Iconic television star Carol Burnett is once again lending her unique gifts to the Music Academy of the West’s Cabaret gala, serving as creative director of the annual fundraiser benefiting the Music Academy’s full-scholarship program.
The beloved performer is teaming up with legendary mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne for coaching sessions on the art of musical comedy with the young vocalists headlining this year’s Cabaret, which will take place on Thursday, Aug. 7 in the Plaza del Sol rotunda of Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort in Santa Barbara.
In addition to cocktails and a gourmet dinner, Cabaret will feature the academy’s gifted Voice Fellows performing an entertaining array of popular music ranging from classical and jazz to Broadway and pop. Gerald Sternbach, whose extensive performance credits include serving as an award-winning music director as well as an accompanist for the likes of Burnett, Julie Andrews and Kelsey Grammer, will once again oversee the event’s musical-revue-style production. Also featuring a live auction, Cabaret is an annual favorite among local philanthropists and one of the most anticipated benefits of the year.
“Each year we strive to present a gala worthy of the Music Academy’s rising stature and the many wonderful benefactors who make our program possible, and each year we rise to the occasion anew,” Music Academy President Scott Reed said. “This summer’s Cabaret will be bigger and better than ever.”
A resident of Montecito, Burnett is widely known for her work on stage and screen, most notably The Carol Burnett Show, which ran for 11 years and garnered 25 Emmy Awards. Her numerous honors include 12 People’s Choice Awards — more than any other actress — eight Golden Globes, six Emmy Awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was awarded the Kennedy Center’s prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in October and has been inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.
Burnett has penned two New York Times bestsellers, This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection and her autobiography, One More Time, as well as a new memoir, Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story, which was released last year. She received her first Grammy nomination in 2011 for the audiobook version of This Time Together, and was nominated again for the audiobook version of Carrie and Me. She joined Cabaret’s artistic team as creative contributor in 2012.
Horne, who has directed the academy's renowned Voice Program since 1997, has been called the “Star-Spangled Singer” and “the Heifetz of singers.” In the words of esteemed KUSC commentator and host Jim Svejda, she is “America’s greatest living singer.”
Horne’s distinguished career has garnered her numerous honors, including a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Gramophone magazine. She was named a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1995, received the National Medal of Arts in 1992, and has been inducted into the American Classical Music and Hollywood Bowl halls of fame. She was named a National Endowment for the Arts Opera Honors recipient in 2009. Horne has performed in more than 1,300 recitals, made well over 100 recordings and received three Grammy Awards.
As resident music director of the company Reprise! Broadway’s Best for six seasons, Sternbach earned nine Ovation Award nominations (winning in 2006) in addition to six Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle nominations (the organization honored him in 2007, 2008 and 2011) and three Garland Awards. His numerous credits include serving as associate conductor for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Merlin and The Tap Dance Kid (all on Broadway), and conducting the national tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Song and Dance starring Melissa Manchester. Sternbach also served as onstage pianist for Carrie Fisher’s one-woman show, Wishful Drinking, at the Geffen Playhouse, and has participated in numerous star-studded benefit events. This is his sixth summer as musical director for Cabaret.
Leatrice Luria is serving as honorary chair for this year’s Cabaret. A longtime supporter of the Music Academy, Luria has been pivotal to the academy’s development in recent years. Her family has contributed significantly to the Music Academy’s long-range capital improvement campaign, including the lead gift to help fund construction of the Luria Education Center, the academy’s multifunction educational facility named in honor of her and late husband Eli. The Music Academy conferred upon her the honorary title of emeritus director in 2006. The title is the highest honor bestowed upon former Music Academy Board directors.
Merryl Brown Events will produce this year’s Cabaret gala. Early corporate sponsors include Bartlett, Pringle & Wolf, Frank Schipper Construction Co., Montecito Bank & Trust and PMSM Architects. Table sponsorships are available starting at $5,000. Single tickets cost $1,000, $500 and $300 each.
For ticket pricing, sponsorship opportunities and related information, call 805.695.7918.
The Music Academy’s 67th season also will include a new production of Georges Bizet’s popular opera Carmen as well as the Academy debut of New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert. Gilbert’s 2014 residency under a new multiyear partnership with the Philharmonic will include conducting members of the Academy Festival Orchestra at the Lobero Theatre this Saturday. Additional season highlights will include performances by cellist Joshua Roman and pianist Stephen Hough, as well as conducting turns by Joshua Weilerstein, James Gaffigan and Thomas Adès. Featuring the academy’s exceptionally talented Fellows, together with illustrious guest performers and faculty, the events will be presented in venues throughout Santa Barbara.
For tickets and information, call 805.969.8787 or click here.
— Tim Dougherty is the communications manager for the Music Academy of the West.