"I believe that everything fits into either the right or left hemisphere [of your brain]," said Riverol who is an educator and an entertainer. "I tried to do a little of both. Everyone should be able to dabble in everything the world has to offer."
Riverol, a cabaret singer since the 1980s, opened his spring cabaret show at Judy's Chelsea, located on Eighth Avenue between 18th and 19th streets, on May 17, and will perform again on June 2 at 3 p.m. at Judy's Chelsea.
The show, titled "Journeys: Songs of Life's Travels," focuses on the often bumpy road taken towards love and other adventures throughout one's life. The show features songs from Broadway, Disney classics and some contemporary classics such as Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots are Made for Walking."
One man show
At 8:30 p.m., the lights in Judy's Chelsea's back room began to dim, and a curtain that had covered the glass windows separating the room from the restaurant and bar area, began to fall.
Riverol, on stage with only David Lahm, his piano player, and Ratzo B. Harris, the bass player, opened his show with "Corner of the Sky," a song written by Stephen Schwartz.
"You are metaphorically naked," said Riverol about performing as a one-man show on stage. "All of your emotions are exposed."
However, through the years, Riverol has been able to have fun on stage.
"I'm having fun so that the audience can have fun," said Riverol. "The years of experience have made me relax a little."
Riverol began his cabaret career at Jan Wallman's on Cornelia Street in New York in the early eighties.
"It becomes a bug," said Riverol, who has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Speech and theater from Montclair State University. "It's a good obsession. I have always been a performer."
Since then, Riverol has played in New York venues such as Rose's Turn and Don't Tell Mama as well as The Learning Annex's Just Gotta Sing.
Riverol was also asked to perform at President Jimmy Carter's White House and in productions performed at Lincoln Center.
Riverol has also appeared on episodes of One Life to Live and Law and Order.
Teachers are performers too
Before becoming the district supervisor of grants, federal programs and public relations in West New York last year, Riverol taught at both the secondary and college level.
"Teaching is performing also," said Riverol, who taught English as a Second Language in West New York. "You are in front of an audience everyday."
Riverol has a Master of Arts in Urban Education from New Jersey City University and a Ph.D. in Communications from New York University.
Riverol also designed the Program for Academic, Social, Survival and English Skills (PASSES) in West New York. The PASSES program was created to help struggling students.
Reservations are recommended to for anyone wishing to see Riverol perform at Judy's Chelsea. To make reservations call (212) 929-5410. There is a $15 cover charge for the show and a $10 minimum.