by Beverly Cosham, January 2008 guest blogger
How do you go about preparing your cabaret act? Do you decide on a theme first? Do you pick the music and then devise patter to complete the job? Do you think a theme is necessary? Do you try to tell a story with the chosen music? Do you start with the intention of sharing yourself with your audience? Are you comfortable interacting with an audience? Do you know what it is you want to convey and how to do it?
Just a few questions that cabaret performers should ask themselves before starting to prepare a cabaret act. I have seen too many performers who seem to have no reason for singing a song other than it is currently popular.
A pet peeve of mine is people who don’t understand the lyrics (or even know them) before they latch on to a tune. My contention is that since cabaret singers are not “jazz or popular singers,” the material should be chosen for very specific reasons that are peculiar to the individual. A 20-year-old should NEVER (I know you should never say never but I will here) sing “If Love Were All” (Noel Coward). “World Weary” is another tune to put on hold until you have some seasoning. There are some songs that can become comedy material when sung by persons who don’t fit the archetype of the material.
When I started, I had a gig in an after hours club where I would try out new ideas and material. The audience would give me immediate reactions to my various attempts at creating a cohesive show. True, this was just one audience, but they were astute enough (or I was such a neophyte) to sense when I was not being “real” or when I was trying too hard. Remember that it is a good idea to have a pre-performance test-run to get feedback before launching a new act with new material. Elicit comments from persons whose opinion you trust not just those who love you and think EVERYTHING you do is brilliant!
With all this said — remember that whenever you step onto a stage you should be prepared to entertain AND enjoy yourself because the audience wants you to succeed.
MORE…later …Until then, Ciao, Beverly C