Review: “Rev. Mary’s Blues Jam” at the West End Lounge

Anthony J. Piccione

  • New York City Critic

So…I saw a cabaret show this past weekend. The interesting thing about this one, though, is that I was invited to (and allowed to go to) a cabaret show that wasn’t necessarily musical theatre oriented. (At least, not beyond the pre-show music, anyway.) Rather, this was a show that felt like much more of a straight-up, old-school blues jam, as theatrical as it may have still been. I’m talking, of course, about Rev. Mary’s Blues Jam, Mary Micari’s acclaimed, constantly running blues-cabaret show here in NYC.

Set in the intimate West End Lounge located on the Upper West Side, Micari is dressed in full costume. While her outfit apparently varies (as she points out in the show, she usually has blonde hair, as well), she donned a green dress and red hair, in light of the recent holiday, and was backed by a band of musicians with plenty of skill and experience, including some whom are mainstays of the indie theatre scene. The lyrics of the songs she sings tend to have plenty of innuendo, but they’re also clever, in that they’re more metaphorical and not totally blatant. She takes the time to explain the history behind each song, most of which are from the mid-20th century, and each one seemed to be one that the audience enjoyed.

That was just the first portion of the night, though. On the particular night I attended, it happened to be Open Mic night, so there were also quite a few musicians up there whom I want to bring up in this review. Emmy Pai, Mario Claudio, A.C. Weingarten, and Alan Lighty were just a few local singers and musicians who played a range of both covers and original music over the span of about an hour, keeping the overall audience engaged and entertaining non-stop.

It’s a fun show, and it’s a good event to relax and enjoy while enjoying some decent food and drinks that are – while quite pricy, for someone on my budget – another quality aspect about the event. Obviously, given the dirty lyrics of the songs performed by Micari and her guests, I can’t recommend it for everyone. However, for those of us who are adults – particularly those who enjoy music from a certain era – it’s certainly worth a trip to the UWS. The show runs every month, often at the West End Lounge, and I recommend it for anyone looking for some old-school musical fun on the weekends, and for when there’s Open Mic, I’d especially recommend for any musicians looking to join in.

 For more information of “Rev. Mary’s Blues Jam”, please visit