Fun At The Portland Ragtime Piano Society Open Mic!

 

If you happen to be in the Portland, Oregon area, on the first Sunday afternoon of every month there is a wonderful free event, and that is the Portland Ragtime Piano Society Open Mic.  Held at Elevated Coffee, 5261 NE MLK Jr. Blvd., the intimate venue features a wonderful white baby grand piano, chandeliers, and delicious assortment of reasonably priced foods and beverages.  The open mic is held from 3-6pm.

 

Whomever shows up can play a couple of ragtime-era selections, and sing if they wish.  There’s always at least three or four pianists there, so you end up with an interesting mix of musical selections.  I always am introduced to a song I’ve never heard before!  This time we selected songs a little later than ragtime period, but still fine to do here.  KJ chose to play several early Cole Porter selections, and a few rags.  I sang Jelly Roll Morton’s “I’ve Got A Feeling I’m Falling” from the Broadway musical Ain’t Misbehavin’.  We’ve also sung early Jerome Kern in the past as well.

 

We have been several times, and always enjoyed it.  It’s also been fun to look up songs that were written in the ragtime era, so that we can perform them here.

 

The next Ragtime Piano Society open mic will be at Elevated Coffee on Sunday, November 3, 2013, from 3-6pm–hope to see you there!

 

And here is Cole Porter himself singing his wonderful “Anything Goes.”

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What We’ve Been Up To This Summer–Shakespeare!

This is a post I wrote today for my gardening blog, Minerva’s Garden, and I thought I’d repost it here for your enjoyment as well!

 

Hiya everone!  It’s been a little hit or miss around here with me with posting for a while, but I thought I’d show you why.

 

We’ve been working on a production of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, one of The Bard’s later romances, which our director, the wonderful Douglas Lay, has cleverly turned into a rollicking, over-the-top comedy!  We play outdoors in the parks throughout Portland, Oregon, every weekend starting July 20th and through Labor Day weekend.  (If you are in the area and would like to see it, check out Portland Actors Ensemble for locations, times, dates and more information, and say hi after the show–I’d love to see you!)

 

A very nice audience member, Garry Louie, took some wonderful pictures of the show during our performance at Laurelhurst Park last weekend, so I’d like to share some of those with you.  All of these pictures today come from his Facebook page link as the source.

 

I play two male characters–Pisanio, the servant in the King’s court in Britain, and Caius Lucius, who is a Roman general who eventually wages war against Britain.  The pictures below are all of Pisanio and other of our great cast members.

 

 

Our costume designer, Sherry Ostendorf, is really amazing and did a fantastic job on all of our Renaissance-era costumes.  I’m the one in the center in the brown and yellow, and although I play a servant, I am kind of a dandy in my appearance, with Lord Byron-style hair–he is a servant in the court of the King, after all.  We all play multiple roles, and so each of us has more than one costume that Sherry provided for us–wow!  The costumes are made out of heavy fabrics, so that they not only look great but will also last through the wear and tear they will get over our eight-week run of the play.  They are very warm, we do a lot of running around in this play, and we are performing outdoors in the middle of the afternoon in the middle of a hot summer, so we are drinking lots of water backstage in between our scenes!  We set up two big tents, and that is our backstage area–you can just see the corner of one in this picture.

 

 

There is my wonderful hubby, KJ, playing accordion as well as piano for the show, and myself singing away!  (Check out my gigantic codpiece–it’s roomy enough to hide all kinds of props in there!  I think this might have to be our Christmas card photo this year:)   This is a very musical play–we all sing songs, some original ones that KJ wrote especially for this production, and he provides wonderful background music to the action of the story–yay, KJ!  He is the best at writing witty lyrics and for being able to watch the action going on onstage and coming up with the perfect score off the top of his head that matches the action we’re doing.

 

 

The lady who plays our wicked Queen, Lauren Modica, is a riot onstage and off–you’ll never guess what she just told me here :)  I love working with her–she always makes me laugh, although here she is scaring the crap out of me–that’s the kind of relationship that Pisanio has with the British king and queen in this play.

 

 

The talented actor who plays Princess Imogen, our female lead in the play, Sarah Jane Fridlich, and I have several scenes together.  Here I am about to tell her my cunning plan to help her survive and thrive after she has been imprisoned by her father the King for marrying the wrong man, and she runs away from home.  By this point in the play, Pisanio is her servant and buddy who is always trying to help her out.

 

 

Here I am doing my Act 3 scene 2 monologue–I see that I often have my mouth wide open in these pictures– there is a reason for that  1–My character likes to talk and 2–We are performing outdoors, and you have to really project so that everyone can hear you :)  Here, my master, Posthumus, has just told me in this letter I’m reading that I have to do something that I really don’t want to do, and I’m reacting to that bad news.

 

 

There is KJ at the piano, in this case a battery-operated keyboard–remember, we are playing outdoors in parks where there is no electricity!  Isn’t the piano cover cool–a while back we went thrifting and I found a free dresser that was missing a drawer, so I was thinking about pulling out the remaining drawers and putting baskets in on the shelves instead, so we had this extra dresser drawer hanging around in the garage and it was a perfect fit for the keyboard!  it helps to hide the electronics and makes it all look a little more in keeping with the period of the play.  In this scene, the king’s sons, who were stolen as babies by Belarius, a former servant to the King, but who are now grown, all circle around Imogen’s male counterpart she plays, called Fidele, who is thought dead in this scene (don’t worry–our play has a very happy ending!)

 

 

Some more of the shennanigans near the end of the play.  Here the King, played by V. Spencer Page, is getting a group hug from his re-united family members, and Pisanio just couldn’t resist so he joined in the tail-end of the hug as well :)  You’ll notice I’m carrying a sword here–we have a big sword fight near the end of the play–lots of fun!

 

 

And here we are at curtain call, and you can get another look at all the fabulous costumes!

 

 

Portland Actor’s Ensemble has a lovely long-standing tradition of the actors going out into the audience, right after some of the performances are done, and offering food to the audience!  On this day we had a delicious selection of two types of fresh grapes, watermelon and bread.

 

 

And this is what actors do best after a long and strenuous outdoor Shakespeare performance–we eat!  Although I am missing out here–I must still be talking to people out in the audience :)

 

Hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into my Shakespeare summer, and thanks for reading!

 

 Are you enjoying outdoor summer plays where you live this year?   Have you ever had a chance to see Shakespeare plays performed outdoors?   I’d love to hear about it down in the comments, so feel free to stop by and say hi!

 

 If you like this post, you can Like us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our blog via email or RSS–thank you!  

 

We are now also on LinkedIn–which has a Cabaret group you should join (!)–and Google+.  You can connect with us there as well.

We appreciate your support!

Till next time, 

Weekly Post Lineup At McElrath Cabaret:

Tuesdays:  Cabaret Tip Tuesday

Wednesdays:  Ask A Cabaret Question

Fridays:  Cabaret Through Time

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There’ll Be Some Changes Made

 

Hello–as you might have noticed, we’ve taken some needed time off from the blog.

My original idea was that this blog would help us build out audience, and it has, in terms of national exposure.  However, we need to spend more time building our local audience, and they are not, for the most part, online.  This means that our marketing efforts for McElrath Cabaret will have to be taken to the streets, so to speak, for the next while.

We love sharing the information on cabaret tips, questions and Cabaret Through Time posts that you’ve come to enjoy here, and we will continue to write on these topics, just not on a weekly basis, but when we have something important to say about any of them.  We’ll still be posting tips on Tuesdays, questions on Wednesdays and Cabaret Through Time on Fridays, just not on a weekly basis.

We’ve been busy with auditions, and I’m pleased to announce that I was cast in a Shakespeare production for this summer with Portland Actors Ensemble.

We also have an upcoming gig with the Puddin’ River Jazz Band at the Willamette Valley Jazz Society in Salem, Oregon on Sunday, April 14th, from 1-5pm, and it’s a dance.

Hope you’re enjoying cabaret entertainment this week, and honing your skills!

 

Do you have an upcoming cabaret show?  Let us know in the comments below–we love to hear from you!

 

 If you like this post, you can Like us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our blog via email or RSS–thank you!  

 

We are now also on LinkedIn–which has a Cabaret group you should join (!)–and Google+.  You can connect with us there as well.

 

We appreciate your support!

Till next time, 

Weekly Post Lineup At McElrath Cabaret:

Tuesdays:  Cabaret Tip Tuesday

Wednesdays:  Ask A Cabaret Question

Fridays:  Cabaret Through Time

 

 

 

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An Upcoming Trad Jazz Gig–We’d Love To See You There!

 

Hello everyone!  It’s been a busy time here at McElrath Cabaret of late.  For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been up to my eyeballs preparing for a Shakespeare audition (I decided to go with Mistress Page from The Merry Wives of Windsor–a very fun play and a role I’d love to do sometime!), and we had a rehearsal and are gearing up for a fun annual gig that we’ve had the pleasure to do with the traditional jazz band out of Portland that we play with–the Puddin’ River Jazz Band.  We’ll get back to our regular posting schedule next week, after this gig is over.

 

In the meantime–if you are in the mood for a Mardi Gras party that is a dance, and you’d like to spend an afternoon listening to trad jazz and swing tunes, as well as some early rock and roll, then this may be just the event for you!  Here are the details:

Who:         KJ and Athena McElrath with Puddin’ River Jazz Band
What:        Performance at the Portland Dixieland Jazz Society
Where:     The Milwaukie Elks Lodge (don’t let the name of this place scare you–this event is open to the public–you don’t have to be an Elk to attend!)
13121 SE McLoughlin Blvd.
Milwaukie, OR  97222
                Map here.
When:      Sunday, February 17, 2013
                 1-5 pm
Cost:       $10 for Portland Dixieland Jazz Society members, $15 for non-members

 

The way it works is we play three sets, which are interspersed with sets by the jammers, namely, musicians and singers who attend and sit in and jam on many classic trad jazz tunes.  If you sing or play, come join the jammers–it’s fun!

 

If you are so inclined, it never hurts to dress for this dance in styles that might have been worn in the 1920s-1940s–fun, but definitely optional.

 

Here’s a picture of us from a trad jazz party:

 

 

And here’s a link to the Portland Dixieland Jazz Society webpage–I just noticed that they have me singing and the band, including KJ on piano, doing our rendition of “What A Little Moonlight Can Do”–when you visit the website!

 

We’d love to see you there!

 

What are your favorite trad jazz songs?  Let us know in the comments below–we love to hear from you!

 

 If you like this post, you can Like us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our blog via email or RSS–thank you!  

 

We are now also on LinkedIn–which has a Cabaret group you should join (!)–and Google+.  You can connect with us there as well.

 

We appreciate your support!

Till next time, 

Weekly Post Lineup At McElrath Cabaret:

Tuesdays:  Cabaret Tip Tuesday

Wednesdays:  Ask A Cabaret Question

Fridays:  Cabaret Through Time

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Cabaret Through Time Fridays at McElrath Cabaret: A George Gershwin Quote From Michael Feinstein’s Book –Join Us!

 

Welcome to McElrath Cabaret–We hope you enjoy our cabaret blog!

 

 

Frank Sinatra on your Friday, here serving up the delicious “It Ain’t Necessarily So” by George Gershwin from the Broadway musical Porgy and Bess.  This is from Sinatra’s album entitled Sinatra Sings Gershwin, and I’m not sure who the female vocalist is who joins him in a duet on this number–enjoy!

 

Fridays are the day when we at the McElrath Cabaret Blog present blog posts in our Cabaret Through Time series. We present historical cabaret singers, entertainers, venues, writers, and musicians, and often include cabaret videos. We hope that you find them informative!

 

George The Great

 

George Gershwin 1937

George Gershwin,  March 28, 1937

Source:  Carl Van Vechten [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

I was reading Michael Feinstein’s new book, The Gershwins and Me:  A Personal History in Twelve Songs this morning at breakfast, and came across this quote from George Gershwin.  This is from a piece of Gershwin memorabilia that Feinstein has included in his book, and this document, credited as a “note to author from publicist Frank Liberman” (163), is a copy of the original which is included in Feinstein’s volume (162).  It says that this is:

 

“a page written in pencil.  These are the exact George Gershwin words:

I Do Like

1.  sun bathing

2.  A good book

3.  seeing great paintings

4.  a tolerant woman

5.  exercise

6.  A Hudson River sunset

7.  noodle soup

8.  a good shave

9.  Doing someone a good turn.

10.  The things said about Irving Thalberg  [Thalberg was an American film producer who was the Head of Production at MGM in its early years.]

 

I Do Not Like

1.  Icy winds

2.  women’s stocking with seams off center

3.  B Pictures

4.  cheap women

5.  sentimental tripe

6.  oysters

7.  long speeches

8.  bad losres (losers)

9.  dead cigars

10.  anything phoney.

 

I loved this.  When was the last time you wrote out a list of what you like and what you do not like?  It’s good to be clear, to yourself and to others.  I love the humor in this list as well.

 

Happy Friday, everyone!

 

What are your favorite songs from George Gershwin?  Let us know in the comments below–we love to hear from you!

 

 If you like this post, you can Like us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our blog via email or RSS–thank you!  

 

We are now also on LinkedIn–which has a Cabaret group you should join (!)–and Google+.  You can connect with us there as well.

 

We appreciate your support!

Till next time, 

Weekly Post Lineup At McElrath Cabaret:

Tuesdays:  Cabaret Tip Tuesday

Wednesdays:  Ask A Cabaret Question

Fridays:  Cabaret Through Time

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Ask A Cabaret Question at McElrath Cabaret–Do You Spend Time Daily Honing Your Cabaret Skills?–Join The Conversation!

 

Welcome to McElrath Cabaret–We hope you enjoy our cabaret blog!

 

Jazz and cabaret singer Paula West with “Fly Me To The Moon”–gorgeous vocal tone–enjoy!

 

Today’s cabaret question is this:

 

 Do you spend time daily honing your cabaret skills?

 

This is really the fun and creative part of becoming a cabaret entertainer.    And just like for the business side of cabaret, if you regularly devote time, anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour per day, you will eventually see improvements in your cabaret skills.

 

Here are some things you can do to hone your cabaret skills:

 

  • Take voice lessons and work on improving your vocal tone and breathing.
  • Take acting class and improve your work as an actor–after all, you are acting all the lyrics to your songs, and having the acting chops is a vital key to becoming a great cabaret entertainer.
  • Watch others when cabaret shows are in your area.
  • Make an investment in yourself, and get albums from great cabaret artists to listen to and learn from.  If your cabaret career is treated like a business, this is a tax write-off as part of your cabaret research for your business!
  • Learn to read music and become a good musician.  There are so many bad jokes about singers and their lack of musical knowledge that it is painful, so don’t be the butt of those jokes!  Get out there and take a music theory class or some lessons in the subject if you need to.
  • While you’re at it, if you haven’t already, learn some basic piano playing skills.  You don’t have to be a great player at all, but it is very helpful if you can read music well enough and are familiar enough with a keyboard to be able to pound out your part when you are learning new material, or working on harmonies if you work as part of a duo or trio.
  • Read excellent cabaret books.
  • Become familiar with a wider range of songs.  Go to your local library, or college music library, and read scores from Broadway musicals.  (While you’re at it, check out the corresponding libretto, too, so you know what the storyline is for the show.)  Sometimes you can find folios of music from films as well.  See if you can check them out, and if so, bring them home and challenge yourself to learn as many new songs as possible.
  • Learn how to do research for your cabaret shows.  Become friends with your reference librarians, and have them show you where to find the information that you need.  Find helpful websites for composers and lyricists, and learn about all the greats.
  • Get DVDs of famous cabaret entertainer’s shows.  There are some for Mabel Mercer, Bobby Short and Wallowitch and Ross on Netflix–hopefully others will be forthcoming.
  • Practice writing patter.
  • Practice delivering patter.  Saying it over and over in your head to memorize it is one thing, but actually getting it up on its feet and delivering it in a believable way to an audience is another–it takes practice to get it where you want it.
  • Learn how to work with a single piano for accompaniment when you sing, and as you have opportunity, learn how to work with a trio and a 7-piece band, or even a big band.  There are listening skills involved for you with the larger groups that you won’t get when it’s just you and a piano, but it is a learned skill.  One tip is to listen for the bass player–the root of the chord is usually in the bass, and by listening to the bass, even if you can’t always hear the rest of the rhythm section well, it often will be enough to keep you on track when you are singing.
  • Learn how to work with a microphone, and how to maneuver a mic cable around a stage so that you look professional and don’t trip yourself up on cables.  Learn how to deal with your microphone in relation to monitors and speakers so you don’t get feedback.
  • Learn how to be comfortable with 100 people watching you.  This is easier said than done, but with acting class you will learn skills that will allow you to stay in character, even if that character is yourself, even when you know every eye is on you.    That’s why you’re on stage, isn’t it–to have the audience on the edge of their seat, eyes glued to you, to see what you’re going to do next?  Hey, it’s what the audience wants, too–it’s called entertaining them!
  • Learn what to do when there are musical breaks in your songs.  What will you do when you are onstage and not singing?
  • Learn when you can take small, inconspicuous sips of water during your show.  Actually practice this, and when the best times are.
  • Practice sitting on stage in a graceful manner, and getting up off a stool or chair if you are seated at any point during your show.  If you are short like me, the height of the chair makes all the difference in the world in how you look when seated.  Practice getting up and down in your show clothes and shoes ahead of time for your show, and make adjustments as necessary.
  • Your cabaret show is a visual package that you present as well as a vocal one, so practice those skills that make you look good.  Hair and makeup are 2 that come to mind, and there are tons of YouTube videos to teach you any techniques or styles that you might wish to learn.
  • Learn some improvisation skills.  You need to learn to be able to “read” an audience, so you don’t lose their attention and so you can give them what they want.  Improv acting skills are tremendously helpful in helping to give you the skills to work with your audience as your scene partner, so to speak, so you can help to make them feel at ease and like they are all insiders to you and what you are doing onstage.
  • Learn how to deal with hecklers, drunks and other rude people from onstage.  Is there a polite way you can deal with them?  Sometimes there is, sometimes you might have to make your pointed point clear to them rather directly.
  • Practice being pleasant to work with–this is a skill that those around you will value often above all others, so pay attention to it.
  • Sing your songs at piano bars and open mics whenever you are given the opportunity.  Practice being ready to get up at a moment’s notice and being able to entertain a roomful of strangers.
  • Many, many more!

So how about you?   Do you spend time each day honing your cabaret skills?  Let us know down in the comments!

 

You can also leave a comment on LinkedInGoogle+Facebook or Twitter.  And you can always feel free to drop us a line, either in the comments below or send us a direct email, and let us know a cabaret question that you would like us to ask, and we’ll do our best to include it in an upcoming Wednesday post.  

 

I truly look forward to your joining the conversation with your comments! 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.

 

If you like this post, you can Like us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our blog via email or RSS–thank you!  

 

We are now also on LinkedIn–which has a Cabaret group you should join (!)–and Google+.  You can connect with us there as well.

 

We appreciate your support!

Till next time, 

 

Weekly Post Lineup At McElrath Cabaret:

Tuesdays:  Cabaret Tip Tuesday

Wednesdays:  Ask A Cabaret Question

Fridays:  Cabaret Through Time

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Cabaret Tip Tuesday at McElrath Cabaret: Become A Better Writer to Improve Your Cabaret Show And Promotion–Join Us!

 

Welcome to McElrath Cabaret–We hope you enjoy our cabaret blog!

 

 

Here is Barbara Lea singing “Sweet and Slow”– Enjoy!

 

My cabaret tip for you today is:

 

Become a better writer to improve your cabaret show and promotion.

 

You might be thinking to yourself, “What does writing have to do with cabaret?”, but actually, quite a bit.  I’ve thought about this quite a bit, and being a former English teacher, I thought it might be useful to try to break down the concept into a few usable ideas for you.

 

There are four main areas were writing will come into play as you craft and promote your new cabaret show.  They are:

 

  • Writing the name of your show
  • Writing patter
  • Writing promotional material
  • Writing on social media outlets

Each of these are important topics, and I will be covering each in more detail in the weeks to come.

Today let’s focus on the first area, which is writing the name of your show.  The name is the most succinct way you have of getting potential audience members, the press, bookers and agents interested in seeing your show, so it is extremely important that you find the best wording to use.

A few suggestions for the name of your show:

  • A short name is almost always better than a long one.  Remember that it will need to be used on flyers and other paper handouts where space will  be at a premium.  A short name is also easier for someone to remember, and you want them to remember it!
  • A catchy name is imperative.  Some cabaret artists will use a phrase from a famous song lyric as the title of their show.  Others capture the main idea of the show in a very few words.  This is a lot like writing what is known as a “hook” line for a film script.  It’s a one-sentence summary of an entire 120-page script.  You will be doing probably at least  a dozen songs or more, so how have you connected them together in your show?  Is it via a theme?  If so, the name of that theme might very well end up in your show title.
  • A name that resonates with the public is super important.  In order to get to the point of walking up on a stage and singing your show, you first have to book it somewhere.  This means that you will have to explain the idea of your show to bookers, who come from all walks of life and different experience levels in terms of entertainment and cabaret.  I’ve found that it’s best if you can name your show something that has universal appeal.  Our show title, “From Broadway To Hollywood:  A Celebration of Song” is successful as a title in this regard, because most people have heard of Broadway and Hollywood, and can relate to it in some way.  Also, the word “celebration” gives the impression that the show is going to be fun for the audience, which of course it is!  Humorous titles are also quite appealing, but make sure that the humor is universal and in good taste.

One way to get better at writing cabaret show titles is to see what others before you have done.  Read the Cabaret Hotline Online and Life is a Cabaret Newsletter, and take note of the names of various cabaret artists’ shows, for example.  Become a fan on Facebook of your regional Cabaret Association, and see what shows people in your area are doing and what they are calling them.  Album titles from famous cabaret entertainers are also useful for learning purposes–what wording have they used to convey the meaning of the songs included in the album?

Have you spent time working on your cabaret writing, and do you have any tips for doing so?  Let us know in the comments!

 

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!

 

As a cabaret singer, what would you add to this conversation?  Leave us a note about it in the comments below—we always love to hear from our readers!

 

If you like this post, you can Like us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our blog via email or RSS–thank you!  

 

We are now also on LinkedIn–which has a Cabaret group you should join (!)–and Google+.  You can connect with us there as well.

 

We appreciate your support!

Till next time,

Weekly Post Lineup At McElrath Cabaret:

Tuesdays:  Cabaret Tip Tuesday

Wednesdays:  Ask A Cabaret Question

Fridays:  Cabaret Through Time

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Cabaret Through Time Fridays at McElrath Cabaret: The Greatest Songwriter You Never Heard Of – And His Colleagues–Join Us!

 

Welcome to McElrath Cabaret–We hope you enjoy our cabaret blog!

 

Here is Dick Powell singing to Ruby Keeler the wonderful song by Harry Warren and Al Dubin, “I Only Have Eyes For You,” which was presented originally in the movie Dames from 1934–enjoy!

 

Fridays are the day when we at the McElrath Cabaret Blog present blog posts in our Cabaret Through Time series. We present historical cabaret singers, entertainers, venues, writers, and musicians, and often include cabaret videos. We hope that you find them informative!

 

The Greatest Songwriter You Never Heard Of – And His Colleagues (Harry Warren, Part 3)

Part One of this Harry Warren exploration.

Part Two of the Harry Warren exploration.

Harry Warren was best known for his melodies. Like Richard Rodgers, his tunes were unforgettable – but as a lyricist, he was less successful. Like most great melodists, he required collaboration with a lyricist.

This was not unusual during the Age of Great American Song. Cole Porter and Irving Berlin, each of whom wrote brilliant lyrics to their own tunes, were the rare exceptions. The vast majority of these songs were the result of partnerships – George and Ira Gershwin, Rodgers and Hart, Da Silva, Henderson and Brown, Kern and Hammerstein, Arlen and Harburg, Dietz and Schwartz, Kalmar and Ruby, McHugh and Fields – the list goes on and on and on…

Working primarily in Hollywood, Warren was teamed with a number of lyricists during his career. This was largely due to the “studio system,” which affected composers and lyricists as much as it did actors; composers were under contract to a specific studio. On one hand, this afforded a certain amount of job security in a field not noted for this particular characteristic. On the other hand, working for a studio could be restrictive. One had to write what a particular director or producer wanted – and in many cases, the composer had to surrender control and ownership of his works.

Collaborations were also like arranged marriages. Unlike Broadway, where artists had more freedom (as well as recognition), the film composer worked with whatever lyricist the studio provided. Harry Warren was fortunate in this respect. His first long-term studio job with Warner Brothers paired him with lyricist Al Dubin; the products of this union that lasted throughout most of the 1930s, included I Only Have Eyes For You, Lullaby of Broadway, September in the Rain, I Found a Million Dollar Baby, Young and Healthy, Shuffle Off To Buffalo, The Gold Diggers’ Song and over fifty others.

In 1940, Warren jumped over to Paramount, where he was paired with lyricist Mack Gordon. One of their songs, Chattanooga Choo-Choo, became the first million-selling record in history; other notable songs born of their collaboration include At Last, I’ve Got a Gal in Kalamazoo, There Will Never Be Another You, You’ll Never Know, Serenade in Blue and I Know Why (And So Do You) – many of which were popularized by the great Glenn Miller Orchestra.

Of course, Warren wrote songs with many other notable lyricists of the period, including Ira Gershwin and Johnny Mercer.

Interestingly, Harry Warren – like Cole Porter – made a single foray into “classical” music (the term “classical” here refers to music that is non-commercial and generally supported by public institutions). A lifelong Roman Catholic, Warren composed a Latin Mass in 1962 that was performed at Loyola Marymount, a Jesuit university in Los Angeles, in 1972. According to music scholar and performer Michael Feinstein, who mentions this in his book Nice Work If You Can Get It (indeed), the piece has never been recorded.

Part One of this Harry Warren exploration.

Part Two of the Harry Warren exploration.

 

What are your favorite songs from Harry Warren?  Have you ever heard of Harry Warren before?  Let us know in the comments below–we love to hear from you!

 

 If you like this post, you can Like us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our blog via email or RSS–thank you!  

 

We are now also on LinkedIn–which has a Cabaret group you should join (!)–and Google+.  You can connect with us there as well.

 

We appreciate your support!

Till next time, 

 

Weekly Post Lineup At McElrath Cabaret:

Tuesdays:  Cabaret Tip Tuesday

Wednesdays:  Ask A Cabaret Question

Fridays:  Cabaret Through Time

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Ask A Cabaret Question at McElrath Cabaret–Do You Spend Time Daily Working on The Business Side of Your Cabaret Career?–Join The Conversation!

 

Welcome to McElrath Cabaret–We hope you enjoy our cabaret blog!

 

 

Cabaret singer Anna Bergman, here at Feinsteins from January 2012 with a beautiful rendition of a selection of songs from her recent show entitled “You and The Night and The Music”–enjoy!

 

Today’s cabaret question is this:

 

 Do you spend time daily working on the business side of your cabaret career?

 

I hope that the answer is yes.  This part of a cabaret show sometimes gets relegated to the bottom of our “to do” list, but it is vitally important if you want to grow your career and audience.  If you regularly devote time, anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour per day, you will eventually see results.

 

Here are some things you can do during your cabaret business time:

 

  • Post to all the social media sites–either your upcoming performances, what you are working on, and ask for what you want.  Ask to be booked, ask for people to like your post or page, ask for them to come to your show.  Tell them what you want.  Also, leave comments on other’s pages, so they remember you.
  • Continue to research venues and contact bookers.  Keep everything you learn written down and in easy access of your desk and telephone in a 3-ring binder, and take notes when you speak to bookers so you can keep your information there updated.
  • Update your cabaret website and/or blog so that everything is current.  I can’t tell you how many cabaret websites I have personally visited that are years out of date, and this reflects poorly on the entertainer, not to mention confusing for first time visitors such as new audience members and bookers.  Be especially vigilant about making sure information is current on your Contact page and Booking information page, so that people can easily reach you.
  • Work on headshots and publicity shots for your shows.
  • Create business cards, and make sure you always have an ample supply on hand to pass out.
  • Create flyers for your shows.
  • Take flyers to area establishments for promotion.
  • Get out of the house and network with others–one-on-one contact is the best way to build your cabaret audience.
  • Write a press release for your show, and send it out to local media and online media outlets.
  • Many, many more!

So how about you?   Do you spend time each day working on the business side of your cabaret career?  Let us know down in the comments!

 

You can also leave a comment on LinkedInGoogle+Facebook or Twitter.  And you can always feel free to drop us a line, either in the comments below or send us a direct email, and let us know a cabaret question that you would like us to ask, and we’ll do our best to include it in an upcoming Wednesday post.  

 

I truly look forward to your joining the conversation with your comments! 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.

 

If you like this post, you can Like us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our blog via email or RSS–thank you!  

 

We are now also on LinkedIn–which has a Cabaret group you should join (!)–and Google+.  You can connect with us there as well.

 

We appreciate your support!

Till next time, 

Weekly Post Lineup At McElrath Cabaret:

Tuesdays:  Cabaret Tip Tuesday

Wednesdays:  Ask A Cabaret Question

Fridays:  Cabaret Through Time

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Cabaret Tip Tuesday at McElrath Cabaret: Consider Your Local Downtown Association For Cabaret Venues–Join Us!

 

Welcome to McElrath Cabaret–We hope you enjoy our cabaret blog!

 

My gift to you today is a video from cabaret entertainer Cole Escola, here with a comedy bit–I laughed!  Enjoy!

 

It’s Tuesday, so it’s time for Cabaret Tip Tuesday, always from McElrath Cabaret!

 

My tip for you today is:

 

Consider your local downtown association when it comes to finding local cabaret venues.

 

If you live in a small town, you probably know that there is often a downtown association comprised of local business owners who want to bring more people to the downtown area to come shop.  Because of this, the town will often hold special events to which the public is invited.  It might be an Art Walk, or just an evening of the month where all the local businesses stay open longer, and many times some type of entertainment is offered, either in a central venue or at individual business locations, such as local restaurants or lounges, even theatres.  This may be an opportunity for you to find some new cabaret venues close to where you live.

 

You will want to do a bit of research online to find your local downtown association, and then determine who the events coordinator is.  You can introduce yourself to this person, and find out if they are booking musical entertainment and where, and take it from there.  These may or may not be big-paying gigs, but they do expose you to a wider audience than you might have at present, and can be a good way to get some cabaret gigs going for yourself.

 

Have you ever gotten cabaret work through your hometown downtown association, and do you have any tips for doing so?  Let us know in the comments!

 

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!

 

As a cabaret singer, what would you add to this conversation?  Leave us a note about it in the comments below—we always love to hear from our readers!

 

If you like this post, you can Like us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our blog via email or RSS–thank you!  

 

We are now also on LinkedIn–which has a Cabaret group you should join (!)–and Google+.  You can connect with us there as well.

 

We appreciate your support!

Till next time,

Weekly Post Lineup At McElrath Cabaret:

Tuesdays:  Cabaret Tip Tuesday

Wednesdays:  Ask A Cabaret Question

Fridays:  Cabaret Through Time

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