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Entries in Stephen Sondheim (9)


All I Want for Christmas...a Cabaret Gift Guide

I don’t know about you, but I’m always stuck for ideas when it comes to choosing Christmas presents. What I dream of is that someone will post a list of gift ideas specifically tailored for the people I’m shopping for. If I can’t have that for myself, I can at least offer it to you. Here are some gift suggestions that would be a great filler for a cabaret fan’s Christmas Stocking this year. If you ARE the cabaret fan - share this article with a gift buying person close to you. They’re bound to get the hint.

[Email subscribers may find that images or links don’t appear in this post. Click here to view the Cabaret Gift Guide in your web browser.] 


I read Sam Irvin’s thorough(ly entertaining) biography on Kay Thompson earlier in the year. For those of you not yet familiar with this multi-threat entertainer and a world-class eccentric, Kay Thompson was the mentor/best friend of Judy Garland, the vocal guru for Frank Sinatra and Lena Horne, and the godmother/Svengali of Liza Minnelli. A great read. If you want to save on Amazon’s shipping charges, grab the kindle version of this book and read it digitally.


Hugh Martin: The Boy Next Door is on my Christmas list. I love books by songwriters, as the stories behind the songs often add so much resonance to the words and music I’m already familiar with. Especially appropriate for the Holiday Season because Martin co-wrote one of my favourite holiday standards “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”.

Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954–1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes and the second (companion) volume Look, I Made a Hat: Collected Lyrics (1981-2011) with Attendant Comments, Amplifications, Dogmas, Harangues, Wafflings, Diversions and Anecdotes are perfect presents for anyone interested in music theatre. Written by the composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim, these books dissect lyrics from his own shows and offer comments and critiques regarding the work of his collaborators and colleagues. [You can purchase the two volumes together in The Hat Box.]


This cd has been playing in my car all year. Jim Caruso (host of the Monday night Cast Party open mic night at Birdland in NYC) has the panache and style of an old school entertainer but The Swing Set offers fresh interpretations of standards that Michael Buble hasn’t already sung to death. Coincidentally, Jim sings the Kay Thompson arrangement of I Love a Violin. You will love this!
I had heard of this recording a number of times, but only listened to it for the first time a few months ago. Elaine Stritch - At Liberty was recorded in 2002 and I now reccommend it as a ‘must hear’ for anyone contemplating a personal or confessional style cabaret show. Combining classic songs (many which she originally introduced - ie. sang first) with stories that left me laughing out loud before tugging at my heartstrings, this is the best recorded cabaret-syle show I’ve discovered.
My interest in cabaret was first awakened when I read about Barbra Streisand performing at Greenwich Village clubs in NYC such as the Bon Soir and the Blue Angel. Although her voice is a heavenly instrument, I’ve always been a fan of the way Streisand never lets her beautiful voice get in the way of communicating a lyric - and there aren’t many lyrics better than those written by Alan and Marilyn Bergman. That’s why this album focused on the Bergmans’ songs, Barbra Streisand - What Matters Most, is also on my Christmas Wish List.

I’ve always loved Christmas and Holiday songs. As a kid I would sit at the piano, playing and singing them for hours. Must have driven my parents crazy. As an older kid I now love to discover new Holiday songs and thisChristine Lavin Presents: Just One Angel is full of them. Featuring many talented artists such as the actor/singer Jeff Daniels, Julie Gold (who wrote “From a Distance”), and Christine Lavin herself, who has recorded”When You’re Single at Christmastime”

While not strictly a cabaret-themed present, many of our readers may know someone who wishes they could Be a Broadway Star. This monopoly-style board game is ideal for your favourite MT Kid or Gleek. As you work your way around the board you attend auditions, try to get an agent and collect fans! This game was created by Ken Davenport, Broadway Producer and author of one of my favourite blogs The Producer’s Perspective.
What is on your Cabaret Christmas Wish List? Leave a comment below…


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Cabaret stars to pay tribute to the music of Stephen Sondheim at 2010 World AIDS Day Concert (Sydney)



Some of Australia’s best cabaret and musical theatre performers will pay tribute to Stephen Sondheim’s music at 2010 Sydney World AIDS Day Concert with the terrific Trevor Ashley as the director and Craig Renshaw as the MD. Many past Adelaide Cabaret Festival artists feature on the bill – Trevor Ashley, David Harris, Lucy Durak, Phil Scott, Queenie Van de Zandt, Tyran Parke and Avigail Herman.  Most of them also appeared on the popular weekly cabaret night, ShowQueen Sunday series produced and hosted by Trevor Ashley. The ShowQueen series has been in hiatus since May, so this line-up is the closest thing to the reunion. You can also see the stars who performed at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival once again. Go see the show and support the cause!


The full line-up

Lilias White (Fame, Fela!, From Brooklyn to Broadway, The Life, Dreamgirls)

Hugh Sheridan (Newly Discovered, Packed to the Rafters)

Mitchell Butel (Killing Time, Avenue Q)

David Harris (Little Women, Miss Saigon, Til the Night is Gone)

Geraldine Turner (Chicago, A Little Night Music, Into The Woods)

Lucy Durak (Wicked)

Michael Cormick (City Homicide, Calamity, The Woman In White)

Peter Cousens (Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, West Side Story)

Trevor Ashley (Hairspray, I’m Every Woman)

Shaun and Adam Rennie (Cats, Jekyll and Hyde)

Queenie Van de Zandt (Smoke and Mirrors)

Laura Mulcahy (Mama Mia!)

Avigail Herman (The Musical of the Musical The Musical!)

Tyran Parke (Hatpin)

Phil Scott (The Twink & The Show Girl)

Marika Aubrey (Redhead)

Marney McQueen (Rosa Waxes Lyrical) 


Via Same Same

Some of Australia’s favourite entertainers from the worlds of musical theatre and cabaret are set to celebrate the music of legendary composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim at this year’s Sydney World AIDS Day concert.

With several performers still to be confirmed, the all-star lineup includes David Harris (Little Women, Miss Saigon) Geraldine Turner (Chicago, A Little Night Music, Into The Woods), Lucy Durak (Wicked), Michael Cormick (City Homicide, Calamity, The Woman In White) Peter Cousens (Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, West Side Story) and Trevor Ashley (Hairspray, I’m Every Woman).

Playing for one night only on Monday 22 November in the stunning Verbruggen Hall at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the bill will also include Shaun and Adam Rennie, Queenie Van de Zandt, Laura Mulcahy, Avigail Herman, Tyran Parke and Phil Scott.

All performers will be backed by a live orchestra.

For the third year running, concert creator Trevor Ashley (pictured second) will direct the performers and Craig Renshaw will direct the music for the gala performance.

All performers and musicians are doing the show for free with all proceeds helping ACON provide essential health promotion services for people with HIV.

ACON Events Coordinator David Wilkins says the music of Stephen Sondheim (pictured third) is a natural choice for Sydney’s World AIDS Day concert.

“Stephen Sondheim is celebrating his 80th birthday this year and it seems only fitting that we should mark the occasion with an all-star tribute to this phenomenal artist,” he says.

“He is undoubtedly one of the most influential people in the history of musical theatre and his work has entertained millions of people all around the world for over 50 years.”

“Sondheim’s wonderful music being performed by so many great entertainers and all backed by a live orchestra will produce a truly memorable show for people of all ages.”

Wilkins says this year’s concert follows the success of the two previous annual fundraisers. “The support we received last year was overwhelming and we’re looking forward to making this year’s show even bigger and better.”


The Sydney World AIDS Day Concert

Venue: Verbruggen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Macquarie St, Sydney

Date: Monday 22 November

Time: 7.30pm

Tickets: Full price $65/ Concession $55

Bookings: Click here or call 02 9206 2062



Adam Pascal @ Feinstein's - 20th & 21st June



Spend an evening with the award-winning original star of Broadway’s RENT and AIDA, as well as the feature film RENT, who performs an evening of classic Broadway songs from composers old and new, (including Stephen Sondheim, Kander & Ebb, Jonathan Larson, Jason Robert Brown and more), as well as classic rock songs from his musical influences (including The Beatles, Billy Joel, Elton John and Pink Floyd). This is an unforgettable evening of Adam up close and personal. Songlist includes show stoppers such as “One Song Glory” (Rent), “Maybe This Time” (Cabaret), “New York State of Mind” (Billy Joel), and more!


Adam Pascal

Date: 20th&21st June 2010

Time: 8.30pm

Venue: Feinstein’s at The Regency, 540 Park Avenue New York, NY

Tickets: General seating: $50*, Premium seating (front tables - reserved section): $60*

*Tax and fee apply.

Reservations: Call 212-339-409 or click here for the 20th and click here for the 21st.


Related posts:

Alan Cumming at Feinstein’s: Reviews from the web


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Quote of the Day

I’m currently reading Donna McKechnie’s autobiography “Time Steps - My Musical Comedy Life” before she plays at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival June 16-18.
I love this quote from critic Walter Kerr when he wrote about the original production of Sondheim’s “Company” in the New York Times.
“Nudemongers take note: Sex is more accurately and more excitingly summoned up in Miss McKechnie’s limber metaphors than it would have been in any amount of bared-shouldered bedplay by the principals. Dandy.”
Book to see Donna’s show on June 16/17 here or phone +61 8 8216 8919 for details about her June 18 Fundraiser performance for the Adelaide Festival Centre Foundation.

2010 Adelaide Cabaret Festival: An Evening with Liz Callaway - 24th June - 25th June


A chance to see a Broadway favourite 

“as incandescent as ever!”   The New York Times   

Boasting a gleaming musical-theatre voice that is made to deliver reach-for-the-stars showstoppers, Liz Callaway makes her Australian debut, embodying the very best of Broadway. 

The Emmy-winning and Tony nominated actress has had audiences around the world raving about her incredible versatility and talent. She has appeared on Broadway in Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, Baby, Miss Saigon, and Cats - where she sang the hit Memory over 1500 times! 

A thrilling evening of songs and stories by one of Broadway’s favorite leading ladies.



Cabaret Scenes

Liz possesses a beautiful, crystal clear voice, also a very strong one. Her moving and captivating interpretation of lyrics was flawless. Eschewing glamour—a lot of make-up, an elaborate hair-do, an opulent dress—she revealed fresh-faced good looks that the passage of time has been good to. Her patter, which was in part about her patter, may have been more scripted than appeared, but she revealed a wit that was never overdone and seemed an extension of an upbeat, sparkling personality, which even her poignant songs did not diminish.

Read the full review by Barbara Leavy here.


An Evening with Liz Callaway 

Venue: Festival Theatre Stage

Dates: 24th June - 25th June

Times: 24th 6.30pm & 25th 9.00pm

Premium: $49.95/Adult: $39.95/ Adult Season Pass: $35.95

Concession: $35.95/Concession Season Pass: $31.95

Booking: call 131-246 or click here.

*For Season Pass bookings (book 4 or more tickets in one transaction for great savings), click here.


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Other shows featured in 2010 Adelaide Cabaret Festival:

Mitchell Butel - Killing Time

Shoshana Bean: Late Night in the Banquet Room

Pasek and Paul - Along the Way

Robyn Archer - Berlin Between the Wars

Redhead - Marika Aubrey

John Waters - Brel

Frisky and Mannish School of Pop

Trevor Ashley is Liza (on an E)

Smoke & Mirrors 

Caroline O’Connor - A Musical Life

Donna McKechnie - My Musical Comedy Life

Morphium - A Kabarett by Kim Smith

An Evening with Stephen Schwartz and Friends

Natalie Cole

Ennio Marchetto

Hugh Sheridan - Newly Discovered 


If you enjoyed this post, you might also like these entries:

2010 Adelaide Cabaret Festival Top 10 picks

2010 Adelaide Cabaret Festival: Bring a Friend Free offer extended

Report: 10th Adelaide Cabaret Festival Launch @ Adelaide Festival Centre

Cab Fest Pre Launch Info