Sally Mayes Master Class

Broadway veteran and cabaret artist Sally Mayes is giving a master class, “On Your Feet: The Practical Art of Song Performance,” on Sunday, April 29, 2012 in the DC area. A potluck lunch is scheduled at noon, and then the class is from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Private coaching sessions will also be available on Saturday, April 28th.

Cost for the master class is $150. An audit-only spot is $40. There is a discount for paid members of the DC Cabaret Network.

For more information, please contact Joanne Schmoll: schmoll.joanne [@]

Sing Books with Emily and the Benefits of Just Showing Up

(DC Cabaret Network member Emily Leatha Everson Gleichenhaus shares the first in a series about her recent experiences as the recipient of an Arlington County Individual Artist Grant).

by Emily Leatha Everson Gleichenhaus
July 21, 2011

I heard somewhere that Woody Allen said 80% of success is just showing up and that’s how it worked for putting together the “Sing Books” cabaret project grant.

My husband is good about reading all the community newspapers and told me he read that Arlington County was offering Individual Artist Grants and why not just go to the meeting for first time applicants and learn about it?

I’d recently begun to perform “Sing Books” more frequently for gatherings of children, caregivers and educators all around Arlington and DC and had a brand new blog about the wonderful world of Singable Picture Books. Acquiring the books and musical services to conduct this little operation was beginning to cost a small fortune and I thought a grant might help with the costs.  I went.

The Grant Officer conducting the meeting had everyone introduce themselves and describe their artistic activities.  The room was filled with an interesting variety of artists from around Arlington.  Painters, sculptors, dancers, an artist who created stained glass pieces and me representing cabaret and my “Sing Books” program.  The Grant Officer soon made it clear that the “Individual Spotlight Grant” money being offered was for the production of a finite community arts project.

Having found many Singable Picture Books of fabulous songs gave me the opportunity to learn and perform many songs that normally I would not have considered for myself.  An idea had been forming that these songs could be come cabaret shows that kids and grownups could enjoy in tandem.  Grownups seemed to enjoy “Sing Books” just as much as the kids.  These were great songs!  It seemed like a natural thing to combine these activities into a community project.  As the meeting progressed, it became clear that the grant would be perfect to service this kind of idea.

The Grant Officer stressed important considerations for writing the grant applications, including following the instructions exactly, writing clear, detailed and logical project plans, timelines, and benchmarks and, most importantly, creating a budget that added up.  If the budget didn’t add up right, the application would automatically be OUT of the running.

One of the Arts Commission members visited the last third of the meeting to make herself available for questions. She began to talk about the commission’s work, government support of the arts and the activity of writing grants.  She encouraged everyone with any project idea to apply.  She said that the more people write grants, the more the commission and city government can be aware of the breadth and scope of artistic energy that is brewing in the community and that in turn could potentially increase the amount of public money made available to artists.  The act of writing a grant could be a community service.

I decided to do it.  If nothing came of it for me, at least I could feel like it would be a good writing experience and it would be good for the community as well.

I went home with the application, my idea, and 2 months to write the plan.  Initial inspiration gave way to dread of facing the daunting task of formulating the plan.  And the budget.  Yuck.  The papers sat on my desk for weeks.

Soon, though,” now or never” panic set in, and I started writing and asking lots of questions.  Part of the project idea included recording a CD with the purpose of providing sing-along tracks for folks to Sing Books with children where suitable sing-along accompaniment was not available.  I give credit and huge thanks to Paul Raiman (of and Jeff Tucker (of for helping me answer so many of those questions!  Writing the proposal, plans and budget took two weeks of solid effort.

In the end, I had a full project road map and a good idea for how much it would cost.  I read through my application and added up the numbers over and over. It all seemed to make sense, the budget added up, and the mission was a worthwhile community service.  I marched that baby to the commission reception desk, signed a paper, and blew it a kiss.

Writing the project plan was a fascinating artistic and intellectual exercise because developing the plan simultaneously created a visual image of the finished project in my head.  The image of the show and CD were so clear, I just began working and decided to be patient with whatever pieces fell into place…

To be continued.

Sing Books with Emily, the Blog:

Oh, What a Beautiful Day: Sing Books with Emily, the Cabaret:

Movies in Our Minds

By Matt Howe

Matt Howe

Guest Blogger

I’ve returned from The Eighth Annual International Cabaret Conference at Yale University, which was held July 23—August 1, 2010.  It was a 9-day immersion in the art of cabaret performing.  Working alongside cabaret professionals from New York and Los Angeles, I took in so much information that I am still processing it all!  I highly recommend that anyone who is interested in studying the craft of cabaret performing in a practical setting should check out for more information.

There’s one concept that was driven home for me at the conference that I wanted to share with the D.C. Cabaret Network community.

As cabaret performers we are called to be a specialized hybrid of actor and singer.  There was no escaping this reality during the conference. Time and time again very good singers were challenged to dig deeper and stop singing so prettily! The faculty didn’t care about long-held notes.  They wanted to know what the singer felt about the words they were singing.

They wanted to see “the movie in the singer’s mind” playing out in front of the audience.

Let me try to explain.

It became very apparent to me at Yale that I must approach a song as a “scene” and answer very specific questions.  Why?  Because this helps me create that “movie” that my Yale teachers kept talking about.

So … whom am I singing the song to?  Where am I?  What did the person I’m singing to just say to me that made me start singing?

Let’s take a small snippet of a lyric from “Weekend in New England” as an example.

Time in New England took me away / To long rocky beaches / and you, by the bay …”

What do “rocky beaches” look like?  Was it cold outside?  Warm? Who is “you”?  And what does “you by the bay” look like?  What was he/she wearing?  Was her dress billowing in the wind? Was she/he crying? Laughing? Furrowing his brow?

By creating the specifics and drawing deeply from your own experiences, you start building a movie inside your head that you “run” when you sing the song.  And, yes, by being that specific it really comes across! As long as you are truthful and not “schmacting” (i.e. hammy acting), the audience will respond.

Here’s the magic though … the more specific your movie is, the more permission you give to your audience to run their own movies in their heads!  And that’s the magic.  Then we all connect to each other through a song.  And the strange thing is that it’s universal, despite the specificity.

I saw examples of this all week at Yale.  Several singers got up to sing with a very general attitude toward the song and we were bored! As soon as they dug deeper and brought in their own humor, anger, or attitude then we connected.

I also saw how singing could get in the way of running that movie inside my head.  In fact, one thing that the Yale faculty kept saying over and over was to CUT THE NOTES SHORT!  DON’T SING SO MUCH!  (I can still see faculty member Sharon McNight and her fingers making “cutting scissors” motions).

Other terms that supported this “movie in your mind” concept include “coin the phrases” and “pretend like you’re making it up”.  In other words, don’t recite your lyrics like a poem.  And don’t get stuck being sing-songy with the words.  If you have juicy Alan and Marilyn Bergman lyrics to sing, then pretend like you thought them up yourself!

I want to see your face in every kind of light

In fields of dawn and forests of the night

And when you stand before the candles on a cake

Oh, let me be the one to hear the silent wish you make …”

It’s funny to think that I spent lots of years studying acting in my 20s.  I took many classes about how to read a script, how to analyze what the words mean, how to justify why my character moved across the room … and what did Shakespeare mean when he added a semi-colon to a sentence? How do you act a semi-colon?

After the Yale Cabaret Conference I feel I’ve come full circle.  I’m back to acting!  I just do it with songs now.

A song is a scene set to music.

When I work on a new song now, I am going back to “acting class mode.”  I’m going to write my lyrics out onto a clean sheet of paper.  I’m not going to break the sentences into musical phrases. I’m going to look at the lyric like a monologue.  And I’m going to ask specific questions, dig deep, and personalize the lyric.  And soon I’ll be running that movie in my mind … and hope you’ll be running yours, too.

Top 10 Tips When Creating a Cabaret Show

DC Cabaret Network member Michael Miyazaki shares his thoughts on this subject in the Working Singers’ Newsletter for January 2010. Tip of the Blog Hat to Michael Griep, who produces the newsletter, for including this great information.

“I’m A Sucker for a Good Quote”


by Emily Leatha Everson Gleichenhaus

Guest Blogger

I’m a sucker for a good quote.  In the past few days, something on the radio and something on TV made me stop and take notes.

PBS recently aired a show called “John Denver Remembered: A Song’s Best Friend.”  I paused on the channel because John Denver albums were a staple on my parent’s turntable and because he was singing the song “Perhaps Love.”  I didn’t know he wrote and performed that song and my friend Ron Squeri sings a beautiful version of it.

I happened upon this late in the program, so I can’t reference the speaker (who was clearly someone close to John Denver) but he recalled the last time he saw John Denver perform.  This man had noted a change in Denver’s performance and said to him, “You sang so expressively tonight and the audience really responded to that.  What were you doing?” and John said something like “You know, I owe it to Mr. Domingo.  When we recorded ‘Perhaps Love,’ he pulled my attention to the way he colored his notes with the meaning of the word. When he sang “clouds” it sounded like clouds.  When he sang “steel” it sounded like steel. So I started going though my songs and whenever there was a word where I could color the tone, I found it.  Just an interesting exercise and it works…crowds love it.”

I thought it was a sweet and wise thing to say, and an example of how even a seasoned performer should remain open to new ideas and new ways of working.

On NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday (March 14, 2009) Scott Simon interviewed the British comedian Russell Brand, who had all kinds of fabulous things to say.  Here are a couple of roughly transcribed excerpts:

SS:  Could you tell us about the breakthrough…Bugsy Malone?

RB:  Oh! That was significant.  I enjoyed that enormously.  It was the first bit of performance I ever did.  And, yeah, it seared its way into me.  I really, really enjoyed that.  I was playing “Fat Sam,” I was tubby when I was a kid. I’ve got a kind of rather mawkish Judy Garland style crazy affection for the stage as a result.

SS:  What did you feel?

RB:  Salvation.

SS:  Salvation?

RB:  Yeah.  Salvation. I thought there was a chance.  You know, I thought, oh right, life doesn’t have to be just the maudlin trudge through misery and sort of a reflexive rejection.  That it can be a right laugh!  Being able to make people laugh, even idiomatically, imbues you with power:  “Make people laugh.”  “Sense of humor,” sounds mystical.  You SENSE where the humor is, is a “shamanic” pursuit.

ME:  …I was struck by at some point in the book, you say success on the stage and in comedy and even material success when your career began to take off wasn’t enough to compensate for the…I think you used the phrase “interior sadness,” [which is why he turned to drugs].

RB:…I was once told by a swami that all forms of worship and devotion are the inappropriate substitute for the devotion we ought [to] feel for God and whether it is the love for a woman or a football team or a particular brand of candy, ultimately what we are craving is to be at ONE.

…I recognize now the fear and anxiety before performances is just adrenalin and a natural incentive to be good.

Salvation, sensing where the humor is, embracing one’s inner shaman, recognizing that performance butterflies are evidence of wanting to do a good job (a noble desire!)…those are delicious ideas!  These ideas remind me why artistic pursuits make life worth the trouble!

Words & Music: A Master Class for Singers on March 14, 2009

wendy_lane_bailycmyk lm072_final

DC Cabaret Network founder Wendy Lane Bailey and Manhattan Transfer founding member Laurel Masse’ are bringing their master class for singers back to the nation’s capital! Here are the details:

Laurel Masse´, founding member of Manhattan Transfer, will join forces with New York City vocalist and artist consultant Wendy Lane Bailey, to teach Words & Music: A Master Class for Singers on Saturday March 14th in Washington, DC. The class is designed for singers of all genres and will cover song performance and interpretation, communicating with an audience, sequencing a set, working with accompanists, arrangers, and sidemen, and dealing with the unexpected on stage. In addition to the onstage skills covered the class will also deal with issues such as creating a visual image, setting goals, networking skills, and basic marketing ideas. Class size will be limited to allow ample personal attention for each participant.

Masse´ & Bailey are interested in gathering a group of students from a broad spectrum of styles. “What we are teaching can be applied to any genre of music from opera to rock. Between the two of us there is a hardly a style of music that isn’t represented, and we believe that versatility is one of the keys to career longevity. What doesn’t change is how we approach the process of putting a set together,” says Masse´. They are committed to seeing all of their students succeed both within the classroom and beyond, and as such, they work with each student to help them set and meet individual goals geared towards their level of experience and stated desires.

The class takes place Saturday March 14th 2009 from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM in the Parish Hall of The Blessed Sacrament Church at 3630 Quesada St. NW Washington, DC. Tuition is $165. Students wishing to reserve space in the class or receive further information should contact Lane Middleton at Park Road Management at (646)831-0359 or via email at To find out more about Laurel Masse´ and Wendy Lane Bailey visit their joint blog or their websites and .

Upcoming Cabaret Workshops!

Some information came in recently and we thought you’d like to know about and plan for them before the January 1 newsletter.






Hi Everyone-

The workshop is on!  The dates are Fri Jan 23, Sat Jan 24 and Sunday Jan 25.  The hours are approximately 9-5 p.m. on Fri & Sat and 10-4 p.m. on Sunday.  The cost is $625.  We are close to confirming location, but at this time I don’t have that finalized.  We are also shooting for a Saturday night show with Lina and Rick (tickets are included in your fee at no extra cost) and a Sunday night Participant showcase. These locations have not been finalized either.

Lina and Rick are very excited to come to DC.  They have been talking about the great talent pool in the area for a long time and we’re thrilled that we can make this happen. We hit a stumbling block due to coordinating schedules and a little thing called the Presidential Inauguration, but we are now ready to go full steam ahead.

I need payment in full by Jan 1st in order to hold a place for you.  You can pay by check or if you want to spread out your payments you can use a credit card via Pay Pal. Please note there is an additional 3% service charge for using Pay Pal that will be added to your total.  I will send you payment information once you tell me you’re in.  There is no refund after Jan 1st, so please be sure that you can commit.  Of course, if for some reason there is a cancellation on our end, you will be refunded in full.

You will need to prepare about 5 songs that are memorized and ready to work. Many of you have been down this road before. Lina is excellent with taking singers at the level they come in and guiding them to the next step. So no matter where you’re at this workshop will advance your performing and I can guarantee you that it will be transformative to your work.  We have been producing this exact workshop in St. Louis, Santa Fe, Boston and Chicago with great results.

Please let me know ASAP if you are in. If you notify me that you are, I will hold a space for you until Jan 1st, at which time I will need payment in full. After that I will have to open up any unpaid slots.

Call me with questions/concerns. I look forward to seeing you all very soon!

Tim Schall


314-359-0786 (cell)



JULY 31 – AUGUST 9, 2009


Erv Raible, Executive Director/Artistic Director, takes great pride in announcing the Sixth Annual International Cabaret Conference at Yale University.  The International Cabaret Conference at Yale University is being developed in conjunction with the Yale School of Drama/Yale Repertory Theater.  Several conference sessions will be held in the facilities of the Yale School of Drama/Yale Repertory Theater, including the recently opened New Theater.

Alexander C. Kafka of Washington DC’s national publication The Chronicle of Higher Education quotes Dean James Bundy of the Yale School of Drama, proclaiming the International Cabaret Conference at Yale University to be “consonant with our core work.”

The Seventh Annual International Cabaret Conference At Yale University will be held July 31 – August 9, 2009, and is an internationally focused, nine-day teaching program that offers an intensive look at the art of cabaret performance technique, and trains professionals for the live entertainment industry. The Great American Songbook will be addressed and promoted in its entirety, from its origins in the late 19th century through the classic pop standards of the 1930s and 40s to today’s contemporary cabaret, musical theater, jazz, pop and classical music.

Our students have come from across the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

The award-winning faculty, and renowned consultants, will guide thirty-six students in a collaborative process of critical refining and honing.  The conference will feature classes and lectures covering cabaret performance technique, acting for singers, lyric interpretation, focus and concentration, act

structure, act writing, material research, and comedic development, to musical director and director relations, arranging, orchestration, composer/lyricist relations, and image consultation.  Examine the final stages of act presentation through club relations, marketing, press and public relations, to the technical language of light and sound, representation, booking, management and personal networking; with an emphasis on integration into the international live entertainment community.

Public performances allow the students to observe first-hand the performance techniques of professionals in the industry, while continuing to study those of their peers on a daily performance basis.  At the Cabaret Conference Curtain Call the students will perform, demonstrating what they have accomplished in their nine days at the International Cabaret Conference at Yale University.

Our prestigious 2009 faculty currently includes: Tovah Feldshuh, Jason Graae, Carol Hall, George Hall, Laurel Massé, Sally Mayes, Amanda McBroom, Sharon McNight, Erv Raible, and Julie Wilson; piano faculty includes Ron Abel, Tex Arnold, Michael Orland, Alex Rybeck and Paul Trueblood.

The conference consultants/lecturers include: Fred Voelpel (image consultant), Tex Arnold (part singing, harmonies and back-up vocals), Matt Berman (light and sound technician), George Hall (English Music Hall), David Finkle (reviewer for Back Stage, trade publication), Michael Kerker (ASCAP, Director of Musical Theater and Cabaret), Carol Hall (songs).

The Cabaret Conference is held on the historic Yale University campus in New Haven, Connecticut USA, renowned as one of the world’s finest educational facilities, and for its spectacular architecture, world-class museums and libraries.

Housing for the International Cabaret Conference at Yale University is in Yale’s new Swing Dormitory, and breakfast, lunch and dinner will be taken in the baronial Tudor Dining Hall of Saybrook College or the Eero Sarrinen designed Morse College dining hall.

Auditions will be held in: New York, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, London UK, Los Angeles, Minneapolis – St. Paul, New Orleans, Seattle, Toronto and Washington DC.  Audition cities subject to change.  See attached.

To schedule an audition or for additional information contact Erv Raible, Executive Director/Artistic Director or Pam Tate, Executive Associate at 212-629-2000 or visit our website at:

Use Only This Number To Contact Us:   212-629-2000

Auditions on video, cassette, CD or DVD, please include photo and resume, may be submitted to:

The International Cabaret Conference at Yale University

111 Morton Street

Suite 3A

New York, New York 10014





Audition By Scheduled Appointment Only



JANUARY 10  /  FEBRUARY 22  /  MARCH 21, 2009


THE DUPLEX / 61 Christopher St / Greenwich Village / New York, NY


MARCH 14, 2009


ALTOBELI’S / 3000 Old Alabama Road / Atlanta, GA / Alpharetta


JANUARY 11, 2009


THE ENCORE / 275 Tremont Street at Boylston St / Boston, MA


FEBRUARY 28, 2009


FINE ARTS BUILDING / 410 S. Michigan Ave / Suite 627 / Chicago, IL


FEBRUARY 13, 2009



Room 150 / Marylebone Road / Baker Street Underground Station / London UK


FEBRUARY 6, 2009



Writer’s Room / 3rd Floor / 7920 Sunset Blvd / Los Angeles, CA


JANUARY 24, 2009


NAUTILUS MUSIC THEATRE / 308 Prince St / St. Paul, MN


MARCH 7, 2009


LE CHAT NOIR / 715 St. Charles St / New Orleans, LA


JANUARY 31, 2009


THEATRE PUGET SOUND / Seattle Center House / Room H / Fourth Floor

305 Harrison Street / Seattle, WA


March 1, 2009



487 Church Street / Toronto, Ontario, Canada


FEBRUARY 21, 2009


THE BIRCHMERE / 3701 Mt. Vernon Ave / Alexandria, VA


For Those Unable To Attend Live Auditions Submit CD / DVD or Tape To:


111 Morton Street / Suite 3A / New York, NY 10014 / USA

Conference Hotline 212-629-2000

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.”

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.


by Kathy Reilly, May 2008 Guest Blogger

In my last entry as guest blogger, I decided to present a mixed bag of ideas and information that I think might be of interest to singers and performers.

To begin with, while trying to keep up with reviews of shows and performances by a wide range of singers, song writers, etc. I came across a May 22 New York Times blog entry by Rosanne Cash titled, “The Ear of the Beholder.” I think it is worth reading. It can be found here.

In it, Cash discusses the art and craft of song writing and how she strives for artistic accomplishment. She advises writers not to get caught up in with the idea of being truthful and says that truth and facts are not the same, performers should live with questions and find their own truth through creation and discovery.

I extract one quote here from the blog: “Real artistic accomplishment requires a suspension of certitude. E.L. Doctorow said that ‘writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.’ ”

This thought leads me to some comments on “A Catered Affair,” a show I saw last weekend in New York . Faith Prince and Harvey Fierstein were the headliners with others. The show is Ms. Prince’s and I am glad that I had a chance to see her as Aggie; she was great. Leslie Kritzer as Janey, Aggie’s daughter, was excellent and most of the cast was believable. The show is about the impact of Janey’s upcoming nuptuials on family members.

The story, an age-old one, did not have any fresh insights, nor did it take advantage of an opportunity to present a new perspective on what the lives of closeted homosexuals must have been like before it was OK to come out. Harvey Fierstein, who wrote the book for the show, gave a cameo performance. He was sometimes hard to understand and the audience was supposed to know that he was gay because Harvey was playing the role. At lease it seemed that way since the fact was never relayed in the story. He was just an odd-ball bachelor uncle. One irritatingly and corny scene, [which receives an ‘I know you Harvey” laugh], has the uncle returning home drunk to a family dinner where he behaves badly in front of the soon to be in-laws. He is frustrated because he has been left out of the wedding plans and, I assumed, because he is angry about his own thwarted love life and narrow heterosexual views of love. The scene didn’t work and, for me, Harvey ‘s Uncle Winston was extraneous to the story. We knew what the subtext was supposed to be because Harvey was in the role, not because we got to know of like Winston.

I did like the unusual sometimes operetta style of this musical and there were some very nice songs. One great song for young women singers is “One White Dress,” sung by Janey. I found Tom Wopat’s father – cab driver a bit too down trodden and Brooklynesque. He is up for a Tony for Best Male Performance in a Musical, and Faith Prince is, as well, for Best Female Performance in a Musical.

Finally, for the past month I have been looking for good resources for sheet music and lyrics. I was planning on sharing what I learned with the DC Cabaret Network blog readers. I did not really get to master or work with the new resources but I did notice that there seem to be more online resources available, which I have yet not tried. New to me are Sheet Music Direct and Sheet Music Plus. I have used Sunhawk and Musicnotes many times but there are still many songs that are difficult to find. Maybe Cabaret Network singers could share a listserv?

For lyrics, I learned that by using Google search for lyrics, one can find the lyrics to lots of songs and some of these are even translated into other languages. I tried to get “Lullaby in Birdland” in French and did but it was NOT a real translation written by a lyricist or the composer. The translation was a word for word one similar to what I would do. It lacked idiomatic phrasing and a sense of how things are expressed in French.

As for new (to me) technology, I found eMule, which I am still learning how to use. A friend got some sheet music on this site. It is described as “one of the biggest and most reliable peer-to-peer file sharing clients around the world.” Thanks to “it’s open source policy many developers are able to contribute to the project, making the network more efficient.” Limewire is another resource I heard about.

Would anyone care to elaborate on sheet music, lyric and technology resources? I would be happy to hear or read your ideas. Thanks and good luck.