Friday, March 29, 2013

Les Miz skewered - again

From the musical theater side. I may not be speaking for everyone, but Les Miserables opened this holiday season with expectations that could not likely be met. It is operatic in scale and has been treasured for decades now with a reverence rarely granted to Broadway musical theater. There had been countless rumors over the 25 years it took to finally make the transition to big screen and I myself started drooling with anticipation 6 mos. ago when the first trailers were released.

I like many others was left a bit flat although not terribly disappointed. I think the score itself merits listening to time and again regardless of who revolves in the roles. There was a certain bravado seeing Hugh Jackman up there taking a career risk and succeeding and also the star stumping of others in roles they were not nearly qualified for (no names mentioned here) Basically - they were asking for failure on some level because of the scope of the project.

It is fitting to share this new analysis via Screen Junkies where they take the film to task. I think we often forget how ridiculous singing our emotions might appear to the rest of the population. This trailer puts it under a microscope for the hilarity that it is. And then notches it up again by finishing the trailer itself in sung verse. Enjoy with tongue in cheek.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Song I Heard on Dad's Hi-Fi

More from the Chicago front. We really need to check out Davenport's down there because it seems they have a lot of good stuff happening on a regular basis.

This one from Duncan Moore, who is revisiting his childhood and the tunes his father introduced him to. Spanning the late 50's through the 70's - it sounds like a baby boomer's memory lane. Promised are film classics from Manicini & Bacharach and then some of the pop of Lennon & McCartney. I know I'd check it out if I was closer.

Cover Photo

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dreams, Fables & Cautionary Tale

And in the better late than never category. This one closer to home. Chanhassen Theaters has been embracing the cabaret genre in the last few months with occasional Monday night offerings. This week was an offering I really wanted to catch but was double booked.

It featured three new original works by talented showman and friend Michael Gruber currently in Bye Bye Birdie there. The mixed works featured the poems of: Tennessee Williams, Edward Lear, Dorothy Parker, W.H. Auden, Emily Dickenson, Lewis Carroll,C.S. Lewis, A.E. Housman, Roald Dahl and more set to music by Gruber. It showcased a cast of Dieter Bierbrauer, Kersten Rodau, Janet Hayes-Trow & Michael Gruber with Mindy Eschedor on keyboards. I have heard his earlier song cycles and they are clever with a unique voice to them - part theater, part art song. I am hoping they have a second run with this very talented group of performers and also that Chan continues to be a new stomping ground for our TC cabaret scene.

Simply Scotty

This in from the Chicago Cabaret calendar which I get weekly. It grabs my attention just because of the introduction of puppetry to the cabaret scene. Avenue Q gave a big bump from the romper-room familiarity of Sesame Street. So I'd be curious to see how Scott Gryder incorporates that into a cabaret setting. He is appearing special guest with him "Freddie." Listed as heartfelt, zany and a "one-man parade." What's not to like about that?

Simply Scotty Flyer April7FREDDIE

Thursday, March 14, 2013

the Ragtime Gals

And a double bill on this fabulous Thursday. This one hot off the press from Jimmy Fallon's show last night.

It might be a stretch to classify this in any way under "cabaret", but I just wanted to reflect that our art form is about taking a piece of music, and interpreting it to make it uniquely your own. And this certainly does that.

It is features Justin Timberlake, whose meteor has been unstoppable as of this last month guest starring. Along with host Jimmy and three other cronies in dapper candy-cane colored stripes, they reinvent the barbershop quartet. To the tune of Timberlake's own "Sexy Back." On listening; the tight harmonies seem totally in line until you start to hear the lyric content they are selling. Random, inspired and bizarre all at once.

After Ever After

In honor of National Women's Month and our Broad View tribute coming up next week at BLB - another of thoses viral video tributes that have become so prevalent. This one of an acapella mash-up by Jon Cozart and available for digital purchase via

It spoofs the tragedy befallen by Disney Princesses which gives it the secondary connection to the monthly theme. Poor Ariel from the Little Mermaid battles toxic waste in the oceans via BP and other corporate tragedies. Jasmine from Aladdin finds herself in marriage with the Taliban. Belle from Beauty and the Beast is being tried for heresy, bestiality and being burned at the stake. And poor Pocahontas revolts in being cast out to a reservation, reacting in surge of scalping white men.

All told in fabulous vocals by a single voice via split screen. Enjoy the hilarity.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cabaret Abroad

For those wanting to get out of town this summer - this one may push the envelope for you a bit. It is the 21st Annual International Intensive Voice Workshop (how have I managed to missed it for the last 20?) The Tuscany Project is an extraordinary, intensive workshop held each summer in Italy at the villa Locanda del Gallo, near Perugia. The project blends group and individual work focusing on each person's growing edge in the areas of vocal exploration, movement, song interpretation and performance, performing presence, and work on group and individual songs. The program is held in a beautiful 12th century restored villa, with a grand swimming pool in the lush countryside of central Italy. 

Cushy gig if I do say so. Wondering what the price tag on it is.
The Tuscany Project