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2011 in Review: The Year in Cabaret - January to June

As 2012 rolled around, I took a look back at 2011 and choose notable cabaret moments that Cabaret Confessional covered in the course of last 12 months. It’s been a BIG year in cabaret – when I was compiling this list, it was encouraging to see that there were a great deal of high quality events, a lot of recognition given to excellent artists and a number of interesting, innovative shows that were on offer nationally and internationally.

In fact, there was an incredible amount to cover that I’ve sectioned it off in two parts – January to June and July to December. Each month had something different in many shapes and forms.

2012 is already looking tantalisingly promising for cabaret – get ready for the most amazing year yet!

Click here to read the seconf half of round up (July to December).



Australian Cabaret Summer School class of 2011 Photo by Michael Marschall


Australian Cabaret Summer School

2011 started off with Australian Cabaret Summer School, directed by Matthew Carey.  The participants were mentored by Matthew Carey and Catherine Campbell. Guest metors included Michael Morley, Stephen Sheehan and Frank Ford, After an intensive one-week course, all 11 students - many with little or no experience in cabaret - wrote and performed their own shows consisting of three songs each at Summer Showcase. Many of them went on to perform full-length shows at festivals. 2012 classes will begin shortly with budding cabaret artists.


Eddie Perfect in Misanthropology

Eddie Perfect premiered Misanthropology - his first solo cabaret show since Drink Pepsi Bitch! at the Sydney Festival. It was a smash hit and the show toured Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and New Zealand.


Jim Caruso releases Swing Set

Over in New York, the city’s favourite cabaret impresario and a renowned party host Jim Caruso released sophisticated yet fun and irreverent album featuring re-imagined standards and eye-popping new tunes Swing Set from Yellow Sound Label, including duets with Michael Feinstein, Billy Stritch and Hilary Cole.


The Midsumma Festival 2011

The Midsumma Festival in Melbourne offered a fine list of cabaret acts. Trevor Ashley’s Liza (on an E) was a sold-out festival hit and extra shows were added.  In the same month, he won the Sydney Theatre Award for Best Cabaret Production for his show I’m Every Woman, beating Hugh Sheridan’s Newley Discovered, Smoke and Mirrors and The Men in Black.


The Butterfly Club changes ownership

Still in Melbourne, the city’s iconic cabaret venue The Butterfly Club changed ownership from the former owners David Read and Neville Sice to Simone Pulga. David Read and Neville Sice have been organising the Melbourne Cabaret Festival and The Butterfly Club is going stronger than ever.


Queensland floods fundraisers

When the Queensland floods struck, Sydney performer Catherine Alcorn gathered a group of Australian entertainers, including David Harris, Bob Downe, Dick and Christa Hughes, Barry Crocker, Amelia Cormack, Flip Simmons, Marika Aubrey and Toby Francis and staged a fundraiser Flood Lights. In Melbourne, The Butterfly Club hosted another benefit Evapor-AID featuring comedy and cabaret stars like Linda Beatty, Ann Edmonds, Gillian Cosgriff and Simon Taylor.





The Best of Cast Party

For the first time in it’s extraordinary eight-year history, Jim Caruso’s Cast Party burst from its steady Monday night home at Birdland to take on the big stage at Town Hall in a major benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. 

At the Best of Cast Party, host Jim Caruso and musical director Billy Stritch were joined by an impressive list of performers, including Liza Minnelli, Chita Rivera, Marilyn Maye, Natalie Douglas and William Blake.


Adelaide Fringe 2011

Adelaide Fringe 2011 was packed full of great cabaret acts and Cabaret Confessional covered the Festival with interviews, reviews, news and daily event listings.  Performers like Le Gateau Chocolat, Charles Sanders, Antje Guenther, Ali McGregor, Tommy Bradson, Three Chillies, Amanda Palmer, Hans, The Wau Wau Sisters, Sophie Walsh-Harrington, Nikki Aitken, and Brigitte Baden-Rennie all delighted and entertained. The Garden of Unearthly Delights and Gluttony as well as other venues buzzed with great energy every night.


Hats Off!

Hats Off! returned with a fabulously star-studded concert. Bob Downe led an amazing line-up of Australian musical theatre, comedy, dance and cabaret performers, such as iOTA, Queenie van der Zandt and David Campbell, all donating their time and talent to help raise funds for ACON and Bobby Goldsmith Foundation. It was directed by Stuart Maunder with musical direction by Anne-Maree McDonald.


Barb Jungr’s Girl Talk reforms

Over in the UK, Barb Jungr’s Girl Talk reformed with Mari Wilson and Gwyneth Herbert performing an eclectic mix of songs from the 60s by Bacharach to the B52’s, Bowie to Rodgers and Hammerstein, Mad Pop to Sublime Ballads, and the critics couldn’t get enough of the show.



Sophie Walsh-Harrington



March is a Cabaret Month Gala

Cabaret guru Stu Hamstra’s Cabaret Holine Online brought the annual March is a Cabaret Month Gala with star-studded line-up in New York. Tracy Stark was the musical director and the performers on the night included Karen Ackers, Sally Mayes, Laurel Masse, Gabrielle Stravelli, Lucia Spina and Jim Van Slyke.


Kim Smith in Misfit

Kim Smith, an Australian Weimar style cabaret artist based in New York City, opened his new show Misfit at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in March to great reviews. He dazzled the audience with his charismatic and mesmerising performance singing in German, French and English.


Jason Robert Brown masterclass in Australia

Back in Australia, one of the most celebrated contemporary music theatre composers of the last decade, Jason Robert Brown conducted a series of masterclasses across Australia throughout March.


Sophie Walsh-Harrington wins Adelaide Fringe Award for Best Cabaret

Melbourne-based performer and writer Sophie Walsh-Harrington’s show The Damsel in Shining Armour took out the Adelaide Fringe Award for Best Cabaret at the Awards Night. Walsh-Harrington’s hysterically funny autobiographical show, featuring music by Celine Dion and accompanied by Matthew Carey for the Adelaide Fringe season, was chosen out of six nominees.


Cabaret artists in Melbourne International Comedy Festival

For Melbourne International Comedy Festival cabaret artists, we featured Quirky Swedish mega-star Carl-Einer Häckner of La Clique fame. He gave an insightful interview during his Melbourne season.


Geraldine Quinn wins the Golden Gibbo Award

Die Roten Punkte, Ali McGregor and Liz Skitch all shined but the brightest of all was Geraldine Quinn, who won the Golden Gibbo Award for her show You’re the Voice: Songs for the Ordinary by an Anthemaniac after being nominated for the award for two years in a row.


Yana Alana sweeps the cabaret category at the 28th Green Room Awards

Yana Alana and her creative team swept the the 28th Green Room Awards in the cabaret category, winning all six of the categories she was nominated for. 




2011 Adelaide Cabaret Festival Launch

After months of anticipation and suspense, 2011 Adelaide Cabaret Festival program was finally launched at the Festival Theatre. Olivia Newton-John was revealed as the headliner and Michael Feinstein as the Festival’s first ever closing act. Draxl and Gillian Cosgriff performed on the evening, giving the audience a tiny taste of what they had on offer in June.


Terese Genecco’s Australia and New Zealand Tour

Terese Genecco and special guest Shaynee offered Manhattan’s best cabaret and jazz as they toured Sydney and Auckland. In New Zealand, they played a show to honour the composer Russell Garcia (who since passed away in November).


26th Annual Bistro Awards Gala

Michael Feinstein, Colleen McHugh, Kevin Dozier and Sean Harkness were honoured along with other members of accomplished cabaret and jazz community at the 26th Annual Bistro Awards gala at Gotham Comedy Club.




Ali McGregor releases debut album Jazz Cigarette

Cabaret and opera diva Ali McGregor launched her long-awaited album Jazz Cigarette in Melbourne at the Arts Centre. For this album, she “chose songs that make her want to sing”, from classic jazz ballads and sassy blues made famous by Billie and Ella to trashy pop songs reinvented.


Betty Buckley makes her debut at The RRazz Room

Tony Award winner Betty Buckley made her debut at The RRazz Room in San Francisco and performed her cabaret For the Love of Broadway. In the show, she sang theater songs she’s always wanted to sing from shows like South Pacific, The Pajama Game, The King and I, Avenue Q and Nine.


Smoke & Mirrors: final season

Multi-award winning and a monster cabaret hit created by Craig Ilott and iOTA, Smoke & Mirrors had its farewell season in Sydney at the Seymour Centre. The show won three Helpmann Awards and enjoyed sold-out seasons at the Sydney Festival, the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.


2011 Cabaret Fringe Festival program launched

The fourth Cabaret Fringe Festival program was launched at La Boheme. Ffestival director, Sidonie Henbest, unveiled the line-up that included Libby O’Donovan, Emma Dean, Annie Siegmann, Charles Sanders and shows with multicultural flavours.


Cabaret Live! Melbourne Edition launched

After starting a massively popular open mic cabaret night in Adelaide, Cabaret performer Nikki Aitken launched the Melbourne edition of Cabaret Live! at The Butterfly Club. Melbourne-based cabaret performers, such as Emma Clair Ford, Justin Clausen, Gillian Cosgriff as well as those that made their stage debut joined Nikki and pianist Trevor Jones.


Barb Jungr’s Man in Long Black Coat released

British chanteuse and remarkable song stylist Barb Jungr’s new album Man in the Long Black Coat was released to huge critical acclaim. The album is a second collection of Dylan tunes after the enthralling Every Grain of Sand, featuring a compilation to celebrate Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday with four newly recorded songs. She gave Cabaret Confessional an interview just ahead of the official launch. 




Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2011

The world’s biggest cabaret festival, the Adelaide Cabaret Festival opened on the Queen’s Birthday weekend with glitz and glamour. Cabaret Confessional stepped up the coverage for the Festival. The Top 10 Picks were posted, as well as an interview with Frank Ford, founder of the Festival and Chair of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival Committee. The powerhouse performer from New York, Molly Pope was also interviewed.  Daily cabaret event listings were posted each day.

The Festival’s unofficial mascot, Mark Nadler, returned by popular demand and brought the house down with his Broadway Hootenanny performance at the Piano Bar for three evenings. The Festival faced an unexpected predicament when the Chilean ash clouds disrupted the artists’ travel plans as documented in this post.

This year, Cabaret Confessional teamed up with Frank Ford and assisted him with Part 2 of his report he pens for Cabaret Hotline Online during the Festival each year. The Festival’s comprehensive report Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 were published on the blog.

Performance highlights included Robyn Archer, Mark Nadler, Chita Rivera, Michael Feinstein, Brian Batt, Molly Pope, Gillian Cosgriff and Paul Capsis.

This was the artistic director David Campbell’s last Festival. It’s now over to Kate Ceberano!


Cabaret Fringe Festival 2011

Founded by Paul Boylon four years ago and directed by Sidonie Henbest, this is a sister event that runs along the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. In 2011 it got bigger and better.  Libby O’Donovan, Emma Dean, Tyrannosaurus Sex The Puppet Rock Opera, Charles Sanders, Annie Siegmann were stand-out acts.

We featured many artists that were part of Cabaret Fringe. Two of Adelaide’s accomplished cabaret artists and educators Matthew Carey and Catherine Campbell conducted a masterclass as part of Cabaret Fringe Festival and gave an in-depth interview. Nikki Nouveau, Emma Dean and Charles Sanders were also interviewed.


Twelve Acts of Cabaret opens at QPAC in Brisbane

Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) proudly presented TWELVE ACTS OF CABARET featuring a star-studded line up of international, national and local cabaret acts offering the best nights out for entertainment. 10 Brisbane premieres and eight new shows were on the program. The featured artists included Nick Christo, Jane Badler, Die Roten Punkte, Paul Capsis, Steve Ross, Toby Francis and Gillian Cosgriff. Cabaret Confessional covered the event with extensive interviews and show listings during Twelve Acts of Cabaret.


Related post:

2011 in Review: The Year in Cabaret - July to December


*Calling all Adelaide Fringe 2012 cabaret performers! If you are interested in having your Fringe show featured on Cabaret Confessional, click here for more information.

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Reader Comments (1)

It's as if I just saw my life flash before my eyes...

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew
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