Previewing the final acts at Pizza on the Park

Harold Sanditen sets about the sad task of previewing the last three acts scheduled to appear at Pizza on the Park.

Pizza on the Park is due to close on 18th June 2010 after around 30 years as one of London’s prime cabaret and jazz venues. As that sad day approaches, the final three week season has been announced, consisting of the crème de la crème of American cabaret singers – Andrea Marcovicci (above right, 1 – 6 June), Karen Akers (above left, 8 – 13 June) and Steve Ross (15 – 18 June).

I’ve seen all three of these performers, and London is in for a real treat. All three are incredibly elegant, stylish performers, each with a truly amazing ability to interpret a song, and each able to find unique moments in even the most well-known of songs. All three are also known for the in-depth research they do for their shows. This means each show is not only wonderfully entertaining, but also packed with tidbits of information to store up for dinner parties….

Each is considered at the top of his or her craft – all three make the Oak Room at the Algonquin their New York performing residence. Andrea Marcovicci is the quintessential queen of elegance, humour and playfulness. Karen Akers is the personification of sultry sophistication and mystery, only heightened by the depth of her voice. Steve Ross is the undeniable king of wry wit and wordplay.

For anyone interested in real interpreters of songs, this final season truly is a must see. Each show is a master class in the ability to tell a story through lyrics. With the loss of Pizza on the Park, you probably won’t be able to see them in London again for a long time, if ever.

If you’d like to try and help preserve this wonderful venue, please join the Facebook group

Categories: miscellaneous

1 reply »

  1. For years I have been going to the POP to see many marvellous artists perform, many from the US some from Europe and then of course a few of the great and good based here in the UK. I say many years as I first went in 1986 and saw the incredible Blossom Dearie. After that it was an interesting mix of the highly regarded, peppered with the practically unknown (to us) US cabaret singers. As a British singer I found it very hard to secure a gig when under the charge of Peter Boizot. He was a huge supporter of the US contingent. I was priviledged to see Mark Murphy, Bob Dorough, Mose Allsion, and ex-patriots Annie Ross and George Shearing. Nonetheless it was clear that hiring from Broadway/New York was seen as a tactical audience pulling technique. Yet these delightful perfomers rarely played to large houses, and frankly mostly would draw small table bookings. Steve Ross I hasten to add one of the few that bucked the trend in this respect.

    And now I read that the last 3 acts all hail from across the waters to close the place. It's rather poetic that even now POP refuses to champion our incredible palette of cabaret and jazz singers even at the end. Many of us over the years have loved the venue and hold special memories of performing there and seeing acts. I would go 3 or 4 times a week and sit at the back in the intense dark and get lost in the magic.

    I have met and become close friends with some, and have witnessed the birth of great artists such as Claire Martin.

    So with the closing of this icon I feel saddened that had the powers that be concentrated more on the home grown plethora of talent they would have at the very least saved a bit of money, and at best been responible for supporting British talent.

    I will be there on the last night to see the doors close glad to hear Steve Ross again but wishing it was someone else.

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