On Wednesdays, Michael Mott & Friends light up the stage at The Astor Room, the historic venue that has seen the likes of Gloria Swanson, George Burns and Mary Pickford.
While Mott and his group of friends are extremely talented, their show is meant to be in an informal setting. It’s kind of like hanging out with your insanely talented friends as they perform in your living room.
The venue itself is beautiful with an elegant charm which is brought out by the lighting and sound setup.
“For the show, my friends and I tell stories, we tell jokes and we sing,” Mott said. “I come from the Broadway world so the show features a lot of my friends from Broadway who have a night off from their show or aren’t in a show right now and they come down. It’s very off the cusp and almost improvised but the songs are rehearsed songs.”
While Mott performs shows entitled “Michael Mott and Friends” around Manhattan & the rest of the country with his original music, The Astor Room residency features more classic hits and works by his friends while he hosts it all.
On Wednesday, August 31, The Astor Club will feature the third monthly cabaret show, which takes place during the last week of the month. Performers include Daniel Asset, Christian Chambers, Olivia Gjurich, Ron Orlovsky, Leah Dubbin Steckel, Jackey Goode, Chris D'Amico, Daniel Carrasquillo and Brianne Wylie.
During the show, Mott chooses up-and-coming singers and lets them sing two songs each, typically a popular song off the radio or a song that they would audition with. When the guests get on stage, Mott turns from songwriter to interviewer which enables the audience to get to know each performer better.
The Wednesday shows throughout the rest of the month are a bit more relaxed and features a different aesthetic because Mott usually introduces some of his really good friends.
“There are so many opportunities so I’m looking into other options as well,” Mott said.
Mott’s a songwriter by trade, and he’s doing a night in October that features solely songwriters.
“I’ll have them tell the stories behind the songs which will be very cool,” Mott said. “And I’m also making them sing. That’s what’s cool about having songwriters tell the story of how they wrote the song.”
Instead of having a great singer perform the song, the audience will be able to see it in its raw form.
“Having a writer sing their song shows so much than with a vocalist because you see what the writer was going for when they wrote it,” he said.
On September 7, Lindsey Mader of Broadway’s Les Miserables and actress and singer Lori Tishfield, will join Mott and Adam Rennie of Broadway’s Next to Normal, Oklahoma, Sweeney Todd and The Producers. Brent Frederick, a Broadway pianist, is a lovely addition to the show each week.
Performing at The Astor Room isn’t an opportunity many people get, and Mott is incredibly grateful for performing in the legendary space.
It’s also apparent that the venue has much faith in him. When the recording studio, the largest on the east coast, closed down two months ago, Mott’s show was given one of the pianos instead of it being sold for $150,000 to a buyer in California. The recording studio and instruments had been used by everyone from Lady Gaga to Tony Bennett to the Beauty and the Beast remake, which was the last project recorded in the studio, Mott said.
For more information on Mott, his shows and the venue, visit MichaelMott.net and Astorroom.com. Each show starts at 8 p.m. The Astor Room is located at 35-11 35th Ave in Astoria.