When you hear the word ‘cabaret,’ you may conjure up images of the famous Broadway musical and Bob Fosse’s 1972 film version with Joel Grey as the mysterious master of ceremonies, or perhaps you think of a smoky room, and a lovely woman in a slinky dress, lounging on top of a piano, legs everywhere and singing about love gone wrong. Yet, the Fort Salem Theater has taken a different spin on cabaret with their 2010 Fall at the Fort series. Starting on Saturday, October 23rd, this series features special performances running through the end of November with a wealth of veteran performers from television, Broadway and International Cabaret performing some standard show tunes, as well as comedy.
Cabaret is known for featuring a ribald sprinkling of comedy, song, dance, and theatre, usually performed on a small stage in a nightclub surrounded by small tables with a master of ceremonies introducing the acts. Yet, cabaret’s roots go back to the late 19th century Paris, when the first notable cabaret, Rodolphe Salis’ Cabaret Artistique, opened in Montmartre in 1881. It was renamed Le Chat Noir (The Black Cat) and allowed many up and coming acts an opportunity to perform. Others from the era included The Moulin Rouge in the red-light district of Pigalle, notorious as the birthplace of the scandalous Can-Can dance (immortalized in John Huston’s 1952 film Moulin Rouge), and The Folies Bergère, which usually featured performances by singers, dancers, jugglers, and clowns.
In the United States, cabaret was highly influenced by jazz, which was prominent in speakeasies during prohibition. In New York City, cabaret emphasized the jazz connection and often featured well-respected vocalists like Nina Simone, Bette Midler, Peggy Lee and the great Eartha Kitt. After going through a bit of a decline in the 1960s and 70s, cabaret has recently gone through a resurgence in the United States as evidenced by the selection of artists performing at Fall at the Fort.
Lynne Kerr, Songs My Husband Wrote: Saturday, October 23rd at 8pm
The first of this season’s events will kick off with a CD release party of well-seasoned veteran Lynne Kerr’s Songs my Husband Wrote, featuring music by Lynne’s husband Jay Kerr (who serves as the Theater’s musical director) and lyrics by his writing partner, the late Arthur Kirson. Ms. Kerr has performed at some of New York’s most famous venues such as the legendary Village Gate and Judy’s.
Bill Carmichael Sings Richard Rodgers: Saturday, October 30th at 8pm
Richard Rogers is a legend of the American musical theatre and his partnerships with librettists Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein have produced some of the most memorable shows in Broadway history including, Love me Tonight, On Your Toes, Babes in Arms, Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music. Broadway veteran Bill Carmichael will offer a special program of songs by Rodgers, including such classics as “Surrey with the Fringe on Top,” “It Might As Well Be Spring,” “The Sound of Music,” “Getting to Know You” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Carmichael has had featured roles in many Rodgers and Hammerstein and Rodgers and Hart shows such as Carousel, Oklahoma, The Boys from Syracuse, and A Connecticut Yankee. He has also appeared in the Broadway productions of Cats, Ragtime, Peter Pan, Les Miserables, Forbidden Broadway, City of Angels, Sweeney Todd, Forever Plaid and Phantom of the Opera.
Greg Anderson and Mary Pohl: Saturday, November 6th at 8pm
Beloved Capital Region artists Greg Anderson and Mary Pohl will perform together for the first time. Greg Anderson is a cabaret veteran with two Cds under his belt, including the recent Songs from the Hudson. Mary Pohl has performed locally and regionally in such shows as West Side Story and My Fair Lady.
Jerry Gretzinger in Mostly Frank: Saturday, November 13th at 8pm
The recipient of numerous journalism awards, WRGB Channel 6 News Anchor Jerry Gretzinger will sing a selection of Frank Sinatra classics during this special night. Mr. Gretzinger has appeared in many local theatrical productions, including The Producers, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Forever Plaid in addition to the cabaret show Albany’s Singing Anchors, featuring Jessica Layton and Benita Zahn. His vast repertoire features a wide range of numbers by Harry Connick, Jr., Tony Bennett, Neil Diamond and Elvis Presley. In addition, Mr. Gretzinger has received accolades and a nomination from The Associated Press for Best News Series for his reports dealing with his own battle with testicular cancer.
Nancy Timpanaro-Hogan Celebrates Comedy and Song: Saturday, November 20th at 8pm
International Cabaret Star Nancy Timpanaro-Hogan will perform a special night of comedy and music. With twenty years of experience in Manhattan cabaret, Ms. Timpanaro-Hogan has opened for Joan Rivers and toured in Adorable Me! her one-woman show about comedian Totie Fields, for which she recieved the prestigious Backstage Bistro Award in 1996 for Outstanding Achievement/Best Theme Show. Her extensive background includes co-hosting Manhattan Cable TV’s Cabaret Beat for three years. Her nightclub act has received rave reviews from the New York Times, The New York Post and The New York Daily News. She has appeared in numerous off broadway productions including Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding, Grand Slam and in the Mabel Mercer Cabaret Convention, for which she received a Mac Award for Best Performance in a Revue.
The Cabaret at Fort Salem Theater is located at 11 East Broadway in Salem. Season tickets are $85. All shows start at 8pm. For more information call 518-854-9200 or visit www.fortsalemtheater.com