A Tribute To Marie’s Crisis [VIDEO]

From the American Theatre Wing comes a tribute to Manhattan’s famed singalong showtune bar. Clip recap:

“Welcome to Marie’s Crisis, where showtunes come to die!” Come inside the historic piano bar in the West Village devoted exclusively to showtunes. Erected on the spot Thomas Paine died, Marie’s Crisis Cafe has spent the last four decades as an oasis for the musical theatre lover. Whether it’s Gershwin, Loesser, Menken or Brown, gather around the bar and belt out your favorite Broadway standard.

(Via Towleroad)

  • Jeffrey

    I love a showtune. I love a showtune bar. I love a showtune singalong. Im officially out of the closet.

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  • Michael Rush

    things that occupy no space in my brain :

    • Ragnar Lothbrok

      and jesus

    • JCF

      Heh, you’ve neatly described my brain in thirds! “Different strokes” yada-yada…

  • ElenorRigby

    What’s Big and Tall and goes “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1”?

    that big handsome bear bursting into a show tune while flapping his wrists around like Josephine Baker.

  • bkmn

    Why do I have a feeling Joe has gone there once or twice?

  • StSean

    Man, I desperately wanted to go while I was at NYCC, but I was just so exhausted at the end of each day that another trip downtown sounded nightmarish. Now I’m kicking myself for that weakness.

  • Macbill

    Fantastic! I wish we had one here in Portland, OR. Heck, maybe one exists, for all I know. I don’t drink. I think it’s a great business model for any large metro area.

  • unsavedheathen

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!! I’m SO there next trip to NYC.

    Also, can we please have universal dental care???

    • londonbuddy

      And people mock us Brits….

      • unsavedheathen


  • Diogenes

    There used to be another wonderful piano bar in the Village called “The Duplex.”

    You had to go down a flight of stairs, in an old townhouse. Beer and wine only. Always packed.

    • Readen Reply

      The Duplex lost it’s long term lease next to Marie’s in the 80s and moved to the corner of Sheridan Square on the same block as Stonewall and is still going strong.

      • David Walker

        Is that the one that’s on “The Big Gay Musical”? Because this one doesn’t look familiar.

    • Diggy

      The Duplex was THE PLACE in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Jerry and Amy rocked that room.

  • justmeeeee

    Check out the mirror/mural behind the bar depicting scenes from the French Revolution. A guy I know who was a bartender there told me that in the 1970’s (when he worked there) the Metropolitan tried to acquire the mirror and the owner said no…

  • Readen Reply

    1980s, first night out in NYC underage and my 21yr old tour guides brought me into Maries. Inside one of them whispered in my ear “That’s Stephen Sondheim sitting in the corner” I was like “who?” (silly twink). Then spent the night making out with the cocktail waiter. Ah the old days.

  • Claude Jacques Bonhomme

    For some reason, I am reminded of the old furniture commercial, where the sweet old lady says: “I just love those werewolf show tunes” (instead of “I just love those warehouse showrooms”). Couldn’t find the clip online, unfortunately.

    • David Walker

      I will say it has possibilities. Onstage transformations might be a little tough, but would be fun.

  • David Walker

    Glad I don’t live anywhere NYC or I’d be there all the time. Show tunes + Southern sours = heaven. I got the Broadway gene bad!

  • StSean

    Does anyone remember the full lyrics to the Do-Re-Mi parody which started:

    Joe, a queer, a financier;
    Ray was masculine but poor.
    ________ a former Mouseketeer,
    ________ a boy right off the farm….

  • Now Anon

    I lived on the same block as Marie’s during the summer of 1989. Such a fabulous spot and perfect for a pick-me-up.

    I took this pic a couple of years ago:

  • Oh, Joe – you owe me for the moment of panic when I assumed this meant the place was closing . I can’t count all the nights there in the ’80s and ’90s when I was a gay young Manhattanite. The great Adam on the piano playing “Blue Champagne”; Albert the coloratura waiter breaking out into a terrifying and fabulous Jeannette MacDonald impression (those high notes on “San Francisco”!). And ample cheap drinks and cheaper company.

    Just down the street, of course, was the usual evening’s earlier stop, the Five Oaks, home to the immortal Miss Marie Blake and some surprisingly good, extremely retro supper-club-style food. And ’round the corner not too far away, 88s, slightly glossier, a younger and preppier bunch on the whole, home to Karen and Rochelle and a host of other great singers, staff and clientele alike. It all felt, in words from a song popular at all three joints, like our little corner of the sky.

    Now that I think about it, that moment of panic was worth it for the nostalgia-daze I’ll be in for the rest of the afternoon. Time to put on some Marcovicci, Akers, and Barbara Cook records and remember (it’s Cook’s birthday, by the bye – 88 today, and many happy returns to the great lady).

    • Piet

      Impossible to believe she could be 88. And she’s still singing. Fabulous lady.

  • Mickey Bitsko

    When I read the headline my immediate thought was “Damn, not the demise of yet another great NY landmark?!!” Very relieved to know this is not the case.

  • Sporkfighter

    Why have I never heard of this? I could have made it here perhaps ten times over the years. Life is so unfair!

    • unsavedheathen

      You’ve got to speak up in advance regarding what belongings you would like. It works. Ask my sister.

      • Sporkfighter

        Now you tell me! I never dreamed that they would give those albums away to Goodwill.

  • ZhyKitty

    This is my idea of heaven….except, in my heaven, this would be a bar located in Hogsmeade, or perhaps Diagon Alley.

  • JW Swift

    Not a total showtunes nerd, but I really enjoy the few that I know. But I love to sing and would drink in the camaraderie from such an environment like someone who’d been stuck in the desert. I could soooo see myself becoming a regular at a place like that.

  • Dulce et Banana

    Cute bartender + show tunes = FAB. I’ve love to spend an evening listening here. I don’t sing in public anymore – the judge said that was part of the deal.

  • I only went there a half dozen times in the 15 years I lived in NYC, usually when one of my MT oriented friends was in town. I always had fun there, though.

  • SLK in SF

    I met one of my boyfriends there in the late ’80s. Fun place.

  • 2guysnamedjoe

    My only piano bar experience was taking some out-of-town visitors to The Monster on Sheridan Square in the late ’90s. We were downstairs in the disco; the piano bar and men’s room were upstairs. The singing was spirited but awful as I passed the piano bar en route to the men’s room. At that moment, a very handsome black man in a tux walked in from the street, and the piano player and singers suddenly fell silent. The new arrival nodded at the pianist and they broke into a stunning, lump-in-the-throat-inducing rendition of “Here’s that Rainy Day”. The singer took his bow and left as suddenly as he arrived. I don’t think he said a word to anyone the whole time.
    I still wonder who he was.

  • londonbuddy

    In all the times I have been to NYC, I have never made it there…. but on my last visit I saw 7 shows in 5 days, so its not as if I needed anymore showtunes….It’s such a shame that London doesnt have anything similar

  • JoyZeeBoy

    I moved to NYC from Seattle in April, 1978. The very FIRST bar I went to was Marie’s and it became my Thursday and Friday night home-away-from-home for the next two years. There was a waiter named Chi-Chi who, when I asked where the toilet was, answered “Honey, YOU’RE IN IT!” It was fabulous. I guess it still is.

  • Diggy

    Oh for God’s sake . . . one might think that in the hub of show tune city, there might be ONE good voice? Just a bunch of screeching and yelling. Might sound better when your drunk.

  • Jack

    I went there once. We were two couples. I found a $10 bill on the floor and bought drinks for the four of us. That must have been a long time ago.

  • NMNative

    The only time I ever “sang” in public was after a few drinks at this place. It was a great deal of fun. Go if you get the chance.

  • Paul

    I guess it’s time for the old coot in me to harrumph that Marie’s just isn’t the same anymore since the Village went straight. I used to go all the time in the ’80s and ’90s and often stay until closing. We’d sing ’em all and stay all night. Obscure Cole Porter and Gershwin, but someone always knew the lyrics. I’m sure so many of those dear, handsome men are no longer with us. Had a lovely affair with one of the piano players, Ric Page. The last few times I went it was overrun with drunk women singing songs from THE SOUND OF MUSIC and (yes) MARY POPPINS. The only thing that hadn’t changed were the frightful restrooms.

  • ChadSF

    This is wonderful and as a matter of fact we’re be visiting NYC next week to catch a couple of shows and experience fall in the Big Apple. Would love to visit and experience this place while we’re in town. 🙂