Friday, February 27, 2015

Sing My Sister Sing

I am a huge fan of Maureen McGovern and have posted of her work a few times here on the blog. I think many would write her off as a jazz entity, but for any that have seen her in concert, she is just as much cabaret. Even when performing in a concert hall with a full orchestra, she brings an intimacy to a crowd of hundreds. We need to get her booked into a true cabaret venue here in the Twin Cities and behold the great wonder she brings to the stage.

I am pleased to find that she is still pursuing new outlets that are authentically her. I am just reading of her new show with the above title. It is an evening work that celebrates the song cycles of powerful women who wrote powerful pieces of music that have transcended a century now. Most are contemporaries that are familiar like Carole King, Laura Nyro, Phoebe Snow, Melissa Manchester and Annie Lennox. But she also speaks to earlier pioneers like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and even women from the 1800's Americana songbook like Julia Ward Howe who wrote Battle Hymn of the Republic.

The article quotes "I wanted to really pay tribute to women singer-songwriters because they write very intimately and powerfully,” she says. “It’s a different take on writing and a very rich chapter of the Great American Songbook. This is something I’ve really been wanting to do for a long time.” Where she really speaks to our cabaret audiences - "There are plenty of people who can sing whatever it is that’s on the radio today,” she says. “I’m a storyteller, I want people to be moved by the music, I want people to listen to the music.

I am hoping this concert is recorded on either disc or for PBS as was her last endeavor - the Long and Winding Road which was a spectacular journey on the political songs of the 1970s.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Aging is Optional

Many times I am asked "who do you think is a good example of great cabaret?" And because I love so many styles of music and appreciate so many legendary talents, that is like asking a parent which child is their favorite. But this listing coming up at 54 Below would have to be in the running. Tovah Feldshuh is definitely a singer's singer and when we look at our cabaret criteria - you can cross everything off her bucket list.

She is an actress first with an impressive resume over many years. And yet for some reason she remains an enigma to many. For starters, do you even know who she is? She has racked up an impressive 4 TONY nominations for her stage work in various genres. I wasn't originally even aware she was a singer. She is engaging with audiences. She can handle any sort of material. She transforms into characters and takes us on journeys with each song. She cross styles and genres. She sits in a chair and tells stories with heart and humor. She calls herself a "concert artist", something to think about. Check out this YouTube video and tell me what's not to like?

She has a 2-night stay coming up in NY and if I was in town, that would be my ticket to be had. The title sums it up - Aging is Optional!

Tovah Feldshuh - Aging is Optional

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Party: You're Invited

In the spirit of collaboration, you are cordially invited to another Cabaret option in our great Twin Cities. Cast Party is also like TCCAN, in that it hosts a monthly performance opportunity at venues across the Metro Region. Where we are performance based in our monthly shows, they consider their offering an "Event." What they basically do is an open mic with an accompanist. Singers are encouraged to bring their own music or choose from a small library of songbooks available. But in addition, there are great inter-active games & activities that include the entire audience as well as the performers. This brain child is the product of Producer Reid Harmsen and hostess Maria Stuckey. Each month becomes a literal cabaret party in intimate setting much like our own, with the emphasis on having a great time.

They are regulars at Camp over in St Paul. For their February Party, they are planning a festive evening at the new Mattie's on Main. The fabulous OSCAR Awards will be on screen, with games during the commercial breaks and the stage open for singing after. So grab your favorite show tunes from the flicks and head on down to the River for this Star Studded Evening.