Developing a song for performance — my view

by Emily Leatha Everson

There is much work to be done on a song before it is ready for public view and everyone develops their own process. Here I’ll share a little bit of mine.

At some moment before each performance, I have a little panic attack. An inner voice shrieks “What in the bloody HELL are you doing?” To throw some cold water on this annoying freak-out, I have found it helpful to simply respond to a list of questions, which I answer for each song before each performance…part of a “Pre-performance Routine.”

I’ve gathered these questions from many places (acting classes, song performance classes, articles, voice lessons, books, etc.). This list does not stand in for the whole process of crafting a song performance (for me, this requires a much longer list and the help of many talented and supportive people!). But, this most basic set of questions reminds me that I have a specific reason to sing this song today. I have something to say. I have a story to tell.

Who are you?

Who are you singing to?

When is it?

Where are you now?

Where were you before?

What just happened/What are you responding to?

What are you doing now?

What is your goal?

Why are you doing this?

How are you doing this, using what means/actions?

What obstacles/dangers must you surmount to achieve this goal?

This list is just a starting point. Feel free to change it to suit your needs!

Please feel free to share questions and exercises that you find helpful in your “pre-performance routine.”

DC Cabaret Network featured in current Cabaret Scenes magazine

A two-page article profiling the DC Cabaret Network appears in the current issue of Cabaret Scenes magazine. Written by DC Cabaret Network member Michael Miyazaki, the article gives some of the history of the Network and describes the current activities of the organization. And the headline “DC Cabaret Network” even appears on the cover of the magazine.

This is a particular honor for the DC Cabaret Network as this is the first profile of a regional cabaret organization that the publication has featured — ahead of profiles of our counterparts in Chicago , California, and Boston .

The current issue can be ordered from Cabaret Scenes either as part of a subscription or as a single issue @

Cabaret Scenes, in print since 1996, is the magazine of record for the U.S cabaret scene, with correspondents in New York City , Boston , Chicago , Las Vegas , Los Angeles , Palm Springs , Philadelphia/New Hope and Washington , DC . In addition to publishing performances reviews from across the country, each issue features interviews with cabaret professionals (performers, songwriters, club owners), CD reviews, music al theater reviews, and “Spotlight On” stories about clubs and cabaret organizations around the country.

Field Report: Arts on Foot

Thanks to all the wonderful DC Cabaret Network members who sang as part of Arts on Foot on Saturday, September 13, 2008, at the Warehouse Theater. Here’s who sang what, accompanied by the terrific Mary Sugar:

David McMullin

The Tale of The Oyster

We Can Be Kind

Kathy Reilly

I’ll Remember April

Yellow Days

Ron Squieri


One More Walk Around the Garden

Joanne Schmoll

A Wonderful Guy

Lazy Afternoon

Michael Miyazaki
I Had A Dream About You

It Must be Him

Emily Leatha Everson

There Will be A Miracle

I Want Them Bald

Lonny Smith, Alicia Steffman, Elizabeth Keyes

A  Good Man is Hard to Find (show title)

A Good Man is Hard to Find

100 Easy Ways to lose a Man -Liz

Lonely Town – Lonny

You Go to My Head – Alicia

Marry the Man Today – Alicia and Liz

A Good Man is Hard to Find (reprise) All

Terri Allen

From Time to Time

What the World Needs Now

Nuts and Bolts: “Preparing Music for Your Music Director/Pianist”

by George Fulginiti-Shakar

Many people ask “How should they prepare music for the music director/pianist? ” Here are some simple but important “nuts and bolts” answers:

1. Make copies and give those rather than having to fight with a large book that won’t stay open.

2. Make sure the copies are complete with nothing cut off from top or bottom. Using a zoom percentage of 92% or 93% works perfectly.
3. Loose copies are oh-so-much better than ones that are stapled.

4. If you want to connect the copies, put them in a 3-ring binder — no need to back-to-back them for now. Or tape them all together in one long, continuous chain. Personally, I like the binder way better.

5. DON’T PUT THE COPIES IN THOSE PLASTIC SHEET PROTECTORS. NOT JUST YET. They’re impossible to mark without a hassle.

6. Once the musical arrangement is set, plastic protectors are fine. But make sure they are the NON-GLARE type. Yes, a little more expensive, but nothing quite so impossible to read as music with a strong glare coming off it.

Musically yours,

Dues and Don’ts

Do remember to pay your dues!

It’s “Back to School” and time to renew your membership with the DC Cabaret Network.

The membership year is over on August 31. The new membership year begins September 1. To renew your membership or become a new member, send your check for $35 to:

DC Cabaret Network
P.O. Box 6259
Washington, DC 20015-0259


· DC Cabaret Network Membership Packet, for first time members, that includes valuable cabaret resource information

· A subscription to the monthly email update, The DC Cabaret Network Newsletter, which lists upcoming performances and news from the DC cabaret scene

· Free advertising for your music related events and services in the email update

· Eligibility to include a link to your music-related website from

· Access to the current DC Cabaret Network member directory

· Annual MEMBERS ONLY party

· Eligibility to perform in the Members Only Showcases

A complete list of MEMBER BENEFITS listed on

Don’t forget to pay your dues!

Open Mic Night: September 22nd

The DC Cabaret Network’s monthly Open Mic Night is Monday, September 22 @ 7:30 p.m., and we’ll still be singing our hearts out at the Warehouse Theater. Sign up starts at 7:30 p.m., singing begins at 8:00 p.m. The delightful Mary Sugar will be at the piano. But don’t worry: you don’t HAVE to sing. We love having cabaret patrons in the audience who want to enjoy a delightful evening of cabaret music. We hope to see you there!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Warehouse Theater

1017 7th St., NW

Washington, D.C.

7:30-10:00 p.m.

Admission for all is a suggested donation for the pianist and to cover the rental fee: $15 for non-members, $12 for paid members of the DC Cabaret Network.

Master Class with Wendy Lane Bailey and Laurel Masse

Wendy and Laurel return to DC on September 27, 2008, with their “Words & Music” master class. Check out all the details over at Miyazaki Cabaret Update.