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Cabaret Setlist: “California Nights” — Music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Howard Liebling

Cabaret Setlist: “California Nights” — Music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Howard Liebling

June 21, 2020 | By | Add a Comment

Repertoire for the Once and Future American Songbook Song #3 in this running series. Unlike the first two songs we’ve examined in Cabaret Setlist (Rodgers & Hart’s “Little Girl Blue” and Stephen Sondheim’s “Sand”), today’s selection hails from the world of AM-radio pop. First heard in January 1967, “California Nights” anticipates the coming Summer of […]

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Why Is Color Mostly Absent from Cabaret Stages?

Why Is Color Mostly Absent from Cabaret Stages?

June 14, 2020 | By | 3 Comments

On the one hand, the New York cabaret scene is remarkably diverse.  It showcases performers brand new to the business, spotlights mature artists of an age rarely featured on stage or screen, and proudly welcomes a rainbow of gender and genre expressions.   On the other hand, cabaret is decidedly monochrome. Cabaret stages and audiences […]

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We Have to Laugh!   Finding Humor in Terrible Times

We Have to Laugh! Finding Humor in Terrible Times

May 31, 2020 | By | Add a Comment

“Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the show?” That famous joke was obviously not made at the time of Lincoln’s assassination but many years later, a prime example of how, as comedian Steve Allen put it, “comedy equals tragedy plus time.” It’s usually difficult to joke about tragedy while it’s happening, but […]

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The Evolving Genre/Gender-Bending Art Form Known as Drag is One Big Hybrid

The Evolving Genre/Gender-Bending Art Form Known as Drag is One Big Hybrid

May 22, 2020 | By | Add a Comment

(This is Part One  of a multi-part series on alternative cabaret by Simi Horwitz.) The diva-inspired bitchy and/or adorably naughty drag queen is still with us. Hey, she’s the archetype and a few have elevated drag to high art. Think Varla Jean Merman, the self-described love child of Ernest Borgnine and Ethel Merman, indisputably brilliant […]

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Cabaret Setlist: “Sand” – Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Cabaret Setlist: “Sand” – Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

May 15, 2020 | By | Add a Comment

Repertoire for the Once and Future American Songbook Song #2 in this new running series. Few among us dispute the idea that Stephen Sondheim is the most important living American composer/lyricist in musical theatre. He has raised the artistic bar for songwriting so high that giants in the sky could effortlessly dance the limbo beneath […]

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Commentary: Getting It Right

Commentary: Getting It Right

May 11, 2020 | By | 4 Comments

Is it my imagination, or are cabaret singers getting increasingly sloppy with lyrics? I suspect this malpractice has long existed—it’s just that I’ve been growing increasingly impatient with it. I’m not talking about going up in a lyric; anyone can have a momentary lapse. I’m talking about learning a lyric incorrectly and repeatedly performing it […]

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Cabaret Setlist: Repertoire for the Once and Future American Songbook

Cabaret Setlist: Repertoire for the Once and Future American Songbook

May 4, 2020 | By | Add a Comment

  Song #1 in this new running series: “Little Girl Blue” – Music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart When it comes to cabaret repertoire, I can think of few other songwriters who have created the sort of treasure trove that Rodgers and Hart have given us. The appeal of their catalog was (and […]

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Songwriters Agree: Cabaret Is A Great Venue for Nurturing New Work

Songwriters Agree: Cabaret Is A Great Venue for Nurturing New Work

April 19, 2020 | By | Add a Comment

Cabaret is intimate. Or as Tovah Feldshuh says, “A good nightclub act is a bit like a date: it has a sexual factor in it, it has an entertainment factor in it, and it has the knowledge that people are eating while they’re watching.” In a theatre, there’s an invisible wall between an actor and […]

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Commentary:  It’s Not About You

Commentary: It’s Not About You

April 5, 2020 | By | 11 Comments

Time was when cabaret was a performing arts form in which audience members sat at tables and the people on stage had a job to do: to entertain the audience. Period. Rather simple, eh? Alas, at some point in the not-too-distant past, cabaret took a wrong turn. Today, a growing number of people, especially recent […]

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A Conversation with Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire

A Conversation with Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire

March 15, 2020 | By | Add a Comment

By Shellen Lubin SHELLEN Let’s start with what led to Starting Here, Starting Now, and how you used cabaret to showcase your songs and get exposure for your work. RICHARD It’s funny. We actually started at Upstairs at the Downstairs, with Julius Monk’s and Billy Barnes’s shows. That was where writers broke in, with cabaret […]

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