Open Mic this Wednesday! December 12, 2012

microphone color image Don’t forget our wonderful Holiday Open Mic at the Black Fox Lounge this Wednesday, December 12th. Sign-up starts at 7:30 p.m. and the singing will start at 8:00 p.m. Our Music Director this month is Mary Sugar. And our special Holiday Open Mic host is the fabulous Lonny Smith. Our new pricing structure makes it affordable to come out and sing or just watch and listen. And if you bring a toy for our Toys for Tots drive, your cover charge is only $5.00! Either way, we want to see you there!

DC Cabaret Network Holiday Open Mic

Wednesday, December 12th @ Black Fox Lounge

1723 Connecticut Ave., NW

Washington, D.C.  Metro: Dupont Circle

Cover charge: $10 (or $5.00 this month if you bring a toy for Toys for Tots)

Singers: plus $5.00

Scene: DC Cabaret Network Members’ Only Showcase

If you missed our terrific showcase performances on March 25, 2012, at the Arts Club of Washington, you really missed a great show! Congrats to all our performers, and many thanks to friends, family, and guests who came out to support cabaret and the DC Cabaret Network.

Cast, directors, and producer: (in alphabetical order): Emily Leatha Everson, Heather Frank, Lucille Frohling, Tim Gavagan, Matt Howe, Char James-Duguid, Maureen Kerrigan, Michael Miyazaki, Paul Pompeo, Dean Reichard, Mary Reilly, Joanne Schmoll, Lonny Smith, Alex Tang, and Dorian Woodruff.

Alain Jones, Susanna McDonald, and Paul Pompeo

Justy Frank, Beth Monahan, and Bryan Pauley

Mike Repass, Alex Tang, and Kathy Reilly

Mary Reilly, Ron Squeri, and Michael Miyazaki

Matt Howe and Dorian Woodruff

Dean Reichard and Chris Cochran

Reenie Codelka and Phyllis Kennedy

Michael Miyazaki, Joane Schmoll, and Bob Sachelli

Molly Rupert and Ron Squeri

Emily Leatha Everson and Jim Duguid

Ron Squeri, Ron Pass, and George Fulginiti-Shakar

Kathy Reilly and Char James-Duguid

Lonny Smith, Michael Miyazaki, and Ron Squeri

Terri Allen and Joel Snyder

Justin Ritchie, Dorian Woodruff, and Cindy Hutchins

George Fulginiti-Shakar and Alex Tang

Steve Spar and Dean Reichard

DC Cabaret Network Members’ Only Showcase

Sunday, March 25, 2012
Bar opens at 6:30 PM
Show at 7 PM

Arrive early and enjoy a drink and meet others interested in the art of cabaret!

The DC Cabaret Network Members’ Only Showcase is held once a year and features singers performing in a variety of styles – Broadway, jazz, and contemporary cabaret.
This year’s showcase features:
Heather Frank, Lucille Frohling, Tim Gavagan, Matt Howe, Char James-Duguid, Maureen Kerrigan, Gita Morris, Dean Reichard, Mary Reilly, Joanne Schmoll, Lonny Smith, and Dorian Woodruff.
Musical direction is by Alex Tang (currently playing in the orchestra at Ford’s Theatre for their production of 1776).  The show is directed by Michael Miyazaki.

Arts Club of Washington
2017 I Street, NW
Washington, DC.
(Club located near the intersection of 21st Street, NW and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW).
Street parking is available throughout the area.  Nearest metros:  Foggy Bottom or Farragut West.

Tickets:
$20
$15 Special rate for DC Cabaret Network members and Arts Club members
$10 for children 16 and under

For reservations, e-mail reservations@dccabaretnetwork.org

CASH AND CHECK ONLY accepted at the door.

WALK-UPS ACCEPTED and ENCOURAGED!

Our Members Only Showcase Is Right Around the Corner!

Please join the DC Cabaret Network as we present a showcase performance by members of the Network at the Arts Club of Washington. Here’s the info:

SUNDAY, MARCH 27, 2011,  at 7:00PM
THE DC CABARET NETWORK PRESENTS
THE MEMBERS ONLY SHOWCASE
FEATURING:
Terri Allen
Stephanie Dailey
Emily Everson Gleichenhaus
Arlene Hill
Matt Howe
Michael Miyazaki
Byron Murray
Paul Pompeo
Kathy Reilly
Brenda Rozier-Clark
Lonny Smith
Ron Squeri
March is Cabaret Month and The DC Cabaret Network is delighted to celebrate by presenting this year’s DC CABARET NETWORK MEMBERS ONLY SHOWCASE. On Sunday, March 27th at 7:00pm, please join us for a wonderful evening of Cabaret featuring our own DC Cabaret Network Members. The extraordinary Alex Tang will be the Musical Director and accompanist and Judy Simmons directs. The Arts Club is located at 2017 I Street, NW in Washington, D.C., near Farragut West and Foggy Bottom Metro stations. Reservations are highly recommended and should be sent to: info@dccabaretnetwork.org
$20 non-members (Cash appreciated) or join the DC Cabaret Network for $45
$15 for members of The DC Cabaret Network and The Arts Club (Cash appreciated)
Wine and soda may be purchased (Cash appreciated) for:
Wine: $7
Soda: $2

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

Sway

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

Getting Psyched @ Psycho Cabaret!

Cast of Psycho Cabaret: L to R, George Fulginiti-Shakar, Lonny Smith, Emily Leatha Everson, Arlene Hill, Terri Allen, Judy Simmons, Chris Cochran, and Michael Vitaly Sazanov

by Terri Allen, Psycho Cabaret Producer

Well, we had our first Psycho Cabaret! performance as part of the Fringe Festival at Chief Ike’s last night.  We all seemed to get our lyrics straight and the audience liked the selections.  It seems as if we have indeed, created, a psycho show!  If I had to be honest, I saw some extraordinary performances tonight.  And George Fulginiti-Shakar, our musical director and on keyboards, really centered us, and kept the show moving forward.

OK. Since this is a blog, I have to be honest, and say that George left his piano stand at home!  Somewhere between the time I pulled up in my car to unload some chairs, and the time I found a parking space and walked back to the club, I saw George walking down the street.  Because I had just gone through the rigor of finding a parking place, I wasn’t surprised at first.  But then suddenly realized he was walking in the wrong direction. And, why was he walking AWAY from the club?

There always has to be some drama, doesn’t there, when a show opens?  (I know I diligently ironed my clothes for the show and then as I was leaving my apartment, of course, they fell off the hangars……and, you can imagine the rest!  A true comedy moment.)

The good news — evidently, Arch Campbell (on Channel 7) mentioned that the Fringe Festival was happening and mentioned Psycho Cabaret! (One of our cast member’s father emailed him about the Fringe Festival and he mentioned our show!)  Who knew!!!!

Anyway, Chief Ike’s has a definite personality. (OK, it takes me back many years ago when I sang in a club at Ocean City and there was always noise in the background and people talking at the bar.  And then there was the other club. . . oh forget it, you have to talk to me to get the full story about that!)  Let’s say that there can be a battle between those folks who hang out at the bar, and our sophisticated audiences who come to see a show.

But back to the present.  Psycho Cabaret! Come see us.  Eight singers (including our strong musical director who graces the stage to sing) . . .  Yes, I’m a bit prejudiced – some really interesting material, and an interesting environment.

And, yes, it is Fringe!   Come support us!  You’ll have a good time!

Capital Fringe Fest 2008

by Terri Allen, Psycho Cabaret producer

It’s Fringe time!  This year we’re a bit psycho!

We’ve started work on our Fringe Festival show.  If you don’t know, this will be the DC Cabaret Network’s third year to participate in the DC Capital Fringe Festival.

This year, we’ve changed the concept a bit and the show is called Psycho Cabaret.  The premise:  the world is crazy; people are stressed; up seems like down and down up – everyone is . . . yes, just a bit psycho!

We’ve just started rehearsing.  Everyone’s material is really interesting – a few well-known songs (I don’t want to divulge them just yet!) and songs from Fascinating Aida, a great one by Jason Robert Brown and much more.

Cast members are: Terri Allen, Chris Cochran, Emily Leatha Everson, Arlene Hill, Michael Vitaly Sazonov, Judy Simmons and Lonny Smith. Judy Simmons is directing the show and Helen Hayes award-winner George Fulginiti-Shakar is musical director.

This year the Festival is expanded, and will run three weeks – July 10 – 27. That’s good news and bad news – we’ve got six shows to sell out over 3 weeks!

We have another challenge this year, because we are not in our beloved Warehouse venue, but have been moved to Chief Ike’s Mambo Room, 1725 Columbia Road in Adams Morgan.  For those of you who aren’t 20 or trendy and don’t know this venue, it is a cool, hip bar.  But, it is a bit off of the beaten track —  even for Adams Morgan, and parking is extremely limited.  So, we’re going to encourage everyone to support cabaret and bring 20 of your closest friends to the show!  We need to sell seats.

Here are the Psycho Cabaret show dates:

Thurs. July 10, 7:45 PM
Sat., July 12, 7:30 PM
Thurs.,  July 17,  6:00 PM
Wed., July 23, 7:45 PM
Thurs., July 24, 6:00 PM
Friday, July 25, 5:30 PM

The box office opens officially on July 10 at Fringe Headquarters at the old AV Ristorante at 6th and New York Ave, NW.  But, you can go online NOW at www.capitalfringe.org and buy tickets.  Or call 1-866-811-4111.

Buy tickets; buy them often; encourage your friends to attend our show!

Think Fringe! Think Psycho Cabaret!

Above Us, Only Sky

by Lonny Smith, April Guest Blogger

I have a beautiful voice.

I wish I could communicate the amount of effort it has taken me to type these words and leave them floating on the page. My mind sprints away: “Such egotism! So overblown! Are you implying that others don’t have beautiful voices? Maybe if you weren’t so puffed up with the sound of your own voice….Why not just say that you have a ‘pretty’ voice, and people will love your self-cajoling sense of irony?” And so on.

But I do have a beautiful voice. Some may disagree, but a lot of people have pulled me aside to pay me compliments, ask me to sing, or coax me into recording their outgoing voicemail message. So please forgive me if, in putting aside false modesty and self effacement, I veer dangerously close to complete and total narcissism. Please also allow me to set aside the essentials of interpretation, honesty, musicianship….I want to talk about making sound. Beautiful sound.

In our society, beauty is often treated as a zero sum game-its virtues aced out by a correlated shortcoming. Unlike intelligence or charm or good health, beauty is the gift that comes with a price tag-if you’re pretty, you may also be a little dim. If you speak beautifully, you must be a slick wordsmith. If you sing beautifully, you’re probably vapid and insincere. Remember, beauty is only skin deep! Beauty fades, but dumb is forever! These grim reminders that gifts come with both a tradeoff and an expiration date are not usually offered to those with great intellectual gifts or money-making skills. Perhaps as a result of several millennia of proscribed gender roles and Western philosophy, there is a curious distrust of the sensual, the appealing, and the intuitive. The mind must always be valued above the body.

But somehow, the appealing retains its appeal. This isn’t fair or democratic or reasonable. Maddeningly, nature’s gifts are distributed with little respect paid to logic, justice, or bloodlines. Sometimes the process makes sense, but most of the time the rules remain a mystery. How the mind hates the untidiness! The unfairness! The waste and abuse! Looking at others’ gifts, it’s all too easy to become jealous and leave our own gifts ignored and unopened. We may seethe at God’s mistakes and the lack of equity, just as Salieri applied his passion to undoing Mozart rather than to his own music (at least in Peter Shaffer’s telling of the story).

In the world of performance, this attitude can weigh heavily on singers. A beautifully polished gem of a voice is transformed into a burdensome rock between the singer and the song. Performers, teachers, and directors regularly tell us (often with a hint of glee) that a pretty voice is not enough, and can even be a barrier to success, and I guess I agree. I’ve seen too many singers put aside their interpretative talents to spin lovely, pear-shaped tones, closing their eyes to savor the sound while shutting out their audience. Too many times, I’ve been that singer. Yet, time after time, I’ve heard amazing sounds produced by singers who drop all attention to pretty tones to focus on the meaning of the words. Time after time, by getting specific about what I’m singing, the thorniest technical challenges disappear.

Is it possible to appreciate the voice as a vessel for music but also to recognize the limitations of even the most beautiful voice? The qualities that will show off Bob Dylan’s music are obviously different from those that will illuminate Jerome Kern’s. Still, you will never really know this until a singer actually tests the song and surprises you with the results. Hearing Kiri Te Kanawa sing Nellie Forbush might lead you to conclude that opera singers should stay far away from the American songbook, unless you’ve had your heart broken by Dawn Upshaw’s interpretations of Marc Blitzstein’s music. Hearing Madonna’s riff on “Imagine” may tempt you to leave the song with John Lennon unless you’ve heard Eva Cassidy sing it with beauty, authenticity, and inventiveness.

There is magnificence in the act of honest communication, however beautifully or awkwardly it is expressed. Rather than dreaming of a world where beautiful voices are elevated above all others, I think I’d prefer a simpler world where all singing brings joy, regardless of how well it is done. Admittedly, it would be a loud and cacophonous place, but I bet we would have even more great singers emerge in the absence of fear and shaming. In my own voice’s ugly duckling days, I took comfort in a plaque on a voice teacher’s piano, which read: “If only the birds with the loveliest voices sang, the forest would be a quiet place.” As my voice slowly emerged through patience, hard work, and dumb luck, the words rang truer each day.

Through a Bass Clef, Darkly

by Lonny Smith, April Guest Blogger

“It’s not gloomy, it’s profound.”

So sayeth Henrik Egerman, the aspiring clergyman of Hugh Wheeler and Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music,” which enjoyed a great production (with an especially talented Henrik played by Josh Young) this month at CenterStage in Baltimore. After seeing the show and recently watching 16 Ingmar Bergman films, including the source material for “Night Music,” I have gloominess on my mind.

Cabaret is well known as a showcase for love lost, hopes shattered, and dreams forsaken. Cry me a river in stormy weather while gazing at the stars and the moon. Lead a lush life to forget the man that got away, or just stay at home with the portrait and the rose. Throw in a comic number or a sultry tune to mix things up, and you have an act.

In the case of gloomy and profound, I must plead guilty as charged. The Yenta of DC Cabaret (a.k.a. Michael Miyazaki) once grinned after I sang “Out of Love” by Marcy Heisler and Zina Goodrich – a song about the depressingly endless minutiae of breaking off a romance. He announced: “That’s a perfect opening number. Everyone will know that there’s nowhere to go but up.”

The lure of the dark side is not merely an attempt to appear sophisticated (here, I will plead “no contest”), but also an act of rebellion against forced optimism. As children, we’re told to see the glass as half full after your older brother spills most of your milk – which you are not allowed to cry over. We’re told to clean our plates because children are starving in Africa, as though our refusal to eat our spinach has greater implications for global poverty than our country’s trade policies. As adults, it doesn’t get much better as we’re told to accept deadening work because singing sad songs won’t pay the bills, or to nod as failing CEOs get golden parachutes while outsourced workers get foreclosures and termination of their unemployment benefits. When we are told to smile even as the dice are loaded against us, creative outlets are an opportunity to subvert the rules of the game. Now we get to do the telling.

This only goes so far, though. Singing our frustrations doesn’t always necessarily mean we are telling the truth. You can sing just as falsely about heartbreak as you can about falling in love. I’m reminded of a short story I wrote in college – dark and urban and sexy but well outside of my small-town experience and probably stolen from a review of a Bret Easton Ellis novel. The whole thing rang completely false, and I was chided by friends who knew me better. What even they didn’t understand was that I was so deeply closeted and conflicted in my sexuality that that the thought of physical contact with someone in real life was a nonstarter – promising either hell or self betrayal. Though my story little literary merit, the page was a safe place for me to explore feelings I had no courage to act upon.

I think performing allow us to do much the same thing, freeing us to be someone else for three or four minutes. The nice guy expresses his rage without upsetting his slacking coworkers, and the perfect mother turns into Ms. Byrd without cheating on her husband. Singing songs about love that didn’t work out reminds us that there was once love, even if there isn’t now. Yearning for dreams to come true reminds us of hope, when our lives contain only the dream of making it through the day. So maybe we sing depressing songs because it reminds us of our optimism when it is lacking. Maybe we sing them because they allow us to admit that even a mostly happy life carries many moments of sadness that must be honored.

It’s been a Bergman winter for me, but I’m looking forward to spring. Sometimes, it’s good to let go of both gloominess and profundity.  On the Cabaret Yenta’s urging, I’m looking for a song of exuberance. For whatever reason, it’s a part of me I rarely show publicly, unless if you see me on Christmas morning or after an Audrey Tautou comedy….Anyway. I’m working on it, Michael. As always, a work in progress.

Going Up and Going Off: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Memorizing Lyrics

lonnysmith40.jpg

by Lonny Smith, March 2008 Guest Blogger

I’m sitting at my desk, determined to learn two songs I’ve never sung before. Truthfully, I’m mostly just worrying about learning them. Will I need to change the key or figure out a new arrangement? Can I avoid mimicking the original singer, who does the song exactly right? Does anyone else in town do this song? Well, why don’t they — is it a bad song? Then, as beautiful and/or painful images flood in, I wonder how I might use or avoid or milk those memories. And should I even be singing these two songs at all? For a singer, there is nothing quite so like the writer’s blank page or the painter’s empty canvas as the song that has yet to be learned.

Last summer, I performed a number of songs with especially complicated and voluminous lyrics. I had problems memorizing two songs in particular, and I was still frustrated late into the rehearsal process. My struggles weren’t for a lack of effort or desire. I tried every trick I knew — mnemonic devices, tying physical actions to the words, repeating the lyrics in an endless loop, speaking the words really fast — and I still could not make it through either song without tripping up.

It’s not always like that. There are songs that require little more than a quick glance at the lyrics. Others beg for extensive work, and the amount of time spent doesn’t always seem related to the number of words or their complexity. Sometimes, the songs I love the most take far longer to memorize than the ones that simply amuse and charm me. I wonder about that.

These two particular songs presented very different challenges. One was funny but mostly irrelevant to my own experience while the other scraped uncomfortably close to the bone. In the first case, there was pressure to produce results: funny songs usually need to generate laughter. If people didn’t laugh, the song would be pointless, and I’d look like an idiot. In the other case, where certain events of the song mirrored my own dramas, I felt pressure to both distance myself from the truth as well as to express it. It wasn’t exactly my life, but some of it was. It didn’t hit me where I was, but it was exactly where I feared I could end up. Would people think the song’s anger and bitterness were my own? Would the song just be long and boring? Would anyone care if I got it right? The lyrics refused to fall into place.

One night, just as a lyric to the funny song slipped away, I let loose all of the fury, frustration, and fear pent up from failing to nail these songs down. I’d worked on these lyrics, I knew them, I could sing them perfectly in the shower, I’d written them out on paper over and over, and nothing was happening. Why not perform that? The lyrics started coming to me with less effort, and the rage directed itself into meaningful and useful choices. I tried it with the other song, and found a similar result. Somehow, expressing the frustration managed to knock away a lot of doubt, fear, and questioning. It also led to other gentler, post-anger choices like acceptance, calmness, and surrender.

It seems to me that there is a threshold — sometimes low, sometimes high — that is passed when a singer truly absorbs a song. Sometimes, this connection is made instantly. Other times, the connection eludes us and we have to struggle until we find it. When we can shift from “This song is about…” to “I feel…” or “I am…” and there’s a personal story that needs to be told, the song’s meaning and words will fall into place — but usually not a moment before.