Popular cabaret venue the Rrazz Room which has played host during its four years to a wide variety of drag acts, jazz musicians, New York cabaret notables, and performers even your mother may have forgotten about like Linda Lavin, Tyne Daly, and Melissa Manchester is getting kicked out of its digs at the Hotel Nikko, effective January 1. The reason? The hotel has decided not to renew the operators' contract, and this appears to stem from some longstanding tensions with the hotel general manager.
Rrazz owners Robert Kotonly and Rory Paull, who previously ran the Plush Room at the York Hotel (now the Vertigo), moved over to the Nikko after a similar falling out with that hotel's management in 2007.
In a suit filed in Superior Court in November, Kotonly and Paull say they were being pressured to book fewer African-American R&B acts because the hotel was unhappy with the crowd they were attracting.
Per the Ex:
The complaint alleged that Presutti “requested that Rrazz Entertainment change its musical programming to reduce the number of Rhythm and Blues acts because the defendants did not want the Rrazz Room to attract to the Hotel Nikko a certain ‘demographic’ that Rhythm and Blues acts were drawing.”
The suit further alleged that a Sunday brunch radio show broadcast from the Nikko was switched from R&B station KBLX to the soft-rock format KSOF based on demographics of race, and that the defendants altered contract documents “in bad faith.”
For her part, the manager of the Hotel Nikko, Anna Marie Presutti, says this is all a bunch of malarkey. She calls the allegations hurtful and says, "This is simply the case of a contract coming to an end, and it’s an attempt for Rrazz to use slander as a bullying tactic to get their way."
The final act at the Rrazz, on New Year's Eve, will be Kim Nalley and her band. Before that, drag queen Katya Smirnoff-Skyy will do her now annual Holiday Spectacular on December 17, and Will & Grace star Leslie Jordan will be doing a one-man show December 18 to the 22.