A year later in New York, it's Madoff as cabaret

Bernard Madoff enters the Manhattan federal court house in New York, March 12, 2009. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - A 73-year-old New York cabaret singer and one of Bernard Madoff’s jilted investors is finding catharsis -- and some pay-back -- in her one-woman show, “John Denver, Bernie Madoff & Me,” which opened in New York on Monday.

“I figured you’ve got to keep a sense of humor and the only thing that I could do was sing,” Cynthia Crane told Reuters.

She said the show’s inspiration came when she learned singer John Denver’s estate had also lost money in Madoff’s admitted fraud, which U.S. prosecutors say involved as much as $65 billion. The “Take Me Home, Country Roads” singer died in 1997.

Crane said she and her husband invested with Madoff for 30 years and were “wiped out, financially speaking.”

The show includes Denver songs “Looking for Space” and “Rocky Mountain Suite (Cold Nights in Canada)” as well as “How Can Love Survive?” from the Sound of Music musical, which Crane said is “about how only the poor people have time for love.”

“Music is cathartic ... and it struck me as a chance to do Denver’s music and to do some songs ... that would be a propos of Madoff,” she said.

Crane will perform the show again on December 6, 8, and 9 at the Don’t Tell Mama cabaret theater in midtown Manhattan to mark the one-year anniversary of Madoff’s arrest.

“Yes, Bernie Madoff was the spider, and John Denver and I were the flies,” Crane sings in the show.

Madoff, 71, is serving a 150-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in March to orchestrating the massive fraud. He was arrested December 11 last year.

Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Mark Egan and Cynthia Osterman