You know we’re running full speed ahead into the cultural season when the intimate Royal Room, the jewel of the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, announces its cabaret lineup for November through March. There aren’t a lot of new names slated in this lineup, but these returning favorites should delight cabaret lovers of all musical leanings.
Here’s a look at the season’s first five performers and what each one has to offer (tickets range from $45 to $130, depending on the performer; for tickets, call 561/655-5430 or visit thecolonypalmbeach.com). We’ll finish out this preview early next year with a look at the talent slated for mid-February through April.
Avery Sommers (Nov. 24-Dec. 8)
Her style: Local favorite Sommers will be making her sixth appearance at the Colony. A full-figured bastion of blues, jazz and gospel, Sommers puts her own soulful spin on Songbook favorites.
Career highlights: A Carbonell Award for her one-woman show “But Not for Me” at the Caldwell Theatre, national tours of “Chicago” and “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.”
The Four Freshmen (Dec. 12-15)
Their style: This immortal quartet, which originated in the late 1940s, makes its annual December stop at the Colony. Mixing jazz arrangements with a big-band vocal group sound, the Four Freshmen rekindle the barbershop crooning of a bygone era.
Career highlights: Six Grammy nominations, a career of more than 40 albums, and the designation of Down Beat magazine’s Best Vocal Group seven times.
Clint Homes (Jan. 3-19)
His style: As the son of an African-American jazz musician and an English opera singer, Holmes was literally born into the musical eclecticism he brings to his performances. He has a voice as smooth as silk, as the saying goes, from the nursery rhyme-style hit “Playground in My Mind” to country-tinged numbers like “There’s No Future in My Future.”
Career highlights: A long-running Las Vegas residency, Joan Rivers’ former sidekick and announcer on “The Late Show,” and an Emmy for his talk/variety show, “New York at Night.”
Emily Bergl (Jan. 22-Feb. 2)
Her style: As the Royal Room’s only first-time performer this season, Bergl’s show is the one I’d most want to catch. Well-known as a stage and television actress, the chirpy Bergl got into the cabaret game in 2010 with her show “Kidding on the Square,” blending humor with her infectious take on standards. Her sound is a jazzy, Betty Boop-flapper-throwback that belies her British heritage.
Career highlights: Roles on TV series “Southland” and “Desperate Housewives,” an award nomination for her starring role in “The Rage: Carrie 2.”
Marilyn Maye (Feb. 5-9)
Her style: A living legend, the 84-year Maye is one of the cabaret world’s most enduring totems, making her sixth appearance at the Royal Room since her 2008 debut there. A renowned tenor sax, she generates a party atmosphere at her energetic cabaret gigs, performing classic smooth jazz with robust vocals.
Career highlights: The record-holder for appearances on “The Tonight Show” (76 times), several Lifetime Achievement Awards, the designation by Ella Fitzgerald as “the greatest white female singer in the world.”