"Champagne Sometimes....a night out with Chris Barrett" was recorded live at Helen's Hideaway Room, New York City in August 2005. The CD is a collection of songs written by theater's top composers including: Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, Noel Coward and Jerry Herman as well as some of cabaret's brightest stars, among them: John Wallowitch, David Friedman, Richard Rodney Bennett and Arthur Siegel.
Cabaret singer and pianist Chris Barrett has been performing throughout the US and in Europe since 1973. Career highlights include repeat engagements at New York's Stanhope, Carlyle, Pierre, UN Plaza and Westbury Hotels. Also in New York he has appeared in cabaret at Helen's Hideaway Room, Danny's Skylight Room, Judy's Chelsea, L'Omnibus d' Maxims; Dillon's and the famed FireBird Cafe.
Other US cabaret appearances include: Le Dome at The Manor, West Orange, N.J., Odette's, New Hope, PA, Pittsburgh's Civic Light Opera Cabaret, The Metropolitan Club and The Terrace Room at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Washington, DC.
Major US "lounge" engagements include: the Bel-Air Hotel, Los Angeles; the Colony and Chesterfield Hotels, Palm Beach, FL; , the Biltmore Hotel, Miami,FL. Chris has also performed solo concerts at The John Drew Theater, East Hampton, NY, and Steinway Hall, New York.
In Europe, he has enjoyed repeat bookings at the Hotel Cipriani, Venice, the Berkeley Hotel, London, and the Poseidon Hotel, Positano, Italy.
Chris made his symphonic debut in 2002 as guest artist performing a Noel Coward program with The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He has appeared in an invitational performance at The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, and has performed in concert aboard the QEII and at private engagements for Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. He has also performed in New York for HRH Prince Philip and with an American cities tour for The Baron Philippe and Philipine de Rothschild.
The recipient of the BACK STAGE BISTRO AWARD for Best Singer / Instrumentalist and a finalist at the 2005 NIGHTLIFE AWARDS was declared "a pillar of New York nightlife" by John Hoglund of BACK STAGE. Chris has five recordings. This most recent CD "Champagne Sometimes.....a night out with Chris Barrett" was released December 2006.
WHILE WE'RE HERE
The Hideaway Room @ Helen's
New York City
Chris Barrett’s new show at Helen’s Hideaway Room, While We’re Here, is – to use a word Barrett goes out of his way to avoid, a celebration: of life and, to borrow an apt phrase, its sweetness and its sorrow. Declaring that during a period of “being down,” he recognized how many gifts he truly enjoyed, he pitches that theme from his Carpenters’ Top of the World and McHugh/Fields’ On the Sunny Side of the Street openers.
At the same time, Barrett plays no Pollyanna. In his warm, even comforting voice, he presents a resonant, reflective rendition of Arthur Hamilton’s Rain Sometimes, and follows with acknowledgements of three musical figures who inspired him. Remembering songwriter Cy Coleman, Barrett offers Coleman’s affecting The Colors of My Life. The late Jerry Orbach, lately on TV’s Law and Order, was far more significant to Barrett as a musical theater performer. Yet, it was not Orbach’s Broadway successes that Barrett returns to, but Try to Remember and Orbach’s creation of the El Gallo role half a century ago in the ever-running The Fantasticks.
Barrett pays tribute to Bobby Short with one of Short’s own standards, Cole Porter’s familiar You’re the Top. “All piano players who sing owe him a debt.” While Barrett is no impersonator—his style is clearly his own—he is one of a precious few potential heirs-apparent to Bobby Short's mantle, “saloon singer.”
Leaving behind his tributes, but not the sense of passing time, the rest of Barrett’s song list was notable for its range and variety: Brel’s Jackie, Coward’s Why Do the Wrong People Travel?, Sondheim’s Ah, Paree, Wallowitch’s This Moment, and his title song, Danny Apolinar’s While We’re Here. Barrett’s voice is rich, expressive, alternately powerful and tender. While We’re Here is part autobiographical, part perceptive, part philosophical, and a top-drawer cabaret show in every respect.
April 22, 2005
“The singer and pianist Chris Barrett is one of the more engaging performers to carry on an elegant piano-bar tradition typified by entertainers like Bobby Short and Steve Ross"
Stephen Holden, The New York Times
“Chris Barrett gently and lovingly lets his voice soar with an almost choirboy sweetness or with dramatic effectivness. He moves in directions others in his field have ignored, giving his program balance and individuality.”
John S Wilson, The New York Times
“Chris Barrett is a pillar of New York nightlife. This trooper of saloons and salons who, like fine wine, gets better with age.”
John Hoglund, Back Stage
“Barrett has an extensive knowledge of musicals…his catalog is virtually inexhaustible.”
“Suave, sophisticated, and cheerful, Barrett’s charming musicality make him a one-man show.” Bob Harrington, The New York Post
“Chris Barrett…esteemed for his sophisticated approach to standards”
Time Out New York
“To say that Chris Barrett had the room in the palm of his hand would be an understatement”
Richard Swift, Dan’s Papers of the Hamptons
“This is seduction by a master. Heartbreaking, and yet refreshing…raising an American popular standard to the level of art song. Barrett goes beyond cabaret performance, lifting all to the level of the concert hall.”
Louis Lopardi, artzine.org
“Talents like (Cole) Porter and (Cy) Coleman could write entire songbooks for Chris Barrett. This singer pianist, with a repertoire as classy as the Ritz, and a heart as all-embracing as popular music itself, makes all of his listeners believe that he is singing just for them.”
Jules Becker, New England Entertainment Digest
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