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Monday
Dec292014

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 www.metropolitanroom.com

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 LIVAMP.com 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 LIVAMP.com.

 

Sources for this piece include: playbill.com and theaterpizzazz.com

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