Veteran Manhattan cabaret songstress Cynthia Crane and her playwright husband, Ted Story, have been John Denver fans for decades, but it wasn’t until about a year ago that they realized they had more in common with Denver than just music. They, along with the late singer’s estate, were among the thousands scammed by Bernie Madoff.
Now, after the Cranes have been forced to sell their West Village townhouse and most of their personal belongings, the 73-year-old chanteuse is dealing with the trauma the best way she knows how: by singing about it.
Her new one-woman show, John Denver, Bernie Madoff & Me, opened last night at Don’t Tell Mama on West 46th Street and runs through December 9. In it, Crane sings a medley of John Denver songs and cabaret standards, interspersed with patter about the Ponz. "Is there anyone out there who doesn’t know who Bernie Madoff is?" she asked the crowd last night, before launching into "The Spider and the Fly."
The guy who put the P in Ponzi
The bull in Bull Market
And the scum in Scumdog Billionaire?
Yes Bernie Madoff was the spider, and John Denver and I were the flies. Madoff got a lot of flies!
According to Crane, performing about her ordeal has been cathartic. “I really have no business doing a show right now because I can barely afford to pay expenses, but doing it really has sustained me, and I hope the audience will forget the ramifications of this monster, Madoff, and just get a laugh out of his bizarretude, if I can make up a word to describe it.”