A year later, thanks to proprietors Missy Koonce and J.D. Mann (and a personable staff), the place is firmly established as the see-and-be-seen spot for area actors, artists and an otherwise fabulous roster of Kansas Citians.
"Some said that our blend of mixology, culinary, performing and visual arts would never find a large enough audience in Kansas City to thrive," Mann says of the place. "But just the opposite has happened."
Simultaneously celebrating its anniversary and welcoming 2005, Bar Natasha hosts a special New Year's Eve show featuring Koonce and New York City-based singer Scott Coulter, whose accolades include a 2001 Bistro Award for Outstanding Male Vocalist. Among his biggest fans is Stephen Schwartz, composer most recently of the brilliant Broadway hit Wicked. "One of the best things that can happen to a songwriter is to have his or her material interpreted by Scott Coulter," Schwartz tells the Pitch.
At Saturday's show, Coulter (pictured) and Koonce each perform solo numbers and pair up for a few. Among their planned duets is the "Get Happy/Happy Days Are Here Again" medley immortalized by Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland on the latter's CBS television show.
Yet despite Coulter's love for classic show tunes, he doesn't like being called a cabaret performer.
"I hate that word cabaret," he says. "It conjures up images of a woman in a long dress singing smoky songs by a piano. But because of the way the cabaret scene has changed here [in New York], that's not it at all. The newer people are doing much more pop and contemporary stuff."