Momma gave her music. Daddy gave her comedy. Sarah Hester Ross takes those two creative talents and combines them to make up her performances as a dueling piano player at The Bar at Times Square at New York-New York.

It was a huge deal when the Florida native got hired, she says. “Players come to this room and hold on to the job for life because it’s one of the best in the country, most famous, most well known. They haven’t had a female in a long time. It’s mostly men; bit of a sausage fest. I’m the only female full-time dueler.”

But Hester Ross is more than a piano bar entertainer. “I’m a musical comedian,” she says. “I like to say I’m the piano-playing Bette Midler.” She’s been studying and performing music almost her whole life, starting out as a vocal performance major in college and, after graduation, working at Orlando theme parks like Universal Studios. Hester Ross was also very active in community theater, combining her singing and acting talents. About 10 years ago, she began playing piano professionally, working as a dueling piano player in Orlando.

“There’s a piano bar circuit, kinda like the comedy circuit that hires traveling players,” Hester Ross says. “I toured all around the U.S and Canada, working the bars, bucking up on my piano skills and song repertoire.” When her skills were sharpened, she joined The Bar at Times Square in 2019. “People come to Vegas with a lack of inhibition,” she says. “So as entertainers in this bar, there’s definitely adult material. It gets wild and loud. We’re encouraging people to sing and drink and dance—we’re creating an unforgettable party atmosphere.”

Hester Ross is also continuing to create a legacy for herself. “I want to get into TV and writing. I have very, very big dreams,” she says. “Dueling pianos I love, but I want to do a lot more. Music and comedy, they’re my passions, and I’m not stopping here.”

Libation: Cosmopolitan

Order a classic cocktail, the Cosmopolitan, for a great night of fun and music. The drink is mixed with citrus-flavored vodka, lime juice, triple sec and cranberry juice. Not only can guests catch Hester Ross dueling Friday, Sunday and Tuesday, but can also check out her own production show, Sarah Hester Ross Live: Music & Comedy, Thursdays in September at Notoriety theater. Get tickets at sarahhesterross.com or notorietylive.com. She’s also become a social media sensation with her “Florida Man” bits.

Benefit: Check out her TikTok account @sarahhesterross, where she has amassed 1.7 million followers!

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