For a couple of years before I got married, I lived in Elmsford. On a few occasions, I’d pop into the Bank of New York there and do a little banking. If the ATM wasn’t working, I’d go to the teller inside and it seemed like every time I did that, I’d walk in to see Cab Calloway standing in the lobby.
I was too young to know him from his early film roles. I knew him from that classic “The Blues Brothers,” in which he largely played himself and sang his trademark “Minnie the Moocher.” But I wasn’t too young to appreciate that this man, standing in this bank lobby, was an Entertainer.
Tonight, Westchester Broadway Theatre plays host to George Puello’s labor of love: The Cab Calloway Lifetime Achievement Awards which “honor his commitment to excellence in the performing arts as well as his dedication and support for young, rising talent.”
The recipients, this year’s announcement notes, “are recognized for their body of work, dedication and contribution to some aspect of the performing arts in Westchester County. Given to performers, educators, entrepreneurs, technicians, designers, producers, directors, choreographers, composers, librettists, conductors, actors, dancers, mentors or even individuals who, through their continuous support, have had a positive effect on some aspect of the performing arts in Westchester.”
Honorees are chosen by an advisory panel from names submitted by any The Cab Calloway Foundation, previous recipients of the award, or individuals who know a person worthy of the honor. Puello, a WBT fixture in his trademark white suit, established the awards in 2001.
This year’s honorees are:
Dr. Donald Antonecchia, superintendent of the Pleasantville schools;
Cagle and John McDonald of Irvington’s Clocktower Players;
Pat Shaw, a former PMT principal; and
Dr. John Banks, director of performing arts at Briarcliff schools.
A portion of the proceeds from tonight’s dinner-and-theater celebration will benefit the Calloway Foundation which is trying to purchase Cab’s Elmsford home — where he lived for more than 30 years.
It’s not to late to check out tonight’s awards. Call 914-592-2222. Doors open at 6 for dinner and the ceremony starts at 7:30 p.m. $50.