arts initiatives and theatrical productions. Julie is very grateful to be a part of the wonderfully supportive and talented community of cabaret, and honored to be a member of the MAC Board of Directors.

WENDY A. RUSSELL (Treasurer) A native New Yorker, Wendy has performed as a jazz and cabaret vocalist at Clubs in and around NYC including the Allen Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Hudson Theater, Don’t Tell Mama, The Duplex, The Laurie Beechman Theater, etc.  Wendy is a founding member of the MAC award winning vocal group ‘Those Girls’ and was MAC nominated for her solo cabaret show, “Where Have I Been All My Life”.  She’s been a featured soloist in the First Acoustics Concert Folk & Jazz series.    She started her singing career, at the age of 8, as a soloist in the Riverside Church’s Children’s Antiphonal Choir and as a soloist for Holt Rinehart & Winston/Triton Records Exploring Music K-12 series of Albums.  Wendy is a singer, songwriter, arranger and  back-up vocalist.    In addition, Wendy teaches vocal technique and performance classes, to all ages, in Manhattan and Brooklyn.  Music is Joy.  She is delighted to be on the MAC Board.  Contact:  www.iamwendyrussell.com ~ [email protected]

KRISTOFFER LOWE (Secretary) an Alabama native, has made NYC home for the last 21 years. An award winning cabaret artist, his show YOU’RE GETTING TO BE A HABIT WITH ME: The Songs of Harry Warren, received critical praise and a 2016 MAC Award.  He is also the recipient of a 2015 Bistro Award and a 2015 MAC Award for his debut show. He has sung at the Mabel Mercer Foundation’s Cabaret Convention at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall and historic Town Hall, receiving the 2015 Julie Wilson Award for excellence in cabaret. Theatrical credits include: National and Canadian tour: Vallon in SHOWBOAT; Padre in MAN OF LA MANCHA (Human Race Theatre), Nanki-Poo in THE MIKADO (River Rep. Theatre); Reuben in JOSEPH (Media Theatre); Lord Savage in JEKYLL AND HYDE (Trump Plaza, Atlantic City).  He regularly performs with and serves on the advisory board for Vocal Ease, a non-profit volunteer organization that presents hour long concerts of jazz standards and the American Songbook to NYC’s elderly in nursing homes, retirement communities, hospitals and drop-in centers. Classically trained, he is a state winner in the 1998 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and earned the Best Diction Award in the Regional Auditions that same year.  B.A. Birmingham Southern College.

FRANK DAIN received a 2013 MAC Award nomination as Male Vocalist for his show, The Magic of Mathis. He has performed at the Metropolitan Room, Don’t Tell Mama, the Laurie Beechman Theatre, Danny’s Skylight Room and Judy*s. He’s been the guest vocalist, with pianist Kathleen Landis, at the Café Pierre and the Cocktail Terrace at the Waldorf Astoria. For the Mabel Mercer Foundation’s Cabaret Convention, he’s performed at The Town Hall in NYC and the Prince Theater in Philadelphia . Frank is a graphic designer and the Editor in Chief of Cabaret Scenes magazine. www.frankdain.com
BOB DIAMOND received the 2017 MAC  Best Male Vocalist and was nominated for the same in 2013. He has performed at Don’t Tell Mama, the Laurie Beechman Theatre, Danny’s Skylight Room, The Duplex and The Triad. He was the Director of THE JOE FRANKLIN SHOW for thirty-five years as well as many other shows including THE ST.JUDE Telethons. He was, for sixteen year, Director of Supernumeraries and Children for THE METROPOLITAN OPERA. As an actor he has appeared on ALL MY CHILDREN and DAYS OF OUR LIVES. Theater performances have ranged from GOD to LADY BRACKNELL. Bob is a member of AEA, SAG/AFTRA, DGA and happily serves on the MAC Board of Directors.

KIM GROGG Kim’s career in theater began when her kindergarten teacher caught her skipping naptime and singing and dancing in front of the bathroom mirror. From there, she went on to graduate from Indiana University with a degree in theater and drama. After 10 years in Los Angeles, she moved to New York City in 1989 and was the Drama Director at the Hewitt School in Manhattan from 1990 to 1998, where she taught drama and speech and directed their drama/musical productions. With a multi-faceted career as a Teacher, Choreographer, Director and Performer, Kim has worked on over 100 musical theatre productions, including productions of Gypsy, Hello Dolly, Pippin, Annie, The Music Man, Show Boat, Oklahoma, Dames at Sea, Damn Yankees, Big River, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Brigadoon, State Fair, Fiddler on the Roof, Guys and Dolls, The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, Nunsense and Menopause, the Musical in theatres across the country. Her favorite theatrical experiences are the world premiere productions that she directed and choreographed in her hometown of Wabash, Indiana: Wait ’til You Get to Wabash and Light Up the Town. In addition to stage work, Kim has appeared in several films.  Her most exciting and exotic film shoot was for the Italian movie, Ole’, where she played the plucky side-kick to Darryl Hannah’s schoolteacher character. Kim is also a print and commercial model where she has represented Rider Jeans, Heinz, Liberty Mutual, Praluent, Meridia, Januvia, Raptiva, Cimzia and many other pharmaceuticals.  Kim began her transition from theater/film to cabaret in 2006, a move that garnered her 3 MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) Award nominations for her many cabaret shows and a 2016 MAC Award win with cabaret artist and friend, Kim Sutton, for their duo show: Whenever I Call You Friend.  In 2019 she appeared with her friend Lennie Watts in Hometown Heroes.  The highlight of Kim’s work as a cabaret artist was performing at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in It’s Delovely:  A 125th Birthday Celebration of Cole Porter. Kim is a founding member and president of Singnasium, a non-profit organization located in New York City; the mission is simple: Keeping the Arts Alive by Helping Vocal Artists Thrive.  Kim is a member of AEA and SAG/AFTRA and proudly serves on the MAC Board of Directors.  Kim lives considers herself bi-costal.  She makes her homes in San Diego and New York City with her husband Rich and their dog, Cecil.

JENNIE LITT   is one-half of the songwriting and performing duo Alpher & Litt with her husband, composer/pianist David Alpher.  A graduate of Harvard College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Jennie was busy pursuing a career as an award-winning fiction writer when she met Alpher at The MacDowell Colony and her life took a left turn.  The couple has released a live concert CD with folk legends Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, and two CDs of their own original cabaret songs, both available at CDBaby, iTunes, etc.: Two Apples (2014) and Songs For Sapiosexuals (2019).  Their songs have been performed at NYC clubs from Don’t Tell Mama to 54 Below; they have appeared as a performing duo at many of NYC’s clubs as well, and as far afield as The Rockport Chamber Music Festival, The Chamber Arts Festival of Marbletown, Cleveland’s Nighttown, and Bard, Vassar, and Harvard Colleges.  Alpher & Litt have co-taught cabaret performance workshops and master classes for the Boston Association of Cabaret Artists, Vassar College, The New York Singing Teachers’ Association, and The Brooklyn Cabaret Workshop, as well as privately, and are on the faculty of SummerKeys in Lubec, Maine.  Jennie also directs cabaret shows.  Jennie was on the Board of Directors of The Chamber Arts Festival of Marbletown from 2004-08.  The couple is currently engaged in writing their first musical, based on the lives of the infamous Mitford sisters.  She and David have a tween daughter. www.litt-and-alpher.com

STEARNS MATTHEWS is a MAC and Bistro Award winning vocalist based in New York City whose recent appearances include The Town Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Feinstein’s/54 Below, and The Metropolitan Room. His critically acclaimed debut album SPARK won the 2015 Bistro Award for Outstanding Recording as well as the LaMott/Friedman Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs Award for Outstanding Recording. He also won the 2015 MAC Award for Best Male Vocalist. Stearns holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Theater from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. In 2017, Matthews released his recording of the song cycle December Songs, words and music by Maury Yeston. This marks the first time the cycle has been recorded with a male singer. He is the Director of Music Ministries for the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship in Morristown, NJ and is a member of the musical theatre voice faculty at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. www.stearnsmatthews.com.

SIDNEY MYER Cabaret Booking Manager: Don’t Tell Mama, Rose’s Turn, Panache. Performer: Cabaret, Off-Broadway, Stock, TV Commercials, Cable TV.

AMY WOLK has won 2 MAC awards for her cabaret performances, including the 2011 MAC for Musical Comedy, and the 2004 MAC Award for Best Female New York Debut for her show Different For Girls.  She is also a MAC winning songwriter, for the song “The Brit Song,” co- written with William TN Hall. She won the 2014 Bistro Award for Musical Comedy. Amy was also named one of the best in cabaret by ShowBusiness Weekly. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts/CAP21, Amy has appeared in shows at The Duplex, Don’t Tell Mama’s, The Metropolitan Room, the Laurie Beechamn Theatre, and Town Hall in New York, as well as at Davenport’s in Chicago. She has also appeared in many regional productions including Evil Dead (Cheryl) Schoolhouse Rock Live (Dori), Into the Woods (Rapunzel), and The Taffetas (Peggy). Amy is also the host and producer of the hit gameshow I Only Have Lies For You, now in its 3rd season. A certified New York City school teacher, Amy has a Masters degree in Education from Fordham University. She works as a freelance teacher with On Location Education as an on set tutor on films and Broadway shows. This job has given her the opportunity to meet great people, teach amazing kids, and has allowed her to eat for free at opening night parties and from craft service tables. Amy has also worked extensively on Broadway as an assistant merchandise manager for over 40 Broadway shows, including Annie Get Your Gun, Les Miserables, Gypsy, Equus, Anything Goes, and The Phantom of the Opera.

ADVISORY BOARD

CHAIRPERSON

Roy Sander

Sherry Eaker

Eric Michael Gillett

Michael E. Kerker

Peter Leavy

Ricky Ritzel

HONORARY BOARD

David Friedman

Jerry Herman

Marilyn Maye

Liza Minnelli

Rex Reed

Lily Tomlin

PRESIDENTS EMERITI

Judy Barnett

Jamie deRoy

Barry Levitt

PAST PRESIDENTS

Scott Barbarino

Curt Davis

Michael Estwanik

Erv Raible

Ricky Ritzel