• 1. Christmas Eve In My Hometown - Scott Ellis & Susan Stroman, written by Stan Zabka & Don Upton
  • 2. Deck The Halls - Robert Morse, Welsh carol
  • 3. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! - Cheryl Bentyne, words by Sammy Cahn, music by Jule Styne
  • 4. Fast Falls The Snow - Mary D'Arcy & Mark Jacoby, words by Mortimer Collins, music by Polly Pen
  • 5. I Wonder As I Wander - Maureen McGovern, Appalachian carol
  • 6. The Christmas Song/A Crazy Christmas List - Brian Stokes Mitchell, The Christmas Song: Mel Torme & Robert Wells, A Crazy Christmas List: Brian Stokes Mitchell
  • 7. What Makes Santa Run? - Ervin Drake, written by Ervin Drake
  • 8. It's Beginning To Look Like Christmas - Scott Bakula, written by Meredith Willson
  • 9. I'm Gonna Be An Angel - John Kander & Fred Ebb, words by Fred Ebb, music by John Kander
  • 10. Three Wishes For Christmas - Carolyn Mignini, words by Stephen Sondheim, music by Jule Styne
  • 11. One Family - Richard Kiley, Dierdre Kiley, Sheldon Harnick, Margery Harnick, words by Sheldon Harnick, music by Michel Legrand
  • 12. For You - Michele Brourman, words by Janis Cercone, music by Michele Brourman
  • 13. Mele Kalikimaka - The Cast of Forever Plaid, written by Alex Anderson
  • 14. Winter Wonderland - The Cast of Forever Plaid, words by Dick Smith, music by Felix Bernard
  • 15. I'll Be Home For Christmas - Karen Ziemba, written by Buck Ram, Walter Kent & Kim Gannon
  • 16. O Holy Night - Holly Near & Brian Green, words by J.S. Dwight, music by Adolphe Adam, new lyrics by Holly Near
  • 17. Once Upon A Christmas Time - Nikki Rene, words by David Cady, music by Steve Marzullo
  • 18. Jingle Bells - BETTY, written by J. Pierpont
  • 19. Surabaya Santa - Kristine Zbornik, written by Jason Robert Brown & Kristine Zbornik
  • 20. All I Want For Christmas Is You - Amanda McBroom & George Ball, words by Amanda McBroom, music by Tom Snow
  • 21. Star Of Wonder - The Arlettes, written by Terre Roche
  • 22. O Little Town Of Bethlehem - Melba Moore, words by Phillips Brooks, music by Lewis H. Redner
  • 23. Silent Night - D.C. Anderson, Claudia Anderson & Jim J. Bullock, words by Joseph Mohr, music by Franz GrŸber
  • 24. Santa Took The Subway - Anthony Crivello, written by Anthony Crivello
  • 25. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer - David Staller, written by Johnny Marks, additional dialogue by David Staller
  • 26. The Perfect Christmas Eve - Roslyn Kind, written by Dale Gonyea
  • 27. Merry Christmas, Darling - Davis Gaines, written by Frank Pooler & Richard Carpenter
  • 28. Do Your Christmas Lovin' Early - Portia Nelson & William Roy, written by Portia Nelson
  • 29. My Christmas Song For You - Andrea Marcovicci, words by Furniss Peterson & Paul Francis Webster, music by Hoagy Carmichael
  • 30. Christmas In New York - Leslie Uggams, written by Ervin Drake
  • 31. Christmas In Beverly Hills - Dale Gonyea, written by Dale Gonyea
  • 32. It's Christmas And We're Jewish - Karen Benjamin & Alan Chapman, written by Alan Chapman
  • 33. Some Children See Him - Howard McGillin, words by Wihla Hutson, music by Alfred Burt
  • 34. What Child Is This? - Jeff Harnar, Traditional
  • 35. Dawn Carol - Wayne Moore and Brenda Silas Moore, words by Doris Moore, music by Wayne Moore
  • 36. Christmas Feels Just Like Love - Babbie Green, words and music by Babbie Green
  • 37. All Those Christmas Cliches - Lainie Kazan, words by Lynn Ahrens, music by Stephen Flaherty
  • 38. A Tuna Story - Jaston Williams, written by Jaston Williams
  • 39. Don't Let Gramma Cook Christmas Dinner - Roy Zimmerman, written by Roy Zimmerman
  • 40. Remember/Toyland - K.T. Sullivan, Remember: written by Harry Nilsson, Toyland: words by Glen MacDonough, music by Victor Herbert
  • 41. Wishing You A Drag Queen Christmas - B.D. Wong, words by Bill Russell, music by Janet Hood
  • 42. The Truth About Christmas - Alix Korey, written by David Friedman
  • 43. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear - Karen Akers, written by Edmund Sears & Richard H. Willis
  • 44. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Tommy Tune, words by Hugh Martin, music by Ralph Blane
  • 45. Christmas On Broadway - Karen Culliver & Betty Garrett, written by Alan Chapman

Cabaret Noel is $20.00 from Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
Click here to order

(Drawing reproduced by special arrangement with Hirschfeld's Exclusive Representative Margo Feiden Gallery)

Cabaret Noël: A Broadway Cares Christmas (1993)

A 2023 look back at CABARET NOEL:

On July 6, 1993, backstage at the Los Angeles Ahmanson Theater I turned to fellow THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA cast member, Karen Benjamin and said (as the thought came to me), 'I am going to create an album of new and traditional Christmas songs to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (as it was called then) featuring writers and performers and creatives of the musical theater and cabaret world as if we are all gathered in an Upper West Side, NYC apartment sharing songs on Christmas Eve. There is a grand piano, an acoustic guitar and, maybe a few orchestra members have their instrument on hand. I'll have to move quickly, I would like it finished by early September.' The next day made a call to Tom Viola at Broadway Cares - he was in full support.

In no particular order:

Imagined it would benefit from a cover design from Al Hirschfeld as it would immediately identify CABARET NOEL as being of the theater and theater going community. The addition of red and green (a rarity for Hirschfeld) would announce it as a theatrical celebration of Christmas.

Secured donations of recording session time from a recording studio in NYC and another in Los Angeles. The NYC studio donated mastering sessions.

A friend recommended the remarkably talented recording/mixing/mastering artist/technician Dennis Drake who worked his magic voluntarily for the entire two album/CD set.

Good friend Marguerite Pritchard joined Dennis and I with much enthusiasm to co-produce - brainstorming, volunteering everything clerical including correspondence with artists/authors/managers/label personnel.

The contributing performing artists also volunteered their gifts with an immediate 'Yes!'

Songwriters from the worlds of musical theater and cabaret created new songs or pulled previously written but little heard original holiday songs from their piano benches.

I imagined all gathering on December 24 after a full holiday week schedule of theatrical performances. The mood runs the gamut from playful to spiritual/thoughtful with a literal and atmospheric awareness of the responsibility this evening's musicmaking wishes to undertake to both met and unmet personal and societal challenge. We were singing for ours and our loved ones' lives. This is an adult's holiday album.

The singers and musicians:

Karen Akers - 'It Came Upon a Midnight Clear' - her deep alto resonates with such beauty.

Alan Chapman is one of my inspirations as a songwriter - he and his wife and musical partner, Karen Benjamin brought his 'It's Christmas and We're Jewish' to the record as well as his 'Christmas on Broadway' that brought Betty Garrett and her daughter in law, Karen Culliver to the studio.

Claudia Anderson, D.C. Anderson and Jim J. Bullock -'Silent Night' - my sister and good friend, Jim, and I singing Roy Zimmerman's arrangement accompanied by Roy on guitar and Kathy Robinson, oboe.

Friends in the studio recording 'Silent Night' - a lifelong highlight.

Cheryl Bentyne ('Manhattan Transfer') - 'Let it Snow' thoughtful, gracious, generous.

BETTY (Alyson Palmer, Amy Ziff, Elizabeth 'Bitzi' Ziff) - 'Winter Wonderland' inventively delightful people and performers. (Elizabeth posted 'It's Not Over' on Dec. 1, 2023 - World AIDS awareness day. BETTY's investment in healing our planet's inhabitants by spreading joy is also not over.).

Davis Gaines - 'Merry Christmas Darling' Davis was our LA 'Phantom' at the time and was always 'game' to lend a hand for our many benefit events.

Pairing his with Roslyn Kind's performance of Dale Gonyea's - 'A Perfect Christmas Eve' a short story of the musical theater all its own. Roslyn is a songwriter's singer - the story is everything to her - she stood right next to Dale as he played. All recordings were done direct to DAT tape which means each performance on the album is 'live' - the entire song start to finish with no editing whatsoever.

Amanda McBroom, George Ball - I knew Amanda and George from 'Harry Chapin Lies and Legends' in Chicago, a decade previously. Their relationship is a remarkable love story that Amanda captured in her original Christmas song. Michele Brourman, at the piano, stayed to record an original song for the album. An inspired gift.

Maureen McGovern - 'I Wonder as I Wander'. Judy Katz was Maureen's press agent at the time. I will never forget Judy saying to me, 'Maureen will do anything and everything to promote this project for Broadway Cares, a remarkable and necessary organization (the way she said it spoke to the depth of the Broadway Cares commitment to every human being HIV touched.) Now their work benefits humans with cancer as well other life threatening illnesses.

Jeff Harner's voice has an irrepressible smile in it.

Mary D'Arcy and Marc Jacoby - 'Fast Falls the Snow' with their PHANTOM orchestra member and rehearsal pianist Cindy Hoxie share Polly Pen's romantic holiday ballad.

Howard McGillan - 'Some Children See Him' The light in the studio was very moody that night. Howard McGillin: thoughtful, beautifully singing under a single light…from where I was sitting, he was silhouetted.

Alix Korey offers David Friedman's 'The Truth About Christmas' - an insightful and sobering song powerfully delivered.

Jayson Williams, co-author and co-star of the GREATER TUNA series of comic plays, brought party goers a GT Christmas story.

The Arlettes 'Star of Wonder' - I listen to this to bring the breath of the holiday season back into my body. Releases any holiday anxiety!

Anthony Crivello (and friends) 'Santa Took the 'A' Train' - launches the second of this 2 CD set with originality and spirit!

Leslie Uggams delightedly singing Ervin Drake's 'Christmas in New York'. A reminder of the greatness that is NYC at Christmas... (today, of course, as someone who has spent a good part of his life in one 'road company' or another, I blanch a little at 'No road company plays there.', but I forgive you Ervin...)

Ervin's Sigmund Freud voiced holiday song 'What Makes Santa Run', with a wink to WHAT MAKES SAMMY RUN, gives a beloved songwriter a chance to shine. He was a kind and heartwarming man.

Wayne and Brenda Silas Moore - 'Dawn Carol' - their voices on Wayne's original are so satisfying...

Scott Ellis and Susan Stroman - 'Christmas Eve in My Hometown'.
Friends, creative partners (Director, Choreographer) playfully opened our album with a song of holiday memories as a response to a turntable breaking down during a tech rehearsal. A perfect set up for what is to come.

'Surabaya Santa' - Kristine Zbornik and friend Jason Robert Brown collaborated on this one. I went to school with Kristine. A comic genius with a voice to ring the rafters.

To be in a recording studio with John Kander and Fred Ebb recording their Christmas song, 'I'm Gonna Be An Angel' - the world premiere recording of it - is to experience the kind of camaraderie that only a decades long friendship and collaboration can create.

Melba Moore - 'O Little Town of Bethlehem'. forever grateful to Melba for her purity of person and purpose in celebrating the holidays in this way.

Robert Morse - 'Deck the Halls' - (our first recording session, if I remember correctly) giddily came through the door, walked into the recording booth, sang 'Deck the Halls' once through and was gone before anyone blinked.

Holly Near and Brian Lane Green - 'O Holy Night' - 'Rise from your knees - hear the people's voices - let peace be born!' I still get chills every time I listen to it.

Nikki Rene - I had seen Nikki in ONCE ON THIS ISLAND - a fierce loving energy and delicately beautiful soul.

I had the great pleasure of conversations with Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty that led to their offering a new, and now classic, 'All Those Christmas Cliches'. Lainie Kazan is a true force of nature.

The late Sheldon Harnick and Richard Kiley share a microphone with his daughter, Dierdre Kiley and Sheldon's wife, Margery. The Cratchit family - blessings everywhere.

The late great Portia Nelson and William Roy brought her 'Do Your Christmas Lovin' Early' in.

Brian Stokes Mitchell - 'Crazy Christmas List/The Christmas Song' - his light is a powerful beam.

David Staller - 'Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer' It has never been sung like this before...or since.

KT Sullivan - 'Toyland' Is 'fireside soprano' a thing?

Carolyn Mignini shared a gift to us from Stephen Sondheim and Jule Styne: 'Three Wishes for Christmas' a song cut from GYPSY.

Musical theater and television have been creative homes for Scott Bakula - it was nice to watch/hear him with pianist Corey Allen for a light hearted 'It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas'.

Karen Ziemba - 'I'll be Home for Christmas'. I had never heard the verse prior to our session (Karen was touring in 'Crazy for You' - electric) and cannot imagine a more soulfully sung introduction.

Babbie Green is a West Coast based singer and songwriter - 'Christmas Feels Just Like Love' especially when the jovial, witty and tender hearted Babbie sings it.

Roy Zimmerman - 'Don't Let Gramma Cook Christmas Dinner' - Roy wrote the songs and led 'The Foremen' a parody folk group (with some rather important things to humorously say) that pre-dated Christopher Guest's A MIGHTY WIND. I couldn't imagine hosting a late night holiday songfest without him.

A 'Winter Wonderland/Mele Kalikimaka' recording session with the cast of FOREVER PLAID - fantastic harmonies and much fun!

Tommy Tune gifted us with a heartfelt 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas'.

Andrea Marcovicci. She inspires, befriends, delights, informs, moves, entertains us all whenever she steps up to the microphone. That she did in the studio introducing us all to a Hoagy Carmichael holiday gem, 'My Christmas Song for You'.

Participating musical theater and cabaret songwriters:

John Kander and Fred Ebb
Stephen Sondheim and Mary Rodgers
Ervin Drake
Sammy Cahn
Meredith Willson
Stephen Sondheim and Jule Styne
Polly Pen
Bill Russell and Janet Hood
Amanda McBroom
Michele Brourman
David Friedman
Dale Gonyea
Roy Zimmerman
Portia Nelson
Jason Robert Brown
Alan Chapman
Babbie Green

A little historical context for the three months during which we were recording CABARET NOEL: A BROADWAY CARES/EQUITY FIGHT AIDS.

July 1, 1993: The Marys affinity group carries out the second political funeral for an activist who has died of AIDS. Two hundred demonstrators travel to Washington, DC, to fulfill 35-year-old ACT UP and Marys affinity group member Tim Baily's final wishes for a political funeral in front of the White House. After an emotional three hour standoff, plans are thwarted when police attempt to wrestle the casket containing Bailey's embalmed body away from activists in front of the Capitol Building. Two are arrested including Bailey's brother from Ohio.

July 16, 1993: In the third political funeral for a member of ACT UP New York affinity group The Marys, the coffin of Jon Greenburg, 37, co-founder of ACT UP's Alternative and Holistic Treatment Committee and director of TAP (Treatment Alternatives Project) was carried through the streets of the East village to Tompkins Square Park in New York City, where personal eulogies were heard by more than 200 activists, friends and family members. " I don't want an angry political funeral," wrote Greenberg. "I just want you to burn me in the street and eat my flesh."

September 12, 1993: The PWA Housing Committee organizes a demonstration to make AIDS housing an issue in New York City Council elections. One-hundred and fifty people march from Sheridan Square to City Council member Antonio Pagan's election headquarters, highlighting his opposition to AIDS housing projects. Though Pagan wins re-election, a new coalition of AIDS activists, squatters and community activists is formed.

September, 1993: Members of the McClintock Working Group hit the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Conference in New York, hanging a banner reading "What About A Cure? Demand McClintock" during a speech by Dan Rather. The following day activists pose as journalists to meet with new AIDS Czar Kristine Gebbie who says she has read the McClintock project and is considering its proposals.

September 30, 1993: Chanting "MicroGeneSys, AIDS Extortionists!", fourteen AIDS activists are arrested after they shackle themselves to the front door and gate at MicroGeneSys, Inc., in Meriden, CT, to protest a $20 million government appropriation to study the company's controversial AIDS vaccine.

Here is a NY Times article regarding that appropriation:

Scientists Assail Congress on Bill for Money to Test an AIDS Drug

The Federal Government's top scientists are angrily protesting a recent decision by Congress to bypass medical researchers and approve $20 million for human trials of an experimental AIDS vaccine.

Dr. Bernadine Healy, director of the National Institutes of Health, announced plans late last week to assemble a panel of leading AIDS experts to decide whether expanded testing of the vaccine, GP-160, should go forward. And Dr. David Kessler, the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, said in an interview that he opposed the increased testing until the situation was reviewed.

The efficacy of the vaccine, which was developed by MicroGeneSys Inc., a small biotechnology company in West Haven, Conn., is not the primary issue. Preliminary tests suggest that it may be valuable in controlling the onset of AIDS symptoms in people infected with H.I.V.

Upset With Congress

Rather, many top researchers are upset that Congress, in voting this month to approve the trials of GP-160, stepped over a previously sacred line. They say the lawmakers let corporate lobbyists, led by the influential former Senator Russell B. Long, decide which AIDS treatments should be examined in studies supported by tax dollars.

"We are not talking about steel, bricks and mortar," Dr. Healy said. "We are talking about human lives, victims who are already suffering and who are going to become subjects in a trial that lobbyists have directed."

The spending measure was included in a Department of Defense spending bill passed earlier this month. The department with its network of hospital and researchers is one of the principal Federal agencies involved in AIDS research.

For 18 months, officials and lobbyists for MicroGeneSys (pronounced micro genesis) intensively pushed Federal researchers and lawmakers to speed up testing of the company's vaccine, according to interviews with researchers and Congressional aides. Last year the company retained Long, the Louisiana Democrat who for many years was chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, to represent its interests in Washington.

The company's chairman insists that the focus was not the billions of dollars at stake in the race to find an AIDS vaccine, but the thousands of lives that hang in the balance. "I would challenge you to put together all the tests and results for other vaccines, and you won't come close to what we have accomplished with our product," said Franklin Volvovitz, chairman and president of Micro GeneSys.

Several lawmakers and company lobbyists also say the scientists' concerns about the funds are overblown. They point out that the bill directs that the $20 million will still go to AIDS research if top officials at the F.D.A., the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense decide that expanded GP-160 trials are not immediately warranted. Still, lawmakers involved may find the episode embarrassing, and some have sought to minimize their roles.

Senator Sam Nunn, Democrat of Georgia and chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said in a statement that while his committee authorized the additional AIDS research money, the actual language appropriating the funds for GP-160 test trials was contained in a separate bill handled by a different committee.

"These funds should be used in accordance with the priorities of Department of Defense medical experts and should not be restricted by a narrow legislative earmark for specific tests and vaccines," Nunn said.

Lobbyist Applauded

Last month, on the Senate floor, however, both Nunn and Senator John Warner, Republican of Virginia, applauded Long's interest in AIDS research and indicated that the $20 million would be used for expanded testing of the vaccine.

Warner said in a statement that his intention was to provide additional support for AIDS research, as long as top Government scientists reviewed the merits of this program. "I have long been aware of the important role of Federal funding in scientific research for improved treatment and an eventual cure for AIDS," he said.

Congress usually sets the nation's medical-research priorities, often after intensive lobbying by scientists, companies and interest groups. But several scientists interviewed said it was extremely rare for lawmakers to appropriate money for testing a specific treatment unless Federal researchers asked them to do so.

"I have serious concerns about sidestepping the normal peer review process, especially on something as important as an AIDS vaccine," said Dr. Kessler of the F.D.A. "This is nothing more than an end run."

Made From H.I.V. Protein

GP-160 was developed by Micro GeneSys in the mid-1980's from a protein on the the surface of H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS. In 1987, the company became the first to receive permission from the Federal Government to test an AIDS vaccine in humans, and is now probably the most widely tested of the AIDS vaccines developed to date. An Army spokesman said the vaccine is being used in tests involving 500 people at 17 places.

In Congressional testimony in February, Col. Donald S. Burke, the director of AIDS research at the Walter Reed Army Research Institute, said that tests of GP-160 in 30 adults showed that the vaccine was safe, and that it boosted the natural levels of antibodies and stabilized blood counts of T-cells, which fight H.I.V. infection. He cautioned, however, that the results, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, did not prove that the vaccine could slow the disease's progress, but that it merited further exploration.

Several other researchers said theseresults must be compared with those for other potential treatments before thousands of humans receive an experimental vaccine.

"I think new money for work against AIDS is always welcome," said Dr. Martin Hirsch, director of the AIDS program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "But there are many AIDS vaccines being studied at the moment and there is nothing to suggest that this one is better than the others."

Company Promotes Product

MicroGeneSys, like any company, has sought to promote its products and any encouraging news about them. But the company apparently decided on a strenuous effort to get its experimental AIDS vaccine to the market first. Development of the vaccine, which is commercially known as Vaxsyn, is also being supported by the American Home Products Corporation, a giant pharmaceutical company based in New York.

Last year, Volvovitz asked Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, to seek money from Congress for expanded GP-160 testing, a request that was rejected, said Julie Rosson Small, the Senator's press secretary. Meanwhile, former Senator Long, who retired from Congress in 1986, was hired by MicroGeneSys as a lobbyist in in 1991 and started using the many Congressional contacts he had made during his long service as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee to promote the treatment.

"I am strongly convinced that testing of GP-160 should be continued in an expedited manner," he said in a written statement on Friday. "I discussed the GP-160 situation with a number of senators and representatives who were convinced of the necessity for continued testing of this drug in an expedited manner. My discussion in this regard were conducted in an entirely ethical manner."

Last spring, Senator Long's law firm asked Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, to inquire about the progress of research on AIDS vaccines during a Congressional appearance by Federal researchers, said an aide to Harkin. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the assistant director for AIDS research for the National Institutes of Health, said he had been startled by the tone of Harkin's subsequent questioning.

"He wanted to know why I wasn't moving faster," Dr. Fauci said. "It was a little unnerving."

More recently, MicroGeneSys's lobbyists turned their attention to the Defense Department bill, traditionally a fertile ground for last-minute appropriations that favor specific industries or manufacturers. As part of their effort, Senator Long and other company lobbyists, including John O'Shaughnessy, a former assistant administrator for Health and Human Services in the Reagan Administration, contacted several Federal lawmakers and officials.

Along with Senators Nunn and Warner, those seeking the measure included Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Democrat of Hawaii, and Senator J. Bennett Johnston, Democrat of Louisiana, according to interviews and entries in the Congressional Record. Their offices did not respond to requests for comment last week.

New Tests Called Premature

Senator Nunn said he had been assured by Defense Department officials that they wanted more money for AIDS research. But several Department officials said they did not recall being asked about expanded GP-160 trials.

"It is premature to initiate a long-term trial until data from our current trials are completed and analyzed," an Army spokesman said. He would not predict when such results might be completed.

Under the bill, officials of the three agencies involved have six months to decide whether to use the money for expanded testing of GP-160. Dr. Healy of N.I.H., said she would try to convene a scientific panel next month to review the matter.

'If they come out with a ringing endorsement of GP-160 then we are going to respond," she said. "But we are not going to put researchers into the position of telling AIDS patients that they are being injected with an experimental vaccine because lobbyists wanted it."

A chilling piece of the history of this album.

I called those in charge of the parade at MACY'S for the purpose of proposing a float for THANKSGIVING DAY to introduce the recording's existence/mission and participation by the Broadway and cabaret communities and was flatly denied - for the reason that there would be no mention of AIDS during a televised family event. This was 1993. The implication was that families are not impacted by AIDS or if they are, it's not something we can or ought to talk about.