In 2006, I produced a cabaret show for 5 of my students, Ryan Cappleman, Maureen Smith, Elyse Wojciechowski, Nate Lewellyn, and Kyle Fowler. After picking out music, and finding that the songs were all about wanting to go somewhere and be not here, we decided to call the program the Not Here Cabaret.
When Fuzz Roark at Spotlighters Theatre asked me a year ago to do a solo cabaret, I decided to resurrect the title, if not the same repertoire, and do something with it. Initially, it was a travel-themed show – about wanting to go out and explore, and not be “here.” But it evolved.
The show I wound up doing, with Michael Tan at the piano, was about our shared roots in the Midwest and how we found our homes here in Baltimore. We made a few stops along the way in other places, for entertainment purposes (neither of us have ever, in fact, done a tango with an Eskimo nor have we taken a ride on the Chattanooga Choo-Choo), but in the second half, we did make it a bit more personal. I explored how difficult it was to make the break from my first marriage to move up to Baltimore for grad school (“Leaving on a jet plane” – which sounds more romantic than “driving up 95N”), why going to Europe after grad school would have threatened my new relationship with Bill (“When in Rome”), and ultimately, realizing that “It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.”
I find the cabaret format to be the most authentic thing I’ve ever done – except, perhaps, directing a show, which I recently did for the first time and will write about another time.
I was also lucky enough to hit upon an open mic at Germano’s this past Wednesday and try out a couple of pieces there, and have been offered the opportunity to reprise “Not Here” and/or one of the shows I did as part of MezzoPiano. Hopefully, this will give me some more opportunities. And perhaps I can pursue doing some things down towards DC?
Life begins at … however the hell old I am at this moment.