Walter Ware III, Signature's Artistic Coordinator, is now officially over all of Signature's cabarets, including the Sizzlin' Summer Cabarets. This week, he sat down with Education Intern, Irene Casey, to discuss these ever popular events.
Irene: Why does Signature do cabarets? Walter: The
culture of Signature...is inviting to the audience and one where we are
trying to give the audience an experience. I think that we do that through
cabarets in that people don’t necessarily want to know just a story, they want
to know a performer. And that’s a really cool opportunity for them in a cabaret
to get to know a performer. Irene: What are
audiences surprised by when they come to cabarets?
Walter: I think
they’re surprised that they get to take glasses and food into the theater, so
there’s one thing. But actually, it might not be exactly what they’re expecting because it is so intimate. The performers usually do sort of beg the audiences
for a little feedback. They engage with them, talk with them. The audience seems
to really respond well to that intimacy once it’s establish, but it can take a
little getting used to.
Irene: How do you
and the performer choose songs?
Walter: It’s really
cool in that the performer gets to do what they want to do or maybe what they’re
not just used to doing or the audience hasn’t seen them do before. I usually consult
with the performer and go, “Hey, what do you want to do?” and then we build around
that. We just build off of the idea that they begin.
Irene: What do
you like about directing cabarets?
Walter: There are
no rules. We’re not going to put people – well, I guess we could put people
naked on stage, we’ve done it before not in a cabaret. But, no. You get to
create a story. You get to create a little 60-70 minute story. And you get to
know these performers in a way that you definitely wouldn’t in any other
setting. It’s really cool to be able to create with these performers and
showcase them in a fun and different way.
Irene: What do
you like about developing these stories?
take a specific cabaret as an example. Say, the Holiday Follies cabaret.
Basically what we did was we had a couple of holiday songs, we had Ma’oz Tzur,
which is a traditional Jewish hymn and we had things like Christmas in the
Trailer Park, which is this YouTube sensation. Finding a way to make those two
songs come together is really exciting for me. We set it up like the Neo-Futurists
do, we had 16 stockings and we had a different song in each stoking and the
audience’s job was to yell out, “Number four, number four, number four!” and the
performers would go up to a stocking, “Oh! What’s this?” and it was a different
order every night. It’s really fun to build the script, build with the actors
how we’re going to take the audience on this 60 or 70 minute jaunt, this
journey, whatever it might be because it really does have that flexibility.
Signature's Sizzlin' Summer Cabaret series has begun. Get your tickets here!