She has performed at the Oak Room, the Cafe Carlyle, and the new Feinstein's. I ran a few questions by her about her eclectic approach to the genre.
Q: It has been said that cabaret, as an intimate art form, is closer to film than theatre. You've had lots of film and TV experience. How do you think this informs your cabaret work?
A: I consider myself a character actor, so no matter what I'm working on I try to transform into a different person each time. Cabaret gives me the opportunity to bring all those characters together in one show. You never know who might show up, from a country girl to a Russian aristocrat.
Q: In September of 2011, The New York Times called your 2010 show "Kidding on the Square" "a gust of fresh air that could knock you off your feet." What is it about your approach to cabaret that sets it apart from more traditional shows?
A: What sets apart my cabaret show is that I'm presenting a complete evening of entertainment with a real narrative and lots of different characters. I don't assume that if I just sit on a stool and do a bunch of torch songs it's going to be fascinating. We like to entertain the folks!
Q: You already had a pretty busy stage and screen career before you started doing cabaret. What got you started down that path?
A: I was inspired to create my own show because it seems like a lot of people don't even know what cabaret is anymore. I want to reintroduce this wonderful art form with music that's relevant while still honoring the classics. Modern day life can be very isolating; I think we're all craving the kind of intimate experience you get in an evening of cabaret.
Q: I see you're heavily involved with Habitat for Humanity. How did that happen?
A: I became involved with Habitat for Humanity because I've been a huge Jimmy Carter fan ever since I was fifteen years old. I've built houses in Borneo, Thailand, DC, NYC, Pascagoula, Charlotte, Los Angeles, you name it. Last year I even got to sing “Aint' Misbehavin'” for President Carter himself
Q: Is there anything you think the audience needs to know about your show before they come to see it?
A: All the audience needs to know is that they're going to have a fabulous time! You don't have to know anything about my show to enjoy it, but you will definitely recognize some of the songs no matter where your musical taste lies. We do everything from Billie Holiday to Blondie. And if possible it's best enjoyed with a cocktail or two.
For more information on Emily Bergl's appearance at the Gaslight Cabaret Festival: gaslightcabaretfestival.com.