What makes Scott Barbarino one of the most sought-after experts in the field of cabaret and piano bars? The answer is not only longevity and experience but the savvy to apply that rich background to the present realities of the entertainment world. Scott has been immersed in the cabaret business for over forty years––as a club manager, booker, producer, promoter, and performer. He’s not only all these things, but an entrepreneur, industry consultant, and publisher of the acclaimed NiteLifeExchange.com web-based magazine, where “Broadway and Cabaret Meet” as well as Producer of the Award Winning internet show PianoBarLive!
It all began at the original Duplex Piano Bar & Cabaret, where he worked as a singing waiter and bartender, eventually becoming the General Manager and Entertainment Coordinator of the club. He hosted the Duplex “Stars of Tomorrow” talent search––one of the first such in the business, and also produced “Upstairs at the Duplex” and “Talk Show: A Musical.”
From the Duplex, Scott went on to the Chelsea Lobster Company as General Manager, working with owner Marvin Paige to bring live entertainment into the venue. His work included introducing the Lounge-o-leers and producing “Schnozzola,” a tribute to Jimmy Durante, starring cabaret and piano bar legend, Ricky Ritzel. From there, he went on to pioneer in the gentrification of the Lower East Side, becoming the General Manager and Booker at the Parkside Lounge, co-producing the hugely successful drag/party show, “Cheez Whiz” with the iconic performer, Sweetie. This venture was followed by a stint at Dillon’s Supper Club, where Scott, as Entertainment Director, created The Reprise Room, which not only featured a host of cabaret performers but Barbara and Scott Siegel’s CD release parties, The Cabaret Celebrity Roasts and “Boobs, the Musical: The Music of Ruth Wallis.”
In 2002, Scott joined the management team at Ellen’s Stardust Diner on Broadway, where he continues as Artistic Director, mentoring the singing waitstaff, The World Famous Stardusters, among other responsibilities. In association with the Iridium, downstairs at Ellen’s, he has produced “New Faces of Broadway” to showcase the Starduster’s talent. Among the many other shows, Scott has produced at the Iridium are an open mic night called The Follow Spot, tribute shows to cabaret legend, Julie Wilson and songwriter Ervin Drake, and the 100-show run of Terese Gennico and her Little Big Band.
During much of these early successful ventures in the business of cabaret, Scott was also performing as the founder and lead singer of “Scott Barbarino & The Bev-Naps, a retro-vocal comedy a cappella doo-wop group that won two MAC Awards (1999––Vocal Group and 2000––Musical Comedy Group). The Bev-Naps performed in all the New York City clubs of the day as well as on Fire Island and in London.
2007 was a watershed year for Scott. Mentored by the legendary cabaret impresario Jan Wallman, Scott founded ScoBar Entertainment, a management and consulting firm, booking performers both in New York City and nationally. His clients have included Marilyn Maye, Rhonda Ross, and Terese Genecco & Her Little Big Band, which has the distinction of winning the MAC Award for Show Of The Year in 2012. His clients have performed at Iridium Jazz Club, The Cutting Room, The Triad Theatre, The Laurie Beechman Theatre, and The Duplex Cabaret, among others. Additionally, NiteLifeExchange.com was founded in 2007, the entertainment website “Where Broadway Meets Cabaret,” focusing on disseminating news and reviews of performers who appear in piano bars, cabarets, and on Broadway. Scott was also one of the founding members of DFDTV, a pioneer in bringing the digital age into the world of live performance.
As for his latest venture, Scott began producing the weekly, award-winning Piano Bar Live! (PBL!) in August 2019, winning the 2020 MAC Award for Show Of The Year. PBL! is proud to continue the long-established tradition of the piano bar––that special place where we can gather, entertain, support, and create, as we connect with live music. The PBL! line-up always features a mix of veteran and rising star performers from the world of piano bars, cabaret, and Broadway. Best of all, PBL! is the unique chance to have veteran performers pass the torch to the next generation of blossoming young talent. This mentoring is of primary importance in keeping our genre alive. PBL! started at The Duplex Cabaret, performed in front of a live audience while simultaneously streaming on Facebook to increase the genre’s visibility. The show later moved to Brandy’s on New York’s Upper East Side, and now streams virtually.