It’s a triple celebration. On October 6, singer-actress Barbara Shorts will combine her Parade of Stars variety show, 70th birthday party as well as the debut of her new single with an all-star event at Café Istanbul.
Inspired by a classic TV variety program, The Ed Sullivan Show, Shorts’ Parade of Stars includes Topsy Chapman & Solid Harmony, David Batiste, Larry Sieberth, Chris Severin, Tonia Ladyt, Detroit Brooks, Russell Batiste, Fresh and Reckless, Tee Eva Ernie, Mark Sterling and the Abundant Life Tabernacle Music Ministry.
“Shows these days are mostly bands and singers,” Shorts said. “But with this variety show, you’re not going to get any one performer longer than five to 10 minutes. It won’t be boring.”
Because it’s her birthday, Shorts will spend much of the evening in the audience enjoying the show. She’s planning to finish the night off herself, however, singing her new recording, “Love on the Run.” For sale at her performances and cdbaby.com, the soul-blues-style “Love on the Run” represents a new musical direction for the versatile singer, whose roots are in gospel music and whose credits include performances in One Mo’Time and much more.
The Parade of Stars lineup features performers Short has worked with through the years. “These are people I started in this business with, musicians I brought on the road with me and when I traveled overseas, who really know me”
Shorts toured internationally from the mid-1980s through the early 2000s, singing traditional jazz with a band of New Orleans musicians. She performed in Sweden, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Estonia, the United Kingdom and Australia. The aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, however, severely impacted the entertainment business and air travel. When her international gigs declined, Shorts took a job as a dealer at Harrah’s Casino. Although she continued to perform, the time and energy that full-time casino work demanded made it difficult to pursue her music career. When Harrah’s let her go after 13 years of employment, Shorts was actually relieved. “The money was good, but I was not as happy as I was when I was doing my performances and traveling,” she said. “When I walked out of there, I said, ‘Free at last, free at last. Thank God, almighty, I’m free at last.’”
Turning 70 this year, Shorts has no plans to abandon her true love, music. “There are still a lot of things that I’m hoping to achieve,” she said. “And if I put music down, then I’m giving up. I’m not going to do that. My whole thing is to fight on. I want to embrace life gracefully and do all I can do.”
The Legendary Barbara Shorts Presents Her Parade of Stars at 6 p.m. October 6 at Café Istanbul.