St. Louis' own Meghan Kirk has been appearing at the Cabaret Project's monthly open mic night (which I host) for around a year now. I've been impressed as hell with her work there, but haven't been able to get to one of her shows until this past Friday, when she presented "The Story Goes On," a revised version of the show she premiered at the Gaslight Cabaret Festival last fall.
I've always maintained that some of the best cabaret comes from singers who also have a solid theatrical background. A well-constructed cabaret act is ultimately a kind of one-act play, and actors have the advantage of understanding the form.
Brian Owens' "Sam Cooke at the Copa," which opened the spring edition of the Gaslight Cabaret Festival on Thursday, was really two great shows in one.
I first saw "Riffs in a Set of 10"—veteran St. Louis actor/director Chris Limber's loving and literate tribute to the hipster attitude of the "Beat Generation"—last summer at the St. Lou Fringe Festival. At the time I was pretty much blown away by the way this ingenious hybrid jazz/cabaret act knitted together big band and Great American Songbook classics from the 20s through the 40s with Mr. Limber's original image-rich poetic soliloquies that sounded like they would have been right at home coming from a skinny guy with a goatee, black turtleneck, and shades in an underground coffeehouse circa 1958.
Mabel Mercer Award–winning cabaret artist Steve Ross has a long and happy relationship with St. Louis, going back to the early days of the Grandel Cabaret Series. He was one of the first performers to be featured by Jim Dolan's Presenters Dolan organization when it got off the ground many years ago, so his appearance last weekend at Jim's Gaslight Cabaret Festival had something of the feel of a homecoming.
I've always maintained that actors in general and musical theatre actors in particular have something of a head start when it comes to cabaret. They already know how to give meaning to a lyric and how to connect with an audience. As evidence, I offer up Ken Page's "Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue," which kicked off The Presenters Dolan's Gaslight Cabaret Festival on February 20 and 21.
A cabaret show based on classic TV songs and themes? Like activating the Bolonium Interface Device on “Star Trek”, it’s a crazy idea but it just might work!
Once upon a time, there were a couple of white chicks named Alice Kinsella and Debra Sharn. They liked to sit around. And sing, now and then.
The Presenters Dolan presented the husband and wife team of Joe Dreyer and Rosemary Watts in their Valentine Cabaret show celebrating Crazy Relationships: Love's Many Aspects and (suitably) Love on February 11 and 12 at the Kranzberg Center. When Joe and Rosemary hit the stage they started right in without preamble with "Everything I've Got [belongs to you]," by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart. With this first song they set the tone for the night, which was an obvious affection for each other and a joy in singing songs that were special to them.