Sally Martin Turns Capitol Hill Into Paris…at least for an evening

January 25, 2008

An invitation from Sally Martin…

Sally Martin sings Piaf, Brel, Aznavour  and more at the Corner Store

Saturday, February 16, at 8pm

Join me and pianist James R. Fitzpatrick at this intimate arts space on Capitol Hill. I’ll be singing my favorite songs about Paris as well as others from my Wammie-nominated new CD. We guarantee to keep you in the Valentine’s Day mood!Where: The Corner Store, 900 South Carolina Ave. SE (near Eastern Market)

When: Saturday, February 16 at 8PM
Tickets: $20; refreshments included!
Reserve early for this special event, as space is VERY LIMITED!

RSVP: 202-544-5807

Stephen Holden on Judy Collins

January 25, 2008

Is there a feeling that if you last long enough, you’ll end up in cabaret?

The NYTimes reviews Judy Collins: “At Tuesday’s opening performance of a six-week engagement at the Café Carlyle her voice, clear and vibrato free but inflected with delicate little shivers, stole through the room like a shaft of light falling through a stained-glass window. When surrendering to the ethereal spell she casts, your impulse is to turn your head up, close your eyes and tune in to messages from far, far away.”

The place to be February 2nd…

January 23, 2008

roof_top_photo_1.jpgroof_top_photo_1.jpgroof_top_photo_1.jpgOn February 2, a host of outstanding cabaret performers, all DC Cabaret Network members — Terri Allen, Davey Brown, Chris Cochran, Deborah Davidson, Emily Everson, Michael Miyazaki, Joe Peck, Kathy Reilly, Ron Squeri and Eileen Warner — are teaming up to bring you good music and good fun while benefiting scholarships for disadvantaged DC-area youth through a College Access Fund.

I’m looking forward to this, not just because I’m in it, but from the rehearsal I heard, some of my favorite area performers are going to be delivering knock-out performances — this is a show not to be missed!!!!

From heart-felt to stand-and-belt, this show pulls no punches when it comes to providing the kind of excellent entertainment DC audiences have come to expect.

Curtain is 7:30 pm at the River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation located at 6301 River Road, Bethesda, MD.

Ticket prices range from $10 for students to $60 for “family” admittance, and includes a cold supper with a cash bar.  A special admission price of $ 20 for DC Cabaret Network members can be had by contacting Kathy Reilly at; or for general admission tickets and directions go online to

Above right, the lovely Kathy Reilly, the organizer of the event

Perry-Mansfield Memories: Toni Rae Brotons

January 23, 2008

(Left — Toni Rae Brotons (far left) and other 2007 participants at Perry-Mansfield)

Say you want to learn more about the art of cabaret. Would you like to be able to explore this craft

  • o in the mountains of Colorado in the summertime?
  • o amongst folks at various stages of their cabaret careers, who want to learn just as much as you?
  • o from teachers who are award-winning performers and musicians that create a relaxing and encouraging atmosphere in which to grow and thrive?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions you are either a) me; or b) the perfect candidate for the Perry-Mansfield Art of Cabaret Workshop (or whatever they call it these days).  Seriously, it was the most amazing week of my artistic life. The best piece of advice I can give to potential participants is to be yourself, be prepared to sing LOTS and play well with others–an invaluable part of the workshop is the friends you make.   Audition for this workshop.  You won’t be sorry.

Dean Goes to Boston

January 23, 2008

dean_smile_headshot.jpgDC-based cabaret artist Dean Reichard went to Boston earlier this month to do a cabaret workshop with Lina Koutrakos and Rick Jensen.  His report is below.  (Thanks, Dean!!!) 

The team will be presenting future workshops in Minneapolis (April 4-6), Chicago (June 27 – 29) and Palm Springs (May 16-18).  For more details contact Tim Schall — . 


By Dean Reichard    

I braved the 8-degree temperatures in Boston and attended the Boston Cabaret Intensive last weekend, January 4-6.  The workshop began at 9am on Friday January 4 and we hit the ground singing!  Classes were held at The Cambridge Center for Adult Education (CCAE), on Brattle Street near Harvard Square.  There were 14 participants in the workshop.  The instructors, Lina Koutrakos and Rick Jensen, were fantastic.  Lina is an accomplished singer/songwriter and Rick is an accomplished songwriter/arranger/musical director/singer as well.  In addition to being great performers, they both displayed a real knack for teaching the art of cabaret.  We seemed to work in half-day “chunks” of time.  That is most of the exercises we did would last 3-1/2 to 4 hours, and then we would break for lunch or for the evening.  The weekend culminated in a showcase on Sunday evening featuring each student performing one of the songs they worked on in the workshop.  Unfortunately, due to Delta’s flight schedule, I was unable to participate in the showcase. I was flying home on the last flight out while the showcase was going on.  The 14 students came from all around the Boston area, except for me.  I think the furthest traveler other than myself had a two-hour drive to class each day. 

 The concept of subtext was one of the major themes of the weekend.  The first morning, each student worked on one song.  After singing it through once, Lina would begin asking the performer what they were thinking about while singing.  This was usually as enlightening for the performer as it was for the class and for the instructor.  Lina then helped the performer further develop their subtext and thereby make the performance much more personal.  Sometimes Lina would have the performer envision a different scene in their mind at various points in the song, and sometimes Lina would “portray” the object of the song and actually converse with the singer during the delivery of the song.  By the end of 15 or 20 minutes, the singer was able to communicate message of the song in a much more intense and personal way.  Then the participants, Rick, and Lina would spend about 5 more minutes discussing ways in which the performance improved and recapping how that improvement was brought about.  So not only the singer on the stage, but each and every participant in the class gained something from the experience.  The afternoon session was similar, but Lina emphasized that each performer was to “start where they left off” in the morning session so we didn’t reinvent anybody’s wheel.  So, if you had nervous energy the first time and fidgeted, you were to drop that.  If you had sung your first song “at” the audience (class) instead of “to” them, you were to drop that.  This really helped everyone to stay focused and on a continued path to improvement as performers. 

Saturday morning we did a really fun patter exercise.  Everyone was given 10 minutes or so to write patter for the same song and music for the first verse of the song.  We were instructed to write down ALL of our thoughts for the patter and NOT to edit it before it was heard by the class.  Each of us got up and recited our patter (reading your own writing was okay for this exercise), and sang the first verse of the song in a manner that was consistent with the patter.  Then, after reading it and singing the verse, Lina and Rick gave each person pointers on how the patter could be edited down to its essence and made more funny, personal, heartwarming, endearing, or whatever it was supposed to be. Also, we discussed how the style in which the song was sung should match the tone of the patter.  In other words, if your patter was angry, the song should at least start angry.  A funny story should be matched with a more whimsical delivery of the song.  It was amazing how many ways there were to introduce and also to perform a single song! 

The afternoon session on Saturday was devoted to another song for each class participant.  You could do one of the two songs you had already done for the class or choose a new one (prior to the class we were all instructed to bring 5 or 6 songs).  This session was similar to the two sessions on Friday, but everybody was better because we were following Lina’s advice to “pick up where we left off.”  Saturday night we were treated to a performance by Lina and Rick. They performed a very entertaining show featuring highlights from their recent award-winning NYC Cabaret Show “Torch.”  Tim Schall opened for Lina.  Both performers were excellent.  Lina’s material ranged from standards, to pop/rock influences, to original music by Lina, Rick, and Lina and Rick!  For me, the highlights of the night were “You Fascinate Me So,” and the Lina Koutrakos original “Oh My My,” but this show really had something for everyone to love.  Lina is a riveting performer. 

Sunday was devoted to a recap of Saturday night’s performance and putting together the student showcase for Sunday evening.  It was really enlightening to have the rare opportunity to pick apart a performance the next morning with the performer to discuss how concepts learned in class were applied in the show.  A great learning experience.  The rest of the day was spent preparing for the show that evening.  It was very useful to me, even though I was not slated to perform, to observe the process of threading together a show based on what was available from each performer and how they could be strung together.  I could tell from the dress rehearsal that the show was going to be good, and as I touched down at BWI, I called one of my new friends via cell phone and heard that it went over very well. 

 As important as the things I learned were the contacts made at the conference.  It’s great to meet people who share your interest in cabaret.  For example, two of the participants were songwriters as well as performers, eager to have their songs heard.  Singing in a different city, I was in a unique position to be of help to them in this endeavor.  I am considering, along with one of the other participants,  the idea of doing a two person “bi-city” show in both Boston and DC.  I think I would prefer Summer in Boston!  So I really enjoyed the people I met, AND learned a lot in the process. 

Overall, the Boston Cabaret Intensive was a great experience that I would recommend to anyone who is looking for some intensive cabaret training.  The Intensive is offered in various cities.  Recently it has been offered in Santa Fe and St. Louis.  The possibility of offering the course in DC was discussed, but nothing was formalized.  

Photo courtesy of Matt Howe

Reminder: 2 at Wolf Trap

January 23, 2008

John EatonFaith PrinceTwo cabaret greats appear this week at WolfTrap.  Faith Prince appears Thursday with the always-amazing Alex Rybeck on Thursday, 24 January.

 John Eaton brings his usual brand of suave enlightment on Saturday, January 26th.

Ron’s show — FAQ

January 22, 2008

I hope you can come to the show.It’s less than a week to Ron (Squeri, my partner)’s show at the Duplex!

The support from everyone has been terrific, and we are so thrilled that people are willing to trek to NY from a multitude of areas!

Just to answer some questions that people have been asking:

Do I need to make a reservation?

You don’t really NEED to make a reservation.  However, I think a reservation would be appreciated, and I’ve found it makes the check-in process at the venue easier.

I’m trying to see something else that afternoon, can I fit it in?

The Duplex is located 1 block away from the Christopher Street subway stop on the 1 or 9 (7th avenue local) lines.  So you should be able to make it there from Times Sq. in 10 – 20 minutes, depending on your wait for the train.  A cab will take about that amount of time.  Some short shows to consider: A Chorus Line (2.5hrs), Xanadu (1.5hrs),The Homecoming (2.5hrs), Spring Awakening (2.25 hrs), 39 Steps (1.75 hrs).  Or join me at Trudi Mann’s Open Mic, where a couple of other DC are rumored to be showing up.

How long does the show run?

Assuming the normal “cabaret time” start of 5:15, the show runs a bit under an hour, so you should be able to make that 7pm show of Fuerzabata, should you desire.

Does anyone need a ride?

I know one person looking for a ride from DC.  If you’re looking for a rider please e-mail me at and I’ll unite you.

It’s not exactly cabaret, but…

January 22, 2008

…did anyone else know there is an “anti-folk” scene?  (Although I, personally, would be very cautious before I tried to take on Susan Werner.)

I found this article about Kimya Dawson who supplied the quirky songs for the movie Juno in the NYTimes interesting.  It’s an interesting tale of an artist who suddenly, unexpectedly breaks through. 

And as much as the article makes one understand Dawson’s ambivilence about the situation, it is a dilemma that I wish for about 30 people I know!

Busker Alley CD

January 21, 2008

In 1995 the show Busker Alley was six weeks from opening on Broadway when star Tommy Tune broke his foot.  The producers opted to close the show rather than wait for the star to heal or replace him.  The York Theater Company presented a benefit performance of the show in 2006 starring Jim Dale with an appearance by Glenn Close — then they recorded it.

The show was written by the Sherman Brothers (Mary Poppins, Over Here!) and explores the world of London street and vaudeville performers in 1938.   The music is tuneful and what you would expect from the Sherman Brothers.  Paddle Your Own Canoe feels like a re-write of Supercalifragilistic, and there are the usual ballads.  Any number of the songs here, especially Tin Whistle Tune, Baby Me, Mates, and He Has a Way could be very effective in a cabaret situation.

The show has been announced for Broadway in 2008.

Sammy Cahn Tribute Review

January 21, 2008

Stephen Holden of the NY Times weighs in on a tribute to Sammy Cahn as part of the Lyrics & Lyricists series at the 92nd Street Y in NY featuring Laura Marie Duncan, Julian Fleisher, Capathia Jenkins, Karen Morrow, Clarke Thorell, and Ted Sperling.

“The ability to come up with usable lyrics on any subject at lightning speed was one of Mr. Cahn’s great skills. And at Saturday’s edition of this program, which has its final two performances Monday, many of his lyrics sped by with the rat-a-tat efficiency of machine-tooled jingles. One Styne-Cahn collaboration, “10432 Sheep” (about insomnia), sounded like a clever, extended commercial for a sleep medication.”