Nancy Stearns has been a regular on the New York City cabaret circuit since 2001. Nancy first “found” cabaret as a student at Helen Baldassare’s Cabaret Performance Workshop, for which Nancy now serves as Administrator.
When Nancy began performing, she had a long background as a public interest lawyer. But once she started to sing, she didn’t stop. From 2001 to 2009, Nancy performed a new show each year at Don’t Tell Mama in New York City with her music director, Gregory Toroian, and directed by Helen Baldassare. In 2010, 2011 and 2012 Nancy appeared at New York City’s Metropolitan Room. For the past six years Nancy and Gregory have been joined by David Finck, on bass. In December 2012, Nancy will return to Don’t Tell Mama t o celebrate the release of her new CD, A Wish.
Reviewing Nancy’s 2007 show, Gregg Culling said: “I enjoy seeing cabaret shows in which a singer performs songs that are not your standard issue: those not so well-known tunes, and perhaps forgotten gems. Singer Nancy Stearns seems to make a habit of doing this.”
Several of Nancy’s shows have had themes: It’s for the Birds (2003); The Words of Women (2005); and Sing Me A Song With Social Significance or Not (2006). Her 2007 show, With Rhyme, But For No Particular Reason, had no theme – rather, Nancy chose songs that she thought would be particularly fun to sing with those two extraordinary musicians. Her 2008 show, This Moment was a sort of musical photo album, with musical snapshots of some of Nancy's close friends and members of her family.
In 2009, Nancy's show, Yip Harburg: With Humor and Hope, was devoted to the lyrics of E.Y. “Yip” Harburg’s, highlighting his songs of social comment. In 2010, celebrating her tenth year of collaboration with her music director, Gregory Toroian, Nancy appeared at the Metropolitan Room, with her show The First Ten Years. In the spring of 2011, Nancy returned to the Metropolitan Room, and to shows with themes, with her show Weather or Not. In spring 2012, Nancy mounted a new "theme" show at the Metropolitan Room. That show, A Wish, is composed of songs that reflect the different things we wish for at different times on our lives - love and friendship, fame and fortune, the comforts of home, peace in the world, laughter, joy, and always, music. In the spring of 2013, Nancy returned to the Metropolitan Room with a one-night-only reprise of her show "Yip Harburg: With Humor and Hope".
Nancy loves the intimacy of cabaret and the way the art of cabaret enables the singer to “speak” to her audience. Rob Lester, of TalkinBroadway.com has described Nancy’s singing this way: “Sometimes it doesn't take the biggest voice to make a big impact. Nancy Stearns, though quite musical, is rather a minimalist as a singer. Crisp and clear, she sings the notes lightly but doesn't sustain them; however, she sustains interest with her thoughtful renditions. Focusing on the words, she serves them by having a presentation that is direct and persuasive.”
Gregg Culling has also said: “Stearns possesses a soft, soothing voice that is very easy on the ear, and it's obvious from the start that she knows her way around a lyric. She chooses songs based on what they say to her, in hopes that they may also impress the listener. She has spent most of her life, after growing up in the 1940s and 50s, as a lawyer, using her skills working for women's rights, the anti-war movement, the environment, and such. So, obviously, she meticulously chooses words carefully, and never fails to articulate them.”
After performing for several years, Nancy felt frustrated by the fact that when each new show was over, the music she wanted to share was “gone”, so she turned to the recording studio. Nancy has now recorded seven of her shows with Gregory Toroian and David Finck: The Words of Women (2006), Sing Me A Song With Social Significance … Or Not (2006) and With Rhyme, But For No Particular Reason (2007),This Moment (2008), and Yip Harburg: With Humor and Hope (2009), and most recently, Weather or Not (2011), and most recently, A Wish (2012).
Doug Haverty & Adryan Russ, the writers of “I Don’t Say Anything” which is included on two of Nancy’s CDs have said: “Nancy Stearns proves that it's worthwhile to pursue a second career! Her version of our song "I Don't Say Anything" (from off-Broadway's INSIDE OUT) is charming, humorous, and a little too believable (must be something about that former career). She makes us laugh as well as empathize. We love her.”
In his review of her CD, With Rhyme, But For No Particular Reason, in TalkinBroadway.com Rob Lester said: "Nancy is in the company of the two musicians who appeared on her prior albums – both are strong reasons to stop and have an attentive listen — giving first class support with their classy, jazzy work, without ever overpowering the conversational approach Nancy takes to her song-story presentations. The two are pianist/musical director Gregory Toroian and bassist David Finck. … There may be "no particular reason" for these songs being together on one CD, but there are plenty of reasons to care."
In August 2007 and January 2008,
and February 2009,
Nancy appeared in the Any Wednesday series at Barnes & Noble/Lincoln Triangle, New York City, performing selections from her CDs. In addition, in September 2009 she appeared at Barnes & Noble/Lincoln Triangle as part of a celebration of the revival of Finians’s Rainbow. In September 2012, Nancy appeared in the 2nd Annual Sag Harbor American Music Festival in Sag harbor, New York.
Nancy’s CDs are available for sale at www.CDBaby.com, Amazon.com and Indierhythm.com, and the Kramoris Gallery in Sag Harbor, New York, and can be heard on internet radio at www.Pandora.com. Weather or Not and A Wish are available for digital download at CDBaby.com, iTunes, and Amazon.com among other digital download sites.