We appreciate your support!
Portland, Oregon’s own Dave Frishberg singing “Do You Miss New York?” The composer of the cabaret standard “Peel Me A Grape” and many other wonderful songs, singer and pianist, you can find more information about Dave Frishberg at his official website. Enjoy!
Today I’m thinking about performance tips for cabaret singers, so my tip for you today is this: Choose the right venue for your cabaret show.
I have to say, this can be a challenge, especially if you are just starting out and do not have a big following. However, the type of room you are looking for overall is an intimate space, one where you can connect with the audience.
You want your audience close by you, so that they can really see what you are doing without you having to shout to the back of a large hall. This allows you to be subtle in your performance.
It helps create a classic cabaret atmosphere if food and drink are served, and people are seated at tables around the room, rather than theatre seating where everyone is in rows. It’s cozier for the audience, gives them a chance to meet and mingle with each other more easily because they are seated close by, creating a festive atmosphere for the performance, and makes for a multi-sensory entertainment experience for them, and one that will make them remember the fun they had at your show. It also makes it easier for the entertainer to speak to people at the tables and connect with them, making the show more personal for them.
It helps if the room offers good sightlines from the stage to every seat in the house, and it helps if the performance area where you will be singing is raised up a bit, because it makes it easier for the audience members to see you–(remember to wear nice shoes, because the audience will be able to really see them if your feet on stage are at their eye level!).
The room should have a focus on your cabaret show when you are performing, so you are not having to compete with a loud sports bar in the adjoining room, for example, or other exuberant activities that would disrupt the flow of your show.
The room should have adequate lights at least, and it may or may not have sound–there are times when you might have to be prepared to bring in your own sound system. Ideally, the room is going to have a tuned piano for your use. If not, be prepared with a keyboard and sound system. There really is something special about a real piano being played for cabaret, however–this could be a deal breaker for many performers. You’ll have to decide what works for you and your particular show.
The room must also be licensed by ASCAP and BMI in order for you to legally perform copyrighted music, unless you are performing your own original works. (You as the performer don’t need a license, but the room needs to be licensed if they are playing and you are performing copyrighted music. It really does matter, because the songwriters deserve to be paid for their work, and the club can face hefty fines if they neglect to do this.)
You may have control over these aspects, or if you have fewer performance space options in your home town, you might have to get creative and create a show that will be entertaining in the performance spaces that are available. I hope that you have many wonderful performance spaces in your town, and if not, I hope you have the courage and creativity to forge new pathways and find some existing rooms that could work for cabaret performance.
Hope these Tuesday cabaret tips help–let us know what other topics you’d like to see us cover here, and we’ll do our best to work through them!
Do you have any tips that you like to use for choosing the right venue for your cabaret show? Do you have any other cabaret show tips you’d like to share? Do tell down in the comments! We always love to hear from our readers!
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:
Tuesdays: Cabaret Tip Tuesday
Wednesdays: Ask A Cabaret Question
Thursdays: Featured Cabaret Blog, Website, Performer
Fridays: Cabaret Through Time