Have you always wanted to create a cabaret of your own, but didn't really know where to start?
Between the two of us, we've created more than three dozen shows. Here are a few take aways:
1. They're a lot of work.
2. They can be the most rewarding experience of your professional life.
Anyone who has gone to the trouble of putting together a cabaret will tell you that it's an extremely satisfying experience. So, where do you start? Here are some tips on creating your star vehicle.
One of the great things about cabaret is that it allows the audience to get to know the performer more intimately. Your fans like seeing you in a show, but they LOVE to find out all about your life.
There are a lot of questions to ask yourself. Let's begin with some of the basics:
Make it specific
The beauty of cabaret is that the options are only limited to your imagination. One way is to organize your show around a particular composer, artist or genre.
Start by thinking of your audience. Who will you entertain with your hour of songs and stories? People love what they know, so make sure to pick songs that appeal to your ticket buyers.
Start selecting music
You can go about this in two ways:
1. Choose a theme, then pick the songs.
2. Pick songs you want to sing, then build the show around them.
Both ways work.
We like to keep lists of songs on our phones. When you a hear song you love, immediately put it on the list. Now when it comes time to build a show, you'll have lots of song ideas to pull from!
You can also make playlists in Spotify or Apple Music and come back to them when the time is right.
Get it in front of you
Put songs on sticky notes and put them on a story board. This way it's constantly in your face. Don't worry, the running order will change multiple times during the creative process.
Keep trying different song orders until you've got your perfect combination. And remember it can keep changing- even after you've performed it a few times!
Work with your pianist
Brainstorm together. Talk about your vision and bounce ideas off of each other. It's always a blessing to have a second pair of eyes on a project.
Make a plan
Outline what you plan to talk about in your show. If you need a script to stay on track, then write it all out. If you want a more off-the-cuff vibe (and improv comes easy to you) feel free to let it flow naturally. The important thing is connecting with the audience and making them feel included.
Whichever plan you decide, also expect the unexpected. Hecklers, texters, phone call takers- even people passing through your stage to grab another drink- we've seen it all. Be sure to take it in stride and know that the audience is on your side.
Cabaret may be the single most freeing experience of your career. You're your own Ring Master!
It's you, a mic, the music and an audience...what could be more perfect?
What's your favorite experience as a cabaret performer or audience member? Let us know in the comments below!
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-Kevin Kelly & Natalie Cordone- theConnectedPerformer.com