How March Became Cabaret Month

by Hilary Feldman

The original March Is Cabaret Month promotion began as an attempt by cabaret venue owners to increase the awareness and attendance of cabare events during the traditionally slow months of January through March. In NYC several years ago, the month of March began with the annual Back Stage Magazine Bistro Awards and ended with the MAC Awards. Thus, artists who were nominated for MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets) awards were urged to reprise during February and March their shows from the previous year; so that MAC member voters could more intelligently make their choices on the preliminary and final ballots. Soon other cabaret organizations around the country adopted the March is Cabaret Month concept

Gradually, MAC began to schedule its awards show later into April and May and, due to Back Stage Magazine’s cutbacks in support for its own awards gala (and cabaret in general), the Bistro awards became a private event for winners and their friends. As a result, the concept of March Is Cabaret Month faded away, especially in NYC.

In January of 2008, Stu Hamstra’s Cabaret Hotline Online took it upon itself to resurrect March Is Cabaret Month. With the support of performers, venues and cabaret organizations, it is once more attempting to make the public more “cabaret aware” during this period. Special March Is Cabaret Month events are held around the world, highlighted by a special March Is Cabaret Month event presented in New York City. Cabaret Hotline’s hope is to develop March Is Cabaret Month into an annual month-long event promoted around the world.

The second annual March is Cabaret Month Gala was held in New York City on March I0th at The West Bank Cafe/ Laurie Beechman Theatre. The Boston Association of Cabaret Artists (BACA) held its March Is Cabaret Month 2009 Festival March 19 – 22 at The Blacksmith House in Cambridge. The Pacific Northwest Cabaret Association, and Julia’s on Broadway in Seattle, celebrate March Is Cabaret Month with a Sunday series by some of Seattle’s best cabaret artists. Many other cities, including our nation’s capitol, are holding March Is Cabaret Month festivities.

Special thanks to Stu Hamstra of Cabaret Hotline Online for the majority of the above information.

[2021 Update: Cabaret Hotline Online ceased operation with the passing of Stu Hamstra in 2017. David Sabella started Cabaret HotSpot to fill the void left by CHO.]

−Hilary Ann Feldman

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