Ask A Cabaret Question Wednesday At McElrath Cabaret–What Is Your Cabaret Onstage Persona? Join the Conversation!

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Classic cabaret, Broadway and film entertainer Pearl Bailey, here with Nat King Cole in a fun rendition of “Two To Tango.”   For information about Nat King Cole, you can begin by looking at this online biography.  If you would like to learn more about Ms. Bailey, there is a biography online, as well as a Wikipedia entry and many You Tube videos of her recordings and performances. Enjoy!


Wednesday is the day of the week when we at McElrath Cabaret will post a cabaret question for the consideration of our readers.


The questions will have something to do with cabaret, in all its many aspects. The question may take the form of a poll, to which we encourage you to respond, or it may be a question posed to the cabaret community, to which you can leave your response in the comments section at the bottom of the page.


We encourage you to send us any cabaret question that you have that you would like us to pose to the group! You can leave a question in the comments section below, or you can email it to us at kjandathenacabaret [at] Just fill in the [at] with the @ symbol—we need to foil the spam bots, don’cha know.


Today’s question is this: What is your cabaret onstage persona?


This is a topic that Bob Harrington discusses in his helpful book, The Cabaret Artist’s Handbook, but I would like to add my thoughts about the subject here.  It is true that you will want to be yourself when you are onstage.  That is the place to start, in order to achieve a believeable and honest performance every time you get up to sing a song in front of an audience.  But in cabaret there is also a theatrical element to the presentation of the song, and this is where your onstage persona fits in.


For instance, there are some people that are funny people when they are offstage.  They can tell a story in a humorous way, and make their friends laugh.  However, when they get onstage, they don’t have a funny bone in their body.  They can’t sell a comic number to the audience, because the audience does not believe them in that role.  This partly is how the performer comes across, but it is also about how ready an audience is to accept you in your persona.


If you are one way, and your persona is another, there will be a disconnect to which the audience will not relate.  The audience ultimately needs to accept who you are onstage.  An extreme case might be someone with a punk rocker fashion sense showing up at a retirement home to do a classic cabaret show.  He or she might be singing all the familiar standards you’d expect in a classic cabaret performance, but the audience likely would not be able to get around the modern, edgy appearance of the performer.


How about a cabaret singer who has taken on a sexy performance style, but really has a more prim and proper persona.   It creates a disconnect with the audience.


You want your cabaret audience to react to you in a way that you choose, and you help them along that path with your stage persona.  You are you, but the entertainment part of you is part persona that gets a certain reaction from an audience.


So what is your cabaret onstage persona?  I truly look forward to your joining the conversation with your comments, and any help or suggestions you have on this topic! We value each of our readers very much, and hope to entertain you and give you a place to come and learn more about cabaret.

Till next time, 


ps–The Cabaret Soiree Link Party is still going strong–you can visit anytime to click on the links and see what others have posted, or you can share your own recent cabaret blog or cabaret website link from now through Thursday.  Link is below.


Weekly Post Lineup At McElrath Cabaret:

Mondays:  Cabaret Soiree Cabaret Blog Link Party

Tuesdays:  Cabaret Tip Tuesday

Wednesdays:  Ask A Cabaret Question

Thursdays:  Featured Cabaret Blog, Website, Performer

Fridays:  Cabaret Through Time

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About Athena at McElrath Cabaret

Athena McElrath is an entertainer with a love for theatre and singing. She enjoys delving in the area of historical cabaret, researching the singers and clubs that were in business from before 1920 to the present, in New York and beyond.
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