Isaac Mizrahi brings queen-sized show to Café Carlyle

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“Isaac Mizrahi: Queen Size” comes to the cabaret stage of the Café Carlyle in New York
“Isaac Mizrahi: Queen Size” comes to the cabaret stage of the Café Carlyle in New York

Fashion designer to host new cabaret show in NYC

The stage at the Café Carlyle in New York has been graced by legends such as Bobby Short, George Feyer, Eartha Kitt, Judy Collins, and Elaine Stritch. Opening in 1955, it is quintessential New York. Issac Mizrahi will take his new cabaret show, “Issac Mizrahi: Queen Size” to the stage of the Café Carlyle in true New York fashion. The show will open February 5, and run until the 16th.

Isaac Mizrahi is an American fashion designer and judge on Project Runway All Stars. He hosted his own talk show, has acted in live theater, movies, and television. Mizrahi is also a producer, singer and writer. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York. At the young age of eight, he was impersonating Barbara Streisand, Judy Garland, and Liza Minelli for his family. He attended the High School of Performing Arts and Parsons School for Design in New York.

There was never a time where he didn’t have a club gig. In the 1990s he started performing at tiny clubs in the Village. Then in 2000 he did his one man show, which lasted a year. Mizrahi started performing regularly at Joe’s Pub in New York. He said, “performing at the Café Carlyle is a dream. We always kind of worshipped and adored those performers.” His first show at the Café Carlyle, Does this Song Make me Look Fat? opened in January of 2017.

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Mizrahi met his current musical director, Ben Waltzer through his best friend’s musical director in the late 1990s. Ben Waltzer’s jazz ensemble will be on stage with Mizrahi. He started working with Ben and it all came together because “he isn’t an accompanist as much as he is a musician,” he said.

The cabaret music has a huge range of styles and artists

The songs for Mizrahi’s show are all new, and range from Leonard Bernstein to James Taylor. He said he doesn’t choose the songwriter as much as the song and what they mean to him at the moment. Mizrahi said “if you would have told me when I was a little kid that that I could possibly sing certain songs with no irony in it, I would have laughed. I am doing “I Feel Pretty” which is the greatest song in the world, and I’m doing it with little irony. That’s a song I thought I would never be able to do, but now it seems perfectly natural for me to stand on stage and do that song.”

Mizrahi doesn’t have a favorite musical genre. He is considered a jazz musician but doesn’t see the way that he sings “as jazz”. “I think of it as music. There is no alternative as to that kind of singing for me,” he said. All of his idols are jazz singers and he grew up listening to Streisand, Judy Garland and Nina Simone.

Doing a live cabaret is the “funnest, easiest thing to do,” he said. “The biggest challenge is turning it from something really terrifying to this incredible something. If I just get on stage, that’s all, I’m fine.” He added, “It’s all the moments leading up to getting on the stage that are so fraught with terrible stage fright and self-doubt.”

Doing a cabaret act changes with every audience

Mizrahi said of all the different things he has done, these cabaret shows are the most interesting. “For me it is one of the most interesting possible jobs. It is more interesting than committing something to memory and repeating it night after night.” Doing a cabaret act changes with every audience, at every show.

He hopes the audience has fun, laughs, and forgets what’s on their minds for the night. “Of course, in every single show there is a different meaning. The show at the Carlyle is more autobiographical. I hope that people take away from that show there is a new irony.” Mizrahi is an open book and will talk to his audience about everything from politics to sex — and prescription drugs in between.

Starting in March, Mizrahi will be taking his show on tour. He said he doesn’t know how he juggles it all. “I used to toss it off and say that I have a lot of energy.” He said that lately his schedule is very rigorous, especially with all the traveling. “But in the end, it is incredibly gratifying and also incredibly engrossing. It’s not that you’re exhausted and can’t wait for it to be over, you can’t wait for the next thing because it’s equally compelling.”

I am certain his audience will find his new show compelling. It is a glimpse into such a humble yet multi-talented artist.

Besides his cabaret act, Mizrahi has written a memoir, I.M.: A Memoir which is coming out Feb. 26, 2019. He will be incorporating the book into his tour. For more information on tickets go to Cafecarlylenewyork.com

Follow Isaac Mizrahi on Facebook or twitter @IsaacMizrahi.