long bio short bio
STEVE ROSS rose to fame as a cabaret entertainer during his lengthy sojourns at New York’s fabled Algonquin Hotel and Ted Hook’s Backstage in the late 1970’s. He has spent the ensuing decades singing and playing in smart clubs and swank parties all over the world. The Ritz in London, the Crillon in Paris and the Imperial Hotel Tokyo, in addition to festivals in Hong Kong, Perth and Spoleto – these are but highlights of Steve’s appearances on six continents. On the airwaves Steve has been the performer/host for radio series for both the BBC and National Public Radio. In 1992 he was voted outstanding singer-instrumentalist by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets. Also in that year Steve made his Off-Broadway debut in his own tribute to Fred Astaire, I WON’T DANCE. He continues to tour in solo concerts, master classes, theatrical engagements and symphonic Pops appearances.
During the past decade, Steve has been presented by Barry Mishon and co-starred with Sheridan Morley and Patricia Hodge at London’s Pizza on the Park in musical salutes to Noel Coward, Gertrude Lawrence, Jack Buchanan and other transatlantic legends. In 1997 he made his Broadway debut in the acclaimed revival of Noel Coward’s PRESENT LAUGHTER, performing at the keyboard as well as portraying the role of Fred, the Cockney valet, opposite Frank Langella. In 1996, he hosted and performed in HOLLYWOOD ON THE HUDSON, a delightful outdoor series at Battery Park and appeared with the brilliant stride pianist Judy Carmichael in COLE PORTER MEETS FATS WALLER at Tavern on the Green. July of 1997 found Steve atop the city at RAINBOW & STARS, with a modified version of I WON’T DANCE, directed by Susan Claassen, featuring an ensemble of New York’s most talented singer/performers. Stephen Holden of the New York Times hailed Steve as “…the suavest of all male cabaret performers.”
Following that, a fully staged theatrical production of I WON’T DANCE ran for ten weeks at the Ordway Theater in St. Paul, MN – excerpts were featured on Garrison Keillor’s PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION, the Nationally syndicated APR radio program. Steve then returned for his fourth visit to St. Louis’ Grandel Theater to present STEVE ROSS IN HOLLYWOOD and HOORAY FOR LOVE. The Fall of 1998 found Steve and co-star Karen Murphy in a new show for Peter Ligeti’s In Performance Series at New York’s Kaufman Theatre, entitled L’AMOUR, THE MERRIER!
It was around this time that Steve began working with the brilliant young English director, Duncan Knowles whom he had met at the Pizza on the Park in London when he (Duncan) had been brought there by his aunt, Joan Hirst, Noel Coward’s last secretary. Duncan has directed and collaborated with Steve on almost all of his subsequent shows with special, significant results in those featuring the songs of Kander & Ebb, Stephen Sondheim and Alan Jay Lerner.
In 1999 one of their signal efforts together, SET TO MUSIC: STEVE ROSS CELEBRATES NOEL COWARD was presented at Manhattan’s Firebird Café. Before the year was out, he participated in similar Coward centenary celebrations at Carnegie Hall and the Savoy Theatre in London. In the summer of 1999 Steve returned to the famous St. Louis MUNY (seating 12,000) to star in THE MUNY GOES BRITISH, directed by Paul Blake.
Highlights of 2000 included several appearances in Palm Beach, including one at the famous Colony Hotel, preferred by people such as Porter and Coward on their trips south. He and Judy brought STRIDE WITH STYLE Hollywood’s CINEGRILL in July and then to the QEII. In August of that year Steve made his debut at the PLUSH ROOM in San Francisco. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote: “Attending a Ross performance is like opening a treasure chest of great, often rare, songs. No one performing today is his equal. They just don’t make ‘em like this anymore.” Then it was his annual performance at the Hammer Auditorium in Washington’s prestigious Corcoran Gallery of Art, followed by two weeks at the glamorous new BARETTO’S in Sao Paulo and shows for the premiere season of the new cabaret space connected with the Austin (TX) Music Theatre.
2002 took Steve back to the Plush Room and to three mid-Western cities, Indianapolis, Detroit and Cincinnati, where he performed as part of an exciting, new symphonic program called THE POPS GOES BRITISH, under the baton of the celebrated conductor, Jack Everly. In August, Steve headed down to Santa Fe to perform his Porter and Rodgers shows at Santa Fe Stages returning for three performances at the fabled Caramoor Music Festival in New York. Then he flew south to Brazil for two weeks at the Club Baretto in Sao Paulo and one in Rio de Janeiro, where he was hailed as “the cabaret master of New York!”
In November of 2002, Steve opened to rave reviews at the swank supper club at the Stanhope Park Hyatt Hotel. In January of 2003 he joined forces with Broadway legend Peter Howard and the peerless society pianist Peter Mintun for special two-piano engagements at that hotel he went back in the Spring with AN AMERICAN IN PARIS.
In June of 2003, Steve had the pleasure of returning for the first time in many years to Australia where he took pleasure in his role as musical ambassador to venues in Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide and Melbourne - and then return engagements in Sao Paulo and Rio.
His show, MY MANHATTAN (Stanhope Park Hyatt, Autumn, 2003) prompted Stephen Holden of the New York Times to call him “…the quintessence of old-style urbanity.” He took that show to Pizza on the Park in February of 2004. In the course of this engagement he performed a special salute to Noel Coward for the Noel Coward Society. Steve took his fourth Stanhope show, RHYTHM AND ROMANCE to a four city tour of Australia in June of 2004 where one critic dubbed him “A master showman.” Steve returned to the New York theatre scene in November of that year with a reprise of his two-piano Fred Astaire show – this time for a five week run at one of the most desirable of the newer off-Broadway venues, 59 East 59th St.
In the first part of 2005, Steve made a return to the Pizza on the Park and gave two highly successful illustrated (by song) lectures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art – one on the songs of Noel Coward, the other on the songs of Jerome Kern and appeared at a special event for the 8th International Art Deco Congress – a party in the lobby of the Chrysler Building on the 75th anniversary of the opening of that remarkable edifice. In November, he was the first cabaret artist to appear at one of St. Louis’s finest restaurants, Chez Leon and on December 12th, he performed and hosted a party in the Algonquin’s Oak Room for the dedication of a new suite of rooms to Noel Coward.
January 2006 brought Steve to Wichita to sing and talk about Cole Porter in the highly-regarded Words and Music series. April found him in Genesee Depot, Wisconsin at Ten Chimneys – house/museum of the legendary Lunts where he performed a program on the piano played by, among others, Noel Coward. In the Spring Steve was joined by a jazz combo for a new, jazzy look at the songs of Fred Astaire entitled Fred! In June Steve returned to the Met Museum to lecture on and perform the songs of Dietz & Schwartz and then Rodgers & Hart.
In September of 2006, Steve was asked to participate in a conference at Oxford examining the works of Noel Coward. Then he had the honor to be the first American cabaret artist ever to appear at the Paris Ritz. In October he re-joined Judy Carmichael for an engagement at Feinstein’s at the Regency. Steve gave his fifth lecture/concert at the Metropolitan Museum – AMERICANS IN PARIS.
2007 also found Steve appearing with cabaret legend Julie Wilson in a Musical Chairs presentation at the Annenberg Theatre in Palm Springs which was followed by an enthusiastically received show of the music of Stephen Sondheim at the Jermyn Street Theater in London in February as part of the American Songbook in London series. He later presented the same show at the Hotel Algonquin’s fabled Oak Room (which he had re-opened in 1981). Then it was off to Amsterdam and Delft for salon concerts followed by a visit to Spain where he laid the groundwork for future performances.
In February he helped inaugurate a new series in London at the bijou Jermyn Street Theatre, The American Songbook in London, with a reprise of Good Thing Going. Then it was back to the Metropolitan Museum for a evening celebrating the wonderful songs of Vincent Youmans. In June his long-awaited to the fabled Lyrics and Lyricists series occurred in an evening entitled Noel Coward and His Ladies. His ladies for that occasion were drawn from the cream of the crop – from London Patricia Hodge, and from New York Maude Maggart and Nancy Anderson.
The next month he was down in New Orleans at one of the most beautiful and well-run cabaret and jazz rooms around – the Chat Noir in New Orleans.
September brought him after a long absence to the fabled Oak Room in Manhattan where he celebrated a personal triumph with his Sondheim show, attended (and enjoyed) by the great man himself. This was followed by a cruise/crossing on the beautiful P&O liner, the Aurora.
After that he returned to St. Louis, this time to the Sheldon Concert Hall and then to Lynn University in Boca Raton FL for a show entitled Noel and Cole with, as his co-star, the ebullient Jan McArt.
Steve’s first Metropolitan Museum lecture of the year was on The Songs of Stephen Sondheim – with special guests Eric Michal Gillett and Melanie Vaughn. He appeared with one of his favorite co-stars, K.T. Sullivan at the Provincetown Playhouse in the O’Neill Ragtime Revue.
In March it was back to the Jermyn Street Theatre for his second appearance with the American Songbook in London - this time he reprised his TO WIT: ROSS ON WRY (Funny Songs Throughout the Ages).
A special treat was the appearance as musical director and performer with his friend the singer Gregory Moore in a show celebrating and honoring the life and songs of Arthur Tracy, the Street Singer.
In April he joined others from the Mabel Mercer Foundation in a special crossing on the luxurious Regent Seven Seas Voyager from Ft. Lauderdale to Barcelona. Among his fellow performers were Billy Stritch and the redoubtable Marilyn Maye.
May found him at the podium and the piano at the Metropolitan Museum in a fascinating program called Stories in Song. This was followed by a week in his old Sao Paulo haunt, the Barretto Nightclub in the Hotel Fasano. In June he returned to the beautiful Ten Chimneys in Genesse Depot, WI, the restored home of the legendary acting couple Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne.
An Australian tour followed with performances in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney. Subsequently, under the producing banner of Samuel Joseph and Duncan Knowles, he was able to reprise his Sondheim show at the Pizza on the Park.
For four weeks in January Steve made a big impression with his newest musical creation, a show entitled “I REMEMBER HIM WELL, THE SONGS OF ALAN JAY LERNER” which he then took to the Pizza on the Park in March under the banner of “The American Songbook in London.” This show, in an expanded version with guest singers was the basis for his two Met Lectures of the season.
Before that in February, he joined forces with Billy Stritch and writer Barry Day to present a Johnny Mercer lecture/performance at the Kravis Center in W. Palm Beach. While in Florida, he had the distinct and exciting pleasure of participating as a singer, pianist and narrator of a new show featuring the music of Edith Piaf entitled PIAF: HER LIFE, LOVERS AND SONGS starring the dazzling Micheline van Hautem and pianist Guus Westdorp. This represented a return to the theatre at Lynn University under the aegis of Jan McCart.
In April Steve repeated his Lerner program at Pizza on the Park in London as part of the American Songbook in London series.
May brought him as special lecturer/performer to appear at a remarkable exhibit at the Museum of Performance and Design in San Francisco. The exhibit was entitled Star Quality and it celebrated the words, music and life of the inimitable Noel Coward.
In August he performed at what is truly one of the most beautiful and beautifully restored theatres in the America – the Colonial in Pittsfield, MA.
Steve is very happy to be joining his distinguished singing colleagues at LML records for the release of the live recording of the Alan Jay Lerner show.
In the Fall he brought his Lerner program to St. Louis and then joined so many others in various celebrations of the songs of the great Johnny Mercer during his centennial year. He was very happy to be re-united with his glamorous English partner Patricia Hodge for a run at Pizza on the Park followed by a return to the beautiful Le Chat Noir in New Orleans.
January – Hotel Algonquin’s Oak Room PUTTIN’ ON THE RITZ
JANUARY – lecture at the Metropolitan Museum NOEL COWARD IN WORDS AND MUSIC assisting artists: Nicholas King, Sarah Rice, Meredith Rich – The Players Club, New York City AN EVENING HONORING KEVIN SPACEY – Oak Room in the Hotel Algonquin, New York City RHYTHM AND ROMANCE
FEBRUARY – The Pheasantry, London RHYTHM AND ROMANCE – Georgetown University Friday Music Series AN AFTERNOON WITH STEVE ROSS – Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, FL. TEMPLE OF DREAMS - THEATRE SONGS FROM THE WEST END TO BROADWAY devised and narrated by Barry Day, with Klea Blackhurst, Simon Jones and Stephanie Morse.
MARCH – Dallas Woman’s Club.
APRIL – Chez Leon, Clayton, MO. APRIL IN PARIS - SONGS WRITTEN IN AND ABOUT THE CITY OF LIGHT – The Rrazz Room at the Hotel Nikko, San Francisco AN EVENING WITH STEVE ROSS – Metropolitan Room, New York City BRUSH UP THY SHAKESPEARE guest appearance with the Four Nations Ensemble
MAY – The Hudson Opera House, Hudson, NY. FRENCH LESSONS EN CHANSONS Jean Brassard and Steve Ross
JUNE, JULY – touring Australia – Noosa, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney
AUGUST – Rio de Janeiro 11th WORLD CONGRESS ON ART DÉCO – Saratoga Performing Arts Center, NY. PUTTIN’ ON THE RITZ - STEVE ROSS SINGS AND PLAYS FRED ASTAIRE
SEPTEMBER – Israel, THE JERUSALEM INTERNATIONAL CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL - AN EVENING WITH STEVE ROSS
OCTOBER – Bruno Walter Auditorium, Library of Performing Arts, Lincoln Center, NY. SONGS FROM FORGOTTEN MUSICALS - Steve Ross, Musical Director with a Cast of Thousands
NOVEMBER – Sao Paulo, Brazil, Club “A”, Sheraton WTC. – The Pheasantry, London C’MON AND HEAR! STEVE ROSS SINGS AND PLAYS IRVING BERLIN – The Royal Room, The Colony Hotel, Palm Beach, FL. C’MON AND HEAR! STEVE ROSS SINGS AND PLAYS IRVING BERLIN
DECEMBER – Urban Stages Theater, New York City C’MON AND HEAR! STEVE ROSS SINGS AND PLAYS IRVING BERLIN
JANUARY – GREAT JEWISH AMERICAN SONGWRITERS - A Benefit for The Episcopal Actors Guild, co-starring the pre-eminent musical historian Robert Kimball
FEBRUARY – Century Club, NYC. IF LOVE WERE ALL - A Valentine’s Day Revue at the Century Club with artists Edward Herrman, Maureen O’Flynn, Remak Ramsay, Amanda Squitieri – Burchfield Penney Art Center on the campus of Buffalo State College, Buffalo, NY. FROM SALOON TO SALON: TRAVELLING WITH MY PIANO Lecture/Discussion – Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, FL. HE LOVES AND SHE LOVES – A LOVE AFFAIR IN LYRICS devised by Barry Day with fellow artists Anna Bergman, Billy Stritch and Sally Mays – Sanibel Island PUTTIN’ ON THE RITZ – STEVE ROSS CELEBRATES FRED ASTAIRE with Tom Jennings, second pianist, and Brian Cassier, bassist
MARCH – SRI LANKA Amangalla Hotel, Galle
APRIL – Bruno Walter Auditorium, Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, New York City NOEL COWARD - OFF THE RECORD a program of hitherto unrecorded songs by Noel Coward, with assisting artists Jeanne Lehman-French and Lisa Riegel – Paley Center for Media, New York City A CAVALCADE OF COWARD devised and hosted by Barry Day with assisting artists Simon Jones and Nancy Anderson
MAY – Bruno Walter Auditorium, Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, New York City. THE GREAT AMERICAN REVUE IN MUSIC AND DANCE – Metropolitan Room, New York City SPRING IN PARIS guest appearance with Gaele Le Roi and the Four Nations Ensemble. Songs of Satie, Lambert, Brel, Porter, Offenbach, Couperin and more – Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, Fernandina Beach, FL. FRENCH CABARET: UN VOYAGE MUSICAL appearing with the Four Nations Ensemble
JUNE – Assembly Rooms in Devises, Wiltshire, England AN EVENING WITH STEVE ROSS
JULY – Arizona Inn, Tucson, AZ. C’MON AND HEAR – STEVE ROSS SINGS IRVING BERLIN – The Baltic’s Amber Coast CRUISE, St. Petersburg to Copenhagen Aboard Clipper Odyssey – Castles & Collections of the Celtic Isles CRUISE, Edinburgh to Dublin Aboard Clipper Odyssey
AUGUST – Saratoga Performing Arts Center, NY. C’MON AND HEAR – STEVE ROSS SINGS IRVING BERLIN
To review what Steve has been up to more recently please go to the Performance Archives.
Revised September, 2012
long bio short bio
Steve Ross rose to fame as a cabaret entertainer during his lengthy sojourns at New York’s Ted Hook’s Backstage in the late 1970s followed by years of residency at the celebrated Oak Room at the Hotel Algonquin. Steve has long delighted audiences on six continents with his shows celebrating the American Songbook and saluting figures like Noël Coward, Cole Porter, Stephen Sondheim, Johnny Mercer and Alan Jay Lerner. He was on the Concerts and Lecture roster at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for eight years, and has also hosted radio series on the BBC and NPR. In 1992, he starred off-Broadway in “I Won’t Dance - Steve Ross Sings and Plays Fred Astaire.” He made his Broadway debut in the revival of Noël Coward’s “Present Laughter,” playing the cockney valet and performing at the keyboard. In 2000, following Steve’s debut at The Plush Room, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: “Attending a Ross performance is like opening a treasure chest of great, often rare, songs. No one performing today is his equal. They just don’t make ’em like this anymore.” He was hailed by the New York Times as “the suavest of all male cabaret performers,” and by the Times of London “the smoothest cabaret act in the world.”
Indeed, it would be difficult to identify a major composer in the American Popular Songbook canon whose works have eluded Mr. Ross’ delightful performance attentions. In light of this reality, in March, 2015, Steve was presented with a MAC Lifetime Achievement Award, a singular honor reflecting his extraordinarily diverse and longstanding contributions to the cabaret genre worldwide. Steve’s current projects include preparing a theatre piece about Cole Porter and touring with the newly formed Steve Ross Orchestra. Visit www.steveross.net .
Revised March, 2016