Cabaret Tip Tuesday At McElrath Cabaret: A Rehearsal Tip For Your Next Cabaret Performance–Join Us!

Jeff Harnar’s The 1959 Broadway Songbook–enjoy!

Welcome to Cabaret Tip Tuesday at McElrath Cabaret, where we offer cabaret performance tips to help you put together a great performance at your next show!

Today I’m thinking about cabaret show rehearsal, so my tip for you today is this: be sure to do a dress rehearsal in your cabaret show clothes, including shoes, props, as well as hair and makeup, prior to your performance date.

Why take the time to do this?  You want to make sure that your show has the look you intended, and, all joking aside, you don’t really want to have a wardrobe malfunction on stage in front of a live audience.  I like to try on the dress, with the undergarments, slips, etc., along with heels, to make sure I can walk and move around in them and they stay on my feet, that I can raise my hands up over my head and to the sides and don’t fall out of my clothing, and that my slip doesn’t show during all of this.  You may not be hugely physical when you perform, but it is always good to be prepared in case you move around.  A nude spaghetti-strap leotard, found a a dance supply store, is a great investment for under sheer dresses.  Men–make sure your clothing is comfortable, that you can move arms and legs easily, that your pants and socks are long enough so you don’t have high-waters and low-waters when seated, and that your shirt tails are long enough that they stay tucked in during the performance.  Style the hair so that the face is visible to the audience (this goes for the ladies as well)–you communicate greatly with your face during a cabaret performance, so don’t let hair get in your way.

And I don’t know about you, but when I perform, I tend to “defrost” a bit, so I like to do my hair style in advance for a rehearsal to make sure it stands up under perspiration, as well as the makeup.  If it doesn’t, I can make adjustments to make it better prior to the performance day.  I like to use matte foundation, and this is important if you are going to be filmed or have pictures taken, otherwise your face will be shiny on camera.  Same for eyeshadows–opt for matte ones if you will be filmed, or every wrinkle on your eyelids will show!  Also check that eye makeup, especially liner, stays in place.  You can line the eyes, then try topping it using an angle brush and some matching powder eye shadow on top–it helps to anchor the liner down.  There are some good liners that will not budge once in place.  For an inexpensive one, you might want to investigate Maybelline’s Master Drama Eyeliner Automatic pencil–it does not smudge after it’s set, or use your favorite product.  I always powder down the t-zone on the face, to help set the makeup and keep sheen at bay.

This goes without saying, but always work with any props prior to your performance.  It always takes more rehearsal with these items, getting them into position as well as stowing them unobtrusively after their use, than you may expect.

The best way to make sure that everything looks great as you perform is to practice in front of a mirror, or if you have a way to easily tape yourself, make a quick video of the rehearsal.  You will know in an instant if your clothing is working for or against you, and this way you will have time to make any changes you want before your big day.


Do you practice in your show clothes prior to your actual performance?  Do you have any other pre-show rehearsal tips you’d like to share?  Do tell down in the comments! We always love to hear from our readers!


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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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