“I’ve never known anybody quite like her,” country music legend/Broadway star Larry Gatlin said last night of Jamie deRoy at The 25th Anniversary of Jamie deRoy & friends and Jamie’s 40h Annual 30th Birthday gala at John Jay College’s Gerald W. Lynch Theater, and the all-star event benefiting The Actors Fund certainly bore him out.
The star and huge supporter of New York’s Broadway/cabaret scene was celebrating the 25th anniversary of her Jamie deRoy & friends multiple artist nightclub shows–and her birthday–with a whopper: Joining her on stage were A-list entertainer friends, with proceeds going to The Actors Fund’s new The Jamie deRoy & friends Cabaret Initiative program created to assist cabaret people with medical care.
DeRoy hosted in her inimitable fashion, using a modified “It Was a Very Good Year” to provide context for the autobiographical reminiscences she used in introducing her guests. First performer Luba Mason set the standard high with Robert and Richard Sherman’s “Don’t Shoot The Hooey To Me Louie,” and an especially spectacular version of Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale,” which she’s cut for her next album, due out next year.
After electric violin play from Daisy Jopling on Vivaldi’s “Winter” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” Joy Behar brought the house down with an uproarious monologue touching on “the holy trinity of the pharmaceutical industry” (Viagra, Levitra and Cialis), The View (the gals cleared up Sherri Shepherd’s famous confusion regarding the earth being flat or round by buying her a globe), Republican candidates (“Ben Carson sold Rosa Parks the bus ticket,” “the GOP debates are ‘Last Comic Standing'”) and Bill Clinton (unprintable).
Gatlin stunned with his solo acoustic guitar rendition of his hit “I’ve Done Enough Dyin’ Today,” which has been used successfully, he related, by young actors auditioning for musical roles. He then solicited any producers in the house to hear him out, and followed it with chart-topping country hit “All The Gold In California,” for which many in the audience joined in on the final chorus after he goofed with the band in getting them to play along.
Ventriloquist Jay Johnson did his genius Darwin monkey dummy bit, followed by Broadway star Robert Cuccioli’s great take on Elvis Presley’s “If I Can Dream” and Michele Lee’s wonderful “I’m Way Ahead” and “The Best is Yet to Come.” Surprise guest Brian Stokes Mitchell extolled deRoy’s contributions to “our community” and serenaded her with “What a Wonderful World,” capped by his amazing melodica solo.
DeRoy ended the evening with her signature “Jews Don’t Camp.” She credited Chita Rivera for the idea of celebrating her birthday with a fundraiser for The Actors Fund, though she noted that Rivera had done it for her 80th.
“I didn’t want to wait!” explained deRoy.
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