Wednesday, May 10, 2006

What is Cabaret?

With the 4th Annual AIP Cabaret Festival scheduled at the Long Beach Public Library from May 18-21, I thought that I would take some time to look at this unique genre.
Below you will find an explanation of "Cabaret," taken from Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cabaret is a form of entertainment featuring comedy, song, dance, and theatre, distinguished mainly by the performance venue — a restaurant or nightclub with a stage for performances and the audience sitting around the tables (often dining or drinking) watching the performance. The turn of the 20th century introduced a revolutionized cabaret culture. Performers included Josephine Baker and Brazilian drag performer João Francisco dos Santos (aka Madame Satã), both of African descent. The venue itself can also be called a "cabaret." These performances could range from political satire to light entertainment, each being introduced by a master of ceremonies, or MC.
The term is a French word for the taprooms or cafés, where this form of entertainment was born, as a more artistic type of café-chantant. It is derived from Middle Dutch cabret, through Old North French camberette, from Late Latin camera. It basically means "small room."
Cabaret also refers to a Mediterranean style brothel — a bar with tables and women who mingle with and entertain the clientele. Traditionally these establishments can also feature some form of stage entertainment: often singers & dancers — the bawdiness of which vary with the quality of the establishment. It is the more sophisticated and classier cabaret which eventually engendered the type of establishment and art-form which is the subject of the remainder of this article.
American Cabaret
In the United States, Cabaret diverged into several different and distinct styles of performance mostly due to the influence of Jazz Music. Chicago Cabaret focused intensely on the larger band ensembles and reached its zenith in the Speakeasies, and Steakhouses (Like The Palm (restaurant)) of the Prohibition Era.
New York Cabaret never developed along the darkly political lines of its European counterparts, but did feature a great deal of social commentary. When New York Cabarets featured Jazz, they tended to focus on famous vocalists like Eartha Kitt and Capucine (Germaine Lefebvre) rather than instrumental musicians.
Cabaret in the United States began to disappear in the sixties, due to the rising popularity of rock concert shows and television variety shows. Perhaps the greatest living American Cabaret performer is Eartha Kitt, famous for her role as Catwoman in the tongue in cheek television series, Batman. The Art form itself still survives vestigially in two popular entertainment formats: Stand-up comedy, and in the dark comic performances that may still be seen in the drag show and camp performances in the nations GLBT community.
Cabaret is currently undergoing a renaissance of sorts in the United States as new generations of performers reinterpret the old forms in both music (see Dark Cabaret below) and theatre.

What is your "take" on Cabaret? Please post your own definitions.

Please note - there is a Cabaret music display in the media center. Here you will find popular recordings from such artists as Barbara Cook, Ute Lemper, Edith Piaf, and many, many more.

Monday, May 01, 2006

4th Annual AIP Cabaret Arts Festival

The 4th Annual Cabaret Arts Festival will be held at the Long Beach Public Library May 18 - 21. If you have seen any of the shows in the past, I'm sure you will return for some of the best "nightclub" entertainment on Long Island. Susan James and the folks at Artists in Partnership (AIP) transform the LBPL Auditorium into an intimate "lounge," sans cocktails. Some of most talented cabaret performers in the metropolitan area will entrance you and capture your heart with their wonderful renditions and interpretations of popular standards and original music.

Shows are scheduled for Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday afternoon and evening and Sunday afternoon. The full lineup follows and can also be seen on the AIP website:

Thursday, May 18, 8 PM – Opening Night Cabaret Performance
SUSAN JAMES “Simply Susan: Listen To My Heart”
with Tedd Firth on piano
Susan shares her soul with songs that have special meaning in her life.
“ every note, every nuanced gesture rang professional…. One regret was that we don’t own a cabaret or we’d book her in a heartbeat.” Shirley Bogart Cohen, author

Friday, May 19, 8 PM - Cabaret Performance
MARIEANN MERINGOLO "Here’s To The Ladies! A Salute To Great Ladies In Song"
with Doyle Newmyer on piano
This award-winning vocalist comes direct from her engagement at NYC’s Hideaway Room @ Helen’s.
“If k.d.lang’s DNA were to get whipped together with Barbra Streisand’s…..the result might well be Marieann Meringolo” TIMEOUT NEW YORK
“”The voice…will woo you, win you, & whisper in your ear” NEW YORK NEWSDAY

Saturday, May 20, 2 PM - "Cabaret Friends" Performances and Professional Panel
Established Cabaret Artists from The Songbook Project perform and comment on cabaret
Nancy McGraw, vocalist of “Cinema Songs” at Danny’s and former cabaret club owner,
Sidney Myer, comic singer/performer and also booking agent for NYC’s club “Don’t Tell Mama”, Tedd Firth, Musical Director & jazz pianist , and Barbara Brussell, vocalist of “Lerner In Love” CD
"Nancy fills the stage with a genuinely warm presence, inhabiting each song and investing it with her own unmannered expressiveness." Peter Haas, CABARET SCENES Magazine
“Sidney Myer…an engagingly mischievous dispenser of musical repartee”
Stephen Holden, THE NEW YORK TIMES

Saturday, May 20, 8 PM - Cabaret Performance
with Tedd Firth on piano
This duo enchants you with jazz interpretations of great American popular standards in an upbeat fashion.
“she’s got great style, great charts – and boy, does she have her standards!” Barry Manilow
“…sophisticated songbird with rich, silky vocal style.. and a swinging baritone with an offhand Sinatra swagger…” Elizabeth Ahlfors, CABARET SCENES

Sunday, May 23, 2 PM - Cabaret Performance
A Sentimental Journey of Standard and Pop Classics”

Phillip matches veteran & contemporary songwriters from every decade with fresh interpretations.
“ …a theatrical tie to the storyline, incisive perception of the lyric, pitch-perfect renditions of the melodies, and a clear, clean sound, … one of the master craftsmen of the cabaret art.”
Elizabeth Ahlfors, CABARET SCENES

For further info, call AIP 516-432-6342 or visit website:

This project is made possible, in part, with funds from the Long Beach Public Library

* AIP celebrates Long Beach’s Centennial 1906 - 2006 “From Sandbar to City” *