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Conquering Cabaret: AMDA Alumni Nominated in 30th Annual MAC Awards

March 14, 2016 - Awards, Featured

AMDA is pleased to announce four outstanding alumni who have received nominations for the 2016 MAC Awards: Congratulations to Lennie Watts, Myriam Phiro, Jennifer Pace and William T.N. Hall! Hosted by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs (MAC), the MAC Awards pay tribute to artists, directors and producers who specialize in cabaret performance throughout New York City, including jazz, piano bars, comedy, drag artists, revues and musical recordings. Marking the 30th anniversary since the event’s founding in 1986, the MAC Awards will take place Tuesday, March 29 at the BB King Blues Club in Manhattan: Purchase tickets.

Congratulations to our AMDA alums! Check out below to learn about their nominations:

Lennie Watts

Nominations: Best Director; Best Major Artist

Lennie Watts

A 10-time winner of the MAC Awards, Lennie Watts has worked in New York cabarets for over 20 years as an actor, director, singing, manager and producer. In addition to his nomination for Best Director, Lennie received the nomination as Major Artist for his performance in Shameless: The Lennie Watts Musical, which features Lennie’s multiple talents as a singer and actor. As the Bistro Awards commented on his performance of “A Musical” from Something Rotten, “Watts makes the song brighter, more heartfelt and, frankly, more human, than it sounds over at the St. James Theatre.” Lennie has also released his own album, I Want…You Want featuring pop-rock renditions of American hits.

Myriam Phiro

Nomination: Best Recording, Voyages

Cover art for Myriam Phiro's debut album Voyages

French-Canadian actress Myriam Phiro was nominated for the LaMotte Friedman Award for Best Recording. Myriam’s debut solo album, Voyages, features classic jazz staples sung in the vocalist’s crooning mezzo register. As critic Rob Lester notes, “Myriam Phiro's captivating vocal stylings and choices are instantly attractive and reveal even deeper enjoyment factor on repeat plays.”

“It’s a huge honor for me to be nominated for such a prestigious entity,” she notes. “…I will attend the MAC Awards ceremony with a big smile on my face, no matter what the results are…To be able to do what I love to do in a city that I love, every day of my life is gold. This beautiful journey in NYC all started with AMDA and I can't wait to see where it will take me!"

William TN Hall

Nomination: Best Piano Bar Instrumentalist

William T.N. Hall

An accomplished musician and actor, William TN Hall received a nomination for Best Piano Bar Instrumentalist for his work at Don’t Tell Mama Piano Bar, where he produced through TNT Music his own benefit series entitled Are You Working On Something New? for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. He is Joan Rivers’ official pianist when she performs in New York, and as a composer is a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Writers Advanced Workshop and The American Bard Theatre Company.

Jennifer Pace

Nomination: Best Piano Bar Singing Entertainer—Female

Jennifer Pace

Actor and singer Jennifer Pace has been nominated for Best Piano Bar Singing Entertainer, having performed at such venues as Brandy’s Piano Bar, Don’t Tell Mama and Marie’s Crisis. A third generation performer, she was previously nominated for MAC Awards in 2003, 2004 and 2014 for such works as her acclaimed cabaret show Every Goodbye is Hello. She won an MITF Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play or Musical, and has performed in such productions as I Never Miss A Larry Kramer Musical, The Full Monty, The New Yorker, Godspell and Spring Awakening. As critic David Finkle remarked, “She’s so completely at ease that patrons feel comfortable in her presence. More than that, they’re eager for whatever she’ll do, because they realize she’s incapable of making a false move, or taking a false step.”