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.)

Beverly Cosham & Charles Williams at Lorton

October 18, 2008

I saw Beverly Cosham and Charles Williams do their show The Best of Friends — Singing Songs of a Lifetime at the new Workhouse Arts Center at Lorton last night with music direction by George Fulginiti-Shakar.  The event offered me two pleasant surprises.

The first surprise was seeing the new arts center.  The space itself, in the facilities of the former prison, is stunning.  There is a fascinating gallery chock-full of terrific art.  And the performance space was open and airy with great sightlines, a good piano, and terrific sound.  Plus there were free wine and munchies!

The second pleasant surprise was seeing the show again.  The team originally did the show 5 years ago, and it still is very effective.  The performers, of course, are the tops, but combined they become even more.  Charles Williams’s boyish energy still plays effectively against Beverly Cosham’s deadpan reserve.  A musical sequence in the middle of the show that uses a string of songs to explore approaches to love felt like a Carol Burnett show production number (in a good way).  And a sequence about parenting that concluded with The Hardest Part of Love from Children of Eden had much of the audience misting up.

The team repeat the show tonight (Saturday) and tickets are still available.

Nuts and Bolts advice from George Fulginiti-Shakar

September 28, 2008

George Fulginit-Shakar has a great piece in the DC Cabaret Network blog about the way to ingratiate yourself with your music director through the proper preparation of your music.

Music Advice from George Fulginiti-Shakar

September 18, 2008

DC’s own multiple Helen Hayes Award nominated (and winning) music director has posted a great piece to the DC Cabaret Network Songspeak Blog about preparing music for a music director.

Michael Sazonov at the Arts Club & Signature

July 27, 2008


I saw busiest-cabaret-performer-in-DC, Michael Vitaly Sazonov do his show Love Songs for a Summer Night at the Arts Club of Washington last night.  This came a couple days after his last Psycho Cabaret show during the Fring Festival and before he performs his show, My Well Schooled Heart at Signature next week.

In last night’s program Sazonov offered a selection of mostly standards sung with a subtly modern edge.  He covered notions of romance fromt he heartfelt (So In Love) to the slightly sleazy (You Musn’t Kick It Around*) to the pained (Lonely House) and redemptive (Being Alive)  He made a warm room hotter with a sizzling medley (or “sandwich” in his terms) of It’s All Right With Me and Sway.  George Fulginiti-Shakar provided his usual sturdy musical support and Judy Simmons directed with her usual subtlety.

I have to admit that Sazonov’s Clark Kent glasses and porkpie hat ensemble in Psycho Cabaret had me a little worried that he was drifting from his very strong stage look, but pomaded in a white dinner jacket, last night he looked every bit the “young romantic” he advertizes himself to be.  One could easily believe that the audience who were generally “of a certain age” could view him either as a memory of their first love or an idealized version of their younger selves.

Next Thursday he does his show My Well Schooled Heart in Signatures Sizzling Summer Nights festival at 7:30pm.  In addition, next Wednesday he is combining forces with Natascha Diaz in a show as well.

Here’s the set list from last night…

  • If I Ever Say I’m Over You
  • So In Love
  • I Fall in Love Too Easily / Blame It On My Youth
  • It’s All Right With Me / Sway
  • The Gal That Got Away
  • Lonely House
  • Being Alive
  • You’ve Got Something
  • You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To
  • Now and Forever
  • Day By Day
  • Grateful
  • Moon River

*Has any theater around been dying to do Pal Joey?  He would be ideal!

Going Psycho (Cabaret)

July 19, 2008

I finally caught Psycho Cabaret, the DC Cabaret Network entry in this year’s Fringe Festival.  What a terrific show!  From the moment Chris Cochran, Lonny Smith and Michael Sazonov launch into Stress at the top of the show to the time that the company concludes with As We Stumble Along, the show is 55 minutes of delights.  They’re too numerous to list here, but special favorites include Emily Everson’s take on Don’t Touch Me (from Young Frankenstein), Lonny Smith’s Run Away with Me, Judy Simmon’s Another Winter in a Summer Town (from Grey Gardens), and Terri Allen’s Saturday Night.  I always love Michael Sazonov’s work — his What Is It About Her? was up to his usual standard of excellence; and even though I didn’t quite buy The Lies of Handsome Men told from a heterosexual male perspective, it’s thrilling to watch an artist make fascinating, bold, risky choices.  Also, Jeff Tucker was doing an amazing job mixing sound throughout the show.

I do have to take whoever is doing the marketing for this show to task.  The communications I’ve seen from the DC Cabaret Network have a “please support us” / floss your teeth rationale as the argument why people should see this show.  And I think that does a disservice to the people performing.  People should see this show because it’s a terrific show!

The songs…

  • Stress  — Ensemble
  • Don’t Touch Me — Emily Everson
  • You Wnna Be My Friend — Arlene Hill
  • Twisted — Terri Allen
  • What Is It About Her? — Michael Sazonov
  • I’m Not My Mother  — Chris Cochrane
  • Run Away With me — Lonny Smith
  • Another Winter in a Summer Town — Judy Simmons
  • Sweet Dreams — George Fulginiti-Shkar
  • Shattered Illusions — Ensemble
  • Lies of Handsome Men — Michael Sazonov
  • I Don’t Remember Christmas — Chris Cochrane
  • Would You Let Me — Roy Zimmerman
  • What Am I Doin’? — Lonny Smith
  • Saturday Night — Terri Allen
  • Ghost of a Chance — Arlene Hill
  • The Best Thing to Happen to Me — Judy Simmons
  • As We Stumble Along — Ensemble

Report: DC Cabaret Network Board Showcase

March 4, 2008


The board of the DC Cabaret Network presented a showcase at the Arts Club Sunday night in celebration of March as Cabaret Month.  The evening had a terrific concept — each member presented an “old” song and a “new” song.  As always with a group cabaret, it was fascinating to see how a concept like this was interpreted.  Some chose chronology of songs, while others explained a chronology in their lives.

George Fulginiti-Shakar provided his usual expressive music direction — but it was also terrific to see him get up from the piano to deliver his numbers standing at the microphone (with superb accompaniment by Mary Sugar for his two numbers).

It was also great to see so many DC cabaret performers turning out for the concert!  Many congratulations to Judy Simmons for her work as director and producer of this apparantly seamless evening! 

  • Judy Simmons
    •  I’m Old Fashioned (Kern / Johnny Mercer)
      The Best Thing To Happen To Me (Green)
  • Chris Cochran
    • What’ll I Do (Berlin)
    • Everyone Wants To Do Sondheim (Chapman)
  • Terri Allen
    • Make Me A Kite (Brourman / McBroom)
    • As Time Goes By (Hupfeld)
  • Cindy Hutchins
    • Putting Things Away (McBroom)
    • In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning (Mann / Hillard)
  • George Fulginiti-Shakar
    • The Fig Leaves Are Falling (Hague / Sherman)
    • Sweet Dreams (Bucchino)
  • Emily Leatha Everson
    • I Wish (Green)
    • Surprise Me (Menzie / Coons)  
  • Sally Martin
    • So Many People (Sondheim)
    • The Chance To Sing (Thalken / Jones)

 (Top — l-r, Terri Allen, Sally Martin, Judy Simmons, Emily Everson / Bottom — l-r Christy Trapp, Joanne Schmoll, Matt Howe — Photos courtesy of Matt Howe.  More here.)

Report: Joe Peck’s Torchered Melodies

October 25, 2007

Who knew heartbreak could be so entertaining?

Joe Peck presented his program Torchered Melodies Tuesday night at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop billed as “Celebrating the Art of Losing in Love.”  It was a wonderfully varied program with the brilliant vocals one expects from Mr. Peck.  Music direction from George Fulginiti-Shakar on piano with bass support from Matt Murray was the icing on this great experience.

Here’s the song line-up:

  • Theme From Peter Gunn (Mancini / Livingston & Evans)
  • Runaway (Carr, Carr, Carr, & Carr)
  • Breaking Up Is Hard to Do (Sedaka & Greenfield)
  • Beautiful Maria of My Soul (La Bella maria de Mi Alma) (Kraft / Glimcher & Banderas)
  • I Should Go Home (Levy)
  • It’s Too Late (King & Stern)
  • Autumn Leaves (Kosma / Mercer & Prevert)
  • I’ll Forget You (Wildhorn / Knighton)
  • Until You Come Back to Me (Wonder, Broadnax, & Paul)
  • Kansas City (Leiber & Stoller)
  • Who’s Sorry Now (Snyder / Kalmar & Ruby)
  • You Must Believe in Spring (LeGrand / Bergman & Bergman)

Naked Cabaret Redux — Again!!!

October 2, 2007
 Running at the same time as Primary Urges at the Warehouse will be Naked Cabaret: The Secret’s Out.  This show has had quite a life since its inception at the 2005 DC Fringe Festival.  And for good reason — it’s a charming collection of great material performed by some of the best cabaret artists in the DC area. 

Naked Cabaret: The Secret’s Out.  Fridays, October 12 – 26 (and hopefully beyond) at 8:00pm and 9:45pm.  Tickets through TheaterMania