An Interview with Liz and Ann Hampton Callaway: The Revelry Continues

An Interview with Liz and Ann Hampton Callaway

The Revelry Continues This Yuletide Season

December 6, 2023

By Lynn Timmons Edwards

Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway

The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix, Arizona is hosting the debut of a brand-new Callaway sisters cabaret, Yuletide Revelry, on Saturday, December 16 for two shows at 6 and 8 p.m. This is in advance of their highly anticipated run at 54 Below in New York City December 24, 26-30. I had the opportunity to speak with Liz and Ann together via Zoom in between their many recent domestic and international shows. Our conversation was delightful and free flowing, but it was not recorded; therefore I am not going to quote them directly, but I’ll share their excitement about this upcoming show and how they have sustained such successful careers in cabaret for so many years.

How did Yuletide Revelry come to be?

Liz loved that they had played 54 Below around Thanksgiving in 2022 and how nice it was to spend the holiday together. So why not shoot for Christmas in 2023? Sister Ann and her wife Kari (pronounced car-e) have been living in Tucson, Arizona for five years now and haven’t spent the Christmas holiday in New York since they moved. Liz called 54 Below and secured four nights starting Christmas Eve. Next came what should they perform? The show’ title picks up on their highly successful early show Sibling Revelry, and it was still being tweaked when we spoke.

What can your audiences expect?

They don’t want to give away any secrets, but there will be a costume surprise, at least two original Ann Hampton Callaway songs, some sass, and a lot of Christmas and perhaps some New Year’s music. The 54 Below show will be a bit longer than the two shows at the MIM. Long-time collaborator and music director/arranger Alex Rybeck, will be at the piano at the MIM. They will add bass and drums for the run at 54 Below. There will not be a 20-minute medley (The “big” medley from Sibling Revelry is notably famous; Pandora plays it as Part I and Part II).

Tell me more about your musical collaboration; where do those intricate harmonies come from?

Liz was quick to credit Ann with the harmonic brilliance present in all their shows. They both collaborate on arrangements with Rybeck, and Liz’s husband Dan is credited with the direction. “He adds a lot of the theatricality and comedy to our shows.” Ann gave credit to Rybeck and her sister for coming up with great medleys.

How did we get so lucky to have you debut this show at the MIM?

They both spoke highly of MIM artistic director Andrew Walesch. Ann had worked with him in his former position as director of the cabaret club Crooners in Minneapolis. (As an aside, Liz has never played Crooners; hint, hint to the current management.) It doesn’t hurt that Ann is an Arizona resident and Liz is always happy to visit, especially when the cold wind blows in New York. She will be flying to Tucson a few days before they open at the MIM to rehearse and put some finishing touches on the show. They will rehearse with Dan via Zoom.

How do you stay so healthy and vibrant at “our” age?

They laughed and admitted they are pretty exhausted all the time. Liz spoke of eating healthily (lots of veggies), daily yoga, and always hydrating. Ann keeps a “Gratitude Journal,” and they both practice keeping up their sense of humor and appreciation for the music and all the love in their lives. Ann said, “I live on earth, but I work in heaven.” We talked about our mutual adoration of Marilyn Maye, who at 95 had just played the MIM on the previous Saturday, December 2. I learned that Maye had officiated Ann’s wedding. We all aspire to be her as we age.

Will you still be touring at 95?

Neither Ann nor Liz has any plans to retire. They do hope to be touring a little less frequently by that age. There was a discussion about the struggles of today’s airline travel. United Airlines should pay Liz Callaway to sing on their behalf as she is a devoted premiere United customer.

What kind of a year have you had, airline troubles aside?

In addition to concerts throughout the U.S. and Europe, Liz received a Grammy nomination for her recording of To Steve with Love: Liz Callaway Celebrates Sondheim in the Best Traditional Pop category. Ann was inducted into the Women Songwriters Hall of Fame and has also had a phenomenal touring year, She recently released a CD of all original songs, Finding Beauty: Originals Volume 1.

What kind of Christmas celebration are you planning?

On Christmas Eve, they will be at 54 Below but they still hope to be able to read their childhood copy of The Night Before Christmas and they love singing the “Hallelujah Chorus.” They will open presents at Liz’s home on Christmas morning. Liz took the opportunity during our Zoom call to remind Ann to bring her stocking!

Liz Callaway and Ann Hampton Callaway are incredibly talented; they are grounded in kindness and humor, and they treat journalists and fans like part of their greater family. Subscribe to Liz’s newsletter Between Flights for a fun read and some good recipes. Get your tickets to Yuletide Revelry at the MIM on December 16 at If you cannot catch the 54 Below shows ( in person, you can secure a December 27 streaming ticket and watch from anywhere in the world (7 p.m. EST).


Editor’s note:



Lynn Timmons Edwards

Lynn writes and performs themed cabaret shows based on the songs of the Great American Songbook throughout Arizona. She has had three short plays produced in the Theatre Artists Studio Festival of Summer Shorts and is working on a full length play, "Fairy," based on the life of Mary Russell Ferrell Colton, a founder of the Museum of Northern Arizona. In addition to writing and singing, Lynn plays bridge and tennis and enjoys traveling with her husband and artistic companion, Bob. Born in Ohio, Lynn is a graduate of Denison University (BA), Arizona State University (MPA) and has lived in Arizona since 1977.