Cabaret Scenes May Issue

April 30, 2009

I actually got my new copy of Cabaret Scenes before the month started!!!!  Good going guys!

The cover story of the current issue is a terrific profile of friend-of-this-blog Mary Foster Conklin written by the always-wonderful Joe Regan, Jr.

And of course, an incredibly insightful local critic has written searingly truthful and highly readable reviews of  Maureen McGovern’s recent show at Arena Stage.

What makes a performance vocally thrilling?

April 28, 2009

Set Rudetsky will tell you. (And tell you, and tell you….)

Rudetsky is a noted music director and appreciator of Broadway song.  He was also part of the ensemble cast of the Broadway revival of The Ritz and writes a weekly column for    Of late, he has become  known for entertainingly “deconstructing” performances, especially concentrating on issues of tone, vibrator, and placement.  Both his Web site and YouTube have a plethora of clips of him discoursing on a variety of singers.

Here’s a typical session, discoursing on the great Patti LuPone:

His passion and plethora of words occasionally makes it feel like you’ve been cornered by your ADHD show-queen nephew after Thanksgiving dinner.  But the good news is that, unlike your nephew, you can pause or exit when you’ve had enough.

Building a Songbook at Signature

April 28, 2009

This sounds fascinating.  (And darn those rehearsals that are keeping me from taking it.  Sort of.)

Building a Songbook: Selecting Material that Works for You!
Mondays, May 4 & 11, 7:00 – 9:30pm
Saturdays, May 9 & 16, 12:00 – 1:30pm

Okay, you sang your song, and now the director wants to know: “Do you have a ballad…or something legit…or…?” Musical theater performers need to have four or five selections that show their voice at its dynamite best. Under the guidance of recent Helen Hayes Award-winning Musical Director (Les Misérables) and Signature Theatre’s Resident Musical Director, Jon Kalbfleisch, you will learn how to build a repertoire that works for all occasions.

Spaces still available!

Deadline May 1st
Tuition $300

Contact Education Director Marcia Gardner at (571) 527 1854 or by email at

Michael Riedel Interviews Barbara Cook

April 27, 2009

An interesting double dose of Barbara Cook in Michael Riedel’s column today.  First is a report that Cook may be returning to Broadway in the newly-resuscitated-show-with-a-terrible-title — iSondheim.  More importantly, there’s a great video interview, including snatches of song from the legend.

Hilary Kole’s Haunted Heart

April 27, 2009

Haunted HeartWow!  I was blown away when I first heard Hilary Kole’s CD, Haunted Heart.   Kole is a jazz-veering-to-cabaret singer.  So she has an amazing lyrical integrity (but beware if you only listen to her recording and are trying to learn the melodies of any songs).

She has an amazing intensity to her singing and truly commits to her performances.  Her Blackberry Winter has a special wistfulness and she even makes warhorses like There’s a Small Hotel and What’ll I Do sound like they’re being sung for the first time.  Amazing job backing her up by Tedd Firth on piano, Paul Gill on bass, and Mark McLean on drums. 

1. It’s Love
2. There’s A Small Hotel
3. ‘Deed I Do
4. I Didn’t Know About You
5. Better Than Anything
6. Like A Lover
7. Blackberry Winter
8. The Snake
9. Old Boyfriends
10. How Am I To Know
11. What’ll I Do
12. You For Me
13. Haunted Heart

Two sad passings …

April 26, 2009

You always remember your first, and often your second.  Broadway shows that is.  And sadly, people associated with the first and second Broadway shows I ever saw just passed away.

Marilyn Cooper played the the acerbic Leah in Two By Two, and in a show featuring the antics of the aging Danny Kaye and arriving Madelaine Kahn, hers was the performance I remembered most.  More than a decade later she won the Tony for supporting actress in Woman of the Year.  Deservedly, for the 15 minutes she was onstage, playing a dumpy hausfrau married to Lauren Bacall’s ex-husband were the highlight of the show. 

Bea Arthur’s many esteemed credits included creating the role of Yenta the matchmaker in Fiddler on the Roof.  It was the second show I ever saw (although well after she had left the cast).  Although best known for her television work, Arthur had notable appearances in New York musicals including Threepenny Opera, Mame, and the Shoestring Revue.

The Glorious Ones

April 24, 2009

gloriousThis CD captures the songs from the Ahrens & Flaherty piece of a couple of seasons ago.

The show, adapted from the novel by Francine Prose, tells the story of commedia dell’arte performers in an extremely touching way and Ahrens and Flaherty deliver a score that ranges from comic to bravura, and in the end is deeply touching.  Two songs are already familiar from cabaret recordings — Opposite You (on the Marin Mazzie / Jason Danieley CD) and I Was Here (on John Abernathy’s CD and in concert by Patti LuPone and Brian Stokes Mitchell).

Best of all, the songbook is already published.

Stephen Holden on Judy Collins

April 23, 2009

The NYTimes on the legend who has crossed the line into cabaret: “It wasn’t always so. But nowadays a Judy Collins concert is a seamless flow of music and storytelling. Alternating between the guitar and the piano, Ms. Collins offers a version of a personal musical history that is too complicated and rich to be covered in a single evening.”

Does this mean that when a coffee house grows up, it becomes a cabaret?

Headshot advice from Tom Griep

April 23, 2009

Tom Griep, best known as the man behind the terrific and useful AuditionTrax service has a new newsletter posted on his site with photo tips.  I particularly liked: “Know Who You Are. A crucial step in any successful business is marketing. That is, how you are presenting yourself to potential clients when they may only have a few seconds to consider what you are offering.  In your headshot, who are you planning to tell casting that you are?  Do you have a realistic concept of the types of roles for which you will be considered and can effectively portray?”

Mother Courage

April 22, 2009

mother-courageI started rehearsals for Mother Courage with Scena Theatre, opening in late May.  The only problem with this cast/crew photo taken by the lovely Ian Armstrong is that the lovely Ian Armstrong isn’t in it.