Fears of ‘classical cabaret’ buffs that the new regime at West End nightspot Crazy Coqs – to be retitled Live At Zedel when reopening after the August recess – were going for a complete change of direction proved somewhat wide of the mark when the first September-to-December programme was announced this week.
Olivier Award winner Maria Friedman is booked in for a week in November and exciting young American star Carole J Bufford, first introduced a couple of years ago by the outgoing host Ruth Leon – who moves on to pastures new at The Pheasantry – is down for a week in early October.
But there is to be a major revamp under new artistic director Scott Alan, the New York singer-songwriter so popular now in London, with something for everybody including jazz, comedy, classical music and themed weeks for foodies, fashion and book lovers.
An early weekly treat for customers coming in straight from work will be Coq-tails and Conversations with musical theatre stars talking to noted critic Mark Shenton – Rachel Tucker and Shoshana Bean are first up at 5pm on 2 September.
New talent will be greatly encouraged and, for those fancying a late-night twirl, the tables will be moved back for dancing to a jazz group at 11pm on some nights.
There’s also going to be jazz in the Brasserie Zedel itself from 9.30pm, entertaining customers while they eat at the subterranean Sherwood Street retreat in Piccadilly.
Zedel supremo Jeremy King explains: “In the four years Crazy Coqs has been open, it gained many accolades and much recognition for bringing ‘classical cabaret’ back to London in a glamorous setting unlike any other in the capital.
“Such has been the appetite for live performance in this very intimate venue that we felt it was time to broaden our horizons to encompass the entire building and showcase a wider range of talent.
“While maintaining the cabaret genre, Live At Zedel will introduce classical music in the form of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s residency, diverse acts such as Doc Brown and Grayson Perry, emerging young artists and theatre groups such as Damsel Productions, Dolls Eye and Althea Theatres, and a whole host of incredible live music, from Clare Teal to Reuben James.”
Overseeing the programming will be Alex Fane of United Agents who returns to the Zedel fold after being a very young manager of the room as Ruth Leon’s assistant in the early years.
For those wanting more after Shenton and company on 2 September, West End Coqs: Your Late Night Backstage Pass moves in at 9.30pm, hosted by Julie Atherton and Simon Lipkin.
This is billed as “an unprecedented take on the open mic night. There will new and established talent to watch, giveaways and speciality cocktails”.
X Factor winner Matt Cardle and another reality TV graduate La Voix join the line-up and Spanish singer-pianist Joan Vazquez will be performing Stephen Sondheim songs on 15 October in a one-off, immediately following the Friedman residency.
Miss Hope Springs, long a Crazy Coqs favourite, and Denim are among a long list of recognisable names carded for the first three months with entertainment of one sort of another on tap from mid-afternoon until past midnight on many days.