Thursday, June 7, 2018

Unusual Voices in Cabaret

We often say that it is not always the strongest voice that makes a great evening of cabaret, but the authentic personality the shines through. These two recent features of "celebrities" caught my attention and seem to speak to this thought.

The first comes via Tony Danza - retro television star from "Who's the Boss?" He was a late bloomer in terms of musical theater savvy. But I have to note that I saw him 2 years ago in the Broadway bomb Honeymoon in Vegas and he certainly won me over then. He is a throw back to old school vaudeville like Christopher Walken with his modest tap dancing skills and ukulele strumming. He comes off as both smug and as cuddly as a teddy bear. In the interview, he speaks about the gift of playing an intimate room. When he talks about his connection to the classic American Standards - he totally gets what it means to make a song his own. Doing his thing!

The second is Kathleen Turner. While her voice is unique - one would normally think of it akin to Bette Davis or Lauren Bacall. Not a finely tuned instrument that would interpret pure jazz. The title of the set itself, Finding My Voice, tackles the elephant in the room before she even sings. But the review talks about her choice of great songs as a starting point for everyone to jump on board. I have no doubt that her patter is both sassy and on point. She has never been one to mince her words or wear her dirty laundry in public. So sharing it in a small space should be very comfortable for her. She has many stories to share.

Cabaret Scenes: Kathleen Turner - Finding My Voice

So when we worry about not having the perfect set of vocal chords, that is only the icing on the cake. Know what it is you want to say and build a great set to sell it. Surprises come in unusual packages sometimes.