Songs from Michael Smith

October 31, 2008

At the October DCCN open mic, Ron sang his current work-in-progress Sister Clarissa.  The song is by a terrific folk singer/songwriter Michael Smith.  The lovely Kate Loitz has recorded his song The Dutchman and Lisa Asher has recorded a number of his songs, too.

His songs generally combine an interesting story with witty lyrics.  Perfect for a trip out of the coffee house and into the cabaret.

His site has info on his songs and recordings.  And he even has a songbook — but be warned, it’s really meant as a rough guide for the folk guitarist, not necessarily something you can put successfully in front of a pianist.  But the drawings are very pretty.

Performance Anxiety

October 31, 2008

It seems to me that the people I know who have had the severest, most crippling anxiety about performing also seem to be the ones who tend to be the most hypercritical about the performances they view.  Is there a correlation?

For these people, I wonder what would happen if they made a concious effort to celebrate the performances they see and focus on what joy the performer gives the audience?  Could this be a way to break down a hypercritical wall they surely erect for themselves?

Just asking…

Fashionable Cabaret

October 31, 2008

Songs go in and out of fashion.  But what about songs dealing with fashion?  As a project, I was pulling ideas for someone for songs about fashion, clothes, and style.  Here’s a partial list of what I came up with.

  • A Little More Mascara
  • Artificial Flowers
  • Beauty Secrets
  • Boogie Shoes
  • Bruce
  • Cosmetic Surgery
  • Did I Shave My Legs for This?
  • Dressing Them Up
  • Drinkin’ Shoes
  • Everybody Says Don’t/The King’s New Clothes
  • Gorgeous
  • High Flying Wings On My Shoes
  • I Don’t Want
  • If I Were In Your Shoes
  • I’m Gonna Leave Off Wearing My Shoes
  • Keep Young and Beautiful
  • Little Red Hat
  • Little Red Shoes
  • Old Shoes And A Bag Of Rice
  • One White Dress
  • Pink Taffeta Sample Size 10
  • Put On Your Sunday Clothes
  • Put Your Shoes On, Lucy: Petula Clark (Bonus Track)
  • Rags
  • Rags To Riches
  • Sand in My Shoes
  • Sensible Shoes
  • Sew On A Sequin
  • Shattered Illusions
  • Shine On Your Shoes
  • Shoeless Joe from Hannibal, Mo.
  • Shoes
  • Shoes
  • Shoes Upon The Table
  • Shoppin’ For Clothes
  • Someone Else’s Clothes
  • Take Your Shoes Off Baby
  • The Blonde Song
  • The Dressing Song
  • The Red Dress
  • This Shirt
  • Where’s My Shoe?
  • Who Wears These Clothes?
  • Who Wears These Shoes
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On
  • You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile 

Stage to Cabaret: Episode 4

October 29, 2008

I’ve been thinking of doing a workshop with the theme “Stage to Cabaret” to discuss the ways cabaret artists can adapt stage material for their own use.  I see the discussions revolving around performance clips showing examples of various themes.

Despite advances in ideas about non-traditional casting, to play a role in the theater, one needs to have at least a vague resemblence to the requirements of the specific character.  In cabaret one casts oneself.  As long as one can provide an acceptable context for a song, it can work.  “The Glamorous Life is meant for a pre-pubescent Swedish girl which Audra MacDonald is not.  Does this performance work and why?” — Discuss among yourselves.

Extra credit — Will any theater ever have enough of a commitment to non-traditional casting that Ned Beatty stars in Fences?

Sondheim Podcasts

October 29, 2008

In concurrence with the release of yet-another Sondheim mega-box set*, Sony BMG is broadcasting a series of podcasts with discussions of Sondheim’s work.  One can subscribe through iTunes or play them on the MasterworksBroadway site.

*Could it possibly be that I’m not the “Sondheim Queen” that I once was?  This collection has been out for a month, and I still haven’t found myself willing to pony up the $50 to get a lot of the tracks I have in order to get a few I don’t.

CHAWbaret 4

October 28, 2008

Ron and I caught the latest iteration of CHAWberet on Friday night, titled Cabaret Connections. 

The evening had a theme of “family” with the performers exploring the theme from all angles — tender, sardonic, heartfelt, and even spooky!  All of the performers delivered material in very personal interpretations, and there was a fascinating variety of material.  Matt Howe assembled everyone’s contributions in an amazingly cohesive, charming fashion and Alex Tang provided music direction that both supported the needs of individual performers and provided a unifying feel for the evening.

The program repeats Friday, November 7 and Saturday, November 8.

Here’s what people sang:

  • Mama Says (Dean Reichard)
  • Be Kind to Your Parents (Dean Reichard & Catherine Satterlee)
  • Someone to Watch Over Me (Cahterine Satterlee)
  • I Won’t Mind (David McMullen)
  • Way Ahead of My Time (David McMullen)
  • She’s Always a Woman (Emily Leatha Everson)
  • I Love to Be Unhappy (Emily Leatha Everson)
  • Real Emotional Girl (Dean Reichard)
  • Family Theme (Ensemble)
  • Live Alone and Like It (Matt Howe)
  • Hello Again (Matt Howe)
  • Older Sister (Catherine Satterlee)
  • My Dogs (David McMullen)
  • The Story Goes On (Emily Leatha Everson)
  • Brotherhood of Man (Ensemble)

In one of the more charming moments of the show, Matt took a picture of the audience and performers which he was kind enough to share with this blog.  When Matt sends me the photos from the next 2 shows, I sincerely hope there are more people in the house since this is a show that deserves to be seen!!!

Report: DCCN November Open Mic

October 27, 2008

Don’t blame the wonderful Lonny Smith.  He sent me the information about who sang what at last Monday’s DC Cabaret Network open mic more than a week ago.  I’ve just forgotten to post it. 

The November Open Mic happens at the Warehouse Theater on Monday, November 17, 7:30pm.

 If (like me) you weren’t there, here’s what you missed:

  • Terri Allen – Get Here (Brenda Russell), and I’ll Be Here with You (David Friedman)
  • Toni Rae Brotons – Turn Me On (John Loudermilk), and A Sorta Love Song (Paul Loessel)
  • Kathy Reilly and Barry Abel – Buddy on the Night Shift (Oscar Hammerstein II, Kurt Weill)
  • Kathy Reilly – When October Goes (Johnny Mercer, Barry Manilow)
  • Barry Abel – I Believe in You (Frank Loesser)
  • Justin Richie – Life on Earth (Craig Carnelia), The Things I Learned in High School (Craig Carnelia)
  • Jen Lambert and Katie McManus – Feelings You’ve Got to Hide (Bill Russell, Henry Krieger), I Will Never Leave You (Bill Russell, Henry Krieger), For Good (Stephen Schwartz)
  • Lonny Smith – Dissertation on the State of Bliss (Ira Gershwin, Harold Arlen), Lying There (Benj Pasek, Justin Paul)
And thank you again to Lonny for providing this info!

Cabaret Class Recital

October 27, 2008

Ron and I were priviledged to attend the final recital class for Judy Simmons and George Fulginiti-Shakar’s latest cabaret class at the Theatre Lab.  

It was really terrific to see everyone’s work!  I always find it encouraging when work pays off — and it was terrific to see that people who attended this session whose work I was familiar with seemed to have grown as a result of the class.  And people whose work I wasn’t previously familiar with acquitted themselves handsomely.

Having taken the class myself, I think Judy and George do a terrific job of tailoring their instruction to the needs of each participant.  And I think that it’s terrific that they have a mini-cabaret as the last class since performing for a class and for an audience are inevitably two different experiences!

A hearty congratulations to all!!!

(OK, I admit I have a dilemma with this post.  Since I was invited as a friend/fan of one of the participants and not as a blogger/reviewer, I feel sensitive about going into more specifics.  However, since I know that participants in the class are among my loyal tens-of-readers, please feel free to add more specifics comments / congratulations.)

Jennifer Blades at Germano’s

October 27, 2008

The ever-wonderful Jennifer Blades is performing her show, My Funny Valentine, at Germano’s in Baltimore next week.  Details follow:

Cabaret at Germano’s
My Funny Valentine



A cabaret tale of looking for love in all the wrong places, finding love, losing love, confusing love, finding love again but doubting that it is really love, and finally falling in love.

Songs by Arlen, Rodgers & Hart, Sondheim, and Gershwin as well as some lesser known gems by Elmer Bernstein, Alec Wilder and several others.

Whether looking to avoid counting the raindrops or to spend an intimate evening with your own funny valentine, this evening of humor and song is for you.



Jennifer Blades, vocals
Eileen Cornett, piano



Thursday, November 6, 2008
Doors open at 6 pm//Show starts at 7:30 pm
$10 cover
$15 food or drink minimum300 High Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

Stephen Holden on the state of cabaret

October 26, 2008

Stephen Holden the cabaret critic gives a very frank assessment of the genre in a must-read article in today’s NY Times.

Also, don’t miss the great slideshow / audio commentary of a few current cabaret artists.