Jan Wallman (1922 - 2015)

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'CELEBRATION OF JAN WALLMAN' AT CARNEGIE TONIGHT
By JOHN S. WILSON
Published: February 3, 1986
During almost 30 years as den mother to aspiring cabaret performers, Jan Wallman has provided an important step up the ladder to such now familiar names as Joan Rivers, Dick Cavett, Woody Allen, Rodney Dangerfield, Barbra Streisand, Robert Klein, George Segal, Marcia Lewis, Yvonne Constant and Linda Lavin. Now it's their turn to help her.
On Jan. 26, Miss Wallman closed Jan Wallman's, her intimate 33-seat restaurant and cabaret at 28 Cornelia Street, because her rent had been raised for the third time. When word of this got around, singers and comedians to whom Jan Wallman had given a helping hand - during the two periods when she managed Upstairs at the Duplex, on Grove Street, from 1959 to 1962 and 1964 to 1968; the two-year interval when she moved to the Showplace on West Fourth Street, and later at the restaurant - rallied round to help her relocate. Led by Judy Kreston, a singer who has been one of the recent regulars at Jan Wallman's, they are giving a ''Celebration of Jan Wallman'' tonight at Carnegie Hall at 8:30. The proceeds will go toward Miss Wallman's relocation efforts. The performers will include such veterans of Jan Wallman's rooms as the team of Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, Miss Rivers, Mr. Cavett, Bert Convy, Miss Lewis, Miss Lavin and Miss Kreston as well as a pair of Miss Wallman's friends who never performed in her cabarets -Kaye Ballard and Margaret Whiting.

''It's a rare and special opportunity to give back to someone who gave so much to me,'' said Miss Lavin, who starred in the title role of ''Alice'' on television. ''We were all beginners and she made us all feel hopeful.''
Mr. Cavett said he was still grateful for the opportunity she gave him ''when I was not considered ready for other places like the Village Gate, the Bitter End and Bon Soir.''
''I know other people need Jan to continue,'' he said.
Miss Wallman, a gray-haired, soft-spoken, motherly looking woman, is anticipating her celebration as ''a happy thing.''
''I'm glad they're doing it while I'm alive,'' she said. ''Send me the flowers now.''
Miss Wallman grew up in St. Paul and studied theater at the University of Minnesota, although she had no particular sense of what she wanted to do. Went Into Public Relations
''I was a dilettante,'' she said. ''When I was 12 my grandmother brought a singing teacher to hear me sing 'I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls.' He told my grandmother, 'Don't waste your money.' ''
She didn't and when Miss Wallman came to New York she bypassed theater and got into public relations and promotion. In the 1950's she became friends with the singer Nina Simone and her husband, Donald Ross. Miss Simone sat in occasionally at Upstairs at the Duplex and they talked about taking over the room.
''Don and I began running it in 1959,'' Miss Wallman recalled. ''Three weeks later he left and I was on my own. I suddenly found that I was doing what I liked to do. I loved what went on there - the music, the performers. It was a party every night.''
Acts were booked for two or three weeks at a time, with three acts on each bill. Miss Wallman held auditions once a week.
''It was awful painful to watch people who want to give but are not acceptable to anybody,'' she said. ''I'd try anything with even a glimmer of possibility. But sometimes I had to turn down people I knew had talent. I couldn't use Melba Moore because she could only sing with a rhythm section, and I couldn't afford more than a piano.''
Comedians and singers came as ''guests'' to break in new material. A comedian named Jackie Roy used visits to the Duplex to develop the persona that turned him into Rodney Dangerfield. After Barbra Streisand ended her first professional engagement - 10 weeks at Bon Soir - she made guest sppearances at the Duplex that had to be timed to fit Bon Soir's schedule because her pianist, Peter Daniels, was still working there. He had a 40-minute break when he could get away to play for Miss Streisand - 10 minutes to get to the Duplex, 20 minutes for Miss Streisand's performance, 10 to get back to Bon Soir.
When Joan Rivers graduated from the Duplex to the ''Tonight'' show and JoAnne Worley to ''The Merv Griffin Show,'' the room became a showcase for performers trying out for television. But after both Johnny Carson and Mr. Griffin moved their shows to California in the late 60's, there were no places to which Miss Wallman's performers could advance. She closed the room in 1968 and spent the next eight years as a hospital recreation director, a restaurant manager, a bartender and a hat checker.
Then, in 1976, Mona Katz, a friend of Miss Wallman who owned a bar with piano music at 28 Cornelia Street, asked her to take over the lease. ''I didn't think of it as a cabaret,'' Miss Wallman said. ''But friends started asking me to let them perform.''
For the last 10 years the fare at Jan Wallman's has been primarily singers rather than the comedians who once crowded the Duplex. Her two primary stars in recent years have been Miss Kreston and the singer Barbara Lea. On Miss Wallman's recommendation, some of her recent roster of performers will now be appearing at Panache, 149 East 57th Street.
She has not yet chosen where or when she will open a new cabaret.
In a way, the escalating rent that forced Miss Wallman to leave Cornelia Street has been a good thing.
''I've wanted to get out for a long time,'' she said. ''The room was too small. I bought what I could afford in 1976. But if Mona Katz hadn't offered it to me, I'd still be sitting on a bar stool somewhere.''

Jan Wallman Biography & Family History

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Birth

at Roundup, Montana, in Roundup, Montana USA

Death

on at New York City, in New York USA

Cause of death

There is no cause of death listed for Jan.

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Family

Siblings: Kate Kemmerer

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Nationality

American

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Gender

Female

Timeline

1922 - In the year that Jan Wallman was born, the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C. on May 30th. More than 35,000 people attended the dedication including Lincoln's son, Robert Todd Lincoln, and many Union and Confederate veterans - although the audience was segregated. The Memorial took 10 years to complete.

1945 - Jan was 23 years old when on January 20th, Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn in to his fourth term as President of the United States. He died 82 days into his term and his new Vice-President, Harry Truman, became President.

1990 - Jan was 68 years old when on April 24th, the Hubble telescope was launched into space after long delays due to the Challenger explosion. An optical flaw was found within weeks of launch but was fixed within three years. The discoveries made possible by the Hubble have contributed to scientists' understanding of the universe.

1991 - Jan was 69 years old when on January 16th, Allied forces began the first phase of Operation Desert Storm. Saddam Hussein's forces had previously invaded the sovereign state of Kuwait and the focus of the operation was to remove his Iraqi troops from Kuwait. On February 24th, the ground war began. Within 100 hours, American ground troops declared Kuwait liberated.

1998 - Jan was 76 years old when on December 19th, the House of Representatives initiated impeachment charges against U.S. President Bill Clinton. He was subsequently acquitted of these charges by the Senate on February 12th.

Jan Wallman Family Tree

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Obituary

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Jan Wallman, Village Cabaret Owner, Dies at 93
By SAM ROBERTSOCT. 30, 2015
Jan Wallman, a cabaret owner whose Greenwich Village clubs incubated the careers of Joan Rivers, Barbra Streisand, Woody Allen, Rodney Dangerfield and scores of other singers and comedians, died on Oct. 8 in Manhattan. She was 93.
Her death was confirmed on Friday by Gregory Moore, her companion and club manager.
Ms. Wallman’s cabarets not only helped catapult performers to stardom; they also provided a venue for longtime entertainers, including Linda Lavin, Bert Convy and the comedy team Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara.
Over the years Ms. Wallman presided at Upstairs-at-the-Duplex, on Grove Street (“the owner ran the Downstairs; there was a joke that it was street level until they ran it into the ground,” she recalled); a hole in the wall on Cornelia Street called Jan Wallman’s, and an octagonal mirrored room at the Iroquois Hotel on West 44th Street in Midtown, also known as Jan Wallman’s.
Wherever she went, she attracted a following, both performers and fans.
“I literally had to beg for my first performing job” at Upstairs-at-the-Duplex, Woody Allen told the critic Cleveland Amory in an interview for The Newark Evening News in 1968, “and they put on anyone who’s not a catastrophe. But you get no money at all. At 11 at night, I’d get in a cab in the freezing cold and go down there and perform for nothing for five or six people. Twelve was a big night.”
By 1993, Stephen Holden, who writes about cabaret for The New York Times, described Jan Wallman’s as “one of New York’s best-loved and longest-lived small clubs.”
She was born Janet Jacob on May 14, 1922, in Roundup, Mont. She was married twice, briefly. Her first husband was killed in World War II. She divorced her second but kept his surname. In addition to Mr. Moore, she is survived by a sister, Kate Kemmerer.
“I was a dilettante,” Ms. Wallman told The Times in 1986. “When I was 12 my grandmother brought a singing teacher to hear me sing ‘I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls.’ He told my grandmother, ‘Don’t waste your money.’ ” She didn’t.
Instead, after studying theater at the University of Minnesota, Ms. Wallman went to New York to pursue a career in public relations and promotion.
“My very first night in New York,” she told the website [external link], “I went to One Fifth Avenue and saw a wonderful show there, with two guys who played dual pianos and accompanied some singers.”
She became fast friends with the singer Nina Simone and her husband, Donald Ross. In 1959, she and Mr. Ross decided to take over Upstairs-at-the-Duplex, which Ms. Wallman ran from 1959 to 1962 and again from 1964 to 1968. (In between, she ran the Showplace on West Fourth Street.)
“Three weeks later he left, and I was on my own,” she said of Mr. Ross. “I suddenly found that I was doing what I liked to do. I loved what went on there — the music, the performers. It was a party every night.”
She added: “I’d try anything with even a glimmer of possibility, but sometimes I had to turn down people I knew had talent. I couldn’t use Melba Moore because she could only sing with a rhythm section, and I couldn’t afford more than a piano.”
In his 1978 memoir, “Ruby in the Rough,” Bob Ruby, a radio broadcaster performing at the club, recalled when, in the early 1960s, “an unknown promoter named Marty Erlichman brought in an 18-year-old girl with a big nose and hair coifed like a beehive to sing for the first time.”
“The song was ‘A Sleepin’ Bee,’ ” he added, “and when she finished I realized I’d watched the first genuine happening of my life.” The singer was Barbra Streisand.
Ms. Wallman closed the Upstairs room in 1968, then worked as a hospital recreation director, a restaurant manager, a bartender and a hat checker.
She got back into the business in the mid-1970s, when Mona Katz, a friend, invited her to take over the lease of a bar she owned at 28 Cornelia Street. Ms. Wallman renamed it Jan Wallman’s.
By 1986, however, the rent became prohibitive, and she closed it. But she had made many friends, and when they heard of the closing, a group of performers rallied to her side and held a benefit concert at Carnegie Hall so that she could reopen in the Hotel Iroquois on West 44th Street.
“I’m glad they’re doing it while I’m alive,” she said at the time. “Send me the flowers now.”
More recently she produced shows for individual singers at The Metropolitan Room. One of those singers was Yvonne Constant, and do to Jan's efforts, she produced 28 shows for her and used her powerful mailing list to fill the room. Jan Wallman came to nearly every single show. Yvonne's publicist, Amanda S. Stevenson, A/K/A Sandy Stevens, had once worked as an entertainer for Jan at Jan Wallman's on Cornelia Street as a Handwriting Analyst for six months.

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ARTS
Jan Wallman, Village Cabaret Owner, Dies at 93
By SAM ROBERTS OCT. 30, 2015

Jan Wallman, a cabaret owner whose Greenwich Village clubs incubated the careers of Joan Rivers, Barbra Streisand, Woody Allen, Rodney Dangerfield and scores of other singers and comedians, died on Oct. 8 in Manhattan. She was 93.
Her death was confirmed on Friday by Gregory Moore, her companion and club manager.
Ms. Wallman’s cabarets not only helped catapult performers to stardom; they also provided a venue for longtime entertainers, including Linda Lavin, Bert Convy and the comedy team Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara.
Over the years Ms. Wallman presided at Upstairs-at-the-Duplex, on Grove Street (“the owner ran the Downstairs; there was a joke that it was street level until they ran it into the ground,” she recalled); a hole in the wall on Cornelia Street called Jan Wallman’s, and an octagonal mirrored room at the Iroquois Hotel on West 44th Street in Midtown, also known as Jan Wallman’s.
Wherever she went, she attracted a following, both performers and fans.
“I literally had to beg for my first performing job” at Upstairs-at-the-Duplex, Woody Allen told the critic Cleveland Amory in an interview for The Newark Evening News in 1968, “and they put on anyone who’s not a catastrophe. But you get no money at all. At 11 at night, I’d get in a cab in the freezing cold and go down there and perform for nothing for five or six people. Twelve was a big night.”
By 1993, Stephen Holden, who writes about cabaret for The New York Times, described Jan Wallman’s as “one of New York’s best-loved and longest-lived small clubs.”
She was born Janet Jacob on May 14, 1922, in Roundup, Mont. She was married twice, briefly. Her first husband was killed in World War II. She divorced her second but kept his surname. In addition to Mr. Moore, she is survived by a sister, Kate Kemmerer.
“I was a dilettante,” Ms. Wallman told The Times in 1986. “When I was 12 my grandmother brought a singing teacher to hear me sing ‘I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls.’ He told my grandmother, ‘Don’t waste your money.’ ” She didn’t.
Instead, after studying theater at the University of Minnesota, Ms. Wallman went to New York to pursue a career in public relations and promotion.
“My very first night in New York,” she told the website [external link], “I went to One Fifth Avenue and saw a wonderful show there, with two guys who played dual pianos and accompanied some singers.”
She became fast friends with the singer Nina Simone and her husband, Donald Ross. In 1959, she and Mr. Ross decided to take over Upstairs-at-the-Duplex, which Ms. Wallman ran from 1959 to 1962 and again from 1964 to 1968. (In between, she ran the Showplace on West Fourth Street.)
“Three weeks later he left, and I was on my own,” she said of Mr. Ross. “I suddenly found that I was doing what I liked to do. I loved what went on there — the music, the performers. It was a party every night.”
She added: “I’d try anything with even a glimmer of possibility, but sometimes I had to turn down people I knew had talent. I couldn’t use Melba Moore because she could only sing with a rhythm section, and I couldn’t afford more than a piano.”
In his 1978 memoir, “Ruby in the Rough,” Bob Ruby, a radio broadcaster performing at the club, recalled when, in the early 1960s, “an unknown promoter named Marty Erlichman brought in an 18-year-old girl with a big nose and hair coifed like a beehive to sing for the first time.”
“The song was ‘A Sleepin’ Bee,’ ” he added, “and when she finished I realized I’d watched the first genuine happening of my life.” The singer was Barbra Streisand.
Ms. Wallman closed the Upstairs room in 1968, then worked as a hospital recreation director, a restaurant manager, a bartender and a hat checker.
She got back into the business in the mid-1970s, when Mona Katz, a friend, invited her to take over the lease of a bar she owned at 28 Cornelia Street. Ms. Wallman renamed it Jan Wallman’s.
By 1986, however, the rent became prohibitive, and she closed it. But she had made many friends, and when they heard of the closing, a group of performers rallied to her side and held a benefit concert at Carnegie Hall so that she could reopen in the Hotel Iroquois on West 44th Street.
“I’m glad they’re doing it while I’m alive,” she said at the time. “Send me the flowers now.”
Daniel E. Slotnik contributed reporting.
Dec 31, 2017 · Reply
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