Sonja Morgan performed her hotly anticipated Caburlesque at a special charity benefit at the East Hampton Studio alongside cabaret performers Speakeasy Moderne on Friday June 14. Beside over 40 Broadway singers, dancers and actors Sonja performed a special skit in the spirit of Cabaret which she both wrote and produced especially for the event. Co-hosted by Sonja’s event company Sonja In The City, Steve Carl’s Carlyle Off The Green, Michael Wudyka of East Hampton Studio and “Official” Hank Stampfl of Speakeasy Moderne the night was to benefit David Kilmnick’s Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth (LIGALY) GLBT youth center.
The audience whooped and cheered to Sonja’s performance which contained some witty and risqué lines such as: “Just 'cause I married JPM, you thought this pucker was lined with gold & thought I’d be left holding the bag. But... this bank is closed!” And: ‘I wanna leave the juice joint at 2 and wake up with a 10, not wake up at 10 with a 2 !”
Above: Sonja rehearses her skit before the show. Click here to watch another of Sonja's performances on WWHL with Andy Cohen!
Over 500 people were there for the show, including Real Housewives stars Carole Radziwill, Aviva Drescher, Countess LuAnn De Lesseps and Heather Thompson who got into the spirit of speakeasy by donning pearls and Twenties inspired styles in support of their cast mate. Also in attendance was producer Arlene Lazare, a good friend of both Sonja and Cabaret legend Liza Minelli.
Describing her motivation to perform Sonja says: “I'm telling my story because I do feel other people's pain and I enjoy making people forget their troubles even if it’s just for a short time with my self-deprecating humor. I can laugh at myself."
Getting a style that was befitting the event was crucial. As Sonja explains: “the look was to be Vaudeville a la Moulin Rouge. I think we achieved that. I had my friend, drag queen Adriana La Glam help me with that and Dex my make-up artist portrayed that brilliantly. If it's another way that I can bring attention to my philanthropic endeavors I'm going to use it.
Above: Backstage Sonja gets ready with make-up artist Dex.
It was another successful event that Sonja in the City has hosted for charity. In the past the event company has also benefited charities close to Sonja’s heart such as the Rusk Pediatric Centre.
Remarking on the audience’s reaction to the show, Sonja said: Everyone said they enjoyed themselves. Even my cast mates! Can you imagine? Even they had only kind words. I couldn't be happier with the results. Supporting the arts and LIGALY Youth Center is right up my alley and I personally need the creative outlet. It's in my DNA.
Above: Sonja is a passionate supporter of LGBT causes.
When asked to comment on some of the negative press Sonja remarked: “Any comments made about me personally by people who don't know me are directed at an image. Nothing more. If that makes someone feel better and it quells their pain for a short time then so be it. That's part of being in the entertainment industry. I have to rise above that.”
Sonja says it would be her dream to take this show to Broadway/off Broadway but the bright lights of Vegas are calling too! After being invited to perform at XL in New York at The Out Hotel she is always looking for an excuse to visit casino bigwig friends and perform in Sin City, and has had previous offers. Sonja has been performing her productions impromptu at friends homes and at charity events for years and enjoys entertaining in general.
While Sonja draws inspiration from Cabaret vocabulary and Thirties slang she is also drawn to legendary performers with showmanship and style for further inspiration: “ I loved watching Eartha Kitt sing and Woody Allen play his sax at the Carlyle. I adore Gianni Russo at The Four Seasons. Deana Martin at The Regency. Lady Bunny! Hello Dolly. Little Edie of Grey Gardens. Mae West. Gypsy Lee Rose. There is nothing like show business! My idols are strong independent saavy women with passion who know how to work with what they have! Chanel, Diana Vreeland, Julia Child and Wallis Simpson to name a few!”