Welcome! Fridays are the day when we at the McElrath Cabaret Blog are going to present blog posts in our Cabaret Through Time series. We are going to present historical cabaret singers, performers, venues, writers, and musicians, and will begin to compile a cabaret timeline. We hope that you find it informative, and that you enjoy it!
Mary Cleere Haran–A Cabaret Artist
Today’s focus is on a modern cabaret artist, the cabaret entertainer Mary Cleere Haran. I need to begin by saying I never had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Haran or seeing her sing in person; there are others who have certainly done so. However, in what I have been able to find regarding her cabaret career online, she was highly regarded as a cabaret entertainer before her untimely, accidental death in 2011. I do not claim to be an expert on her work; however, listening to her sing inspires me as a performer, and I would like to share a bit about some of the performances she gave. This is not a complete list, but only what I could find available about her work as mentioned and reported online.
Stephen Holden of The New York Times describes Ms. Haran as singing with a, “simple, unaffected pop-jazz style.” In the same article, he mentions that she did two tribute shows to Lorenz Hart.
- In 2002 she performed her show, ”Falling in Love With Love: The Rodgers and Hart Story,” which included ”Baby’s Awake Now” and ”I Need Some Cooling Off,” ”Ten Cents a Dance,” ”The Lady Is a Tramp,” and ”It Never Entered My Mind.” This was the second of her two tribute shows to Hart.
- Her 2003 show, according to Mr. Holden, was ”My Shining Hour: Movie Songs and Love in the 1940′s.” Songs from this set included, ”I Remember You,” ”But Beautiful,” ”My Shining Hour” and ”Moonlight Becomes You,” as well as “Don’t Fence Me In.”
- Haran’s 2005 show was called “Lullaby of Broadway: The Harry Warren Songbook.” This show included “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Jeepers Creepers,” as well as “Artists and Models,” “42nd Street,” and closed with “Remember My Forgotten Man.”
- She did a show in 2007 featuring the songs of Doris Day (Ms. Haran actually had the opportunity to interview Ms. Day, which was used in a PBS documentary on Day.) In the Doris Day show, Ms. Haran included songs such as, “Shakin’ The Blues Away,” “Shanghai,” “Day By Day,” “Why Can’t I” and “Little Girl Blue,” the latter two also by Rogers and Hart, and more, such as Day’s iconic “Que Sera, Sera” and “Toyland.”
- In 2008 she did a show called “Mad About Manhattan,” which included “Pennies From Heaven,” as well as the Rogers and Hart song, “Way Out West.”
- She did a show in 2009 in tribute to the great lyricist, Johnny Mercer, which included “Blues In The Night”. This particular show ended with a medley of “Moon River” and “The Days Of Wine And Roses.”
- Mr. Holden also mentions that she did a show called “An Affair To Remember.”
Ms. Haran sang at the Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel, Feinsteins, as well as The Ballroom and many other cabaret venues.
There are only brief name mentions of her on Wikipedia, but unfortunately not a page devoted to her life and work. Neither could I find an artist website for her. There is a page on Facebook, however. And she also recorded several albums. As of this posting, there is not a biography written about her; there is, however, a beautiful photograph of her in The Cabaret Artist’s Handbook, by Bob Harrington, edited by Sherry Eaker.
The best online place to see examples of Ms. Haran’s cabaret work appears to be on You Tube. Several songs that she sang are available to see there. I would like to share a few that I particularly enjoy.
“On The Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe”:
And her version of “Glowworm”:
Her gorgeous voice, particularly in its lower register, shines in this version of “Blue Room”:
And although I have posted this video in an earlier post, it seemed a shame not to reprise it here–”Cuba”:
If you knew Ms. Haran or had opportunity to see her perform, please leave a comment below and tell us about it–I would love to hear from you and what you have to contribute to this post!
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Weekly Post Lineup At McElrath Cabaret:
Tuesdays: Cabaret Tip Tuesday
Wednesdays: Ask A Cabaret Question
Thursdays: Featured Cabaret Blog, Website, Performer
Fridays: Cabaret Through Time