Actress Lainie Kazan, singer Frank Stallone to head 2011 Music Awards

Actress, comedian and singer Lainie Kazan will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Malibu Music Awards and Festival Sept. 24.

The Malibu Music Awards and Festival will also coordinate concerts at Duke's, Charlie's, Geoffrey's and many other local restaurants.

By Michael Aushenker / Special to The Malibu Times

From her memorable comedy roles in recent Adam Sandler films-“I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry” and “You Don't Mess with the Zohan”-and her ‘70s Playboy photos that inspired Jack Kirby's Fourth World comic character Big Barda, to her stage roles in “Fiddler on the Roof,” “The Vagina Monologues” and “My Favorite Year,” for which she garnered a Grammy nomination, Lainie Kazan has shown she has talent.

Malibu will honor that talent when Kazan, who recently had a recurring role on “Desperate Housewives,” appears at the 2011 Annual Malibu Music Awards and Festival on Sept. 24 at Malibu Country Mart.

Kazan will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.

“ I was extremely pleased to be named as the Lifetime Achievement Award winner this year, even though I have only lived half my life,” Kazan said. “Seriously, I am excited about the award and performing under the stars in Malibu, one of my favorite places on the planet. 

“But what is really important and fulfilling is that all of us performing that night will help benefit the Malibu Symphony Association's children's music programs and community music efforts, and the Simms/Mann UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology in recognition of the upcoming October's Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”

In addition to Kazan, Frank Stallone (who had a hit with “Far From Over” from brother Sylvester Stallone's “Saturday Night Fever” sequel, “Stayin' Alive”) will receive the American Songbook Award, The BackBeats from NBC's “The Sing Off” will get Best Vocal Group honors while Malibu rap sensations Shwayze and Cisco Adler will receive the Urban Music Award, and several others will be honored (for a full list, visit malibumusicawards.com).

British singer Linda Thompson, famously of the duo Richard and Linda Thompson with her then-husband, will serve as honorary chair at the event.

“Music Awards founder Terence Davis and I feel fortunate and excited to have so many outstandingly talented and dynamic entertainers and performers included in all of our weeklong events,” Marie Foti, the Awards and Festival's executive producer, said.

Founder Davis explained how this year's Music Awards has become more ambitious with its expanded moniker.

“This year, we've added a festival to the Malibu Music Awards,” he said. “From Monday, Sept. 19, through Sat., Sept. 24, we have musical acts playing at 16 different venues in Malibu, which is the equivalent of 27 miles of music.

“Folk, classical, pop, hip hop, you name it!” he said. “We've got jazz at Charlie's and rock at Malibu Inn.”

As part of the festival, newbie and veteran musical acts will perform at local restaurants throughout Malibu. Participating restaurants will include Geoffrey's, Charlie's, Duke's, Malibu Inn, Sunset Restaurant and Beach Bar, Kristy's, Spruzzo's, Savory, Guido's, Beau Rivage, Chocolate Box Cafe, Tra di Noi, among many others.

“We're so excited to have the support of the restaurant community and the entire community at large,” Davis said.

A classical music concert will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 7:30 p.m. at the Malibu Stage Company, with performances by piano players Robert Estrin and 11-year-old prodigy Benjamin Krasner.

“We have a child prodigy right in our own community,” Davis said of Krasner. “He played concertos without sheet music, looking at me and smiling the entire time. He's just the most amazing musician I have ever seen at 11 years.”

Opening the concert will be the sister act, Cimorelli, who will perform a short set as a prelude to their “Jackson 5 Family Music Award” acceptance performance at the Malibu Music Awards Sept. 24. The Cimorelli Sisters are an online phenomena with 78 million hits on YouTube.

Every year, the Malibu Music Awards hosts an original songwriting competition that this year was judged by Davis, music producer Joel Diamond, Arrival Records CEO Rick Rand, Universal A&R rep Meg Hanson, as well as music executives Chris Henry (Nashville), Heath Caan (Live Nation), Jenna Voorhees (Universal), Vince Quintero (former Sony AR) and Kevin Carson (EMI).

The Grand Prize for Best Song 2011 will go to Sarah McMullen of Kansas.

“She's 15 and she's amazing,” Davis said. “A cross between Britney Spears and Katy Perry, except her music is clean. Our judges were amazed by her. She won over hundreds of people who submitted songs.”

Ultimately, Davis noted that the Awards' most important component is as a fundraising vehicle “to raise awareness and funds for the Malibu Symphony to one day have a performing arts center in Malibu. That's our goal.”

Davis shared his enthusiasm about expanding his homegrown tribute to local performers and established musicians such as Stallone and Kazan.

“Lainie exemplifies that kind of talent that we regard in a lifetime of music. We're very excited to have her,” Davis said.

Kazan, who had just acted over the weekend in “My Child: Mothers of War” alongside Mimi Rogers and Lynn Whitfield at the Beverly Hills Playhouse on the anniversary of 9/11 (“It was stunning, stunning piece,” she said.), told the Times she became familiar with Malibu back when “I lived in the Palisades for many, many years.”

In Pacific Palisades, Kazan lived up in the Highlands, just minutes from Pacific Coast Highway. “So Malibu was just next door,” she continued. “I love the ocean.”

Kazan's musical history runs deep.

“I started out at the Gypsy on Broadway and then I became Barbra Streisand's understudy in ‘Funny Girl',” she said.

The awards and accolades propelled her career. Then Peter Stark introduced her to British musician Peter H.P. Daniels, who became her husband and the father of their daughter.

“We had a great time putting music together,” she said. “He was just a genius. He's gone now.”

Kazan's musical adventures took her all around the globe, where she performed everywhere from the Persian Room to the Waldorf to England's Talk of the Town. She landed a contract with MGM records and later with the jazz label Music Masters, where she recorded two CDs. (In all, she has eight on her discography.)

Kazan does not rest. Up ahead, she'll sing at the Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood Nov. 17-19. She's also teaching a course called “Acting for the Singer” at UCLA from late September through mid-December, which will culminate with the performance, “Lainie's Cabaret at UCLA.”

Despite her sojourn into acting, Sandler comedies included, music remains Kazan's first love.

“It's my soul,” she said. “It's who I am. It's so sad to me that young people don't know that I'm a singer.”

The Malibu Music Awards and Festival takes place Sept. 19 to the 24, with the awards show at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 24. Tickets to the event are $25 general, and $45 VIP.

More information can be obtained online at malibumusicawards.com and malibusymphony.com.

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