Painting by unknown artist - Riker's Island Prison

Baby Jane Dexter was born and raised in Garden City, Long Island, NY. She adopted her stage name because her mother, an actress, was also named Jane Dexter. While still at school Baby Jane was working professionally with a local theatre group and was briefly in the Broadway cast of Hair. After school, she supported herself driving a taxi while seeking stage work. She appeared at New York clubs and also on television, in No Holds Barred, and the theatre, Anything Goes and The Music Man. Like many other artists, Dexter’s career stalled in the late 70s when musical tastes changed. From 1981 she was active as a counsellor in programmes designed to offer an alternative to prison for young offenders. When a close friend, AIDS activist, Vito Russo, persuaded her to start singing again, she performed at AIDS benefit concerts at the Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center. Late in 1990, Dexter decided to perform a show at Eighty-Eights in Greenwich Village for Russo but he died just before she was scheduled to open. She continued with the show and early the following year was at the club performing a show I Got Thunder, which she also recorded. This and subsequent shows at Eighty-Eights, Big, Bad, & Blue and The Real Thing - An Intimate Opera, attracted considerable and highly favourable attention.

Drawing upon her experiences as a performer and as a counsellor, and also upon many personal difficulties through which she had worked her way, Dexter also developed a workshop programme, Healing Through Entertainment - A Motivational Performance Art Experience For Women. In the late 90s, she took part in TED/Technotainment, an ambitious joining of the entertainment and technology industries. In 1998 she made her Carnegie Hall debut, appearing in the Weill Recital Hall to considerable acclaim. In December of that year, she was at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall for the Concord Jazz Christmas show, A Singin’, Swingin’ Christmas.

She has won raves and sold out houses at New Yorks finest venues: Eighty Eights, The Russian Tea Room, The Village Gate, The Metroplitan Room, Arci's Place, the Seaport Jazz Festival, The Blue Note in Manhattan, Blues Alley in Washington DC, and King of France Tavern in Annapolis' Maryland Inn. She has appeared at the Cinegrill in Los Angeles, the Plush Room in San Francisco, and Toulouse Cognac Bar in Chicago.

 

Awards

Lifetime Achievment Award 2015
The Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs (MAC)

Major jazz/Pop/Rhythm & Blues Vocalist of the Year.
MAC Award 2013

Major jazz/Pop/Rhythm & Blues Vocalist of the Year.
MAC Award 2010

Outstanding Femal Cabaret Vocalist
Nightlife Awards 2008, 2009, 2010

Major jazz/Pop/Rhythm & Blues Vocalist of the Year.
MAC Award 2002

Major jazz/Pop/Rhythm & Blues Vocalist of the Year.
MAC Award 1999

Major jazz/Pop/Rhythm & Blues Vocalist of the Year.
MAC Award 1998

Backstage Magazine’s Bistro Award
1992

 


MAC Awards 2010

Certain singers own a room the moment they step on stage, Baby Jane Dexter burns the mortgage.
Bill Ervolinolino, The Bergen Record