This review of Bobbie Horowitz Presents It's Just A Number! at The Metropolitan Room was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 6 (2016) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!
Bobbie Horowitz Presents It's Just A Number!
Honoring Fran Handman
Musical Director: Paul Chamlin
The Metropolitan Room
34 West 22nd Street
New York, New York 10010
When I ran for Student Council as an undergraduate at New York University, the Election Committee declared me the winner but initially refused to publish the election vote totals because they were concerned the feelings of the losers might be hurt. I argued that since they stepped forward to participate in the election process, that they, and the voters, had the right to see the final vote tallies. As a result, they were published. Fast forward to school sports teams, where there are no longer winners and losers and everyone receives a participation trophy and unconditional praise for fear that their self-esteem will be damaged. Everyone is praised. Everyone is encouraged. The world becomes a "safe space" and theater audiences are now warned in advance of "trigger words" that might offend them. Some argue that this new generation of overprotected, sensitive, easily offended young people lack the fortitude and ability to handle the stresses and responsibilities of everyday life. Others would disagree.
The cabaret world is also divided into these two camps. The first group believes in critical analysis and that every performer, whatever their age, must perform on a professional level especially if the public is being charged to see their show. If a cabaret "star" forgets the lyrics to a song, sings off-key, or has an unprofessional stage presence and/or inappropriate patter, this group believes they should be called out on these mishaps. Constructive criticism helps everyone who is open to evaluating whether the commentary may be helpful to them. The second group believes a cabaret room is a "safe space" offering unconditional love and support to all performers whatever the quality of their act. Every mistake is forgiven. Every performer receives enthusiastic applause and is told after the show how "wonderful" they were. Peace and love prevail. As the hostess, Bobbie Horowitz, said, "There is so much love in a cabaret room!" and it is her stated belief that "a musical can bring the world together." Of course, she also said during the show that "we all change as needed" giving the broad example that "black skin evolved because the sun was very bright in Africa."
Bobbie Horowitz Presents It's Just A Number! is A Special Series at The Metropolitan Room (that has been successfully running for two years) dedicated to honoring a person who after the age of 50 either began a new career or resumed a career. Tonight's honoree was Fran A. Handman, who at 92 years of age still does volunteer grant-writing work for the Episcopal Actors' Guild. She continues to write musicals - five in the past ten years. She was a "floater" at The New York Times while learning the trade of writing musicals at the BMI workshop. Performing in her honor this particular evening were Megan Loughran, Deborah Stone, Warren Schein, John Koprowski, Wendy Ginsberg Scherl, Elaine S. George, Deb Armelino, and representing the younger generation, the very talented Jacob Storms, who Bobbie Horowitz, the 2016 MAC Award Winner for Best Emcee, described as "having star quality."
On November 5, 2016, Bobbie Horowitz - songwriter, performer, producer - became a member of the Royal Family of the Beaux Arts Society, Inc. (founded in 1857) (www.BeauxArtsSociety.org) when she was designated Princess Barbara at the 110th Annual Beaux Arts Ball held at Terrace On The Park. Perhaps she will now change the name of her show from Bobbie Horowitz Presents to Princess Barbara Presents in the new year. One must give Bobbie Horowitz credit for featuring an eclectic mix of cabaret luminaries, some in the twilight of their career, and others who are just getting started. For past honorees and performers, and information on future shows, visit www.BobbieHorowitzProductions.com