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Sharon McKnight Bringing Sophie Tucker to Life One More Time at New York's Metropolitan Room

By Jon Sobel j.sobel@classicalite.com on Jul 11, 2014 05:54 PM EDT

Sharon McKnight, a Tony Award nominee (Starmites) and winner of two Best Actress awards from the San Francisco Bay Area Critics Association (Hello Dolly! and Nunsense), is bringing her musical tribute Red Hot Mama--The Sophie Tucker Farewell Tour to the Metropolitan Room in New York City for four shows, July 20 and 23 and August 1 and 3.

Sophie Tucker, "The Last of the Red Hot Mamas," was one of American's best-known stars in the first half of the 20th century. Tucker moved from vaudeville and the Ziegfeld Follies in 1909 to jazz in the 1920s, becoming a radio and television personality nicknamed "The First Lady of Show Business." Her recording career began as early as 1910 and her hits included "The Man I Love," "Some of These Days," "My Yiddishe Momme," "It All Depends on You" and "After You've Gone."

Tucker worked almost up until the time of her death in 1966 at age 79. In the process she influenced and inspired generations of performers including Mae West, Carol Channing, Joan Rivers, Bette Midler, Roseanne Barr, Ethel Merman, "Mama" Cass Elliot and even Paul McCartney.

McKnight has been embodying Tucker on stage in various engagements since 1996, when after selling out the Rainbow and Stars she went on to a four-month Off-Broadway run at the York Theatre. Right now she is coming off eight weeks as Mrs. O'Brien in Show Boat at the San Francisco Opera.

McKnight's other honors include the very first MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs) Award back in 1987, a Nightlife Award, a Back Stage Bistro Award, and six San Francisco Cabaret Gold Awards.

The upcoming engagement will be her third at the Metropolitan Room. The press release describes it as "one last romp around the Rialto," so this may well be New Yorkers' last chance to see this hit show.

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TagsSophie Tucker, Vaudeville, Sharon McKnight, Bette Midler, Mae West, Ethel Merman, Roseanne Barr, Cabaret, Metropolitan Room