I went to a cabaret this week – it’s a once monthly gather of musical theatre types that seemed to have started out very casually and now is somewhat of a big deal – the small room was packed to the gills. I have been one time great lover of musicals – lately not so much. I find the new ones seem to rely heavily on telling emotion through recitative ….”I am singing to you that I love and and I’m telling you that I love you, do you love me…” instead of something more, I don’t know, MUSICAL and imagistic.
My husband is currently playing in a musical – he’s the comic relief character singer with the killer song in act 2. In general this musical is lovely. Very hummable, the act one ender is rousing, but for me the songs in act two, expect for Craig’s killer song, all live in the same energy range. They don’t knock you out of your seat. But still lovely. I get to see the show this weekend which I’m really looking forward to. Craig’s done the show several times and this is the first time when the cast has almost completely changed. It’ll be so interesting to see it with different actors bringing new light to the roles.
But back to the cabaret. So I was looking forward to the cabaret to. I like show tunes. I’m a Sweeney Todd girl more than an Oklahoma girl but I’ll tap my toes to “I’m just a girl who can’t say no.”
The cabaret was three hours long and I’m thinking there was maybe 1 song per half hour. That’s right. One three minute song out of thirty. What was happening in the other twenty-seven minutes? TALKING. Lots and lots of TALKING. Musical theatre people TALKING about themselves. Talking about the roles they didn’t get. Talking about the roles they did get. Talking about how great they all are, why don’t they work more, they should work more, they’re so great.
And it wasn’t nice humble people talking about how great they were. No, no. It was huge big fake insincere people. Lots of hands clutched to the chest. Long piercing glances out over the audience. Actor laughs (that’s the laugh actors do to make sure everyone in the room turns and notices them) By the end I was ready to eat my chair.
Why couldn’t they just…..sing? I would have taken anything. I would have taken the Senior glee club production of Cabaret over this cabaret.
Thankfully, the penlight of the evening, the person we were there to see wasn’t like this. He sang a beautifully sincere song and he didn’t do the actor laugh once. Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus.