Like Frances Faye, the 20th century lesbian nightclub icon who paved the way before her, Terese Genecco is an entertainer’s entertainer. She’s got the accolades—though not the ego—to prove it.
An award-winning singer and bandleader, Genecco (above center) performs two live shows on the last Tuesday of every month at The Iridium NYC, one of the world’s best purveyors of live jazz. No two shows are ever the same: she regularly hosts special guest stars and pulls veteran Broadway performers and fellow singers onto the stage for a tune or two with the band. OutMusic Award jazz nominee Shaynee Rainbolt and Broadway star Rosemary Loar performed at a recent December show. Iridium staff members are also in the bullseye. General Manager Scott Barbarino, a performer in his own right and president of ScoBar Entertainment, is often a part of the act. Fellow musicians and performers are legion among her fans and always in the audience—perhaps secretly hoping next time will be their turn.
A dynamic performer who packs an outsize personality and a spiffy dark suit and tie onto her compact frame, Genecco is not afraid to put her lesbian self out there. She routinely acknowledges the lovely ladies in the audience—and is known to riff on her own relationship mishaps and musical misadventures. She curates her show from a wide array of songbooks including Frances Faye, Rat Packers like Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin, and early Elvis Presley. With inspired backup from band member Mayra Casales on percussion, Genecco isn’t afraid to tackle complex Latin arrangements.
Her sparkling banter chimes perfectly with her backing musicians and Genecco easily holds court on the stage, to the delight of her longtime fans and newcomers. But Genecco isn’t a musical emcee: as the director of her own eight-piece band, she’s the ringleader of a retro-cool nightclub act with the longest open-ended run on Broadway. It’s won critical praise from Time Out New York, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
A cut from Genecco’s MAC Award-winning debut CD, Drunk with Love: A Tribute To Frances Faye, earned her a well-deserved 2009 OutMusic Award for Best Cabaret/Theatre/Comedy Song. She has been nominated for three separate 2010 OutMusic Awards and honored with statues and plaques from a host of musical organizations on both coasts. But who’s really counting? Her performances speak for themselves.
Visit teresegenecco.com for upcoming show dates, times and venues.