Friday, October 31, 2014

Happenings Around Town

In the spirit of collaboration, I have had a few conversations around town with other colleagues that are also trying something unique to shake up the status quo in the Twin Cities music scene. All are heavy on the Musical Theater slant, but if any of our members are looking for an alternative, please check them out. Like us they are trying to find audiences and open doors for some of the great talent we have.

First is Ruthie Baker, who has an impressive local resume as well as time in the Big City, NYC. Her new creation is Second Fiddle Productions with the tag line of They Called It a Flop.. We Call It an Opportunity. Similar to the Encores series in New York, but on a much smaller scale - at the moment. She explains the process as two-fold. First is to find scores in the theater archives that have been lost and forgotten, maybe they just didn't hit their stride, or else were a victim of bad timing. Secondly, she is championing the unsung heroes of the local community and trying to give them that chance to step out from ensemble work or stereotypes and spread their wings in roles that really challenge them. Like us, they currently are nomads to a permanent home. But they have three pieces under their belt as fully staged concert readings of shows with a production of Maltby & Shire's; Baby slated for November.

Second Fiddle 

Next is Musical Mondays at Hell's Kitchen. This November they celebrating their 2nd Anniversary. The concept came to Max Wojtanowicz when Hell's Kitchen was seeking some alternative programming for their calendars. Similar to our cabaret format, they have a monthly slot on the 1st Monday of each month. They tap into a rotating roster of Cities musical and vocal talent, a regular music director and a theme for the month. A director curates song selections between all parties and molds it into a cohesive evening of song. They don't connect with dialogue as we do, but they rely heavily on Modern Musicals and classic American Songbook. Like us they ask for donations and have a quick read through with the accompanist, but otherwise shoot from the hip. Check out their Facebook page and catch the show this coming Monday the 3rd.

Musical Mondays at Hell's Kitchen

Lastly - the new kid on the block. It is called Cast Party at CAMP and is basically karaoke Live for the Musical Theater geeks. Maria Stuckey hosts and everyone is told to bring along their favorite classics and sing along out of the songbooks in an open mic. It sounds like a festive party atmosphere which encourages duets, sings offs and even some sort of contests. Looks like they also use Monday eves to grab the potential theater crowds on their night off.

Cast Party

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Broadway to Main Street

A TCCAN podcast has been on my bucket list for the longest time. But I have neither the technology skills or spare time to bring this to fruition. I find them a great distraction while at work opposed to streaming on Pandora or Spotify.

Here is a good resource that I have just found. Again, because of my background it does lean very heavily on the Broadway stage and show tunes. They are weekly hour shows hosted by Laurence Maslon that have a theme or tangent. The menu is a bit hard to navigate until your figure out the lamppost motif. But once you do, you can sort by performers, writers et al. Lots of creative topics in the archives from getting old in the business to haunted Halloween numbers. If nothing else, it is a great resource for both music and story, free for your listening. I will add the link here, but also add it to our resource links on the side.

Broadway To Main Street

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Makin' the Big Bucks

I am a little late on sharing this feature, but it showcases our reliable member Arne Fogel among others. It turns up surprisingly in the Twin Cities Business Journal. So often we are engrossed in the creative aspect of what we do as cabaret artists, hell - any sort of artist - that we neglect the business side of what we do. This is well owned by our Marketing Committee. Great product; but what if no audiences come?

The article focuses on a small handful of musician/ singers from genres of pop, R&B and even Arne with his crooning repertoire. All of these artists would certainly be considered successful on a local level. But that does not guarantee much in terms of a steady paycheck or even regular bookings around our very vibrant scene. It talks about reinventing yourself, day jobs and fleeting fame. I think it would be a great topic for our Education Committee to explore; even though this article points out that there is nothing close to a formula for figuring it all out. Read the full article below.

Making Money For Music