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CABARET HOTLINE ONLINE TIPS
Getting Started in Cabaret



How do I get started in Cabaret?

Get all the info and advice you can - the more you know the less you fear.

Attend as many shows as your pocketbook and schedule will allow. And go to as many of the cabaret clubs as you can. Each room has a different "flavor" and a different "sound" and you should try to find one that suits your style and voice.

NETWORK - NETWORK - NETWORK - when you see a show introduce yourself to the performer, his/her director, musical director, etc. If you have a card, give them one and ask to be included on their mailing list. Let them know a little about yourself - without being too boring or overbearing. And listen to what they say about their show. The good performer will want to share - and may take the time to come to your show when you perform here. And you can check out how things run here.

PRACTICE - PRACTICE - PRACTICE - the biggest failing of NYC "debut" performers is that they simply are overwhelmed by the experience and lose track of their show. You must know your show "backwards" - so that you don't mess up the lyrics, lose your place in the program, etc. This only makes you doubly nervous and likely to mess up some more. But, at the same time, the show must seem spontaneous. That's cabaret!

PERFECT THE ART OF THE SMALL GESTURE - cabaret is an intimate medium. Some folks will be sitting 4 feet away. Broad "theatrical" gestures seem grotesque in cabaret. Grand swinging of arms and waving of limbs have no place here. It is the wink, the nod of the head, the shape of the hands - the little body language of intimate conversation that mark a good cabaret performer. Attend shows of Julie Wilson, Andrea Marcovicci, Karen Akers, Ann Hampton Callaway and others to see what I mean.

BE HONEST - in a small room, unless you are playing a character (Judy Garland, Bette Davis, etc.) you have to be yourself. You can't "put on" a character who isn't you and expect to get away with it. Choose songs you love - and let the audience know that you love them, that they have special meaning to you that you want to share.

ALWAYS CHOOSE ONE OR TWO "NEW" SONGS - they need not be newly written, but they should be slightly off the beaten track. Again, choose them because you love them and they mean something to you.

DON'T INVITE THE PRESS UNTIL YOU ARE READY - They may come anyway out of curiosity, but you don't need a bad review to start things out. If they do come uninvited, have your manager, director or the cabaret room manager mention to them that you are not ready for a review, but would love to meet them after the show for their comments. They may not choose to chat after the show, but they should honor your request not to review. But here's the trick - if their comments are good and/or constructive, be sure to get their address and be sure to invite them to a later presentation.

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