"Call Me Adam" catches up with 10-time MAC Award winner Karen Mason! This time around we talk about her new show Mason at Mama's, a weekly show at NYC's famed Don't Tell Mama's (343 West 46th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue) where she will feature new arrangements of classics, new songs and some of the music you and your longtime composer/arranger Brian Lasser performed in those early days at Mama's! Showtimes are every Sunday and Monday in March at 7pm! Tickets are $20 + a 2 drink minimum. For reservations call 212-757-0788 (after 4pm)!
1. This March you will be premiering your new show Mason at Mama's where every Sunday and Monday in March you will be performing at Don't Tell Mama's in NYC. This show will feature new arrangements of classics, new songs and some of the music you and your longtime composer/arranger Brian Lasser performed in those early days at Mama's. What excites you about this upcoming show? Well, I am not only excited...I am nervous! It was slightly shocking to me how nervous I was feeling! And that nervousness is keeping me energized and on my toes, and certainly the most important thing for me: striving! Striving to do a really good show!
I am so happy to be going back to Mama's, which I opened in 1982 (with Nancy LaMott!). It reminds me of a time in my life when it was all about making music and finding joy in that process! Sometimes, all of that gets clouded with making money, ticket price (yes, I get concerned about that these days), gowns, etc......and we have a $20 cover (with of course the 2 drink minimum! it is a club, after all!!)....and I am hoping we sell this out!!! So we can have a great time with our audiences!
2. What made now the right time to premiere this show? I was feeling very very frustrated in trying to get a run at the clubs in NY! I just wanted to do more than one show! And couldn't seem to get a run without a lot of rules and strictures! So.....Lennie Watts suggested maybe going back to Mama's! and Chris Denny (my MD) suggested maybe going back to Mama's....and so I asked Sidney Myer if I could come do a run at Mama's! Mama's is a place to make music and learn! and I need another learning curve in my life! About what is important in my life and making music and having audiences is the most important!
3. For someone who has never seen you perform, what is one reason you would give them to come see Mason at Mama's, aside from it being a new show? THE $20 COVER! Come on!! You ain't gonna find this perhaps ever again! of course, cash only!!!
4. What will Mason at Mama's give your fans that you have not done in a previous cabaret show? The older Karen Mason.....at the club she sang in 33 years ago!! A lot of water under the bridge, a lot of life since 1982....I was singing with Brian Lasser 33 years ago and now I have another magnificent artist, Christopher Denny!
6. You are a 10-time Mac Award winner and on March 26 you will be hosting the Mac Awards at B.B. Kings. What does it mean to you be a 10-time winner and to be hosting the awards show? I was around when MAC was started! It means I am very very old! lol Lennie Watts, President of MAC, has asked me for a few years to be the host...and I've had to cancel because of out of town work. THIS YEAR, I made sure I was going to be in town by booking around the dates at Mama's!!! And I wouldn't miss it for anything! So many friends who all started at the same time are gone. So many amazing artists are still here.....and it is always a good thing to celebrate the NOW! Happy I am still here at this moment to celebrate!!
7. With Mason at Mama's you are returning to the room at Don't Tell Mama that you opened with Nancy LaMott. What memories do you have of the time you performed together? I honestly don't remember much about the time...except I was so happy! I am not one who remembers a lot about specific times in my life, that was Brian's job when we were together! Believe it or not, I am asking some of the people who were there to tell me things they remember! I just stink at remembering!
8. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? I have learned that I ain't such a bad person after all!
9. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? To have a very fast metabolism!!!
10. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what ingredients would you put in it? Grey Goose Vodka, 3 olives....and a limo ride home after seeing Chris Denny and me at Mama's in March! I would call it 3M (Mason at Mama's in March: 3M).
Karen Mason has starred on Broadway, Off-Broadway, television, and recording: and "has few peers when it comes to ripping the roof off with her amazing voice that knows no bounds!" (TheatreScene.net) Karen is a ten-time MAC Award winner and has won the MAC Award for Major Female Vocalist of the Year for six consecutive years. She has also won the 2006 Nightlife Award for Major Female Vocalist and has three Bistro Awards.
Karen most recently garnered rave reviews starring as "The Queen of Hearts" in WONDERLAND on Broadway She originated the role of "Tanya" on Broadway in Abba's MAMMA MIA!, and was awarded a 2002 Drama Desk nomination as Best Actress. Her other leading roles include "Norma Desmond" in SUNSET BOULEVARD, which she performed to critical acclaim and standing ovations on Broadway and in Los Angeles for three years; "Velma von Tussel" in the final Broadway company of HAIRSPRAY; "Monotony" singer, "Mazeppa" in JEROME ROBBINS' BROADWAY; "Rosalie" in CARNIVAL (another Drama Desk nomination); plus featured roles in Broadway's TORCH SONG TRILOGY; and PLAY ME A COUNTRY SONG.
Her television appearances include the hit dramas ED and LAW & ORDER: SVU. Film credits include SLEEPING DOGS LIE and A CHORUS LINE.
In regional theatre, Karen starred in the 1st National Tour of A CHRISTMAS STORY as "Miss Shields," in the world premiere of the stage production of WHITE CHRISTMAS, (playing the Rosemary Clooney role at St. Louis Muni Opera), SIDE BY SIDE BY SONDHEIM (Coconut Grove Playhouse in Florida), GYPSY (Sundance Theatre in California), the world premiere of ONE TOUGH COOKIE (Apple Tree Theatre in Chicago), HEARTBEATS (Goodspeed Opera House in NY) and COMPANY (Huntington Theatre in Boston). Most recently in New York, Karen starred in the one-woman musical about Dorothy Parker YOU MIGHT AS WELL LIVE.
Karen has headlined Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Feinstein's at The Regency, Rainbow & Stars, the Algonquin, Arci' Place, The Supper Club and The Ballroom in NYC; The Cinegrill and the UCLA/ASCAP Concert Series in Los Angeles; The Plush Room in San Francisco; and Davenport's in Chicago.
She has shared concert stages with Michael Feinstein, Jerry Herman, Chita Rivera, Luciano Pavarotti, Rosemary Clooney, Liza Minnelli, and John Kander & Fred Ebb, among others. Karen has given concerts in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Brazil, Scotland, Tokyo and Osaka. Her starring symphonic performances include The Long Beach Symphony Orchestra with Maestro Michael Berkowitz, The Philly Pops with Peter Nero, The New York Pops with Skitch Henderson, The Oklahoma Philharmonic with Joel Levine, the premier performance of The Chicagoland Pops, The Indianapolis Philharmonic, and the St. Louis Symphony with John McDaniel.
Her highly acclaimed recordings include her newest single, IT'S ABOUT TIME, written by Paul Rolnick and Shelly Markham; her 2009 MAC AWARD-winning Right Here/ Right Now, 2005's The Sweetest of Nights, the MAC Award-winning When The Sun Comes Out, as well as three other CDs: Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!, recorded live at the West Bank Cafe Better Days, featuring songs by her longtime composer/arranger, Brian Lasser (including the 1998 Emmy Award-winning song "Hold Me"); and Not So Simply Broadway. Karen has been featured on the soundtrack of the original cast CD of Wonderland Jeffrey (Varese Sarabande), the studio cast recording of Wonderful Town (JAY Records), the original cast album of And The World Goes Round (RCA Victor), The Child In Me, Vol. 1 (Harbinger Records), and Lost in Boston ll (Varese Sarabande).