Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sizzlin' Summer Cabarets: The Backstage Secrets

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 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?

Walter: Let’s 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!


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