TheaterScene.net Cabaret Honors:
A First Annual List
By John Hoglund
Posted on February 23, 2015

Annie Hughes: Outstanding Comeback Showcase (Don’t Tell Mama)

The late cabaret critic Bob Harrington (Back Stage/NY Post) once said that, among other things, cabaret is all about comebacks. With few exceptions, not many are remembered with such love as Annie Hughes who has always been an exception. After a full recuperation from delicate spinal surgery in her (reclaimed) hometown in Wisconsin, her SRO one-nighter at Don’t Tell Mama had everything that makes this milieu unique. So much, that for over an hour, she single-handedly delivered what can only be described as one the most entertaining, trenchant and heartfelt  returns since another great soprano, Barbara Cook faced her fears and took the cabaret world by storm after a long absence in 1979, reinvented herself and let the world see her warts and all at Brothers and Sisters on West 46th Street. Annie Hughes has those same interpretive qualities  that brought Broadway’s iconic ingenue back to prominence and a post-Broadway career that still astonishes today – at 87. If she so chooses, this brilliant soprano who can break more than a glass, is capable of cracking any ceiling with the power of her voice – and talent. Her loose show was  extraordinary in its songs, depth, sharp comedy asides and thought-provoking skill that moved an appreciative audience. Audible sobs mixing with hysterical laughter were the norm throughout this exceptional show. Hopefully, she will share these gifts more frequently. She has the stuff to give cabaret a needed boost. It’s not just about remembering some glitter and be gay moments. This lady has too much going to stay away. Times Like This was a masterclass in getting it right.

My Best/Favorite 20 Shows & Performances of 2014
By Stephen Hanks
Posted January 21, 2015

Annie Hughes, Times Like This . . .

As a relative newbie to the New York cabaret scene, I didn't know anything about Annie Hughes when some performers insisted I attend her one-off show at Don't Tell Mama in early October. When it was over I was wishing I'd seen this Award-winning singer/actress during her years-ago prime because her present, frankly, was pretty terrific. Now living in Wisconsin, only a couple of months before this totally charming show, Hughes faced spinal surgery with a titanium plate inserted in her neck. It must have made her a bionic singer, as her performance (with Daryl Kojak on piano and Ritt Henn on bass) was inspirational, as well as musically sublime.

By Stephen Hanks
Posted December 26th, 2014

Annie Hughes, Times Like This . . . , Don't Tell Mama

If there was a BWW award for "Most Inspirational Performance of the Year," this New York cabaret veteran who now lives in Wisconsin would win it hands down. Last July, Hughes underwent spinal surgery and had a titanium plate inserted in her neck. A couple of months later she was on the stage at DTM (with her go-to band of Musical Director Daryl Kojak and bassist Ritt Henn), charming an extremely supportive audience that loved having her back. While she may no longer be the power soprano she was in her prime, Hughes' voice is still pretty formidable and expressive and she held the room spellbound from her opener on Jason Robert Brown's "I'm Not Afraid of Anything." Hughes' rendition of "My Favorite Things," was haunting, her "Laziest Gal in Town," a total hoot, and her "Defying Gravity" finale just perfect. It was simply a bravura performance. Come back soon, Annie.